Ovens

Whirlpool GGG390LXS Review

Yes, this model simmers, but so does enthusiasm with such mediocre test results. Pass this one by, folks.

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Introduction

The most important thing to know about the Whirlpool GGG390LXS is that its MSRP is $1,999. Two thousand dollars is not a small amount of money for most Americans, and unless performance is top-notch, this Whirlpool will be one more to pass over.

We've tested ovens around that price point that pan sear, quick fry, simmer, broil, and bake in ways that would make any amateur chef tear up... onion-chopping aside. Well, someone might tear up over this one too, but perhaps from frustration more than anything else.

Design & Usability

This straightforward design is marred by a spill-prone range and a convoluted control set.

In terms of its overall design, this dual-oven is a bit of an odd duck. Sure, its got the controls in all the usual spots for a gas range, the five burners are laid out in a traditional way, and the stainless steel trim isn’t going to stand out like a sore thumb in your kitchen. Its continuous grates—normally found on high-end ranges—make it easier to find a place for pots and pans, but anything that drips or spills is going to plop through and require more work to clean. It uses a pyrolytic self-cleaning system, where the oven runs at a high temperature for several hours to burn off interior stains. It's worth mentioning that only one oven can be cleaned at a time.

The buttons aren't divided in the most logical way.

The range top burners are controlled by five large dials located on the front just above the ovens. They are large and easy to turn, but also well latched; you have to exert a fair amount of inward pressure before you can turn them, so they are unlikely to be accidentally engaged. The ovens and broiler, on the other hand, use a control panel located in the center of the top panel. These are a little confusing to use, as the buttons aren't divided in the most logical way. The ones used to program the ovens are on one side, while the start and stop buttons are on the other. The labeling and lack of direct correlation leads to a sharp learning curve.

Rangetop

Low-heat cooking is a piece of cake for this appliance, but don't expect much else.

If you enjoy making stews or sauces from scratch, this range definitely provides a nice simmer.

There are five burners available on this particular model. They have different power levels, though the uniform appearance of the burners makes it difficult to differentiate them until you've really taken some time to familiarize yourself with the landscape. The central burner is elongated, following the design of a typical oval or fish burner, so named because it's perfect for cooking fish in a long pan.

This excelled when it came to cooler temperatures; every burner, particularly the left rear one, was capable of maintaining a steady, low-intensity heat. If you enjoy making stews or sauces from scratch, this range definitely provides a nice simmer.

The strongest burners took over _16 minutes_ to boil even a small amount of water, and some failed to bring water to a boil at all.

When you get to the upper end of the thermostat, however, things slip. Even the most powerful burner on this range peaked out at a temperature significantly lower than what we like to see—we're talking hundreds of degrees cooler. Unless you're attempting a recipe that requires really intense heats, you should be okay, but don't expect things to cook quickly: The strongest burners took over 16 minutes to boil even a small amount of water, and some failed to bring water to a boil at all.

Oven Broiler & Convection

The two mediocre ovens barely get by with acceptable temperature consistency and little else. The broiler is just a waste of time.

Fairly consistent temperatures in the ovens will provide even, effective heats for quality cooking. On the downside, the highs weren't that high. The "Keep Warm" setting landed within an acceptable range, though, and as long as the majority of your cooking involves standard fare that won't push this oven to the limit, you should be okay. At the end of the day, we expected a lot more in an oven that costs an average American more than 2.5 week's gross salary.

This broiler is lackluster, to say the least.

After a range that didn't handle high heats well and an oven that followed suit, it shouldn't be a surprise that the broiler—the purpose of which is to provide intense levels of heat quickly—disappointed as well. It took far too long to heat up, and even at its highest temperature was significantly cooler than other, better machines. This broiler is lackluster, to say the least, and therefore essentially useless.

Conclusion

If the only positive thing about an oven is its low heat output, don't buy it.

There's simply nothing about the that can salvage our opinion of it. Sure, the convection fan, the large-capacity ovens, and the number of burners on the range are nice to have. Trouble is, those features don't amount to a whole heck of a lot if the cooking quality of the machine is subpar—which is the case here.

For $1999, consumers can do far better.

Things like frozen pizzas may survive this Whirlpool's lackluster temperature output, and water will boil eventually, but for $1999, consumers can do far better. Sale prices of $1750 don't bring the price tag even close to what this particular machine is really worth.

Science Introduction

The numbers paint a very lackluster picture of the . With a range that only excels at its coolest and an oven that's mediocre in every way, all signs point to "Not Very Good" when it comes to analysis of this particular model.

Oven & Broiler Performance

High lows and low highs

As far as the range of temperatures in this oven...well, we've seen worse. The "keep warm" setting averaged about 168 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about where it should be. At the top end, we found the oven peaked at about 547 degrees; it's not quite where we want it, but hot enough to do a decent job with most cooking needs.

We have to be blunt about the broiler: It's a waste of metal.

Generally, the ovens remained within a range of about 25 degrees of the desired heat; that's acceptable, and mostly within a margin of error. There were a few temperature spikes that pushed the temperature up to 50 degrees past the target, though. The convection fan helped a bit with that.

We have to be blunt about the broiler: It's a waste of metal. The whole point of a broiler is to cook quickly at very high heats, and this one fails on both counts. After 16 minutes—much longer than any boiler worth its weight—our test plate was only 421 degrees Fahrenheit. The oven itself gets hotter than that, and it doesn't take much longer to do so. It's downright disappointing, especially since we've tested broilers that get over 150 degrees hotter in a third of the time.

Rangetop Performance

Some very nice low heats are great for the amateur saucier, but don't hope for much in the opposite direction. While you're at it, don't expect much in terms of speed, either.

Starting on a positive note, the range on this proved more than adequate at delivering steady, low heating. The left rear burner, the weakest of the bunch, could get as low as 101 degrees Fahrenheit, while the rest fell within a range of 127 to 137 degrees, more than acceptable for low-heat cooking.

Don't expect pan searing or quick frying to turn out well.

On the other end of the spectrum, however, even the most powerful burner on this range peaked out at a meager 402 degrees. Even many mid-range models can get anywhere from 250 to 400 degrees hotter; most recipes should be fine, but don't expect pan searing or quick frying to turn out well. By that same token, you may notice that it takes longer for things to cook. Our water boiling tests delivered some rather disappointing results. At its best, the stronger burners took 16 minutes and 49 seconds to boil just under four fluid ounces of water. Worse, in our 35 minutes test, the weaker burners couldn't reach boil at all in that ample time.

Energy Efficiency

Sure, your electric bill may go down, but that's cold comfort if your food won't cook properly.

This has a lot of different power ratings to go with the variety of components available to cook with. The ovens are rated at 16,000 and 10,000 BTU, somewhat on the low end of the spectrum. The range, also, has separate power ratings for each of its heating elements. The burners had ratings of 16,000, 10,000, 7,500, and 5,000 BTU, a very wide spread of power levels. While the low power drain didn't have a dramatic effect on performance in the oven, it definitely took a toll on the quality of the range. Following this trend, the broiler was rated at just 10,000 BTU; this is noticeably lower than with other models, and somewhat explains the slow and disappointing performance.

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