Electrolux 30-inch Gas Freestanding Range with IQ-Touch Controls EI30GF35JS review: Electrolux's sluggish gas range will hold you back
The $1,549 US-only Electrolux 30-inch Gas Freestanding Range with IQ-Touch Controls (model number EI30GF35JS) shares some features and design elements with the brand's identically priced electric counterpart . That's where the similarities end. This gas version is slightly more refined, mainly due to its less-chaotic display-panel layout and the resulting improvements to usability.
When comparing this range to other gas models in the same price range, though, the EI30GF35JS doesn't hold up quite as well. Specifically, it has a smaller oven capacity, fewer features and slower cooking times than Samsung's $1,699 Gas Range with True Convection (model NX58F5700) as well as other models. This Electrolux range can handle the basics with grace, but that's kind of the point -- its relatively bland looks and sluggish performance don't quite line up with its price. Keep looking if you're in the market for a midlevel gas range with the functionality to match.
Turning up the heat
This gas range looks a lot like the electric model we reviewed last year . It has the same inoffensive stainless steel-and-black finish, handle hardware and window for peeking at your latest culinary creation. But, you'll notice that this version has knobs for adjusting the gas output of the burners. Thankfully, this moves all of the cooktop controls away from the IQ-Touch display, which was overly crowded and very tough to navigate on the all-electric version.
In addition to the pared-down IQ display and burner control-knobs, you'll also notice that the cooktop features cast-iron grates and a fifth oval burner with enough BTUs (10,000 to be exact) to cook pancakes, bacon and other delicious griddle treats.
The other four burners come in handy too, with 5,000; 9,500; 12,000 and 18,000 BTUs so you can tackle anything from simmering sauce to rapidly boiling water.
|Oven size (in cu. ft.)||5||5.8||5.4||5.6||5.8||5.8|
|Cooktop output, in BTUs||5,000 to 18,000||5,000 to 18,000||5,000 to 17,000||5,000 to 19,000||5,000 to 17,000||5,000 to 17,000|
The EI30GF35JS is competitive with comparably priced gas ranges in terms of cooktop energy output, but it has a significantly smaller oven capacity than all of the other models in the chart above. That doesn't necessarily mean that you won't be able to fit your Thanksgiving turkey inside, but it may limit some of your cooking capabilities.
This gas range looks nice enough, but that's mainly because it's unobtrusive and blend-in-able. It reminds me of old-school thermostats that feature a rectangular slab of plastic, or many of today's utilitarian-looking smart-home hubs and accessories . They don't look bad exactly, but that's only because we're used to the design status quo. Ranges like this one really need a Nest Learning Thermostat-style intervention.
Still, this model is simple to use. The burner knobs adjust quickly with minimal effort, the cast-iron grates are on the heavy side but can be removed for cleaning, and the display includes a full number pad for entering specific temperature and timer instructions. My only complaint is that the IQ-Touch display could be more responsive.
Biscuits, burgers and beyond
I baked biscuits to test the Electrolux's traditional and convection bake modes. A lot of biscuits. Over 200 biscuits. Aside from the extended periods of taste-testing that necessarily took place, this gave me a great opportunity to compare the two bake modes.
Traditional-bake mode relies solely on the heat elements inside the oven to cook, whereas convection-bake mode enlists help from a fan. The added air circulation from the fan is supposed to cook food more evenly.
This traditional-bake mode disparity typically becomes clear when cooking multiple racks at once; traditional top-rack biscuits are usually much more "done" than those from the bottom rack, yielding food from the top rack that's overdone and that's underdone on the bottom one. Convection-mode top- and bottom-rack biscuits tend to look pretty uniform in comparison.
That didn't happen here. The top row in the photo above shows the traditional top and bottom rack biscuits (left to right), while the bottom row shows the convection top and bottom rack biscuits. Surprised? I was. The convection biscuits are actually slightly less uniform than the traditionally baked ones.
The Samsung NX58F5700 biscuits were more in line with expectations. The top rack of the traditional biscuits were noticeably darker than those from the bottom rack, while the convection top and bottom racks were much more uniform. This doesn't exactly mean that the Electrolux model is worse off when it comes to biscuit-making, though. Instead, it shows that Electrolux's convection mode might be a bit superfluous when baking since traditional mode did fine on its own.
I also broiled burgers and used thermometer probes to ensure that all six reached a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees before taking them out of the oven. That's medium-rare to medium, depending on who you ask. The burgers were tasty, but they took longer to reach temperature than with any of the other broil tests we've conducted.
The chart above compares the EI30GF35JS to an assortment of electric ranges, as well as the gas Samsung NX58F5700. The EI30GF35JS took 19 minutes and 15 seconds -- that's 4 minutes and 30 seconds longer than the fastest model, the LG LRE3021ST , and three minutes longer than Samsung's NX58F5700. Sure, in the grand scheme of things, those minutes may not make a huge difference, but if you have a hankering for hamburgers and are looking for near-immediate gratification, the EI30GF35JS is not the way to go.
I also roasted a whole chicken until it reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. It turned out well, but it still didn't come close to my results from the Dacor Renaissance 30-inch Double Wall Oven , which made what was easily the best roasted chicken to date.
After that, I tried out a frozen family-size lasagna. It was supposed to take 70 minutes at 375 degrees, but ended up needing an additional 10 minutes in the oven. Although it turned out well when it was finally cooked through, this demonstrates yet another instance of this model's too-slow cooking tendencies.
I also made a cake, pictured below, that actually cooked within the expected time frame of 29 to 34 minutes.
In addition to all of this delicious food, I also boiled a whole lot of water in 5- and 3-quart pots.
The Electrolux EI30GF35JS handled the 5-quart boil test pretty well at just over 11 minutes, while the Samsung NX58F5700 took slightly longer at 11 minutes and 30 seconds. The Samsung Slide-In Electric with Flex Duo Oven (NE58F9710WS) took the longest at over 14 minutes and 30 seconds and the Samsung Slide-In Induction Chef Collection (NE58H9970WS) that we recently reviewed was the fastest by far at under 8 minutes.
The 3-quart boil test didn't go quite as well for the Electrolux range. It took 15 minutes and 15 seconds -- that's the longest of any of the tests and much, much longer than the Samsung Slide-In Induction Range (NE58H9970WS), which took less than 6 minutes to boil.
While I have no doubt that you'll be able to make a decent meal with Electrolux's 30-inch Gas Freestanding Range with IQ Touch Controls, it's disappointingly slow. I'm also perplexed by its smaller oven capacity, since comparable models typically have from 5.4 to 5.8 cubic feet of space. Tack on its underwhelming design, and I'm not convinced that this model is worth its $1,549 price tag. Get it if you manage to find a good sale and don't mind slower cooking times; otherwise, I'd suggest looking elsewhere.