We've reviewed our fair share of midprice ranges. Some models emphasize style over substance ; others look utilitarian but shine when it comes to performance . And then there's a small subset of above-average units that manage to strike a nice balance between eye-catching design and impressive cooking results .
The $1,600 Maytag Gemini MET8720DS may offer two ovens for the price of one, but it doesn't fit into any of these categories. It suffers from inconsistent performance, few advanced features, an unresponsive display panel without a number pad, and a mishmash of stainless steel and cheap-looking plasticky accent pieces.
It isn't exactly a bad range, but you can find something better for roughly the same cost.
Here's the thing
Maytag's Gemini MET8720DS looks like a budget range with a few well-placed slabs of stainless steel thrown into the mix to serve as a distraction. We've seen elegantly-appointed midpriced models, like the $1,700 Samsung NX58F5700 and even standout entry-level options, like GE's $600 retro-inspired Artistry range .
That's not to say that the Gemini completely misses the mark, but it's an odd hybrid of nice-looking, stainless-steel-wrapped double ovens with cheap plastic-looking painted metal handles and burner knobs.
And you can forget about extra features. For your $1,600, you get a 2.5-cubic-foot top oven and a 4.2-cubic-foot bottom oven -- that's it. There's no broiler pan accessory or special sliding oven rack. It's all very basic, including the display panel, which abandoned the idea of a number pad for setting times and temperatures in favor of space-saving plus and minus buttons.
That wouldn't be so bad if the touch pad were more responsive, but it's quite stubborn. I wouldn't go as far as saying that you'll risk a very minor finger injury trying to press down each button, but it definitely takes more effort than I would have expected.
Getting to the good stuff
Since the double oven is the main feature of this range, I decided to kick off testing with a frozen pizza in the smaller top oven and a whole-roasted chicken in the larger bottom one. I'll get to the chicken in a minute, but for now, let's all just take a moment to appreciate the cheesy goodness that's happening in the picture above.
You really can't go wrong with pizza. It's such a staple of the American diet that it would be irresponsible not to include it in this round of testing. That's especially true since the 2.5-cubic-foot upper oven is perfectly sized for a single rack -- of anything really -- but I immediately thought of frozen pizza.
The instructions say to preheat the over to 400 degrees and to cook it for 22 to 26 minutes. Fortunately, this oven handled the DiGiorno "Italian Style Favorites" pizza without complaint, finishing the pizza within the allotted timeframe. It was a welcome and tasty introduction to the Maytag Gemini.
While the upper oven was busy baking a pizza, the lower one was simultaneously roasting a chicken. It turned out quite well. That's the main advantage of this range over any single-oven model we've tested to date -- it offers up much more multitasking potential. I opted for two "main courses" with the pizza and the chicken, but you could just as easily cook a side dish up top and an entree below or an entree on top oven and a couple of racks of cookies underneath. What's better than tasty food? Tasty food that you can cook quickly and efficiently.
In addition to the simultaneous food tests, I also calculated how long the upper and lower ovens each took to reach 350 degrees in traditional bake mode. As you would expect, the upper oven reached 350 degrees in less time -- 11 minutes and 51 seconds -- while the lower oven took 13 minutes and 33 seconds. This isn't a huge difference, but there's a definite time and energy benefit to sticking with the top oven for single-rack cooking.
After the pizza and chicken, I moved on to burger-broiling and biscuit-baking; I used the larger lower oven for these tests.
For broiling, I arranged six 5.3-ounce burgers on a pan and stuck a temperature probe in each. Then, I tracked how long it took for each burger to reach a medium-rare/medium 145 degrees. Compared to other electric ovens we've tested, the Maytag Gemini did just OK.
It took 15 minutes and 35 seconds for all of the burgers to hit the target temperature, which is better than GE's $800 JB650SFSS and $600 ABS45DFBS , but worse than the $3,600 Samsung NE58H9970WS and the $800 LG LRE3021ST .
I also baked loads of biscuits in the Gemini. Looking at the collage above, you can see the traditional double-rack top and bottom rack biscuits on the top row and the convection double rack top and bottom rack biscuits on the bottom row.
The double-rack biscuits on the top row have that telltale traditional bake mode color disparity. You can clearly see that the top rack is much more "done" than the bottom rack. That is also true for the convection double rack biscuits; the convection fan did next to nothing to improve overall baking evenness.
The large burner boil test measures how long it takes for a 5-quart pot full of water to reach a rolling boil. This test utilizes the most powerful burner on the cooktop, which is likely the burner you'd turn to for cooking pasta.
The Gemini did particularly well here, finishing the task in just 9 minutes and 42 seconds. Samsung's $3,700 induction NE58H9970WS took the shortest amount of time (less than 8 minutes) and its $2,300 electric NE58F9710WS took the longest amount of time (over 14 minutes).
In stark contrast to its solid large burner boil results, Maytag's MET8720DS did not perform very well on the small burner. It took an average of 13 minutes and 31 seconds to reach a rolling boil. That would be considered pretty darn good if we were talking about a gas cooktop, but the electric models tend to reach the boiling point faster. Only the $1,400 LG LRE3027ST scored worse than the Gemini at over 15 minutes; the $3,699 Samsung NE58H9970WS scored the best at less than 6 minutes.
Maytag's $1,599 MET8720DS can boil, bake, roast and broil, but its underwhelming design, number-pad-less display panel, limited features and variable performance results make it a mediocre choice at best. If you're on the hunt for a basic double-oven electric range, the Gemini can get the job done; just don't expect to be overly impressed by the results.
However, you might want to stay tuned for our upcoming review of the $1,900 Samsung NE59J7850WS Dual Door Flex Duo . For a few hundred dollars more, it offers the added versatility of a removable divider that easily converts the large single oven cavity into two separate oven compartments.