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Frigidaire FPEF3077QF review: Lackluster cooktop makes this range fizzle

The Frigidaire FPEF3077QF's slow cooking times and confusing features bring down this $1,599 electric range's performance.

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Ashlee Clark Thompson
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Ashlee Clark Thompson

Associate Editor

Ashlee spent time as a newspaper reporter, AmeriCorps VISTA and an employee at a healthcare company before she landed at CNET. She loves to eat, write and watch "Golden Girls" (preferably all three at the same time). The first two hobbies help her out as an appliance reviewer. The last one makes her an asset to trivia teams. Ashlee also created the blog, AshleeEats.com, where she writes about casual dining in Louisville, Kentucky.

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7 min read

A slick appearance, some cool features and a $1,599 price tag promised big things for the performance of the 30-inch freestanding electric Frigidaire Professional FPEF3077QF. Testing the Frigidaire's basic capabilities killed the high hopes I had for this electric freestanding range. Boil times fell behind those of comparable electric ovens, and a bridge feature that connects the left-front and -rear burners is problematic in its evenness. Design elements that are meant to make the Frigidaire FPEF3077QF more attractive and aesthetically pleasing, such as barely visible knob numbers and polite indicator chimes, create more problems than solutions.

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6.2

Frigidaire FPEF3077QF

The Good

The Frigidaire Professional FPEF3077QF's large oven provides consistent baking, broiling and roasting.

The Bad

Slow boil times, quiet chimes and the irregular bridge feature make using the cooktop of this Frigidaire a frustrating experience.

The Bottom Line

A reliable oven can't overcome the Frigidaire Professional FPEF3077QF's disappointing cooktop and justify the range's $1,599 price.

Fairly consistent baking and roasting paired with a large oven chamber were the only aspects of the Frigidaire FPEF3077QF's performance that met my expectations. Unfortunately, the oven's promising capabilties aren't enough to make this range the pick of a litter of cheaper, comparable options.

The cooktop on this Frigidaire range really bugs (pictures)

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Pretty details interfere with usability

At first glance, the Frigidaire Professional FPEF3077QF is simple and aesthetically adaptable to many kitchen designs. The exterior is stainless steel, and a black ceramic glass cooktop completes the unit.

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This Frigidaire's simple design would fit into many kitchens. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Five burners are arranged efficiently on the black, ceramic glass cooktop. The burners include two seven-inch burners on the left side that connect with a bridge feature (more on that later), a center-rear warming zone, a 6-inch burner in the back right and a dual-surface burner in the front right. The dual-surface burner adapts to both 9- or 12-inch cookware, a big plus if you often cook with a large pot.

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The cooktop features five burners and a bridge connection between the two left burners. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Below the cooktop, the Frigidaire FPEF3077's oven boasts 6.1 cubic feet of space, a hidden bake element and a convection fan in the back wall of the oven, typical features for an oven in this price range.

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The 6.1-cubic-foot oven leaves plenty of room for roasting. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Some of the Frigidaire's design elements make sense from a visual standpoint but interfere with the range's usability. One of the biggest hiccups is the range's reliance on knobs instead of the control panel. The effect creates a streamlined appearance for the display panel, but also relies too heavily on the eight knobs to control all of the range's important parts: the four burners, the bridge feature, the warmer zone, oven mode and oven temperature. With four cast-metal, stainless-steel knobs on each side of the control panel, the back panel of the Frigidaire FPEF3077QF is nothing if not symmetrical. But all these dials can be unwieldy in the throes of cooking on multiple burners and using the oven at the same time.

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White numbers on the dial are hard to see under direct, overhead lighting. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Speaking of the knobs, the setting numbers are located on the knobs rather than on the surface surrounding the knob (take a look at Samsung NE59J7850WS or the Frigidaire Gallery 30-inch Electric Range for examples). This design choice declutters the back of the range, but the white type on the knobs is difficult to see under the glare of an overhead oven light.

Bonus features fall short

The Frigidaire FPEF3077QF comes with some additions that should make cooking with this range easier. However, some of these features were limited at best, and frustrating at worst.

Let's start with the bridge element on the Frigidaire's cooktop. This feature connects the two burners on the left side of the range by heating up the no man's land between the burners. This feature hasn't become standard, but the bridge has popped up on other higher-end ranges such as the Samsung NE58F9710WS and the Samsung NE59J7850WS . The bridge is ideal for accommodating large, long cookware like a griddle. However, there are a few caveats when you enable the bridge.

First, we can't forget that we're working with ceramic glass cooktop, so a traditional cast-iron griddle is a big no-no for this delicate surface. Instead, you have to use an item like an aluminum nonstick griddle that is safe for a smooth electric cooktop. We bought this T-Fal 18-by-11-inch nonstick griddle to use with the Frigidaire's FPEF3077QF's bridge feature. Even with the proper cookware, the bridge mode seemed to apply more heat to the front burner than the bridge and back burner. A little digging revealed that the left rear burner is connected to the bridge section in the middle, so these two areas will always have the same temperature. However, the front burner operates independently. When I cooked pancakes on the nonstick griddle with the front and rear sections on the same setting (6), the front burner stayed on while the back burner and bridge cycled on and off. This made the front section of my griddle hotter than the middle and back. The result was a set of three uneven pancakes, even though they cooked for the same amount of time.

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I cooked three pancakes on a nonstick griddle with the bridge feature turned on and each burner set to 6. The pancakes were inconsistent, even though I cooked them all for the same amount of time. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Frigidaire says that the bridge feature adds an additional 800 watts of power to the back burner, which is why the back burner cycles on and off more often. The manufacturer also says that the variable temperatures allow for as much flexibility in griddle cooking as you would expect from a gas cooktop, and other manufacturers have the same design. Frigidaire is right. The bridge feature on Samsung NE58F9710WS showed the same problem: a front burner that cooked food hotter than the bridge and back burner. I also made some pancakes on the Samsung NE59J7850WS's bridge feature. The variable temperatures were also present, but the temperature variance wasn't nearly as severe as with the Frigidaire FPEF3077QF.

I appreciate versatility in the right situations. This feature would be fine if I wanted to cook pancakes on one end of a griddle and sausage on another end at a different temperature. But when it comes to straight pancake cooking, I want consistency from my electric oven's bridge feature. If I'm cooking across two burners and a bridge that aren't the same temperature, I might as well use the oven's largest burner and one of the smaller ones to cook separate items.

The Frigidaire FPEF3077QF also comes with a meat probe that connects to a receptacle on the left side of the oven. However, you can't use the oven's broil setting with the probe, which could be limiting. Frigidaire also instructs you to connect the probe before you actually turn on the oven, so your food will start cooking while the oven preheats to the correct temperature. (There is a PowerPlus Preheat feature that is supposed to cut down on your preheating time, and you can use that setting with the probe.)

Some of the Frigidaire's most basic features will be lost in a real-world kitchen. Like the Frigidaire FPEF3077QF's gas counterpart, the Frigidaire FPGF3077QF , the faint blue indicator lights on the range's back panel are hard to distinguish at certain angles. The alert chimes are also far too quiet to hear beyond a few feet away. I don't need an oven with blaring alarms or flashing lights, but I need alerts that won't disappear in the regular chaos of a home kitchen.

The cooktop lags, but the oven impresses

A battery of boil, broil and bake tests revealed a couple of hard truths about the Frigidaire FPEF3077QF: the cooktop delivers lackluster cooking times, but the oven's consistency makes a couple of steps toward this range's redemption.

Let's start with the cooktop.

Small burner boil test (Electric models)

Whirlpool WFE720H0AS0 10.22KitchenAid KERS303BSS0 10.67Samsung NE58F9710WS 11.88Electrolux EI30EF35JS 13.37Maytag MET8720DS 13.52Kenmore 41313 14.23LG LRE3027ST 15.1Frigidaire FPEF3077QF 18.72
Note: Note: Time to achieve rolling boil, in minutes

Large burner boil test (Electric models)

Kenmore 41313 9.4Electrolux EI30EF35JS 9.62Maytag MET8720DS 9.7KitchenAid KERS303BSS0 10.48Whirlpool WFE720H0AS0 10.98Frigidaire FPEF3077QF 12.72Samsung NE59J7850WS 13.1Samsung NE58F9710WS 14.53
Note: Time to achieve rolling boil, in minutes

The Frigidaire FPEF3077QF lagged behind similar electric, smooth-top ovens. Both the Frigidaire and the Whirlpool WFE720H0AS0, for example, have 3,000-watt large burners, but the Whirlpool boiled a large pot of water nearly two minutes faster. And the Frigidaire also has 1,200-watt 6-inch burners, but the LG LRE3027ST with the same power output on the same size burner boiled water more than three minutes faster. Since I use small burner boiling for tasks like cooking eggs, this would be a problem in my kitchen.

The star of the Frigidaire FPEF3077QF show is the oven. Even though the oven-broiled hamburgers slower than other ovens, the burgers came out with a slight char on the exterior and remained juicy on the inside.

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Hamburger patties broiled slower in the Frigidaire FPEF3077QF than other comparable electric ovens, but the results were still solid. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

If you can't get to a grill, this option isn't a bad idea if you have a little time and a lot of hamburgers.

Hamburger broiling test

Samsung NE59J7850WS 12.32Kenmore 41313 14.32LG LRE3021ST 14.75Samsung NE58H9970WS 14.9Maytag MET8720DS 15.58GE ABS45DFBS 15.67GE JB650SFSS 16.25Frigidaire FPEF3077QF 16.75
Note: Time to achieve 145 degrees F, in minutes

I also baked dozens of biscuits, a favorite test subject in the CNET test kitchen. I baked two sheets of 12 biscuits (24 total per test) on both traditional and convection baking modes at 450 degrees for 9 minutes. Quick primer on traditional versus convection: traditional ovens rely on a heat element, whereas convection baking uses a fan to continuously blow hot air throughout the oven cavity and, in theory, create a more even baking environment that cooks food quicker. In traditional baking mode, the biscuits on the bottom rack were ever-so-slightly lighter than the biscuits on top, but the baking was very even across each sheet.

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Biscuits cooked evenly across each sheet on traditional baking mode. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The two sheets of biscuits were more identical to one another in convection baking mode. However, many of the biscuits in convection mode were also noticeably darker than their traditionally baked counterparts. I used the Frigidaire FPEF3077QF's auto-convert feature, which lowers the baking temperature as appropriate for convection baking (since food cooks faster, you need less time and a lower temperature). In actual use, I would just bake things for a minute or two less in convection mode.

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All of the biscuits looked more similar in convection baking mode. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

I got a little bleary-eyed after baking so many biscuits, so I took a chicken for a spin in the Frigidaire FPEF3077QF. And by spin, I mean that I cooked the chicken on convection roast mode at 425 degrees for about an hour.

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A chicken cooked evenly in the Frigidaire's convection roast mode. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The chicken roasted to an even golden brown. The meat was moist, and the skin, though not crisp, had a little bit of a smoky flavor. In short, it was delicious. I give all credit to the convection roast mode.

Summary

I wanted more from the Frigidaire FPEF3077QF, especially when it came to the cooktop. For $1,599, there were too many kinks with the cooking surface, knobs, the lights and chimes to make such a large purchase worthwhile. There are better options that provide the same capabilities for a lot less money, such as the GE JB690SFSS for $900 or the Whirlpool WFE720H0AS for $1,249.

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6.2

Frigidaire FPEF3077QF

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 6Usability 7Performance 6