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.
These are the affordable gas and electric ranges we've tested, ranked in order:
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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.
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.
Convection vs. True Convection
True Convection is an oven setting that includes installing an extra heating element and a fan in the oven. By adding an additional heating unit and fan that circulates the hot air, True Convection is great for ensuring that cookies or cakes baked on different racks will bake through at the same rate, rather than the cookies closest to the bottom heat source cooking faster than those on the rack higher up. If you don't see mention of "True Convection" or "European Convection", but do see the word "convection" in a range's specs, it means that the unit lacks an additional heating element, but does have a fan to circulate the hot air. While you don't get the full baking and cooking effect that you would with True Convection, the added heat circulation can cook or bake food more evenly than it would without a fan.
There are also ranges out there that do not offer convection options at all; these ovens aren't bad, it will just take more time to cook and bake food all the way through. If you're a frequent baker or cook, convection can be a great time saver, but your dinners won't suffer unduly without it.
Slide-in vs. Freestanding
While slide-in ranges are meant to sit flush with your countertops, freestanding ranges can stand alone in your kitchen. While the difference may seem trivial, it has ramifications for two aspects of using the range: finish and ease of cleaning. Because freestanding ranges are visible from all slides, they have a more finished look on the sides of the range; slide-in ranges are meant to have their sides hidden by the cabinetry, so the finish typically isn't as pretty on the sides.
Additionally, because slide-in ranges sit flush with your countertop, they're a bit easier to clean because they do not have a large lip around the edge. Freestanding ranges often have larger lips around the edge of the cooktop to cut down on crumbs decorating your floor. Freestanding ranges also typically have a back-mounted control panel for the same reason. While slide-in ranges will do fine in a freestanding arrangement, the reverse is less true. If your current cooking setup has the range sitting in a cabinet or countertop cutout, we recommend replacing that range with another slide-in range. Conversely, if your range stands alone in your kitchen, we'd recommend replacing it with another freestanding range to cut down on food debris spilling everywhere.
Front-mounted Control Panel vs. Back-mounted Control Panel
As we mentioned earlier, most freestanding ranges have back-mounted controls, but some slide-in ranges do as well. Both arrangements have pros and cons; on the one hand, having back-mounted controls means you may have to reach over hot food to adjust the oven temperature, the controls are also far enough away that you would have difficulty hitting something on the control panel by accident. On the other hand, front-mounted controls are easier to reach, but that convenience can turn against you if you brush up against a knob accidentally. Consider the ergonomics of using the range when it comes to picking a front- or back-mounted control panel.
If you need a slide-in range, be sure to double check both the dimensions of your cutout and the listed height/width/depth dimensions listed on the range's spec sheet. There are three dimensions listed for each range:
• Depth — The depth is the distance from the front of the range to the back of the range; this number typically varies from 26 inches to 30 inches because it's trying to sit flush with your cabinetry.
• Height — The height is the distance from the bottom of the range to the top of the range; this number typically varies from 36 inches to 38 inches because it's trying to get the cooking surface level with your countertops (Note: if you see product heights on the order of 46-48 inches, that number is measuring to the top of the back-mounted controls, rather than the top of the cooking surface.).
• Width — The width is the distance from the left side of the range to the right side of the range; this number can vary widely, but the typical value is 30 inches (often, this is the dimension number you'll see when you first look at the range). Additional sizes include 36 inches, 48 inches, and 60 inches. While larger range widths are nice because it can translate into more burners and/or more space for your cookware, wider ranges always come with a higher price tag.
If you're getting a freestanding range, it's still worth it to check the product dimensions to ensure that the range will fit in your allotted range space in the kitchen, as well as that you can fit the range in through any narrow doorways on the way to the kitchen.
Additional Cooktop Options
Depending on how much time you spend in the kitchen, it might be worth it to investigate in some extra options for your range. When it comes to the cooktop, anything above the standard four-burner setup is a bonus. Some ranges can have five, or even six burners; however, the more burners a rangetop has, the more difficult it becomes to fit large pieces of cookware, such as a spaghetti pot and a frying pan, on their respective burners at the same time. Sometimes, those extra burners are specialty burners are designed to accommodate special cookware such as a griddle or a wok; other burners are bridge burners that are meant to keep food warm without continuing to cook it. Another possibility is to have a dual-ring burner, or a burner that includes a stronger heat source wrapped around a weaker heat source. That way, on a single burner, you can choose to use just the smaller heat source for lower temperatures, but you can add the stronger heat source if you need higher temperatures.
Additional Oven Options
As for extra oven features, they can include everything from accessories like special oven racks or a temperature probe to special cooking features like the aforementioned convection settings, fast preheat (which expedites the preheating process), bread proofing (where the oven settings are customized to activate yeast and make bread rise), steam cooking (where you pour water into a reservoir and gently cook something with the resulting steam), air fry mode (where you can expeditiously fry frozen and fresh foods, similar to an air fryer) and many, many more options. With some of the higher-end ranges, you can even choose to cook your food in one smaller oven or a larger oven, as needed. Lastly, it is possible to get a double-oven range, if you need the flexibility of two ovens, but still want a cooktop included in the same unit.
Fit and Finish
While black and white ranges finishes are still available, most ranges these days come in some variation of stainless steel options. You should be able to find a range that matches your kitchen setup and your other appliances, but be ready to pay more money for any finish more sophisticated than black, white, or basic stainless steel.
The GE JB655SKSS electric range is no exception. It does an excellent job at roasting and broiling, but may not be the best bet for serious bakers: Our cakes came out pretty uneven. But its fastest burner, the right front burner, boils 6 cups of water in about 4 minutes, which is pretty speedy. The JG655SKSS also had one of the best broilers that we've tested—all six slices of test toast were equally browned, with no hot spots in sight. Overall, this range is a good deal for what it does and consumers agree.
While it's a pretty basic gas range, the modest Kenmore 74133 has its charms. We found that it was average or above-average in almost all of our performance tests, including water boil speed, preheat time, and cookie/cake baking. On the other hand, it really excelled at the pork loin test, where it came out looking very evenly cooked.
At this price point, users were really excited about the addition of a fifth cooktop burner, the customizable self-clean cycles, and the stainless steel finish, but were disappointed that a broiler pan was not included with a purchase of the range. A few reviewers noted that the oven vents directly onto the cooktop, something to be aware of if you're using the oven and the cooktop at the same time. If you want the flexibility that comes with a fifth cooktop burner, but don't want to break the bank, the Kenmore 74133 is a solid pick.
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 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.
Julia is the Senior Scientist at Reviewed, which means that she oversees (and continually updates) the testing of products in Reviewed's core categories such as televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, and more. She also determines the testing methods and standards for Reviewed's "The Best Right Now" articles.
Kori began her journalism career as a teenage fashion blogger and has enjoyed covering a wide variety of topics ever since. In her spare time, she’s an amateur poet, avid reader, and gluten-free cake baker extraordinaire.
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