Freestanding electric ranges are commonplace in most home kitchens. They are generally the most affordable type of kitchen range and testers say the latest models do an excellent job of cooking all types of dishes. While the sky is the limit on pricing and features, you don't have to break the bank to get a reliable, sleek-looking range. The best-performing models are also among the most affordable.
For this year, we are naming the LG LRE3083SW (Est. $870) as the best freestanding smoothtop electric range for most cooks and kitchens. It only receives one expert review, but that's from a top-rated independent testing organization. More significantly, it enjoys a wealth of feedback from owners, with the vast majority saying that they are more than thrilled with their range.
In testing, cooking performance is well regarded across the board. The smoothtop cooktop heats up fast and does an excellent job at simmering. Broiling is also excellent, and baking prowess is nearly as good. There are five cooktop elements, including a dual-power 6-inch/9-inch one that can deliver up to 3,200 watts. The spacious 6.3-cubic-foot oven offers modes for convection as well as conventional cooking. There's no warming drawer, but a 7-inch 100-watt warming element on the cooktop serves the same purpose. The IntuiTouch control panel operates the burners as well as the oven and is well organized. A numeric keypad that offers precise control over oven times and temperatures is considered a plus. A steam-clean feature that reduces oven-cleaning time to just 20 minutes works well, though it's best used for light cleaning. The LRE3083SW is smooth white, but black; stainless steel and stainless and black finishes are available to suit any kitchen color scheme -- though the last two options are a little pricier (by roughly $30 and $130, respectively)
While the LG LRE3083SW has only one expert review but tons of user feedback, the situation is a bit reversed with the double-oven LG LDE4415ST (Est. $1,700). It's too new to have garnered much in the way of user feedback, but most expert reviewers have already put it through its paces and have come away either fairly impressed, or extremely so. It's recommended in the largest independent review that we spotted, and singled out by the editors there as the best smoothtop double oven. It's also named the best range for "multitaskers" by Good Housekeeping. CNET is a little less impressed, though its 3.5-star rating still puts this LG model toward the top of the ranges the site has tested. Ashlee Clark Thompson complains that the range's specialized cooking modes over-promise and under-deliver, but adds that "Once you strip away the bells and whistles, the LG LDE4415ST is a solid range that covers basic cooking well. Opt for this model if you prioritize the flexibility that double-oven cooking brings or find yourself needing to cook chicken in a hurry (hey, it happens)."
The big reason cooks might opt for this LG range is the double ovens, which, together, offer tons of capacity and flexibility. "Family dinners are a breeze with this double-oven gem -- you can broil salmon for the adults in one oven and bake chicken nuggets for the kids in the other," the editors at Good Housekeeping suggest. In a free article at ConsumerReports.org, Kimberly Janeway offers another approach: "You might be able to get by using the smaller oven for daily dinner and the larger one for hosting holidays and parties." CNET notes that unlike most double oven ranges, which pair a very large oven with a much smaller one, the LDE4415ST "defies convention by making the ovens closer in size with 3 cubic feet of space in the top oven and 4.3 cubic feet of space in the bottom oven." Thompson says that's especially useful for those who cook big meals.
The stovetop has four burner elements, two low power and two variable power ones; the latter ones can accommodate pot sizes of up to 12-inches and offer power output as high as 3,200 watts. There's no warming drawer (nor a storage one because of the dual oven configuration) but there is a 7-inch warming element that serves the same purpose. The upper, larger oven has a convection feature, but the lower oven is a conventional one. The oven has a number of specialized modes, and many work well, while others, such as a pizza mode, were a disappointment in CNET's testing. The LDE4415ST is also compatible with LGs SmartOven Android app, which lets you change oven settings using a smartphone or tablet. The range is disappointingly short, Thompson says, but she adds that it shouldn't be a key factor on deciding whether or not the LDE4415ST is right for you. It's only available in stainless steel, with a cobalt-blue interior that Good Housekeeping says "makes this oven easy to see inside."
If you want a true slide-in electric oven, we cover a top choice below, but if you want the look of a slide-in but in a stove that will fit into the space of a freestanding model, the Frigidaire Professional FPEH3077RF (Est. $2,100) gets some strong editorial recommendations. It's an Editors' Choice and Product of the Year winner at Reviewed.com and is named the top electric range following recent testing by Good Housekeeping.
Styling is top notch, mimicking a pro-style range in most aspects, except price. "It's a handsome range, covered in a flat expanse of smudge-proof stainless steel and topped with a black electric rangetop," says Reviewed.com's Kori Perten. "Handles are shiny and set into pro-style brackets—a look that stands on its own without mimicking pricier models."
But beauty is more than skin deep. "The oven and stovetop heat evenly, so you can bake perfectly browned cakes and steadily simmer a Bolognese without scorching," the editors at Good Housekeeping say. The stovetop has four cooking elements plus a keep warm element. The cooking elements range up to 12 inches and 3,000 watts, and two can be bridged to accommodate long cookware, such as a griddle. The 6.1-cubic foot oven has a convection cooking mode. Other features include a built-in temperature probe and a storage drawer. One caution is that this relatively new stove has not yet received much in the way of owner feedback.
While the Frigidaire Professional FPEH3077RF gives you the look of a built-in, it lacks the full seamlessness of a true slide-in, which has a slightly wider stovetop that sits on top of a kitchen counter. This styling makes kitchen clean up easier because it eliminates the gap between the stovetop and counter that typically winds up being a trap for crumbs and spills.
If your kitchen is designed to accommodate a slide-in electric range, the 5.8-cubic-foot Samsung NE58F9500SS (Est. $1,650) is worth a look. It costs more than a freestanding single oven range like the LG LRE3083SW (Est. $870), but is relatively inexpensive compared to many slide-in models. It's the top-rated slide-in electric smoothtop range in one review, and an Editors' Choice selection at Reviewed.com, where James Aitchison says the extra features and ease of use "more than justifies its hefty price tag."
The Samsung range is loaded with features including a convection oven with a broiler, food temperature probe and LED display. This slide-in range has been available for a couple of years now, enough time for it to build up a measurable track record. The most feedback is at BestBuy.com, where the NE58F9500SS garners a 4.6-star rating -- with 95 percent of owners saying they would recommend it to a friend -- following nearly 260 reviews. At HomeDepot.com, feedback is a little slimmer, but this Samsung slide-in grange earns a 4.3-star rating after more than 100 reviews.