Ranges and stoves are an indispensable part of the kitchen, so the pressure is on when it’s time to shop for a replacement. Whether you’re replacing an existing electric range or stove or upgrading from gas, finding the right mix of affordability, functionality, style, and convenience isn’t always easy.
Don’t panic. We’re here to give you some simple tips that will make your search easier, including how to decide between buying a range or an independent cooktop.
This guide focuses on electric ranges and stoves only, but be sure to check out our other guides for gas and induction cooktops. While induction cooktops technically use electricity, they have several key differences that we’ll cover later.
In this guide, we take a closer look at electric ranges and stoves, including why you might want one and how to choose one. We’ll also give you our top picks for the best electric ranges and stoves for 2020.
Our Top Picks: Summary
- Best Freestanding: Frigidaire FFEF3054TS Electric Range
- Best Slide-In: GE JS760SLSS Slide-In Electric Range
- Best Stovetop: GE PP9030SJSS Radiant Electric Cooktop
- Best Splurge: Bosch 800 Series HEI8056U
The Best Electric Ranges and Stoves: Our Top Picks
A no-fuss, freestanding model for your kitchen upgrade.Check Price
Why We Picked It
Freestanding ranges are the ideal, no-fuss solution to buying a new oven and cooktop, and for our Best Freestanding category, we’ve chosen the Frigidaire freestanding range.
The Frigidaire is a 30-inch, 5.3-cubic-feet range with a 5-element cooktop. It includes a 3,000-Watt quick-boil element and an extra-large, 12-inch element for larger pots and pans. A flexible element allows cooking with pans of different sizes.
The oven features a large window, six oven rack positions, and both high and low broil options. It also features three self-clean options, which can be run for 2, 3, or 4 hours.
The cooktop is controlled by classic dials, and the oven by a touch-screen interface with clearly labeled easy-to-use buttons. The controls are located above the cooktop, so they aren’t likely to be accidentally activated, and the oven door can be locked with a button press.
The Frigidaire is covered by a limited 1-year warranty.
Keep in Mind
Controls are easy to use, but their placement over the cooktop isn’t the best option for safety.
In a Nutshell
- 5-element cooktop, inc. quick-boil, extra-large, and flexible elements
- 5.3-cubic-feet oven
- Combined dial and touch controls
A slide-in range offering both quality and style.Check Price
Why We Picked It
A slide-in range can add convenience and style to your kitchen, and we’ve chosen the GE JS760SLSS Slide-In Electric Range as our top pick.
The GE slide-in range is a 5.3 cubic feet oven with a 5-element cooktop and flexible 12-inch and 9-inch dual-elements. It also features a 9-inch/6-inch power boil element, along with a low-heat element for keep-warm functions.
The oven uses European convection and features a fast preheat, along with a Sabbath Mode, which will disable the oven’s 12-hour auto-off until the Sabbath Mode is disabled. A large window makes it easy to check in on your food. Below the oven is a single drawer for storage.
The GE slide-in range comes with a limited 1-year warranty.
Keep in Mind
Though equipped with some excellent features, this does leave the oven controls looking cluttered at a glance.
In a Nutshell
- 5.3-cubic-feet oven
- 5-element cooktop with flex elements, power boil, and low-heat element
- European convection
The perfect option for cooktop shoppers.Check Price
Why We Picked It
For customers who already have an oven or don’t want a full range, we’ve chosen the GE Radiant Electric Cooktop as our Best Stovetop.
This stovetop has a roomy 30-inch design featuring five burners, including two that users can sync to provide even heat to large cookware such as griddle pans. A Power Boil function provides amplified wattage to boil liquids quicker, and tri-ring elements allow for variable-sized pans.
This cooktop is controlled by glide touch controls, allowing dial-style control over temperature while being easier to clean. Users can also lock controls to prevent accidental activation, which also doubles as an excellent safety feature.
The ceramic smooth-top design and lack of raised controls make this cooktop a breeze to keep clean.
The GE cooktop comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
Keep in Mind
Though stylish, the touch controls lack the tactility of dials.
In a Nutshell
- 30-inch, 5-burner cooktop
- Power Boil, synch elements, and variable size burners
- Glide touch controls
A luxury range that earns its price tag.Check Price
Why We Picked It
Looking to really treat yourself? A luxury range might be the way to do it—and our recommendation is the Bosch 800 Series HEI8056U.
This is a stylish, modern, 4.6-cubic-feet slide-in range. The cooktop features an asymmetrical 5-element layout, including a powerful 3,200-Watt element and a variable-size element.
Oven and cooktop functions are both controlled by front-mounted controls. The cooktop uses classic dials, while the oven is controlled by touch controls with multiple function buttons and keypad-style number entry.
The single-compartment oven uses full European convection for a uniform in-oven temperature and includes a warming drawer, fast preheat, and a meat probe for roasting. It also features a broil element.
A self-cleaning cycle and the featureless cooktop make this range easy to clean and maintain.
Keep in Mind
The Bosch takes our Best Splurge category by having one obvious drawback: its price!
In a Nutshell
- 4.6 cubic feet oven
- 5-element cooktop
- European convection, fast preheat, and warming drawer
How We Chose the Best Electric Ranges and Stoves
To choose the best ranges and stoves, we consider a few key categories that give us a complete picture of each model, from its ease of use to its performance.
Here are some of the categories we looked at for choosing the best electric ranges and stoves:
Electric burners come in more than one type. Each burner has its own wattage, which affects its heat output, and many cooktops have flex-width elements for different pot and pan sizes. Others include synced elements for use with larger cookware, like griddle pans. Some stoves include high-wattage burners specifically for boiling liquids.
We looked at each of the burners on every cooktop, including its wattage, size, and any sync options available. We also made a note of burner positioning, as this can play a role in their versatility.
This category only applies to ranges, but we note any special features of the oven, such as the number of racks, fast preheat, and broiling capabilities.
We also looked at the convection style of the oven. Some ovens use American convection, which uses a fan to drive heated air around the oven. Others use European convection, in which the heat also comes from behind the fan, creating a more uniform temperature throughout.
A range or stovetop is a big investment and it should last many years before it needs replacing. We take a look at the build quality, materials, and general durability of each product to estimate its longevity and figure out if it meets our expectations. We also identify any obvious potential points of failure, like delicate dials or weak door handles.
When selecting our top picks, we balanced performance and durability against the price tag. We understand that not everyone shops with an unlimited budget, so we tried to give a mix of price levels to suit most needs. In general, ranges and stoves at higher price points have more features, but that doesn’t mean a cheaper range or stove performs worse.
Customer reviews are a great way to get a big-picture view of how the appliance performs in a live setting. We take a look at customer reviews to identify any common themes, like quirks or things to be aware of.
Electric Ranges vs. Electric Stoves
When buying a new range or stove, it’s important to know the difference between the two.
A range is a complete oven and cooktop appliance, and is one of the most common sights in a modern kitchen. Ranges outsell independent ovens and cooktops, though they sacrifice in flexibility what they make up for in convenience.
A stove is technically a range without an oven, but in everyday speech, “stove” is also shorthand for a stovetop/cooktop, and that’s the sense we use it in here. A stove is the cooktop element in isolation, installed separately from an oven.
Ranges are popular with people who have the available space and kitchen layout to buy an oven/cooktop combo. As an all-in-one appliance, a range can be cheaper than buying two separate appliances, and more convenient.
However, stoves are often the choice for people who already own an oven, or, for logistical reasons, want to keep the cooktop and oven separate. Stoves also have the advantage of separating the oven and cooktop so that a problem with one doesn’t lead to replacing the whole appliance, which can be both wasteful and expensive.
Cooktops are also popular for people who want to eliminate the bending and stretching required for a combined unit. With a separate cooktop and oven, the oven can be raised to a more accessible height.
Types of Electric Ranges and Stoves
Understanding the difference between a range and stove doesn’t quite put you in the clear. There are still several different types of electric ranges available, so you need to know the difference between them.
The most common range types are:
- Freestanding range: A freestanding range is a complete range unit that can stand anywhere in the kitchen. These usually include a backsplash panel on which controls are sometimes mounted.
- Slide-in range: A slide-in range is configured to overlap with existing kitchen countertops and leave no gaps.
- Front control range: A front control range is a hybrid of the two styles, with no backsplash panel and a design that blends seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen like a slide-in.
One common variation of the range is a double oven, usually featuring a small compartment (often with broiling capability) above the larger, main compartment, or two compartments side-by-side. These ovens have less overall capacity than single-compartment ovens and we haven’t included any in our top picks.
There are also two main types of electric cooktops:
- Coil: Coil cooktops have exposed burners that come into direct contact with the pan during cooking.
- Smooth-top: Smooth-tops have a sleek design, with the elements located under the cooktop surface. These cooktops are completely flat.
Who Should Get an Electric Range or Stove
Many customers find an electric range or stove to be an upgrade over gas. They’re easy to install, as installation simply involves moving the range into place and connecting it to the mains. Electric ranges and stoves are also more energy-efficient, and, in the case of smooth-top stoves, easier to clean.
One big advantage of electric stoves and ranges lies in their reduced dependence on infrastructure. A home needs either a natural gas or propane supply for a gas range or stove. While many homes do have access to gas, there are plenty that don’t.
Electric stoves also tend to be more reliable over time. Gas burners can become fickle as they age, with igniter failure being a common problem. Smooth-top electric cooktops also have fewer points of failure, as their coils are protected under the cooktop surface, whereas gas burners can be damaged through mishandling or dirt accumulation.
While it’s small, gas cooktops do present more of a safety risk. If the gas supply is left on, it could fill a house with volatile gas. Though rare, there are cases of gas-induced home destruction every year.
Electric vs. Gas vs. Induction
There are three main types of cooktop: electric, gas, and induction. Most people are familiar with the first two. Induction cooktops are rarer, and use magnetic induction to directly heat pots and pans, instead of heating by convection.
A range of factors will play into your decision on which to buy. They’ll include things like whether your home has a gas supply, the wiring available, and the available space. Your budget will also be a limiting factor.
To help you make a decision, here’s a look at the pros and cons of the three types:
What to Consider When Choosing an Electric Range or Stove
When choosing an electric range or stove, there’s a lot to consider. You’re going to use the appliance almost daily, so you need to make the right choices for you.
There are two primary coil types for cooktops: smooth-tops and exposed coils.
Both use the same basic principles in operation, but they differ in how evenly they heat, how easy they are to maintain, and how resistant they are to damage.
Smooth-tops typically have the advantage in all three areas. With the coil located below the surface of the cooktop, they provide a flat, wipe-clean heating surface that won’t be damaged by repeated use.
However, exposed coil designs are often cheaper and they do have the advantage of greater overall efficiency. As the pan is in direct contact with the coil, no energy is wasted in heating the cooking surface.
Most shoppers decide on their new range or cooktop by assessing their current kitchen. Your kitchen layout, infrastructure, and accessibility needs will all factor into the choice you make.
For instance, a buyer who doesn’t want to make alterations to his or her existing kitchen may choose a freestanding range, as it can be placed next to existing counters. When remodeling, however, many shoppers will upgrade a freestanding range to a slide-in unit, or even opt for a separate oven and cooktop.
Cooktops come in a range of sizes to suit all kitchens, but the most common is 30 inches, which allows for 5 elements and provides plenty of space.
Burner Wattage and Placement
The power of an electric burner is determined by its wattage, which translates into the Btus the burner puts out.
Cooks who need precision will pay careful attention to the wattage, as high wattage can damage some pans and a low wattage is better suited to melting or keeping warm. Some cooktops include high-wattage burners intended specifically for high-energy tasks, such as bringing liquids to boil.
Some will prefer high-wattage burners toward the front of the cooktop, and others toward the back. This is a matter of preference usually resulting from previous habits.
For homes with kids and pets, safety is often paramount. The best way to avoid an accident is to minimize risks. Luckily, there are plenty of ranges and stoves built for safety.
For cooktops, safety features include things like lockable controls. Electric cooktops often include prominent warning lights when a burner is still hot and may feature lockable controls to prevent activation by children and pets (particularly on touch-controlled interfaces). Some ranges also include lockable oven doors.
Aesthetics will always be a vital consideration for some shoppers, and electric cooktops come in a wide range of designs. Some aim to retain a classic look, while others aim for the modern and minimalist. Some models come with multiple options, so you can tailor your cooktop to your kitchen. In other cases, choosing a different design may mean choosing a different model.
One of the big design considerations for cooktops lies in how easy they are to clean. Raised coils and dials collect grime and are difficult to wipe down, while smooth-tops and touch or front-mounted controls can make cleaning easier.
Price will always be a limiting factor for some buyers, so it’s important to decide your budget before you shop. Prices for electric cooktops usually begin around $300, with electric ranges beginning slightly higher, around $400 at a minimum. These quickly scale up as additional features are added and as build quality increases.
How to Clean Your Electric Range or Stove
To get the most out of your range or stove, you need to know how to take care of it. Here’s a useful guide that will help you
- Smooth-tops: For smooth-topped stoves, cleaning should be as easy as wiping it down with a wet cloth. To bring back the sparkle and remove stubborn stains, you can use the above method with the addition of glass-friendly cleaning products.
- For coil cooktops: Coil cooktops can be a little tougher, as you’ll need to work around the coils, but you can still wipe them down with water and cleaning products. Be sure to empty and clean the drip pans under each coil, too. The top panel of most coil cooktops also lifts for deeper cleaning. You should disconnect the unit from the mains before going near the more sensitive parts of the cooktop.
Cleaning a range can be a little messier and more tedious, but here are some tips to speed it up:
- Be wary of self-cleaning functions: Many ovens include a self-cleaning function and it’s tempting to activate it at the first sign of grime. However, these could dramatically increase the level of carbon monoxide in your home and cause respiratory problems for people with health conditions. It’s better to stick to softer methods first.
- Get some gloves: With some decent gloves, you’ll be able to scrub harder and protect your hands at the same time.
- Use light solutions first: Advertising conditions us to buy strong cleaning products, but you’ll be amazed how efficient simple solutions like baking soda and white vinegar can be. Wipe down your oven with a paste of baking soda and water, leave to sit overnight, and then wipe clean, using white vinegar where needed to clean more stubborn areas.
- For extremely stubborn stains, use oven cleaner: There are some situations where the nuclear option is unavoidable—though this is usually caused by a lack of regular maintenance. For this, you can use dedicated oven cleaners. Be warned, however: they’re incredibly abrasive and can destroy delicate surfaces like floor tiles and countertops.
Looking for more kitchen guides? Be sure to check out our other pages.