Frigidaire FPEF3077QF review: Lackluster cooktop makes this range fizzle

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)

Note:

Note: Time to achieve rolling boil, in minutes

Large burner boil test (Electric models)

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.

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

LG LRE3021ST
14.75
GE ABS45DFBS
15.67
GE JB650SFSS
16.25
Frigidaire 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.

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.

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.

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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