With a reasonable $1,399 sticker price, the LG Smart ThinQ Single Oven Range with Infrared Grill LRE3027ST incorporates new technology along with features you'd find in a traditional freestanding range and oven. In some cases, this LG takes those predictable elements and adds some flair and utility, such as a pair of dual-element burners for rapid boiling, and an infrared broiler. It's also one of the first large cooking appliances on the market with smartphone connectivity.
Unfortunately, glitches with the app and less-than-useful features mean the LG's smart functions aren't really enough to set this range apart from its unconnected peers, including LG's own LRE3025ST. It's still early days for smart appliances, so we're willing to excuse some experimentation, but right now LG's connected oven features need more work.
We wouldn't buy this range on the strength of its smart functions, and we're also not overly impressed by the LG's cooking capabilities. Its oven posted some fairly inconsistent results. If you're looking for a connected cooking device, so far the GE Profile Built-In Double Convection Wall Oven PT9550SFSS seems to be on the right track with its utilitarian remote preheat feature. Since this is our first oven review, we're still learning about the performance landscape in this price range. We hope the other midprice ovens have more-predictable results.
The LRE3027ST isn't a slide-in range that will blend seamlessly with your countertop, but that doesn’t mean it won't integrate well with your kitchen. Dimensions are important here. For example, according to builder standards, countertop height and depth are usually 36 inches and 25 inches (including the lip), respectively. This LG range boasts a depth of 25.9 inches, meaning that it fits well, and very nearly flush, with the front edge of a standard counter. The height from the floor to the cooktop is 36 inches, which puts it directly in line with the countertop, for a seamless look.
The overall height of the range is just over 47 inches, including the control panel. This back control, while not what I would call a throwback, is reminiscent of older technology and design, given its touch-pad interface. In contrast, the slide-in (and pricier, at $2,299) Samsung NE58F9710WS Electric Range and its front-panel LCD touch screen cuts a more modern, minimalist profile.
This is a fairly standard-size range, and without adding a lot of exterior bulk, LG has managed to serve up 6.3 cubic feet of oven space. That makes it one of the largest single oven cavities on the consumer market. The accepted average is that if you want to cook for four or more people, you should consider an oven with more than 4 cubic feet. Ovens of similar dimensions are usually 4.8 to 5.3 cubic feet inside, but you can find larger models. When talking about large oven capacity, though, it’s important to talk configuration. After all, extra space is only worthwhile if you can actually use it.
With a large oven cavity, the number of racks and the ability to move and remove them determines the utility of the extra oven space. The LRE3027ST range comes with two standard racks, one split rack, and one convection roast rack, and seven different slots to load them into. That's about average for an oven of this size.
One feature of the oven design I particularly appreciate on the LRE3027ST is the large viewing window. You'll find a window of similar size -- 20-inches wide by 10 inches high -- on the Samsung NE58F9710WS, but I like having the extra visibility. Not everyone will like the blue interior you'll see through the window, but at least it's not visible when the oven light is off.
Another useful design element of the LG is the door lock, which is helpful for keeping children from opening the oven while it’s in use, or keeping the door closed during a cleaning cycle. You'll still need to be aware of your kids, given that the LG has open-door broiling. Some models, like the Samsung, allow for closed-door broiling, though that’s not a feature on most ovens yet.
About that app
After reviewing the LG LFX31995ST Smart ThinQ refrigerator, I was familiar with the Smart ThinQ apps. Or so I thought. The refrigerator app was incredibly easy to install and connect to the appliance. The smart range app? Not so much. The first time around, I worked with the app for more than 2 hours trying to get the range to connect with no success. I loathed the process and, in the end, was unable to connect the range to my phone via the app. (My issues could have been because I’d recently updated to the latest iOS, whereas my colleagues hadn’t.) Steve, our technical editor, was able to make the connection, but it wasn’t easy even with his high level of expertise.
LG's app is a free download on both iOS and Android. Once you’ve managed to establish a connection, however, the LG's app functionality is limited. It does offer customer support videos and diagnostics, using either the Wi-Fi or a set of audible tones. The rest of the app’s functions aspire to make your cooking easier, but they're not really that compelling or time-saving.
One example is the timer function that lets you set or monitor the oven's timer from your app. I found it to be a cumbersome process, and it was much faster to just use my phone’s timer.
Another example of this questionable utility comes from the Smart Range recipe section, arguably the bread and butter of the oven app. Using this recipe section, you can select a recipe and “send it” to the range. All this means, however, is that the range will queue up the preheat temperature -- you still have to walk up to the oven to actually turn preheating on. In fact, you must press start within 30 seconds of sending the recipe, meaning you must be in the same room. Given what a process it is to access a recipe, I found it easier to manually input the temperature.
The Smart Range recipes themselves are another example of how this app and its connectivity isn't as fully realized as it could be. In every example I read, the recipe directions were out of order. For instance, the last instruction on the recipe for banana pancakes is “use an offset spatula to turn the pancakes and finish cooking on the second side, another 2-3 minutes.” Fair enough, but three points prior says that you should “serve the pancakes at once dusted with powdered sugar and blueberry maple syrup.”
Granted, I know how to cook, so I know not to serve pancake batter with blueberry syrup and then cook it on the opposite side. The LG Smart ThinQ line, however, seems to lack polish and thoughtfulness.
I do appreciate that the app will communicate with other LG Smart ThinQ appliance apps, such as the refrigerator. If you want to cook a Smart Range recipe, you can run an ingredient search of the ingredients you currently have in your refrigerator. You can also add ingredients to your LG refrigerator’s shopping list, which is only useful if you own both units.
Revamping the basics
Like your standard, run-of-the-mill range, the LG comes with conventional features like a multiburner cooktop, a broiler, and an oven that includes multiple racks and different rack height options. These features alone are not so exciting, but LG has imbued them with some welcome updates.
Looking first at the cooktop, you’ll notice that the configuration is different. The oven features five burners instead of the traditional four-burner set. There’s nothing too surprising there, but LG has taken these basic elements a step further by giving them additional utility. For example, the front two burners are both dual-element burners, meaning they're composed of inner and outer elements. You can turn the inner element on independently, giving you some nice cooktop efficiency.
I’m less wowed by the warming burner, which seems a bit superfluous to me. Personally, I would rather have a third full-strength small burner and then use it on the lowest setting to keep foods warm.
The hidden baking element is another surprise here. It has some very clear benefits. With a hidden baking element, the heating coils reside under the cavity floor, making for a smooth, uninterrupted oven interior. Wiping the surface after spills or removing debris after using the self-clean cycle is an easy task without obstacles. You can place racks on the very bottom level and not worry that they’re resting directly on top of the heating element, which would likely burn your food.
While the hidden bake element is a nice feature, what is, perhaps, most unique about this oven is the infrared broiling element. Traditional broilers use a coil system than snakes across the top of the oven cavity. With the infrared broiler, those serpentine coils are replaced by a set of ceramic plates, which heat up and then distribute that heat more evenly across the tops of food. Many outdoor grills feature infrared technology because it lends itself well to better searing and more consistent heat. We found that the LG’s broiler seems to run at a much higher temperature than standard broilers, and I’ll discuss that a bit more in the performance section.
Moving downward from the oven cavity itself, we come to the warming drawer. On many ovens, especially older models, the drawer is meant for storage. Some brands are taking this drawer and using it as a way to give you even more options, so warming and broiling drawers are common in newer ovens. We've also seen models with a drawer that can bake. In the case of the LG, you’ll find a warming drawer, which is arguably the most practical option.
The warming drawer has three heat levels: low, medium, and high. The manual has a fairly comprehensive list of which setting is suitable for which foods. As an added safety feature, the warming drawer will turn off automatically after 3 hours, which I appreciate. This drawer would be excellent for those who entertain a lot. Or, if you’re like me, you can use the warming drawer on the three holidays you have company, and use it for storage the rest of the year.
Like many appliances, the LRE3027ST comes standard with a Sabbath Mode. Ovens not in Sabbath Mode usually have automatic shutoffs, as a safety precaution, if the oven has been on for a particularly long amount of time. When an oven is in Sabbath Mode, this shutoff is disabled. In addition, all lights or display screens (anything that will turn on when the oven door opens), are disabled until Sabbath Mode is deactivated. LG takes this a step further with the LRE3027ST and makes it so that all control buttons, except the Clear/Off button, are disabled and inactive.
You control all of these components with the IntuiTouch touch-pad control panel. This touch pad includes the basics that you’ve come to expect, such as burner, oven temperature, and clock controls. But LG also added presets to this touch pad.