You might be tempted by the $899 Frigidaire Gallery 30-Inch Electric Range but I advise you to resist its charms. Sure, clad in a handsome stainless steel finish designed to repel fingerprints and grease smears, the Gallery sports premium good looks. The compact oven also includes a hidden bake element, a five-burner range complete with a speedy quick-boil burner plus a controllable warming zone.
But while this Frigidaire cooks with very consistent temperatures for an electric appliance, it lacks a convection mode which offers superior roasting and baking. You're much better off opting for the less expensive $800 GE JB650SFSS which provides nearly identical oven performance, design, and cooking capabilities. Even more shrewd is to spend an extra $100 on a similarly equipped Frigidaire or GE range with convection technology on board ($999 or $899 respectively). It'll be a big step up in terms of oven performance for not much more cash.
Wrapped in stainless steel, the Gallery Freestanding Electric Range is attractively styled, at least for a mid-range slide-in model. Both the flat control panel backsplash and oven door sport the same classy steel treatment along with the cover of the warming drawer beneath it. You'll find the oven handle feels sturdy, too.
The Gallery Electric Range's sharp appearance extends to its flat, ceramic cooktop. Smooth, glossy, and deep black (a finish Frigidaire describes as "black porcelain") the Gallery's cooking surface holds four circular electric burners (two small, one large, and one combo small/medium).
A fifth medium-sized hot zone (located at the back center of the range) isn't a true burner for cooking but rather functions as a region to keep finished food warm. You can adjust the temperature of this warmer using its own dedicated knob control. I was also happy see that the aforementioned combo burner (front right section of the stovetop) has a quick-boil feature. Additionally the flexible heating surface, consisting of two concentric rings, lets you either activate a small or medium burner individually or crank them both up in unison for maximum cooking power.
Of course these features aren't exactly premium. Many basic ovens boast similar or comparable abilities at the same price range or even less. For example both the LG LRE3021 ($800) and GE JB650SFSS ($800) ranges offer hidden baking elements, as well as fast-boil and multi-function burners. That said, the LG lacks a special fifth burner. A cheaper GE Artistry Series Electric Range ($600) possess classic retro styling but has neither a warming zone nor hidden baking element to cut down on excess smoke from drips and splatters.
Unfortunately the Gallery's luxurious appearance doesn't carry over to its back-mounted control panel. While the oven's flat touchscreen is relatively uncluttered and framed by aluminum and stainless steel, the appliance's burner knobs are molded from flimsy plastic. These dials also felt loose in my hands, almost as if they might pop off if I twisted them too hard. And since all the controls sit on a rear panel, you'll have to reach over the burners to fiddle with them. That's not a unique issue to the Frigidaire, of course, and it's also better than the LG LRE3021's all-touch control panel, which is truly a pain to interact with.
Another trade-off worth considering is the Gallery's small 5.5 cubic foot oven capacity. For the same price, the LG LRE3021 brings a full 6.3 cubic feet of cooking space to the table. The Gallery oven does provide a bit more room than the GE JB650SFSS (5.3 cubic feet). Of course the biggest hurdle to choosing the Gallery 30-Inch Electric, or any range at this price or less, is the lack of a true convection oven. All three ovens, however, including the Gallery, come with self-cleaning modes standard.
As it turns out, this well-appointed appliance demonstrated real culinary chops during CNET Appliance Labs testing. Using its small burner, the machine turned in an average boil time of just over 12 minutes (12 minutes, 14 seconds) which is fast for an electric. Boiling water on one of the Gallery's large burners took almost the same time, an average of 13 minutes and 13 seconds. The range's quick-boil burner lived up to its name too, bringing a 112-ounce pot of water to boil in under 12 minutes (11 minute 55 seconds on average).
And despite the lack of a true convection oven, the Frigidaire Gallery managed to keep its oven temperatures very consistent. So whether you're roasting chickens, biscuits, vegetables, or pizza, the machine should deliver very repeatable results. Of course no standard oven can really offer the same level of evenness as a convection oven, and this Frigidaire is no exception. On our multi-rack bake tests we still saw a significant difference in the brownness of biscuits, with the top rack biscuits coming out much darker than those on the lower rack.
Broiling with the Gallery 30-Inch is pretty straight forward and I had no trouble whipping up plates of tasty test burgers. I did notice that the appliance did have a tendency to crisp the tops of my hamburger patties a bit too much, at least compared with other ovens including a Whirlpool WFE320M0AS Electric Range. Indeed while the Whirlpool took its time to cook its burgers (about 24 minutes), the results were more juicy. Conversely the Gallery handled the same task in an average of 18 minutes, 11 seconds but the end result was typically on the dry side.
Another annoying issue with the Gallery is that it took noticeably longer to preheat its oven to the desired temperature. My anecdotal test of preheating the appliance to 450 degrees (F) required a full 14 minutes. By comparison, my Whirlpool 30-inch electric oven completed the same task in just under 12 minutes. And what makes the wait feel longer still is the Gallery's lack of a readout for current oven temperature.
I do like how easy it was to clean the Frigidaire Gallery 30-Inch Electric cooktop. Its smooth, flat surface remained unmarred and unsoiled (at least permanently) throughout my entire test-cooking process. This included making numerous anecdotal omelettes, soups, bowls of ramen, and the usual spills and thrills entailed.
At face value the $899 Frigidaire Gallery 30-Inch Electric Range is an enticing proposition. It comes cloaked in attractive stainless steel, it offers excellent cooktop performance and very stable oven temperatures for a mid-range electric oven. The Gallery's controls, while not front-panel mounted, are simple enough to use, at least compared to touchscreen challengers such as the $800 LG LRE3021 .
Priced at $100 less, however, the $800 GE JB650SFSS is the smarter option since it matches the Frigidaire Gallery's stainless steel style, number of burners. If you really have your heart set on owning a convection device though you'll have to spend a little extra, to the tune of $100. GE trumps Frigidaire here too with the step-up convection model coming in at $900.