The whole point of having a kitchen is to cook in it. But if you choose the wrong oven, cooktop, or range, you could end up spending more time wondering why your recipes didn't turn out right than enjoying the fruits of your labor.
In our quest to give you the tools you need to get dinner on the table, we've tested everything from budget ranges to upscale induction cooktops. Whether you plan to experiment with a new dish or just want to reheat a frozen dinner, we've got recommendations for the best cooking appliances of 2014.
Best Gas Range
Frigidaire's new FGGF3054MF has a lot going for it, but doesn't cost a lot of money. For under $1,000, you get five burners, continuous cast iron grates with an optional griddle, true convection, and a temperature probe. Our lab tests showed that this Frigidaire has style and substance, with quick preheat times, a fast boil, low simmer temperatures, and even baking. (Est. price: $949–$1,149)
Read our full review of the Frigidaire FGGF3054MF.
Runner-up: Kenmore Elite 75232
The Kenmore Elite 75232 (available in stainless as the Kenmore 75233) is very similar to the Frigidaire FGGF3054MF. With streamlined handles, the design matches other Kenmore appliances. It did just as well as the Kenmore in our baking, broiling, and boiling tests. (Est. price: $1,079)
Read our full review of the Kenmore Elite 75232.
Best Value Gas Range
If you're looking for a basic gas range, this Amana is a great choice. Yes, cheaper ranges exist, but none of them match the AGR5630BDW's cooking performance and feature set. Its design looks contemporary, with digital oven controls and clean lines.
Unlike many other budget ranges, which tend to cut corners, the AGR5630BDW is stuffed with features. It has a self-cleaning option, a storage drawer beneath its 5.0 cubic foot chamber, and a broiler inside the oven cavity. There's also a large window, so you can easily keep an eye on what you're baking without opening the door and letting all the heat out. (Est. price: $549)
Read our full review of the Amana AGR5630BDW.
Best Electric Range
The LG LDE3037ST is a double-oven range with some unique technology that sets it apart from the competition. An infrared broiler preheats in no time, putting you that much closer to dinner. It was also quick to boil water. Inside the oven, an EasyClean coating lets you perform a traditional self-clean cycle, or remove less-stubborn stains with just a little water. (Est. price: $1,625)
Read our full review of the LG LDE3037ST.
Runner-up: Frigidaire Gallery FGES3065PF
If you want a slide-in range with a sleek, built-in look, the Frigidaire FGES3065PF is a great choice. It's one of the least expensive slide-ins on the market, but it still features a roll-out oven rack, true convection, and five burners. Both front burners were exceptional at boiling water, and the cakes and cookies we baked in the oven emerged evenly done. There's also a temperature probe option for cooking meat. (Est. price: $1,523–$1,799)
Read our full review of the Frigidaire Gallery FGES3065PF.
Best Mid-Range Electric Range
The GE JB750SFSS is an inexpensive electric range with a lot going for it. In our tests, it showed off a fast preheat in the oven and a quick boil on the rangetop. Features-wise, it has a steam clean option in the oven, and a bridge burner on the cooktop. Put it all together, and you get a great package for not a lot of money. (Est. price: $1,099)
Read our full review of the GE JB750SFSS.
Runner-up: Whirlpool WFE540H0AS
The functional, stylish Whirlpool WFE540H0AS has a large 6.2 cubic-foot oven and Whirlpool's AquaLift water-based cleaning system. In our performance tests, it boiled water quickly on two out of four burners, and had no trouble getting down to low temperatures for simmering soups and sauces. (Est. price: $804–$899)
Read our full review of the Whirlpool WFE540H0AS.
Best Value Electric Range
Once again, Amana comes through for the value-minded consumer. The AER5630BAW has about as many features as you'd expect from an oven that costs twice as much—such as self-cleaning, a ceramic cooktop with a dual-ring burner, and a large oven window. It's no slouch when it comes to cooking, either. While its burners aren't as powerful as pricier models, it's better than adequate at boiling, broiling, and baking. (Est. price: $549)
Read our full review of the Amana AER5630BAW.
Runner-up: Whirlpool WFC310S0AW
Whirlpool's 30-inch electric WFC310S0AW is another good choice. It has coil burners, which some users prefer, because they're harder to damage than a ceramic surface, and can be used for canning. (Est. price: $449–$499)
Read our full review of the Whirlpool WFC310S0AW.
Best Induction Range
GE Profile PHS920SFSS
Induction cooktops offer fast boiling, responsive temperature control, and even heating at low temperatures. The GE PHS920SFSS slide-in range marries all the benefits of induction with a superb oven. Our bake tests consistently yielded excellent results, as did our preheat and broiler tests. Based on pure performance, this GE is our pick for the best induction range you can buy. (Est. price: $3,199)
Read our full review of the GE Profile PHS920SFSS.
Runner-up: Samsung NE58H9970WS
Samsung's all-new NE58H9970WS didn't just do well in our cooking tests. It also features new technology like Virtual Flame LED cooktop lighting. There's also a Flex Duo divider, which converts a single oven into a double oven. If you want to put cutting-edge innovation in your kitchen, check out this Samsung. (Est. price: $3,299–$3,699)
Our full review of the Samsung NE58H9970WS is coming soon.
Best Induction Cooktop
Whirlpool Gold GCI3061XB
Whirlpool's 30-inch GCI3061XB induction cooktop presents a great excuse to switch to induction. It doesn't cost much more than comparable radiant electric cooktops, but it offers all the benefits of induction, such as direct cooking, responsive control, quick boiling, energy efficiency, and consistent low temperatures. Its flush design with electronic controls makes for easy cleaning, too. (Est. price: $1,209–$1,349)
Read our full review of the Whirlpool Gold GCI3061XB.
Runner-up: KitchenAid KICU509XBL
This KitchenAid is similar to the Whirlpool GCI3061XB, but adds a bridge burner. It uses the power of two elements—plus a "bridge" in between—to cook larger items like fish. Flat controls and a simple ceramic design make it easy to clean. Otherwise, it performs just as well as you'd expect from an induction cooktop. (Est. price: $1,529–$1,699)
Read our full review of the KitchenAid KICU509XBL.
Best Gas Cooktop
GE Café CGP650SETSS and CGP350SETSS
GE's 30-inch CGP350SETSS and 36-inch CGP650SETSS are both great cooktops. Featuring stainless trim, illuminated controls, continuous cast iron grates, and a Lodge griddle, they're both decidedly upscale.
They also outperformed the competition on almost every metric. The central tri-ring burner boiled six cups of water in just five minutes. We measured peak temperatures that were just above 420ºF—not bad for a gas burner, and hot enough to sear a steak. Low temperatures were adequate for simmering and melting, too.
Runner-up: Maytag MGC7430WS
Maytag's MGC7430WS is stylish and affordable. It has a stainless steel finish, cast iron grates, and dishwasher-safe controls—but it still sells for under $700. Low temperatures weren't great, but it had no problem heating up to 440ºF—perfect for boiling and searing. (Est. price: $650)
Read our full review of the Maytag MGC7430WS.
Best Electric Cooktop
With its touch controls and curved stainless trim, the EI30EC45KS 30-inch electric cooktop has a decidedly modern feel. It also does a great job cooking, with a wide range of temperatures and quick boiling times.
The Flex-2-Fit element offers three separate sizes to match your collection of pots and pans, and it managed to boil 48 oz. of water in just four minutes. Despite that blisteringly fast showing, we also measured temperatures as low as 86ºF in our simmering tests. As far as electric cooktops go, there's little this one can't do. (Est. price: $1,073)
Read our full review of the Electrolux EI30EC45KS.
Runner-up: KitchenAid KECC605BSS
The 30-inch KitchenAid KECC605BSS has a more traditional design than the Electrolux, including stainless steel knobs—one for each of its five burners. Two of those burners can adjust to fit multiple cooktop sizes, and all of them were capable of hitting highs and lows in our temperature tests. (Est. price: $1,034)
Read our full review of the KitchenAid KECC605BSS.
Best Wall Oven
The Bosch HBL8451UC is an excellent wall oven. It offered consistent results throughout all of our baking tests, whether we turned on true convection or not. The broiler was also quite quick. Even if this Bosch lacked any other features, it would still be a great choice.
However, this 30-inch wall oven has lots more going for it. We're fans of its flush-mount design, with bright lighting and a big window. Telescoping racks and a soft-close door add a luxurious touch. Users can also choose custom cooking modes, which take some of the guesswork out of baking. (Est. price: $2,064)
Read our full review of the Bosch HBL8451UC.
Best Innovation in Cooking
Samsung Virtual Flame
One of the chief complaints about induction cooking is that it lacks visual feedback. Yes, induction is responsive, but the user has no way of knowing whether the pan is heating up or cooling down until it's too late.
Until now. Samsung's Virtual Flame adds LED lighting to induction burners. They glow more brightly as the temperature rises, and fade as it falls. We think it's a great way to get people comfortable cooking with induction. (Est. price: $3,599–$3,699)
Read our coverage of the Samsung Virtual Flame.