Frigidaire FFEF3043LS Electric Range Review
For under $500, this stainless Frigidaire is a great way to up your home's resale value.
It's said that sometimes less is more. That’s certainly an adage to keep in mind when considering the Frigidaire FFEF3043LS (MSRP $749).
First, it would be hard to find a less expensive smoothtop electric range with a stainless exterior. We found it on sale for $475, which makes it one of the simplest kitchen upgrades possible. If you're selling your house—or the star of a reality show about flipping real estate—take note.
For that price, you won't get the world's best performance, but you shouldn't have any problems getting dinner on the table. When we cooked on the FFEF3043LS, we discovered a killer rangetop, perfect for boiling and simmering alike. We did not, however, find any extra features or settings like convection or even a self-clean option. We were also disappointed by an oven that struggled with even heating.
If you're looking for a slightly more substantial range that still won't break the bank, Kenmore's 94173 is very similar to this range, but adds self cleaning and sells for $499. You could spend a little extra and get the $719 Whirlpool WFE525C0BS, or the $989 GE JB750SFSS.
Design & Usability
The FFEF3043LS pairs transitional design with a simple approach to features and special settings. The stainless steel range has a smallish 4.8-cu.-ft. oven with a large window, storage drawer, and electric rangetop. Aesthetically, this is nothing outrageous, but it looks better than any other range you can get for under $500.
The rangetop has a shiny black surface and slightly raised edges, which will help prevent spills from spreading to your counter. The four burners—including a dual-ring burner on the front right—glow red when they're hot.
Putting dial controls on the stainless backsplash is a common choice for many electric rangetops, but that doesn't change the fact that you'll be reaching across steaming hot cookware if you need to adjust temperature settings mid-recipe.
Digital oven controls are also located on the backsplash, and are very basic. You can either bake, broil hi/lo, adjust baking temperature, or set the clock or timer. That's it. The FFEF3043LS has no convection setting or Sabbath Mode, and—importantly—no self clean setting. You’ll have to remove burnt-on spills from the cavity the old-fashioned way: a non-abrasive scouring sponge and some elbow grease.
With no additional features to speak of, Frigidaire's stellar rangetop—as good as some of the top models out there—is sure to be the biggest draw for consumers.
Electric rangetops typically have no issue reaching high temperatures, so it was unsurprising that the FFEF3043LS got as hot as 701°F. Each burner, including both rings on the front right, should be able to sear meat with ease. That said, we were especially pleased to see the rangetop also reach low temps, great for melting butter or simmering. All burners dipped below 150°F, but the front left was particularly adept, cooling to a lukewarm 85°F.
Boiling times were quick enough to put smiles on our faces. Both the front left and the outer ring of the front right boiled six cups of water in just over 4 minutes. The two rear burners each took just under 11 minutes—not terrible, but obviously much slower than the front.
What’s exciting about this rangetop isn’t just the convenient speed of the front burners, but also how well the boiling times on the front and back of the rangetop lined up with one another. This means you can more easily sync up cook times among different burners.
Oven & Broiler
Fast, but uneven
In contrast to the all-around amazing rangetop, the oven simply wasn't as great. We appreciated the speed of its preheat (just 8 minutes to reach 350°F!) and that of its broiler (just under 6 minutes to reach 602°F!), but our real world bake tests yielded sub-par results.
Cakes baked in the oven emerged with uneven browning across their surfaces, as well as overall darker bottoms and lighter tops. What's more, these trends varied from one cake to the next, indicating hot and cool spots in the oven. Cookies also wound up with patchy browning and dark bottoms, but the problems were at least consistent across the baking sheet. That's a sign of poor air circulation.
A uniformly bad result like that provides clues that let you improve your end product. Our recommendation? Experiment with shortening your bake time, or try lining your pans with parchment paper. With no convection setting to improve air flow, that’s about the best you can do.
Before You Buy
It's all about the looks
Want your real estate ad to boldly trumpet a kitchen with stainless appliances? Get the Frigidaire FFEF3043LS.
At any price, it's not a bad range. But for $475, it's an unbelievably good deal. Yes, you're forgoing basic settings like self clean, and extras like Sabbath Mode and convection. We also weren't thrilled with the lackluster oven's poor air circulation and spotty heating. But the FFEF3043LS has a great rangetop, plus an oven that’s super quick to preheat.
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