Amana AER5523XAW 30-Inch Electric Range Review
Is this the budget range we’ve been waiting for?
A serious contender
We all love a good underdog story. There’s something about a scrappy competitor who rises to the challenge and proves all the detractors wrong. The Amana AER5523XAW has all the makings to be the Rocky of ovens. The AER5523XAW is a budget (MSRP $499), unremarkable-looking, electric freestanding range, yet hidden beneath that nondescript exterior is a pretty capable appliance. Despite its budget pedigree this Amana had some pretty impressive rangetop and oven performance. But, is it good enough for the Heavy-Weight Championship? Read on to find out.
Design & Usability
Nothing to see here...
There’s one word that comes to mind when we think of the Amana AER5523XAW: nondescript. From the simple profile to the classic coiled burners, it’s pretty much the archetypal oven. We leave it up to you to determine if this is necessarily a bad thing. One thing is certain the Amana AER5523XAW is guaranteed to blend into any kitchen, so much so that you may even forget it’s there.
You can knock it for its simplistic design, but from the two large burners placement at the front of the oven, to the intuitive oven controls, the Amana AER5523XAW does a lot of things right. We were less impressed by the tiny oven window and the actual burner controls, which are placed on the backsplash. This may prevent children from reaching the controls, however it requires the user to reach over the burners in order to adjust any settings. This is less of a concern with an electric oven, but nevertheless it could be avoided entirely.
This Amana punches above its weight in rangetop performance.
When we tested the Amana AER5823XAW and the AER5830XAW we noted the extremely high burner temperatures, and of course the AER5523XAW continues that trend. Two out of four burners reached a top temperature of 801ºF. To put that into perspective: lead melts at 621.5ºF. So just in case you were wondering: yes, it will sear a steak.
The AER5523XAW matches its strength with speed, bringing water to the boil in no time. In fact the only disappointing thing about this range is its low temperatures, or lack thereof. This is not a subtle range; it will pummel steaks into submission and bring water to the boil before the first round has even started. It’s the Clubber Lang of ranges. And you wouldn’t expect him to gentle simmer a sauce now, would you?
Oven, Broiler, & Convection
Down but not out
Sadly, the AER5523XAW’s oven does not echo the excellent rangetop. The oven's preheat was particularly sluggish, taking a total of 12 minutes to reach 350ºF.
The oven's keep warm (170ºF) and 350ºF settings where equally disappointing. While the AER5523XAW was able to reach 170ºF and 350ºF respectively, the temperatures fluctuated wildly in the process. What does this mean for you? It means the potential for unevenly cooked food, that’s what. The maximum setting expressed its individuality by underwhelming us in a completely different manner: despite an amazingly steady and consistent rise in temperature the AER5523XAW was unable to even reach its target of 550ºF.
Oven boilers are often underwhelming and the four pass broiler found in this Amana is no exception. While not the worst broiler we have seen, it took longer to reach 604ºF than we would have liked.
Not quite the heavyweight we hoped for.
Let’s be clear: there is a lot to like about the Amana AER5523XAW. If its oven was half as good as its excellent rangetop we would recommend this Amana wholeheartedly. So if you are able to look past the deficiencies in the temperature regulation, and are looking for an affordable, no frills oven, the AER5523XAW would be a fine choice. While it may not have been the decisive knock-out we hoped for, The Amana AER5523XAW packs a solid punch, and for $499, you could do way worse.
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