What every best Ranges has:
- Reliable cooktop performance.
- A variety of burner sizes.
- Consistent oven temperatures.
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, so they tend to get lower ratings in those roundups than electric ranges. 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.
The Samsung NX58F5700WS (Est. $1,700) is one gas range that gets good marks in all areas, including baking. It's the top rated single-oven gas range in Consumer Reports' testing, with Excellent scores for low temperature cooktop performance and baking, Very Good scores for low cooktop temperature performance and broiling. CNET, on the other hand, is more impressed with value than performance, though reviewer Megan Wollerton allows that the Samsung range "cooks well." The bottom line, according to her, 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, which owners, in general, seem to be very happy with. Other high-end features include removable stove-top griddle and wok inserts. The oven cycles include defrost, dehydrate and bread proofing modes, and, again, we see positive comments about that last feature from bakers of everything from breads to pizza dough. 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."
If you are looking for something a little less pricey, we saw good feedback for the Samsung NX58H5600SS (Est. $725). It earns a Recommended nod from Consumer Reports, getting a score of Excellent for low temperature cooktop performance, Very Good for baking and broiling, but just an average score of Good for high temperature cooktop performance -- not a surprise as the highest powered burner is only rated at 17,000 BTU. User feedback is both ample and highly positive, including a 4.7 star rating at Best Buy following more than 1,950 reviews.
On the features front you get convection, but a storage drawer instead of a warming drawer; however we spotted plenty of comments while compiling this report from people who bought an oven with a warming drawer and wish it had a storage drawer instead, to keep larger items in, like cookie sheets and broiler pans. There are five burners, and a griddle plate for the center oval one is included. The finish is stainless steel.
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 single oven slide-in gas range at Consumer Reports, with testers there impressed with simmering, baking and broiling -- it excels in self-cleaning, too. CNET, on the other hand, is less impressed, giving it kudos for appearance, but saying that, when it comes to performance, 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 owners leave no doubt that this Samsung range is a great performer, with impressively high ratings from hundreds of reviewers across several retail outlets, including a 4.6 star rating based on nearly 390 reviews at Home Depot and a 4.7 star rating based on nearly 720 reviews at Best Buy.
While much of the premium that the Samsung NX58H9500WS commands is for its styling, it is also a feature packed appliance, including convection cooking and a warming drawer. This is a five-burner range, and it's supplied with a removable griddle that fits over the oblong center burner, as well as 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. $2,550) is very similar. Though it's not been widely reviewed elsewhere, Reviewed is impressed enough with the Samsung NX58H9950WS give it a Best of Year and an Editors' Choice award, as well as an overall score of 9.5 out of 10. "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 remove heavy items from the oven.
Also, while the oven remains current, it has been bumped from Samsung's Chef Collection line by the newer and much more expensive Samsung NX58M9960PS (Est. $4,000), which is a freestanding range that mimics the look of a slide in but lacks the cooktop overhang that gives slide in ranges that built-in look. The only (small) downside to this is that the NX58H9500WS no longer comes with Samsung's Elite Service package, which offers a one-time visit by a Samsung product specialist to explain all of the range's functions, as well as concierge call-in service that gives you a direct line to a Samsung agent.
Double-oven gas ranges get even worse feedback from professional testers than single-oven gas ranges, the only one we found that's slightly above "meh" in testing is the LG LDG4315ST (Est. $1,725). It's the highest-rated gas-only double oven range at Consumer Reports receiving a 73 out of 100; in contrast, the highest-rated non-slide-in electric double oven there receives an overall score of 82. Still, this LG does receive a Recommended nod, and ratings of Very Good in cooktop performance at both high and low heat, and in baking, oven capacity (the lower oven's capacity is 4.3 cubic feet, the upper oven's is 2.6 cubic feet) and self-cleaning performance. It receives a rating of Good for broiling.
Kori Perten at Reviewed likes the LG LDG4315ST more, giving it an overall score of 9.5 out of 10. She finds that the "ProBake" convection system, which moves the heating element from its traditional position at the bottom of the oven to the rear, and then incorporates a fan (that you can turn off or on) for even better heat distribution, to be fairly effective. With the fan on, cookies came out perfectly evenly cooked, without a burnt bottom in the bunch, but cakes were not quite as evenly cooked. And the upper oven could barely bake anything evenly -- she suggests using it for broiling or for extra cooking (non-baking) space.
Ashlee Clark Thompson at CNET had the same experience when baking biscuits, although she had better luck when she turned the convection fan off, contrary to Perten's tests. Thompson also had bad luck when cooking two different pizzas in the upper and lower ovens, the pizza in the upper oven was underdone, but the pizza in the bottom oven was undercooked. However, the LG LDG4315ST excelled in roasting chicken in CNETs test.
In contrast to the experts, however, owners give the LG LDG4315ST very high ratings across the board, including a 4.7 star score at Best Buy and recommendations from 98 percent of the nearly 220 reviewers that weigh in. Feedback includes plenty of compliments on its baking, roasting, convection feature, stovetop performance and its high-end appearance. However, we did see a few comments that the ovens seem to cook hotter in the back -- where the heating element is located -- and that there's a learning curve to figure out how to not let that affect the final results when baking.
The LG LDG4315ST is fully featured, with five gas burners, including a center burner that is a long oval, and continuous, cast-iron grates that make them even more versatile. Although the ovens might get panned somewhat in testing, the burners themselves perform great, coming to a high heat quickly for bringing liquids to a fast boil fast and keeping it rolling, and maintaining a steady, low temperature for more delicate tasks. A removable griddle is also included that fits on that long center burner, and that receives a lot of love from users who say they use it more than they would have imagined.