If you're looking for a gas range, experts say you can't do much better than the LG LRG3095ST (*Est. $1,500). This gas range is one of the top performers in a recent professional test; reviewers say it excels at simmering and is very good at baking and broiling. Its relatively large 5.4-cubic-foot oven has seven rack positions and a convection feature (which uses an interior fan to circular hot air for even baking), and its five sealed cooktop burners range in maximum power from 5,000 to 17,000 Btu to handle a variety of cooking tasks.
There are a few drawbacks, reviewers note. In tests, the LG doesn't boil water as quickly as other ranges do, and its self-cleaning cycle is average. The digital control panel for the oven is on the backsplash rather than the front, making it less likely that the controls will be switched on or off by accident -- but just in case, the range also features a control lockout button. The LG LRG3095ST has a stainless-steel finish, but black and white versions are available for about $50 less. It is backed by a one-year warranty that covers parts and labor.
The LG LRG3095ST is also popular with consumers, earning positive reviews from customers at HomeDepot.com, Sears.com and AJMadison.com. In about 150 reviews across all three sites, it earns an average rating of about 4.7 stars out of 5. Users love the variety of burners on this range, and most say that it performs very well on every heat setting. The convection oven is also very popular with users, as is the cheerful cobalt blue interior.
Users' most common complaint about this range concerns the LG's plastic control knobs, which can break easily and are expensive to replace. However, LG appears to have corrected this problem, as the specifications for this range say that it comes with metal knobs. The LG brand as a whole is tied for the position of most popular range and oven manufacturer in the J.D. Power and Associates' 2011 Home Appliance Study. Owners give it an average score of 804 points out of 1,000, compared to 774 points for the industry as a whole.
LG also makes the slightly more expensive LRG3097ST (*Est. $1,710). The main difference between this range and the LRG3095ST is that its highest-powered burner packs an impressive 19,000 Btu, which reviewers at one leading consumer publication praise in their comparison tests. The LRG3097ST has a stainless-steel cooktop surface, rather than the coated porcelain of the LRG3095ST, and two extra oven racks (one split and one gliding). In color choices, warranty and most other features, however, the two are identical.
Editors at Good Housekeeping award the LG LRG3097ST an overall grade of B-plus, calling it "a pleasure to cook on." They praise the little touches, such as the large knobs, the continuous grates on the cooktop and the tune the range plays when it comes up to cooking temperature. The only downsides they note are that the oven racks are somewhat flimsy and the cooktop may be hard to clean.
We did not find nearly as many user reviews for the LG LRG3097ST as for the less expensive LRG3095ST, but those we did find were highly positive. Users say they love this range's variety of burners, especially the high-powered burner, as well as its even baking performance and all-stainless finish. More than one professional chef has complimented this range at HomeDepot.com, saying it offers professional performance without the high price. As with the LRG3095ST, the main complaint we found is about the flimsy plastic knobs, which have been replaced with metal ones on the current version of this range. A couple of users are also annoyed that the control panel hangs out over the rear burners, making it impossible to place large pots there.
A less expensive option is the LG LRG3091ST (*Est. $1,100). This range is similar to the LRG3095ST, but it lacks a convection function. This doesn't affect its baking performance in professional tests, reviewers say, but it doesn't do as well at broiling as the more expensive LG ranges. User reviews for this range are scarce, but the dozen or so we found indicate that most users are delighted with this range's performance and don't miss the convection feature. They particularly like the high-power burner, continuous cooktop grates and blue oven interior. A couple of users are disappointed that the oven comes with only two racks, but one notes that an extra can be purchased for $25 or so.
For those who want real high-end performance and are willing to pay for it, we found very good ratings for the Electrolux EW30GF65GS (*Est. $2,300) gas range. Like the LG ranges, this range includes five burners with a variety of power settings, including one that reaches a maximum of 18,000 Btu. The high-powered burner can also be turned down to 450 Btu for gentle simmering. At 5.1 cubic feet, its main oven is slightly smaller than that of the LG gas ranges, but it also includes a small second oven -- which doubles as a warming drawer -- allowing it to cook two items at different temperatures simultaneously. The Electrolux range also includes a convection oven and a slew of special settings, such as Perfect Turkey and bread proofing (for allowing dough to rise).
Professional testers find the Electrolux range's performance in every category comparable to that of the LG LRG3095ST, but as the Good Housekeeping review notes, what really sets this range apart from the competition is its luxury touches. For the price, editors say you get "pretty much every convenience there is" -- a continuous cooktop grate, oven racks that glide on ball bearings, a rapid preheating option for single-rack baking and a door designed to stay open in any position.
Users on the Electrolux website agree, praising this range's many features and awarding it 4.5 stars out of 5 overall in roughly 40 reviews. Their most common complaint is that the stainless-steel surface (the only finish available for this range) discolors and scratches easily. We also found a couple of other reports of durability problems. The Electrolux brand fares well in the J.D. Power and Associates survey, with an overall score of 800 points out of 1,000. Like the LG ranges, the Electrolux stove has a one-year warranty.
At the other end of the price scale, we found the Galaxy 60712 (*Est. $250). Sold exclusively at Sears and Kmart stores, this bare-bones range doesn't include any of the fancy features found on the LG and Electrolux ranges. Its 4.2-cubic-foot oven has only one rack, and it lacks a self-cleaning cycle, an interior light and a viewing window. The cooktop has four open (not sealed) burners with separate grates, and they all have the same power level: 9,000 Btu). The controls are basic knobs, and there's no clock or digital timer. However, it does include a separate broiler drawer, and the entire cooktop lifts up so you can clean around the burners. This model comes only in basic white and is covered by a one-year warranty.
The Galaxy 60712 has not been covered in any professional sources, but it gets favorable reviews from approximately 30 users at Sears.com. Owners say that for what it is -- a basic range -- it's an outstanding value. As one puts it, "It doesn't have anything fancy on it to go wrong." Users also say that this range provides a very accurate and even baking temperature and is easy to clean. Although a few users wish this range came with extra features like a clock or a second oven rack, most of them consider it a great bargain.