Gas ranges can be powered by natural gas or liquid propane (though a conversion kit may be required for the latter). Many consumers choose this type of range because it is generally more affordable to run. The cooktops of many models (but not all) will work in a power outage, too.
Professional chefs prefer gas-powered stove burners because they are known for producing uniform, even heat. Gas-powered ovens, on the other hand, do not hold a consistent temperature as well as electric ovens in professional tests. Of course, some models do a better job than others, but we found this to be a common complaint among even top-rated gas ranges.
The Samsung NX58F5700WS (Est. $1,220) is one gas range that gets good marks in all areas, including baking. It's among the gas ranges rated by ConsumerReports.org, and in a free article is identified as one of the top choices among competing models. "This top-rated gas range is stylish and unlike most gas ranges tested offers fast cooktop heat and superb baking," says Kimberly Janeway. She adds that broiling performance -- something that many gas ranges struggle with -- was impressive as well. CNET, on the other hand, is more impressed with value than performance, though allows that the Samsung range "cooks well." The bottom line, according to reviewer Megan Wollerton, is that "The Samsung Gas Range with True Convection is a solid choice with more accessories and options than many comparably priced appliances."
Among those options is a convection feature and warming drawer, things that many experts say are good to have on a range. Other high-end features include removable stove-top griddle and wok inserts. The oven cycles include defrost, dehydrate and bread proofing modes. The LED display is intuitive to read and the oven controls are easy to navigate, though not as responsive as Wollerton would like. The control knobs for the five stove top burners, which range in output from 5,000 to 18,000 BTU, are large, helping to give the stainless-steel-wrapped NX58F5700WS "a quasi-professional chef look."
User feedback, while not abundant, is sufficiently broad to give a good feel for user satisfaction. We spotted more than 45 reviews, including reviews originally posted at Samsung's site, and an overall rating of 4.4 stars at HomeDepot.com. At BestBuy.com, feedback is more plentiful and even more positive. There, nearly 90 unique owners have chimed in, and the Samsung NX58F5700WS (Est. $1,220) earns an impressive 4.8 star rating, with 99 percent offering it a recommendation.
If you are looking for something a little less pricey, we saw good feedback for the Samsung NX58H5600SS (Est. $1,000). It's the highest rated gas range priced at $1,000 or less in one large comparative review. Testers there found that the oven did well when called upon to bake or broil. The cooktop did an excellent job at simmering, but the high power burners weren't as fast as some other ranges at heating up -- not a surprise as the highest powered burner is only rated at 17,000 BTU. On the features front you get convection, but not a warming drawer (the lower drawer is only for storage). There are five burners, and a griddle plate for the center oval one is included. The finish is stainless steel.
Owners are just as impressed as experts with the NX58H5600SS. BestBuy.com has the largest accumulation of reviews -- nearly 550 -- of which 98 percent give it a recommendation; it earns a rating of 4.7 stars. The Samsung range also earns a score of 4.7 stars at HomeDepot.com, where 95 percent of the roughly 175 owners that have reviewed it say they would recommend it.
For those on even more of a budget, the Kenmore 74133 (Est. $750) looks like a strong pick. It comes in stainless, black, bisque and white. One expert reviewer looks at the white version, and makes it the least expensive gas range to earn a recommendation. It has a very high power burner (18,200 BTU) for fast heating, is excellent at simmering, and very good in baking. Broiling performance isn't as impressive, but that's a shortfall for many gas ranges. For those who appreciate low maintenance, this Kenmore range did better than most in a self-cleaning test. Features are few and, unsurprisingly, you won't find convection or a warming drawer. User feedback is good -- 4.5 stars based on more than 31 reviews of the stainless steel model at Sears.com, with the white version earning the same score based on just under 20 reviews.
Slide-in gas ranges cost quite a bit more than their freestanding counterparts. But, if style and a seamless look are important to you, these models are worth the investment.
As was the case with freestanding ranges, we found the best feedback for a pair of Samsung slide-in gas ranges. Our recommendation is the Samsung NX58H9500WS (Est. $2,250). It's the highest rated slide-in gas range in one independent review. The testers there are impressed with simmering, baking and broiling, and it comes up aces in self-cleaning, too. CNET, on the other hand, is less impressed, giving it kudos for appearance, but less so when it comes to performance, saying that it's largely mediocre.
Normally that would be a conundrum -- and we do agree with CNET that if a slide-in isn't a must, a freestanding range like the Samsung NX58F5700WS is certainly a better value -- but we rate the opinions of the independent reviewer highly, and owners leave no doubt that this Samsung range is a great performer. It earns a 4.7-star score at BestBuy.com based on nearly 190 reviews, and recommendations from 97 percent of owners. Feedback at HomeDepot.com is nearly as impressive -- a 4.6 star score based on nearly 100 reviews, with recommendations from 93 percent of owners.
While much of the premium that the NX58H9500WS commands is for its styling, it is also a feature packed appliance. You get convection cooking and a warming drawer, of course. This is a five-burner range, and it's supplied with a removable griddle that fits over the oblong center burner, and a wok ring for stir fry that will work with any of the round ones. The burners range up to 18,000 BTUs, including a Dual Power burner with dual heating elements that output between 1,000 BTU and 18,000 as needed. The oven includes a built-in temperature probe. A Guiding Light control system simplifies usage by providing step-by-step instructions for cooking options, eliminating settings that are inappropriate as you make selections.
The step-up Samsung NX58H9950WS (Est. $2,600) is very similar. It's the only range in Samsung's Chef Collection program, which includes "VIP" access to customer service and a complimentary in-home visit by a Samsung expert (where available -- see this page to learn if a demo is available in your area) to walk you through how to best set up, use and care for your new range.
Though it's not been widely reviewed elsewhere, Reviewed.com is impressed enough to give it an Editors' Choice award. "The beautiful, functional stainless steel design is the initial draw, but the NX58H9950WS also heats quickly and cooks evenly, both on the rangetop and in the oven," says Kori Perten. However, looking at the spec sheets, performance and feature differences between it and the cheaper Samsung NX58H9500WS are relatively small. The top burner power is goosed up to 19,000 BTUs for even a little faster heating performance -- great if you just can't wait to get that pot of water boiling. There's also a gliding oven rack, which makes it easier to slide heavy items out of the oven to check on them while cooking.
The KitchenAid KSGB900ESS (Est. $2,350) is another slide-in range to consider. CNET takes shots at the value of all slide-in models, but says that if your sense of style demands a slide-in, this KitchenAid range rates highest. "KitchenAid gives the KSGB900ESS a wealth of settings and bonus features that makes it easy to add versatility to your cooking, whether you want to add steam when you're baking a cake or slow-cook a roast in the baking drawer.," says Ashlee Clark Thompson, who adds that the oven is "a solid performer when it comes to baking, broiling and roasting." Performance highlights include stove top burners that can heat up to 19,000 BTUs, and an oven cavity that, at 6.5 cubic feet, is the largest CNET has ever tested. Features include convection, a warming drawer, a temperature probe and a steam rack that puts extra moisture into the oven cavity for recipes that could benefit from that. User reviews are limited, but what's out there indicates that most owners are happy with this range.
Elsewhere in This report: