Maytag MET8885XS Review
Found for around $1,600, this double oven range is more bark than bite.
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The double oven range serves as a space-saving compromise between the more involved double wall-oven (and free rangetop) and traditional single-oven range. Like Robert Palmer, Van Halen and Miley Cyrus, these space-savers usually combine the best of both worlds—_usually_.
For $1,600 (MSRP $1,750), the is supposed to provide active chefs with options and flexibility. With that in mind, we got this unit into the lab to test its meddle.
Design & Usability
This Maytag sports a fancy ensemble, but no one's going to confuse it for a pro range.
The is a double oven with a five element electric rangetop. The styling follows Maytag's current design language, which presses a stainless steel finish onto an entry-level oven's exterior. Stainlessness seems more like a finish than an attitude in this case, and no one's going to mistake this Maytag for a Viking.
The rangetop has a few small features that may come in handy. The front left burner has a triple element that accommodates different sized pots with 6-inch, 9-inch, and 12-inch rings. A back right burner is designated for low-power simmering, and an extra low-powered 100W (seriously, like a light bulb) burner sits in the center as a keep-warm feature.
The hallmark of the range is the fact that it has two ovens. The top 2.5 cubic foot oven holds one normal rack and the bottom 4.2 cubic foot oven has two. A Maytag-branded "EvenAir" true convection fan is on hand too, for consistent temperatures. Oddly, the temperature in our tests always ended up about 25 degrees lower than what showed on the oven's display. Most convection ovens automatically lower their temperatures for convection, and this oven's manual said it was no different. However, our tests showed that the Maytag's temperatures were consistently off. You should adjust your own recipes accordingly.
We noted strong searing and simmering results, but we found middling boiling performance.
As we often see on electric rangetops, we recorded an excellent span of temperatures: Every element could dip below normal human body temperature and rise above the flashpoints for most oils. In the boiling arena—often the most important area for casual chefs—we didn't find any especially quick results. Outcomes were decent, though. It's often nice to have something powerful for that big pasta pot, but unfortunately you won't find that here.
When considering rangetops, it's important to know the differences between gas and electric performance. While electric rangetops can produce a wider temperature range, gas rangetops react far quicker to user input and offer the advantage of an effective visual aid: the flame.
Oven Broiler & Convection
Despite the fantastic preheat time, the oven wobbles a bit around 350°F.
The 's upper oven heated up to 350°F in just five minutes, a ridiculously fast time, considering most people are accustomed to twice that. Part of this is due to the small capacity of the top oven cavity, so if you can fit your food up there, you can take advantage of the sprint to the preheat.
After preheating, though, the upper oven struggled to average the target temperature, overshooting the keep-warm and underestimating the 350°F setting, at first blasting way above its mark, then changing its mind and falling to just as far below the target. At least the maximum temperature was almost on the money. While the lower convection oven maintained a steady temperature, it was substantially lower than its target, earning a raised eyebrow. With only okay temperature consistency and missed marks, this seems to be a case of oven quantity over quality.
This certainly isn't the cream of the crop, but nor is it the bottom-of-the-barrel.
At around $1,600 (MSRP $1,750), the is not a cheap range. With two ovens and five elements on its rangetop, it clearly aims for those who mean business in the kitchen. Despite those pretensions, we aren't that pleased with this range's performance. Searing and simmering abilities were great, but if you're spending $1,600, you probably want something that can boil water a bit faster.
As for the ovens, fast preheating times did little to overshadow other problems. Even though the upper oven reached 350°F in just five minutes, it displayed a variance of over 80°F, which is not what we expected from an oven at this price. Fortunately, the lower oven showed some skills with the convection fan, maintaining acceptable variance, but the average temperature was lower than the 350°F target. This caused some confusion; the manual says the convection conversion is not automatic, but results suggest that it is.
Aside from the top oven, this appliance works fine, but that defeats the whole purpose of a double oven model. For less money, you can buy a full size single oven range that works much better. If you elect to purchase a dual oven range, don't settle for anything less than two ovens that work well—count this Maytag out.
All of our reviews result from the barrage of lab tests we unleash upon our products. Ranges are no exception. While many users are satisfied with a report of "a solid job at boiling," some people just want more. And we've got it all below.
Temperature consistency was a significant point of contention.
At the keep-warm setting of 170°F, the oven's 215°F to 187°F range just wasn't acceptable. Then, when we set the temperature to the typical cook selection of 350°F, we were displeased again. Not only did the temperature run over 390°F, we also saw it dip under 310°F. This 80 degree fluctuation is the sort of annoyance that leaves food with burnt outsides and raw insides. At the maximum setting, the oven did vary a bit from 514°F to 579°F, but at temperatures that high, the percent difference isn't so significant, so we weren't dissatisfied by that variance, unlike with the 350°F performance.
As we often see, the convection mode here is far superior, as it provides a relatively stable alternative to the mercurial temperatures of the conventional oven. Set to 350°F, we saw a maximum fluctuation of 7°F above and 30°F below, meaning that the oven most likely automatically adjusted for convection cooking by lowering the temperature. This is odd, seeing as the manual says the user must input a temperature 25°F lower.
The temperature variance—37°F total fluctuation—on the lower convection oven is commendable, especially in comparison to the huge variance we saw in the upper oven on the conventional setting. Some foods might be okay with that sort of treatment, but for high performance, use the lower oven on convection.
The rangetop performance will not satisfy everyone.
The rangetop had a lot of fine boilers, with the front elements boiling six cups of water in just under 10 minutes and the rear non-simmer burner boiling in just 13. But while it's always nice to see a low average boiling time, someone who just wants to boil one big pot of water simply doesn't need a low average; this person would benefit more from a single, extremely quick burner. This Maytag doesn't offer that, so keep shopping if you need that one, fast-boiling burner.
The simmering abilities are exceptional. Electric rangetops usually can get the temperature down fairly low, but this appliance managed to get two elements to a very cool 81°F, and two others into double digits. Most gas rangetops cannot do this. We're impressed.
The can go as high as it can low, but not so high that it's dangerous to the user. The front right burner managed to heat our pan to 724°F, certainly hot enough to sear any piece of meat, and the other two non-simmering burners hit 528°F and 682°F—commendable results. If you're curious about the simmering burner, it could only do 320°F. Save it for the low-power work.
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