GE JGBS66REKSS 30-Inch Freestanding Gas Range
This entry level range delivers where it counts
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If you're in the midst of a remodel and looking for a simple, affordable gas range that delivers where it counts, you could do far worse than the 30-inch GE JGBS66REKSS (MSRP $749).
We spent some time with this freestanding range in testing labs, and after cooking on it and putting it through our usual barrage of tests we've determined that it's one of the best gas ranges you can get for under $700—as long as you're OK with a few quirks.
Along with the usual black, white, and stainless steel trim options it's also available in GE's Slate finish which sets it apart from other products in its price range.
As can be expected from an entry-level range, the JGBS66REKSS has few features to speak of. Those looking for convection or a temperature probe will have to look elsewhere. That being said, it does have a couple of frills that make it slightly more appealing than the usual builders package product. The grates are dishwasher safe, which cuts down on cleaning time.
However, the oven has a steam clean cycle in lieu of the usual "burn it all down" pyrolytic mode. We recommend doing a light clean on your oven whenever it gets dirty, and steam can help make that process a bit easier. But if you rely on self-clean to burn away big messes once every year or so, steam cleaning might not be a good fit.
Another quirk: The rangetop also has a griddle burner right in the middle. On the showroom floor, it might conjure up visions of tranquil mornings where the whole family eats pancakes and eggs around a wooden table, all while a rooster crows outside. In the real world, however, we bet many consumers will spend more time washing it than cooking on it. Since GE decided to integrate the griddle into the grates, you can't just put the griddle away when you're done. That means every scratch and stain is visible.
Finally, the broiler is in a drawer beneath the oven—a common placement on entry-level ranges, and one we dislike. It forces users to bend down to make steak tips or French onion soup, and it takes up space that could otherwise be used for storage.
In terms of actual cooking, the JGBS66REKSS performed about as well as we expect from an entry-level gas range. Both baking and roasting gave us evenly cooked food, but the gas burners didn't wow us with a fast burner or a super-low simmer.
The one real standout was the preheat: The oven took only 6 minutes to reach 350°F, which is among the quickest preheats we have ever seen.
With its overall good performance, attractive appearance, and stylish color options, the $539 GE JGBS66REKSS is a good option for anyone looking to get the most bang for their buck. However, steam-only cleaning, a built-in griddle, and a broiler drawer mean it's not for everyone. For that reason, we think the $549 Whirlpool WFG515S0ES is still the entry-level gas range to beat.
What We Like
• It's affordable
• Steam cleaning gets rid of small stains and spills without an hours-long self-clean cycle.
• Grates are dishwasher safe for quicker cleaning
• The JGBS66REKSS took only six minutes to preheat the oven to 350°F.
• Considering its entry level specs, the JGBS66REKSS offers pretty good baking and roasting evenness.
• The integrated griddle is a welcome feature that does a lot to differentiate this GE from other entry level competitors. However…
What We Don’t Like
• …Because the griddle is integrated into the grates, you're pretty much stuck with it even if it gets scratched or damaged
• Boiling speeds and temperature range from the four burners are sub par.
• The broiler is in a drawer and cooks unevenly
• The lack of a dedicated pyrolytic self-clean cycle means that any major spills or encrusted stains will need to be cleaned by hand
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