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Cooking on a budget: The best inexpensive ovens

One of the more budget-busting trends to come along in kitchens is toward professional-grade appliances. Instead of traditional ranges, which combine a stovetop and an oven, consumers are putting in wall ovens and $3,000 Viking cooktops fit for an Iron Chef. If your cooking style tends more toward Marie Callender than Mario Batali, consider that a quality range can run you less than $600, leaving
The Frigidaire FGF348KS stands out among low-cost ranges with its fifth burner.
The Frigidaire FGF348KS stands out among low-cost ranges with its fifth burner.Today

One of the more budget-busting trends to come along in kitchens is toward professional-grade appliances. Instead of traditional ranges, which combine a stovetop and an oven, consumers are putting in wall ovens and $3,000 Viking cooktops fit for an Iron Chef. If your cooking style tends more toward Marie Callender than Mario Batali, consider that a quality range can run you less than $600, leaving money left over for those coveted granite countertops.

Below are Cheapism’s top picks for affordable ranges.

  • The GE JBS55DM (starting at $495) is an electric model with a large oven and a smooth, ceramic-glass surface that’s easy to clean. Most consumers find it powerful and praise its even cooking. It comes in black, white, and stainless steel. (Where to buy)
  • The Hotpoint RB757DPWH (starting at $404) is the only model on our list that boasts a self-cleaning oven. This electric range is capable of boiling water quickly and keeping food at a simmer, according to reviews. It comes in white but is also available in the more yellow-y neutral known as bisque. (Where to buy)
  • The Frigidaire FGF348KS (starting at $539) is a gas range with five burners instead of the standard four. Consumers appreciate the oval-shaped fifth burner, heavy grates, and accurate temperatures, reporting that the stove delivers plenty of heat. This white model is also available in stainless steel at a higher price point. (Where to buy)
  • The Kenmore 70402 (starting at $360) is a basic gas range with no bells or whistles, but consumers seem satisfied with its performance -- especially given the price. It’s a white model with a broiler drawer that also comes in black. The pricier stainless steel version has a larger window on the oven door. (Where to buy)

In general, a gas stove heats up more quickly and allows you more precise control over the temperature, while an electric model can make for more even heating and easier cleaning. Old-fashioned electric ranges with coiled burners typically cost the least, although models with smooth tops are increasingly popular and may be similarly inexpensive. Induction ranges, on the other hand, have high price tags and require specialized magnetic cookware.

All the ranges on our list are freestanding gas and electric models with finished sides and a backsplash that displays the controls. They measure 30 inches across, the amount of space allotted in most kitchen designs. (Smaller models are relatively scarce, so good luck if you’re outfitting a tiny galley kitchen.) The ovens have at least 4 cubic feet of space inside, enough to cook for four or more people. The GE JBS55DM boasts the largest oven, at 5.3 cubic feet.

A stainless-steel finish tends to add about $100 to the price of a range and may be more prone to streaks and smudges than white and bisque surfaces. However, stainless is an in-demand look that could pay dividends if you decide to sell your house. HGTV advises opting for stainless steel over professional grade to appeal to the masses.

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