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Electrolux 30" Freestanding Range with IQ-Touch Controls (EI30EF35JS) review: This freestanding Electrolux range lacks ambition

Review Sections

Electrolux EI30EF35JSWhirlpool WFE720H0AS
Standard preheat time (400 F)12:5013:33
Fast preheat time (400 F)8:3511:00
Standard boil time (212 F)8:306:50
Fast boil time (212 F)4:454:40

One feature that does a better job of standing out is the EI30EF35JS' "Fast Preheat" mode, which claims it'll warm the oven in 25 percent less time than standard preheat setting. I decided to test this out alongside a similar Whirlpool oven with the same feature. On normal settings, the Electrolux preheated from cold to 400 degrees in 12:50, while the Whirlpool model got there in 13:33. Repeating the test on fast mode, the Electrolux's time actually dropped about 33 percent, down to an impressive 8:35. By comparison, the Whirlpool only dropped to 11:00 -- just 19 percent faster.

We also tested out the Electrolux's "Fast Boil" burner and compared it to what we saw from a similar burner on the Whirlpool model. Both were able to bring the boil time to under five minutes, which seems like a nice feature if you're trying to make ramen noodles in a hurry.

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The Electrolux cooked a 5-pound chicken to temperature right on time. Comparable Whirlpool and KitchenAid models both needed extra time to finish. CNET

Feature talk aside, many consumers will simply want to know how well this thing cooks. We've had ovens blow us away with their cooking capabilities in the past, most notably the Dacor Renaissance Double Wall Oven . Does Electrolux offer anything close to that level of performance?

In a word, no, though to be fair, nothing else has really come close to that particular oven (it also costs about $4,000). The good news is that the Electrolux is a consistent performer, and one that never disappointed us. For baking, it was able to steadily maintain accurate temperatures throughout entire cycles, which leads to properly cooked food in as much time as you expect.

Our chicken tests were a prime example of this. Using convection roast settings, an oven should be able to cook a 5-pound butterflied chicken to temperature in approximately 75 minutes. The average time for the E130EF35JS was 74:46. Compare that to the Whirlpool WFE720H0AS, which took almost 90 minutes, and the KitchenAid KERS303BSS, which took nearly two hours, and the Electrolux looks like the best of the bunch.

Still, timing and tasting are two very different things. The Electrolux chicken, though punctual (and not nearly as dry as the not-so-timely KitchenAid bird) was still nothing close to the mouth-watering masterpieces that the Dacor oven consistently put out. The EI30EF35JS gets the job done, but I can't say that it'll make the food you cook taste better than it would with a cheaper oven.

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The barbecue chicken we cooked for four hours on the Slow Cook setting came out great. Colin West McDonald/CNET

Speaking of chicken, I tested out that Slow Cook mode by using a recipe for slow-cooked barbecue drumsticks that I transposed for the oven as best I could. I wasn't totally sold on this feature, as it simply maintains a temperature around 250 for as long as you need. Can't all ovens do this already?

I decided to double things up and make two batches: one in the Electrolux on Slow Cook mode, and the other in a competitor's oven manually set to the same time and temperature. Four hours later, the chicken that came out of the Electrolux was cooked correctly, not dried out or burnt as I had feared it might be. Successful test, right?

Kind of. The chicken in that second batch came out nearly identical to the Electrolux chicken, both in terms of taste and appearance. That suggests that you don't need a dedicated "Slow Cook" setting on your oven in order to get slow-cooker-esque results.

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Colin West McDonald/CNET

Conclusion

Performance-wise, the $1,549 Electrolux EI30EF35JS isn't a bad oven by any stretch, but it isn't significantly better than comparable ovens that cost a lot less -- and that's the problem. If you want a convection oven with a smooth, electric cooktop and a stainless-steel finish, there are models available from manufacturers like GE, Frigidaire, LG, and Samsung, some of which can be found on sale for just north of $700. The Electrolux might be a slightly more consistent performer than some of those ovens, but probably not all of them, and probably not enough so to merit such a significant increase in price.

If you're looking to spend $1,500 or more on an oven, I think you should start to expect some level of unique functionality, the kind that lets you cook in new ways. Creative appliances like the Samsung FlexDuo meet this standard, as do double ovens, induction ranges, and smart ovens. The Electrolux doesn't, but it's priced as if it does -- priced even higher than LG's comparable connected model . With so many other options, you're almost certainly better off shopping around.

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