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In this report

Electrolux smoothtop ranges are most popular

Among electric ranges, the Electrolux EW30EF65GS (*Est. $2,300) rates highly in professional sources. The Electrolux range combines a full-size convection oven with a mini-oven/warming drawer for a total capacity of 7.1 cubic feet. It also offers electronic touch-screen controls, a self-cleaning feature and a wide range of cooking and baking options. Four heating elements are embedded in the glass smoothtop, and the center serves as a 100-watt "warming zone." Two of the heating elements are adjustable in size and power, so they can accommodate pots of different sizes.

Reviewers say the Electrolux's preprogrammed oven settings make cooking a breeze -- especially the "perfect turkey" option, which uses a probe to monitor the bird as it cooks. Like its gas equivalent, the EW30GF65GS (discussed in the previous section), this range has Luxury-Glide oven racks that roll smoothly on ball bearings and a Wave-Touch control panel that activates only when touched. The Electrolux EW30EF65GS comes in a stylish stainless-steel finish (with a distinctive cobalt-blue interior) and is covered by a one-year warranty.

One professional testing organization gives the Electrolux EW30EF65GS range "very good" or "excellent" marks in every category: baking, heating, broiling and cleaning. Good Housekeeping names it as one of their top picks as well, awarding it a grade of A-. Editors say this range not only offers "every bell and whistle" but outperforms all other gas ranges they tested terms of cooking, baking and ease of use.

We found more than 30 reviews for this model at the Electrolux manufacturer site and another 15 or so at AJMadison.com and Buzzillions.com, with overall scores of around 4.7 stars across all three sites. Users praise the range's sleek looks, easy-to-adjust heating elements, easy-glide oven racks and mini-oven. However, we did find a few complaints about durability and ease of cleaning. Users note that the glass smoothtop is easily scratched and shows smudges clearly. Also, a couple of users at AJMadison.com say that the oven stopped working properly almost immediately after delivery and report that it is taking a long time for Electrolux to resolve the problem.

However, these users' experiences appears to be unusual, because the Electrolux brand gets one of the highest overall scorers in the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Home Appliance Study.

Maytag ranges gets mixed reviews

A slightly less expensive option is the Maytag MET8885XS (*Est. $1,500). This range has a 4.2-cubic-foot lower oven with convection capabilities and a smaller 2.5-cubic-foot upper oven, both of which have self-cleaning capabilities. The smooth cooktop has five heating elements, ranging in power from 100 to 3,200 watts, including one that has three size settings to accommodate a variety of pans. Its touchscreen and dial controls are mounted on the backsplash where they can't be bumped accidentally.

Although the Maytag range does not have the wide variety of settings and luxury features found on the Electrolux, it does have a more extensive warranty: The whole range is covered for one year, but the glass cooktop and heating elements are covered for 10. Also, while the Electrolux is available only in stainless steel, the Maytag can be purchased in white or black for about $100 less.

The Maytag range gets mixed results in professional testing. Two separate professional tests find that this range boils water quickly and bakes evenly, but its broiling performance is subpar. Sources are split over its cooktop performance; one source says it matches the Electrolux's performance at simmering, but testers at Good Housekeeping say the burners don't heat evenly. We also found disagreement about the Maytag's self-cleaning cycle; Good Housekeeping declares it excellent, but another source finds it mediocre.

In the 30-plus reviews we found at retail sites and on the Maytag website, owners are generally impressed with this range's features, cooking performance, capacity and style. The double oven, convection feature and 3,200-watt "speed burner" are all particular favorites with users. However, we did see some complaints that the convection fan is noisy and the cooktop is hard to clean. One user recommends choosing pans that are "spotless on the bottom," as "anything on the bottom of a pan can transfer onto the surface and become very stubborn to remove."

Budget-priced Samsung gets fair reviews

Among budget-priced electric ranges ($700 or less), we found the best reviews for the Samsung FE-R300SXS (*Est. $700). This range has four heating elements embedded in its smooth ceramic cooktop: two small 6-inch elements and two dual elements that adjust from 6 to 9 inches as needed. The 5.9-cubic-foot oven has five rack positions, and its heating element is hidden to prevent the burns and mitigate food spills that can occur with an exposed heating element.

It includes both electronic and dial controls on its backsplash, and there is a child-safety lockout feature. However, it doesn't include features found on higher-end ovens, such as a convection mode or a warming drawer. The Samsung FE-R300SX range has a stainless-steel finish, but white and black versions are also available for about $100 less. Its one-year warranty covers parts and labor.

The Samsung FE-R300SX receives good -- but not great -- scores in professional tests. Testers at Good Housekeeping award it a grade of B+, saying it performs well at every kitchen task and is simple to use. Another professional review source also gives the range good marks for baking, boiling and simmering, but finds its broiling performance average and its cleaning cycle so-so. We found about 65 reviews for this range at Sears.com and Lowes.com. Most users like this range's large oven capacity, even baking and high-powered burner, and most also find it easy to clean.

The most common complaints about this oven are related to durability. In addition to the usual complaints about easily scratched cooktops that are common with all smoothtop ranges, we saw several reports of oven malfunctions, usually occurring within a couple of weeks after purchase. Multiple users describe problems with the oven temperature that resulted in excessively long cook times, and one says that the entire range went dead the first time the self-cleaning cycle was used.

Two GE ranges get good marks from users

Another basic range that gets good overall reviews is the GE JBS55SMSS (*Est. $700). This range pairs a 5.3-cubic foot oven with a smooth cooktop containing four heating elements, although their heat settings range only from 1,500 to 2,000 watts. Unlike the other ranges in our reviews, this bare-bones smoothtop range doesn't include a self-cleaning cycle, but most owners say they don't miss it. Its controls include both an electronic touchpad and knobs, which can be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher. The JBS55SMSS has a stainless-steel finish, but it is also available at a slightly lower price in white, black or CleanSteel which combines a stainless front with black sides. All versions share the same one-year limited warranty.

The GE JBS55SMSS isn't included in any professional tests, but it gets high overall ratings from users at HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com and Viewpoints.com. Most owners say this range is a great overall value, quick to heat and attractive to look at. They disagree about how easy it is to clean; although most reviewers say it's no problem, several say that grease and food debris tend to accumulate. Like all smoothtop ranges, this one gets some complaints about how easily the cooktop can be damaged. In addition to the usual complaints about scratches, we saw one report about a cracked cooktop and another saying that the finish of the cooktop stuck to the bottom of an enameled pan, leaving a raw patch behind. A few users also note that the large oven takes a long time to preheat.

Another budget-priced GE range, the  GE JBP35SMSS (*Est. $670), gets good reviews from both professionals and users. This is the only well-reviewed electric range we found that has old-fashioned heating coils rather than a smoothtop design. It's a basic model with few features beyond the self-cleaning cycle, but it does have a 5.3-cubic-foot oven capacity. In the one professional review we found, this range earns mixed scores" -- excellent for baking and simmering, very good for boiling, but  OK for broiling.

We found about 20 reviews at Buzzillions.com, but most owners like this range's fast heating, even baking and overall appearance. More than one expresses delight at being able to find a coil range that is available in stainless steel. (This range also comes in white, black and bisque for about $100 less.) Surprisingly, we did not see many complaints that the cooking coils are hard to clean; in fact, reviewers are more likely to say they find this range easier to keep clean than a smoothtop, and they appreciate the greater durability of the coil burners. GE's warranty covers parts and labor for one year.

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GE : JBP35SMSS Electric Range
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from Amazon.com
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GE CleanDesign JBS55SMSS 30 Electric Range - Stainless Steel
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from Amazon.com
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Maytag MET8885XS Gemini 30" Stainless Steel Electric Smoothtop Double Oven Range - Convection
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from Amazon.com
New: $1,698.85   
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