For some, spending thousands of dollars on a range just doesn't make any sense. If you aren't a professional chef, you probably don't need any of the fancy features that lift prices to eye-watering levels. You just want an appliance that can reliably get dinner on the table. Luckily, there are plenty of ranges that fit the bill.
What should you expect at this price point? Answer: freestanding gas and electric ranges with decent-to-very-good cooking and baking performance. You won't find any pricey finishes or induction cooktops in this price bracket, but don't worry, you can still get a great-looking (and great-performing) range, even when you're operating on a budget. Our current favorite is the Samsung NX58H5600SS(available at Amazon) because of its fast preheat and sleek looks, but if that doesn't suit your needs, we have plenty of other picks; read on to find out more.
The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.
We loved this 5.8 cu ft. 5-burner gas range. It has nicely designed, stainless steel dials that create a super smooth turning experience, and the large digital display panel makes it easy to enter your precise oven temperature. The grates are well designed for easy cleaning, and you can remove the middle grate to place the custom griddle directly over the griddle burner.
In addition to aesthetics, the Samsung NX58H5600SS is built to perform. It preheats exceptionally fast and did well on both the baking and roasting tasks. While the burners didn’t heat our cast iron pan as evenly as some of the other ovens, it was quick to boil water. It comes in at a nice budget price for a convection oven, but it looks and performs much more like a high-end range.
What the Amana ACR4503SFS lacks in features, it more than makes up in performance. It's true that it is a very bare-bones electric range; its bare electric coils and black cooktop surface are reminiscent of the ranges that come standard in a rental apartment or a college dorm. This range has the same user-friendliness that you'd need in a range you didn't purchase yourself, though: the burner dials feel nice and turn easily, and the oven controls are easily visible and intuitive.
Its humble exterior belies its excellent cooking prowess, however. All four burners can get both extremely hot and maintain a low simmer, the six slices of test toast came out perfectly and evenly browned, and the pork loin was beautifully cooked, inside and out. Unfortunately, from the somewhat unevenly baked cookies and cakes, we can tell you that it has a bit more trouble when it comes to baking. Between the low price, streamlined design, and cooking performance, we think it's worth it for you to check out the Amana AC4503SFS, as long as you can overlook its less-than-ideal baking capabilities.
We put the inexpensive GE JBS60DKWW electric range to the test and found that it's a good deal for what it offers. Consumers agree that it’s worth its price despite its lack of bells and whistles—It's attractive, a snap to use, and simple to clean. Its cooktop is smooth and offers a ton of space, as well as a dual-ring burner. The front left burner also has a separate "melt" setting, which is perfect for bakers who, for example, want to melt baking chocolate without scorching it. Its 5.3 cubic-foot oven excels in roasting and baking.
The white finish will help it to fit in with any other white appliances you have, but if you prefer, you can pay a bit extra and upgrade to a stainless steel finish. The GE JBS60DKWW electric range makes "back to basics" look easy.
This Amana AGR6603SFS gas range has a 5.0 cubic-foot oven that bakes, roasts, and broils insanely evenly, even without convection. Having an oven this good is almost unheard of, especially at this price point.
However, its range top leaves something to be desired. None of the burners can effectively reach high or low temperatures, it struggles to boil water in a reasonable amount of time, and the fact that the individual burners are recessed (rather than the cooktop as a whole) means that it will be a non-trivial task to really clean each burner. The Amana AGR6603SFS range is great for bakers and lackluster for home cooks.
The Amana AER6603SFS electric range is certainly aimed at the budget-minded shopper, but we’ve seen better performing electric ranges at the same price point. We like some of the features–like easy-to-use controls and baking assist buttons that let you quickly set preset oven temps. All of the cooktop burners were able to hit both very high and very low temperatures, which is a plus when you near to either sear or simmer something on the stovetop.
Overall, though, the range has a cheap look and our main complaint is in the burner knob design. The knobs are located at the back of the range and stick out so much that they actually bumped into the large stockpot that we placed on the back burners. If you decide to buy the Amana AER6630SFS, be sure to use larger cookware on the front left dual-ring burner.
There are a lot of things to like about the Maytag MGR6600FZ gas range. Where some products seem to have good ovens or good cooktops, but not both, this gas range has multiple cooktop burners that can boil water quickly and can maintain very high temperatures, as well as an oven that produces evenly baked cookies.
The model we tested has a fingerprint-resistant stainless steel finish, which is a nice surprise at this price point. Even better, the cooktop's center burner is larger and oval-shaped, which makes it perfect for cooking with larger cookware. On the other hand, user reviews indicate that the burners may be placed too close together and that you might not be able to fit multiple large pots and pans on the cooktop at the same time. While it's not perfect, the Maytag MGR6600FZ will serve you well in both its cooktop and oven capacities.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a recall of the GE JGBS66REKSS gas range due to a tip-over hazard. Affected customers should contact GE for repairs. You can find more information about the recall here and check your individual model and serial numbers here.
The affordable GE JGB66REKSS gas range comes in lots of finishes—including stainless and Slate—and includes a couple of features that are usually found on more expensive ranges. If you find yourself cooking breakfast a lot, this range comes with a built-in griddle burner in the center of the cooktop and obviates the need for a separate, stand-alone griddle that takes up room on your countertop. We found the drawer-mounted broiler hard to use, and steam cleaning is good for small spills.
As for cooking, this gas range did a solid job with the oven tests, but struggled a bit more when it came to our cooktop performance tests; the burners are a bit slower to bring water to a boil than we'd prefer. If you rely more heavily on your oven to do your cooking but will get some solid use out of the bonus griddle burner on the cooktop, the GE JGBS66REKSS is definitely worth a look. Read the full review.
If you need an electric range with a cooktop that can get the job done right the first time, consider the Frigidaire FFEH3054US. This is one of the only ranges we've tested that had a cooktop that aced every single test we threw at it. Two burners can boil water in under five minutes, all five burners can maintain both very hot and very low simmer temperatures, and our cornbread testshowed that the heat is very evenly distributed within the burners. We had less luck with the oven; the cookies and cakes came out much browner on the bottom than they were on the top. On the other hand, some people enjoy that level of browning, so it's all down to your personal preferences.
Performance aside, this range looks great—it wouldn't look out of place in a very expensive kitchen. The oven and cooktop controls are on the front and has a clean-looking stainless steel finish. The Frigidaire FFEH3054US's cooktop can take on any task, and look good doing it.
What You Should Know Before Buying a Gas or Electric Range
Whether you're tired of long boiling times or if you pilot light won't ignite, here are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping around for your new range. One of the main ways to differentiate ranges is by their fuel type: gas, electric, dual-fuel, and induction.
• Gas — Lower cooktop temperatures, faster water boiling, potential for uneven cooking/baking because of central flame location
• Electric — Higher cooktop temperatures, slower water boiling, more even cooking/baking because of heat distribution over coil
• Dual-fuel — Faster water boiling, more even cooking/baking because of heat distribution over coil
Depending on your cooking and baking priorities, as well as the way you learned to cook, one of these fuel types might be more appealing than the rest. One more thing to consider: dual-fuel and induction ranges are typically more expensive than gas and electric ranges.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.