Whirlpool WEG730H0DS review: Whirlpool's lovely range has power on paper, not in practice
On paper the $1,749 Whirlpool Front Control Gas Stove (model number WEG730H0DS) looks like a strong contender for your kitchen upgrade cash. It boasts five gas burners, and a large, 5.8-cubic-foot convection oven. Add in Whirlpool's attractive stainless-steel styling, clever front-mounted controls, plus solid build quality and buying this gas range seems like a superb idea.
Sadly the Whirlpool Front Control Gas Stove has a few significant flaws that are hard to ignore, the biggest of which is its slow cooking times. The oven's lack of a center oval burner and a mere two bundled oven racks are also a big letdown, especially for an appliance this expensive. Unless you're absolutely head-over-heels in love with the Front Control's distinctive design, this feature-packed Samsung Gas Range with a convection oven (NX58F5700) is a better deal.
Design and features
Immediately after removing the Whirlpool Front Control Gas Stove from its crate I was struck by its distinctive appearance. What sets the stove apart, and as its name suggests, are four prominent burner knobs mounted on the front of the unit. Instead of the typical forward-facing placement, though, these dials sit on top of a flat command center that occupies the first 5 inches of the range's 28.3-inch depth.
I also like how this surface is angled downward ever so slightly. This simple detail helps the dials remain within easy reach without causing undue wrist strain. They flank a wide, recessed control panel, and within the panel are touch membrane-covered keys for commanding the oven's many functions. It also has a small LED screen and a dial to control the range's center burner.
The Whirlpool Front Control's cooktop comes with with five gas burners. The right side houses one 9,200-BTU burner in the rear and a large 15,000-BTU burner in the front. On the left and in front you'll find the stove's most powerful element, a large 17,000-BTU burner, and behind that is the range's smallest burner, rated at 5,000 BTU, to tackle low-heat cooking such as warming soups, simmering sauces and melting chocolate. The fifth burner is a small circular one that is rated to output 8,000 BTU of heat.
All these burners are tucked underneath a pair of flat cast-iron grates that are covered in porcelain-coated steel. Heavy and extremely solid, the black grates form a very handsome cooking surface. Besides simply looking expensive and feeling durable, the level cooktop makes it easy to slide pots and pans around without worrying about them snagging on or bumping into ridges and other obstacles.
There are some drawbacks to the Whirlpool Front Control Stove's cooktop. For instance, while its high-power burner offers a respectable 17,000 BTU, other competing ranges such as the Samsung NX58F5700 provide 18,000 BTU. Another letdown is the lack of a special oval-shaped center burner, which is ideal for accommodating long griddle pans. This is a feature that's also in the NX58F5700, as well the Electrolux 30-inch Gas Freestanding Range .
The main oven door sports a substantial curved polished-steel handle. Opening it reveals a spacious 5.8-cubic-foot oven cavity that Whirlpool equips with seven rack guides for manually positioning either of the two bundled oven racks -- one standard flat rack and one recessed half-rack. Unfortunately Whirlpool doesn't include a third gliding rack as does Samsung with both the NX58F5700 and Induction Chef Collection ovens.
At the back of the wall of the oven cavity sits a big fan that enables the Whirlpool Front Control's convection roasting and baking functions. The company says the oven's convection-style cooking uses air flow to achieve more even browning and faster cooking times compared with conventional ovens.
Standing 36 inches tall and measuring 30 inches wide by 28.3 inches deep, however, this range is certainly compact. And with no back control panel the appliance qualifies as a true slide-in unit. It's a plus for kitchen renovators who desire a more expensive built-in look, not the basic appearance associated with free-standing stoves.
For all its stylish looks and attractive stainless-steel design, the Whirlpool Front Control Gas Stove certainly underwhelmed us in the performance department. Despite the claimed 17,000 BTU might of its main large burner, the range turned in some of the slowest cooking times we've measured.
Indeed, it took an average of 14 minutes and 51 seconds to heat 112 ounces of water (75 degrees Fahrenheit) to just below boiling point (209 degrees Fahrenheit). This is much slower than similar gas appliances such as the Samsung NX58F5700 (11.5 minutes) and the Electrolux 30-inch Gas Freestanding Range (11.2 minutes).
The Whirlpool range's small 5,000-BTU burner fared slightly better but was by no means swift. It took an average of 13 minutes and 9 seconds to bring 67.2 ounces of water (75 degrees F) up to 209 degrees (F). This was right behind the Samsung (12.75 minutes) and faster than the Electrolux (15.25 minutes).
Broiling burgers was a lengthy process as well. The Whirlpool Front Control Range required an average of 24 minutes and 5 seconds to satisfactorily cook six 5.3-ounce burger patties (an internal temp reading of 145 degrees F). Frankly it's the longest time we've measured for any oven, whether electric or gas.
Of course this is not to say that this Whirlpool range can't get the job done. Burgers were nicely charred on the outside yet consistently juicy on the inside. The same goes for roasting a tasty chicken (4.4 pounds), a feat the oven managed in under 1 hour at 450 degrees F. The chicken skin was so crispy that it practically shattered when I moved it from the roasting pan to a cutting board.
Baking double racks of biscuits wasn't a huge challenge for this oven either. On my tests using convection, biscuits placed on both the bottom and top racks had the same degree of brownness. That said, the biscuits the Whirlpool baked were slightly underdone.
One feature I do like is the "frozen bake" mode. Essentially it lets you pop in various frozen foods such as pizzas, casseroles, nuggets and fries, even pies then kick the oven into corresponding preset baking modes. I tried the function out on a supermarket pizza straight from the freezer and was impressed.
Not only did the oven calculate the correct bake time (based on the maximum suggested by the pizza label), a long preheat wasn't required. Additionally the result was a pizza with crunchy, crisp crust, cooked through toppings and nicely melted cheese.
There's no denying that the $1,749 Whirlpool WEG730H0DS has an attractive design and impressively sturdy build quality to match its premium price. This range's slide-in, compact 30-inch width and cleverly front-mounted controls are definitely a boon for kitchen remodelers who seek a built-in look with a minimum of custom renovation. Unfortunately, that's a hefty sum to drop on a gas oven that lacks the capability to cook with the same speed as its gas or even electric competition.
If you can live without the Whirlpool's slide-in aesthetic, then I suggest you opt for the slightly less expensive $1,699 Samsung NX58F5700. Its wider range of features such as an oval center burner, bundled griddle pan and three oven racks (including a gliding rack) do a lot to offset its more traditional free-standing design. The Samsung's more powerful 18,000-BTU main burner and faster cook times are icing on the cake.