Best Cheap Ranges
What We Considered
What qualities make one range stand apart from the rest? We initially turned to experts at Consumer Reports, The Sweethome, and CNET for guidance on how to assess budget-priced gas and electric stoves. Of course, everyone has their own style of cooking and feature preferences. Ultimately reviews by home cooks posted on the websites of manufacturers and vendors such as Home Depot, Lowe's, Best Buy, AJ Madison, Abt, and Sears proved invaluable and led us to our final choices.
We Looked At
For the stovetop, good performance means power burners or elements boil water rapidly or sear meat to a golden crust, and simmer burners or elements hold heat to a low enough level that gravy and soup don't boil. One reviewer writes on the AJ Madison site that our top-rated gas range, the Samsung NX58K3310S, is so powerful that the burners must be set to a lower level than past experience would suggest. A customer review of the electric Frigidaire FFEF3013L on BestBuy.com notes that the lowest-wattage element offers much more control over simmering than a previous appliance did.
Ovens should preheat quickly and bake or roast evenly at a consistent temperature. Here, too, our picks pass muster with users. The well-insulated oven on the electric GE JB645 keeps the heat in, where it belongs, according to a review on the Lowe's website. On Home Depot.com, others give a shout-out to the precise temperatures in the Whirlpool WFG515S0E, a gas range. But it's the models with convection ovens, the GE JGB700 and LG LRE3193, that really score with users. They make baked goods look better, brown more uniformly, and cook multiple food items more quickly and more evenly.
The Kenmore 93002, on the other hand, irks some of the few users who have reviewed it on the Sears site for oven heat that warps the top cooking surface, as well as other, more minor sins like a failing clock and odd noises.
Oven sizes for the models we researched range between 4.8 cubic feet (Frigidaire FFEF3013L and GE JGBS10DEK) and 6.3 cubic feet (LG LRE 3193). The pricey LG LRE3083, in particular, garners accolades for the commodious size of its convection oven, which is particularly favored by serious bakers. Users don't fret about the size of the smaller ovens, though, and many find them plenty spacious.
In a step up from the other models we researched, the gas-powered KitchenAid KFGD500E (currently a steal starting at $1,498, given its $2,099 suggested retail price) features two ovens: a 3.9-cubic-foot convection oven on the bottom and a small 2.1-cubic-foot oven right above it. Reviews posted on HomeDepot.com point to the practical advantages of simultaneously cooking different foodstuffs at different temperatures, or heating only the top oven when preparing something like pizza.
Ranges generally last a long time. The rule of thumb, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, is 13 to 15 years for electric stoves and 15 to 17 years for gas ranges. These figures haven't been updated recently, however, and as electronics and even Wi-Fi spread into this appliance category, longevity may be compromised. Indeed, the LG LRE3193, which has only electronic controls, raises some potential concerns. Reviews of the previous model in the line, the LG LRE3083, sometimes cite motherboards and other functions, like the clock, that burned out well before users thought they should. On the other hand, basic entry-level stoves may have short life expectancies as well. The typical warranty is one year.
Samsung NX58K3310S Review
The stovetop on the Samsung NX58K3310S wins accolades for the oval-shaped fifth burner, which accommodates extra-large pots, and the easy-to-clean porcelain surface. The features, look, and performance make this freestanding gas range a solid value.
Large oven preheats quickly and cooks evenly; good heat levels on cooktop.
Range feels solid and well-built, with a sleek design.
Five burners, including a high-intensity front burner (17,000 BTUs), low-intensity simmer burner, and center oval burner.
Heavy cast iron continuous grates.
Some complaints about inaccurate oven calibration.
GE JB645 Review
The ceramic glass cooktop on the GE JB645 looks good and is easy to clean. The dual-size front burners offer lots of flexibility, and the well-calibrated oven ensures successful results.
Two dual-size front burners (6 inches and 9 inches) with power boil (3,100 watts).
Self-cleaning oven with two bake elements.
Oven heats accurately and evenly.
Seems less sturdy than older models, according to reviews.
Cooktop scratches easily without attentive care.
"Hot surface" warning lights are difficult to see.
Whirlpool WFG515S0E Review
The Whirlpool WFG515SOE is a basic gas stove with an updated look due, in part, to the continuous grates (as opposed to individual grates for each burner). The two front power burners are a boon to some users, but others would rather have one burner in front that's less powerful. Overall, this model does not disappoint.
Two power burners (15,000 BTUs) for faster heating.
Counter-depth design looks more expensive than it is.
Self-clean oven with keep-warm mode.
Some grousing about inconsistent oven temperature and a hard-to-read display.
The area around the burners can be difficult to clean.
Continuous grates annoy some users.
Frigidaire FFEF3013L Review
The basic, smooth-top electric Frigidaire FFEF3013L earns points for user-friendliness, appearance, and a very attractive price. Users say it's easy to clean and a good value for the money.
Four cooktop elements heat evenly, and one is expandable for larger pots.
Easy-to-clean smooth cooktop.
High and low broil settings; true oven temperature.
Large storage drawer.
Manual-clean oven with exposed bake element on bottom.
Some grousing about slow preheating and a buzzer that's hard to hear.
Scattered reports mention cracking and scratches on the cooktop.
GE JGBS10DEK Review
This may look like grandma's stove, but the gas-powered GE JGBS10DEK serves its purpose relatively well. Consumers who are comfortable with the basics and have no need for bells or whistles should be pleased with the price and the product. Without any electronics, though, oven temperatures may be less precise.
Good basic stove at a very cheap price.
Easy-to-clean individual steel grates.
Four burners with the same power (9,100 BTUs).
All analog controls; no specialty settings, clock, or timer.
Broiler drawer under oven.
Burner grates tend to slide around.
Kenmore 93002 Review
Some users like the electric Kenmore 93002 because it generally does its job and doesn't distract with fancy features. Gripes about the oven and failing coils might give shoppers pause.
Multiple repairs reported by users.
Preheating is slow and oven heats unevenly.
Stove top gets very hot when the oven is on.
Other Products We Reviewed
GE JBS55DM Review
For a low-cost electric range, the GE JBS55DM (starting at $495, Amazon) delivers a lot. Chief among the notable features is the smooth cooktop. According to GE JBS55DM reviews, most home cooks wouldn't have it any other way. Several reviews posted at Lowe's mention the ease of cleaning and others commend the aesthetics, saying the ceramic glass surface looks far more attractive than the traditional (and some would argue, unsightly) electric coils. One user notes in a review at Home Depot that it's easy to forget this budget range is an appliance and to treat it like a countertop. (Note to consumers: This is not a good idea.) The cooking chops of the GE JBS55DM also earn a fair bit of praise, with many reviewers reporting that the controls are responsive (both boiling and simmering are easily achieved) and the oven browns and bakes evenly.
Some GE JBS55DM reviews, however, are somewhat muted. Detractors say the cooktop scratches easily and food takes a long time to cook, ostensibly because the heating elements don't get hot enough. A few reviews at Consumer Reports say the oven is slow to preheat and others assert it doesn't come up to the desired temperature. Grousing about the need for flat-bottomed pans and special cleaning solution occasionally pops up in reviews.
In addition to the flat cooktop, the GE JBS55DM boasts several appealing features. The oven is a large 5.3 cubic feet and sports a broiling element at the top that can be set to variable temperatures, a large window in the door, and a Sabbath mode setting, which keeps the oven going beyond the usual 12-hour safety shut-down. (The oven is not self-cleaning, a deficiency that slightly disappoints some users.) There are two 6-inch elements (1,500 watts each) and two 8-inch elements (2,000 watts each) and a hot-surface indicator light. The GE JBS55DM also features a digital temperature display and clock. It's available in white, black, stainless steel, and "clean steel" finishes and comes with the standard one-year warranty.
You won't find many bells and whistles on this electric range, but consumers are impressed with the overall quality and usability. For the price, it's hard to beat.
Frigidaire FGF348KS Review
The Frigidaire FGF348KS (starting at $539) is a relatively snazzy gas stove with a comparatively frugal price and estimable performance. Frigidaire FGF348KS reviews at Lowe's give this model points for the heavy, continuous cast iron grates; an oval, fifth burner at the center of the stovetop; accurate oven temperatures that yield evenly-baked foods; and steady heat output from the burners. Although one review quibbles that the high-power burner is insufficiently hot for Asian cooking, another says the flames burn hotter than the coils on an electric stove the reviewer had used previously. The sealed burners and grates (dishwasher safe) are easy to clean, assert reviews, and pots don't slip and slide on the cast iron. Cooks say the oval fifth burner is handy for breakfast items, stove-top barbecue, and oddly-shaped cookware.
The glitz of the stovetop is partially offset by a few compromises on the Frigidaire FGF348KS's oven. The oven on is only 4.2 cubic feet, which will require some juggling when feeding a hungry crowd, and there's no self-cleaning mode, although Frigidaire FGF348KS reviews assert oven cleanup is easy enough. The digital touchpad for the oven offers lots of settings (temperature levels can be moved up or down in 5-degree increments) but the timer beeps irritatingly until it's turned off; one review at the company website laments the absence of an automatic shut-off. The broiler is located in a low drawer beneath the oven, which may necessitate a lot of deep-knee bending.
The burners, meanwhile, offer cooks lots of versatility. There are two standard 9,500-BTU burners, one power burner with 14,000 BTUs, a simmer burner with 5,000 BTU, and the middle, oval burner with 9,500 BTUs. The Frigidaire FGF348KS also features a Sabbath mode. This model is available in white and stainless steel (the latter often priced beyond the Cheapism ceiling) and comes with a one-year warranty.
The Frigidaire FGF348KS is much admired by users, especially given the budget pricing. If you're looking for a cheap gas range and white matches the kitchen decor, this is the model to choose.
Hotpoint RB757DP Review
Hotpoint RB757DPWH reviews generally agree that this budget electric range is a worthy buy in terms of features and performance. A consumer products testing organization commends the heating abilities of both the electric coils and the oven, noting that water comes to a boil in short order, temperature-sensitive foods simmer without burning, and the oven browns foods evenly; the self-cleaning cycle also wins points for wiping out traces of sticky, gooey foods. Home users' reviews at Home Depot are likewise laudatory. They say the oven is devoid of hot and cold spots, such that pie crusts don't need to be wrapped in aluminum foil to assure a golden finish. The cooktop controls are responsive, according to reviews, and can hold stews and sauces comfortably below the boiling point.
On the other hand, a few Hotpoint RB757DPWH reviews grumble about the thin oven racks, the hard-to-clean drip pans beneath the electric coils, a storage drawer under the oven that must be pulled open from the side, and oven temperatures that don't rise to the desired setting.
Although the Hotpoint RB757DPWH (starting at $404, Amazon) is considered a basic, no-frills stove, it comes with several noteworthy features. There's a self-cleaning cycle, a timed- and delay-bake function, electronic oven controls, and a bell indicating the end of the pre-heat cycle. The oven cavity is a generous 5 cubic feet and the door sports a see-through window; the broiler is located in the oven. The cooktop holds two 6-inch (1,500 watts each) and two 8-inch burners (2,600 watts each). This model is available in white and bisque, both with black oven doors. It comes with a one-year warranty.
The consensus opinion of the Hotpoint RB757DPWH: a good, reliable electric stove at a good, affordable price
Kenmore 70402 Review
As a consumer once said about the Kenmore 70402 (starting at $360), this gas-fired model is no sleek foreign car, but a basic domestic that gets you where you need to go. Indeed, Kenmore 70402 reviews posted at Sears commend the simplicity and ease of use; who needs all those confounding features and buttons, anyway? ask several reviews. Users say the stovetop burners give out plenty of heat and the oven warms up quickly, although a few say the top part of the oven gets hotter than the bottom (a common critique of low-cost gas ovens). Cleaning, apparently, is a no-struggle affair.
But for all its positive attributes, several design elements drive consumers to distraction, according to Kenmore 70402 reviews. One is the placement of the oven vent, directly behind the burners and smack in the middle under the controls. Reviews contend it's easy to burn yourself when you need to change a setting while the oven is on. Another complaint concerns the burner grates, which users say are slick and high, so that pots slide around and a lot of heat is wasted. And finally, the broiler: located in a drawer below the oven with a tray that's difficult to adjust when the broiler is hot.
The Kenmore 70402 is relatively light on extra features. The oven requires manual cleaning and is just 4.2 cubic feet, a size that may present a challenge when preparing a large holiday meal for a crowd. There are four 9,000-BTU burners with pilotless ignition, a digital display clock, a timer, 105 oven temperature settings between 170 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit, and a beeper that signals the oven is fully heated. This stove is available in white, black, or stainless steel, and even the latter finish is priced within the Cheapism range. The Kenmore 70402 comes with the usual one-year warranty.
The awkward design elements give us some pause. If you can get past these irritants, however, the performance of this simple gas stove won't disappoint and the price will make you happy, indeed.
There's not much beyond the basics on the gas-fueled Amana AGR3311WD (starting at $385, Amazon), and there's not much to commend it, either. Amana AGR3311WD reviews at Home Depot give it a pass for the price and the simplicity. Users say heat from the burners is consistent and powerful and food cooks evenly (including whatever is put in the oven). Reviews also indicate that cooks value the easy-to-clean sealed burners and white finish and the user-friendly, bare-bones package. One purchaser happily reported that converting it for use with propane was a simple process.
What consumers don't like, according to Amana AGR3311WD reviews, are the slippery burner grates, the awkward placement of too few temperature markings (in 50-degree increments) on the bottom of the oven dial, and a fickle electronic ignition that sometimes shoots out sparks instead of lighting the stovetop flames. A post on AJ Madison notes that the unit was returned because the burners couldn't be turned down to a simmer.
The Amana AGR3311WD is about as simple a stove as you can get. There are four 9,500-BTU burners, a 4.4-cubic-foot oven with two racks and five rack positions, and a drop-down broiler located under the oven. There is neither clock nor timer -- the only electronics are found on the ignition -- and there's no window to check the oven's progress. The controls are positioned at the front of the stove, making it ADA-compliant. This model is available in white only and comes with the standard one-year warranty.
The price of the Amana AGR3311WD falls clearly within the cheap bracket. For just about the same investment, though, you can find gas ranges with more features and more reliable performance.
Most Kenmore 90112 reviews say the quality of this cheap electric stove is passable, as is the overall value. Although some reviews posted at Sears say the oven takes a while to preheat and is not always accurate, others report it heats evenly and bakes up a storm. And without a self-cleaning cycle, a few consumers gripe that the oven is hard to clean. Carping about uneven heat on the electric coils crops up in a couple of reviews, but others say they work fine.
Aside from its low price, the Kenmore 90112 (starting at $391) draws in consumers with its simplicity (limited electronics) and flexibility (burners in two sizes). The broiling function and high and low heat settings on the stovetop earn a nod from a consumer products testing organization. One user post on Sears, however, says that any temperature setting above the fifth of 10 options leaves the coils burning too hot.
The Kenmore 90112 comes with a standard, and basic, array of features. There are four coil elements (two 8-inch elements with 2,100 watts each and two 6-inch elements with 1,250 watts each), and a (large) 4.9-cubic-foot manual-clean oven. A digital panel controls the oven, which offers 105 temperature settings between 170 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit. There's also a timer with a buzzer but no automatic oven shut-off; some users contend the buzzer beeps too low to hear from even a short distance. The broiler is located in the oven and there's a storage door underneath. This model is available in white, black, and stainless steel and is backed by a one-year warranty.
The Kenmore 90112 is one of the few stoves so inexpensively priced that the stainless steel version costs less than $500, even when not on sale. Without a strong consensus about it, however, other models may be safer bets.
GE JGB700 Review
Convection baking and a versatile cooktop are the hallmarks of the gas-powered GE JGB700. Although the griddle may not hold much appeal at first, many reviewers report using it more than expected. The feature package, the performance, and the price make for a winning combination.
Convection oven maintains well-calibrated temperature; good heat control on burners.
Integrated griddle replaces grate over middle burner (optional center grate available).
Five burners, including one 18,000-BTU front power burner and a 10,000-BTU center burner.
Steam cleaning feature in oven is speedy and odor-free.
No outside oven light switch.
Owner's manual must be downloaded.
LG LRE3193 Review
The LG LRE3193 hits a sweet spot for frugal consumers in thrall of the digital age. Like its predecessor, the LG LRE3083, it earns raves for overall performance, although reports of limited longevity for the electronic controls on the older model leave a bit of tarnish on this LG line.
Huge 6.3-cubic-foot capacity.
Convection oven with seven rack positions and blue interior for a high-end look.
Five cooktop heating elements, including two dual-size burners (6/9 inches and 9/12 inches) and a 100-watt center warming burner.
Elements heat quickly; light stays on until elements cool down.
Fast, water-based system for self-cleaning oven.
All digital controls.
Super-shiny cooking surface is unforgiving of fingerprints.
Some reviewers said the motherboard on the previous model was prone to burnouts.
Expect a learning curve for controls.
Samsung NX58F5700WS Review
The gas-fueled Samsung NX58F5700WS garners kudos for build quality, desirable features, even baking, and speedy cooking. Fans say it looks and performs like a premium range but sells at a mid-tier price point.
Strong performance all around.
Large, 5.8-cubic-foot convection oven with one rack that glides out on ball bearings.
Multiple self-clean cycles (two, three, or four hours, plus delay start).
Five burners, including one dual-power burner (18,000 BTUs max).
Warming drawer and a host of other features and specialized settings, including a proofing mode to help dough rise as well as slow cook, defrost, and dehydrate presets.
Comes with a wok grate and a griddle.
Frigidaire Gallery FGIF3061NF Review
Reviewers have seen excellent results from both the convection oven and the stovetop on the electric Frigidaire Gallery FGIF3061NF induction range. Feats like near-instant heat regulation and speedy cooking commend the technology to home chefs. Users say the transition from a traditional electric stove is painless, and even some who were wedded to gas are surprised converts.
Induction cooktop boils water and cools to a true simmer very quickly.
Five heating elements, including one high-power burner (3,800 watts) and one center warming zone (100 watts).
Convection oven with high and low broil settings.
Smudge-proof stainless steel finish.
Comes with a temperature probe.
Easy to clean.
KitchenAid KFGD500E Review
The big draw of the KitchenAid KFGD500E -- aside from the name brand -- is the double oven, with features like convection heat and bread proofing in the larger bottom oven. However, some users find it physically challenging to lift heavy items (holiday turkey, for example) from such a low position. Still, this model offers food-prep flexibility that many consumers appreciate.
Double oven with convection technology in the larger lower oven.
Middle oven rack glides easily on ball bearings.
Five burners; comes with griddle for oval middle burner.
Strong gas burners cook quickly on lower settings; simmer burner does not overheat.
Scattered reports of control panel malfunctions and oven temperature fluctuations.
Stainless steel cooktop on some models is said to scratch and discolor easily.