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 Home Depot for $799.00) 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.
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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.
We rigorously assess ranges, ovens, and cooktops by two major metrics: performance and features.
Because cooking appliances are versatile products that can help you to prepare your food in a number of ways, we have multiple tests that that help us to determine how well-rounded any given range, cooktop, or oven is when it comes to getting dinner (or dessert) on the table.
Cookies/cakes — How even is the heating in the oven when it comes to baking? This is our favorite part of oven testing. We bake a roll of pre-made sugar cookies and two white cakes in the oven so that we can give our readers who love to bake an idea of how evenly the oven can bake food, both within a single rack and between the upper and lower rack of the oven.
Maximum/minimum temperature — What is the maximum and minimum temperature of each cooktop burner? Cooktop burners need to be relatively flexible, temperature-wise; the best burners can both provide a nice sear (high temperature) on a steak and gently simmer (low temperature) a pasta sauce.
Pork — How even is the heating in the oven when it comes to cooking? Never fear, cooking aficionados, we do the same kind of testing that we do on cookies and cakes for a pork loin. After the internal temperature of the pork has reached 160°F (the minimum safe temperature for consuming certain types of meat), we cut into the pork to make sure that the inside of the pork loin is evenly and completely cooked.
Cornbread — How even is the heating on the most powerful cooktop burner? By measuring the temperatures across a cast iron pot full of cornbread mix, we can determine how evenly the heat is applied across the most powerful burner. Burner evenness is important because it means that you don't have to worry about hot spots in a burner that may overcook one pancake while the others are still puddles of batter.
Toast — How even is the heating in the broiler? By toasting six slices of white bread on a broiler pan for a certain amount of time, we can assess how even the heat distribution is across the broiler. This test helps us to identify any hot or cold spots in the broiler that may overcook or undercook your food.
Water boil — How long does it take for the cooktop's burners to bring a pot of water to a boil? We put appropriately-sized pots of water on every cooktop burner and see how fast each burner heats up the water in the pot to a gentle boil. Cooktops are rewarded for having more fast, hot burners.
While little things like interior oven lighting and cooktop knobs/buttons might not affect your meal's edibility, it definitely affects your overall cooking experience. We look at the features in both the cooktop (knobs/dials, temperature adjustability, cleaning, etc) and the oven (interior lighting, door close, specialty racks, multi-stage cooking, etc), and try to identify any features that would really enhance or complicate the food preparation process. We love ranges that have features that are especially useful, or that solve common cooking problems.
A range's primary purpose is to help you prepare your food in a safe and timely manner; as such, the results of the performance tests are given the most weight when it comes time to decide whether we should recommend a particular range or not. For example, a range may have a beautiful finish and lots of neat accessories, but if it can't cook a pork loin evenly, or if the cake bottoms are burned while the cake tops are still undercooked, we will not recommend that product to our readers. Features and usability are definitely incorporated into a product's final score (as mentioned above), but the performance testing is what really makes or breaks a range, in our opinion.
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. Read the full review.
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.
The Whirlpool WFG515S0ES gas range is great for those on a budget. Despite its low retail price, it boasts an excellent oven that really impressed us with its evenly-baked cookies and cakes. While it doesn't have convection (most ranges don't in this price range), it does have a "keep warm" setting that's handy when you're juggling multiple cooking/baking tasks at the same time, like at a dinner party.
The cooktop's burners can boil water quickly, and maintain both high and low temperatures, but these qualities don't really exist on the same burner. We found that three out of the four burners excelled at different tasks: the left front burner boiled water the fastest, the left rear burner got the hottest, and the right rear burner maintained the lowest temperature. Performance aside, this electric range features a stainless-steel front and sits flush with your kitchen cabinets for a seamless, modern look. This range is undeniably better than most budget options. Read the full review.
The Whirlpool WFE515S0ES electric range offers high-quality cooking capability, an attractive, stainless exterior, and a basic feature set that covers all bases in the kitchen. The 5.3 cubic-foot oven bakes food evenly, and the 30-inch electric cooktop has four burners, all of which can easily achieve both high and low simmer temperatures. The front left burner is also a dual-ring burner, with a 6-inch inner ring, and a 9-inch outer ring.
There’s no convection in the oven, but standard bake and two self-clean modes (steam and pyrolytic) are each so effective that you won't miss it. Read the full review.
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.
The Kenmore 94193 electric range is extremely reasonably priced for what it offers: A 5 burner cooktop with a Turbo Boil setting, warming drawer, and convection bake. However, while the cooktop works wonderfully (two burners can boil water in about five minutes), the oven doesn't.
Convection is a highly sought-after feature in an oven, but this Kenmore's left our food extremely uneven—Even worse off than standard bake. If you plan to use your oven often, we'd advise you look elsewhere. Read the full review.
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. Read the full review.
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 Kenmore 74233 has that classic Kenmore look and its signature clicky-buttoned control panel, but they added a 5th burner and nicer, metal knobs. At the end of the day, we had a hard time getting past the oven door on this model. The heavy, super loud door was unwieldy and slammed shut with a vengeance.
While you might get a budget price on this oven, you’ll also get budget performance. It fell smack dab in the middle of the pack in all the tests, not really standing out in any way, shape, or form. While this might be a good model for a rental unit, you should feel bad for the renters anytime they have to close the oven door.
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.
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 test showed 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.
This Amana AGR6603SFS gas range (the gas version of the Amana AER6603SFS) 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. Read the full review.
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. Read the full review.
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.
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.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.