Shopping for cooking gear offers a range of options

You don't have to pay a lot to get speedy cooking and sleek styling

Published: June 25, 2014 11:15 AM


Shopping for cooking appliances just got a whole lot easier. Today. even mid-priced models boast premium features, sleek styling, and speedy cooking. Among the options available are double ovens, induction cooktops, and convenience features. Standalone ranges are best for kitchens where you're simply replacing a range or where the range is the centerpiece. But if you're remodeling your kitchen you may want to consider a cooktop-wall oven combination, which puts your baking and roasting at eye level. Here are the features to consider as well as some recommended models from Consumer Reports tests.

Dual-fuel ranges. These pair a gas cooktop with an electric oven. Manufacturers tout more even heating compared with gas ovens. But our tests have found no clear advantages.
Recommended range with this feature. The KitchenAid KDRS407VSS pro-style range, $4,000, delivered impressive performance in our tests.

Electronic touchpad controls. Look for controls that are visible and easy to reach when cooking. A digital display makes it easier to set and monitor the precise temperature.
Recommended range with this feature. The single-oven LG LRE3083W, $1,000, electric smoothtop features an easy-to-clean numeric keypad.

Hot-surface lights. A must on electric ranges and cooktops, they alert you that an element is still hot. It's best if each element has its own light.
Recommended range with this feature. The GE Cafe CS980SNSS, $2,800, has a warning light for each of its five elements.

Kenmore 43820

Smoothtop ranges and cooktops. Easier to clean than coils, but use a nonabrasive cooktop cleaner and a special pad to avoid scratching the surface.
Recommended cooktop with this feature. The KitchenAid KECC604BBL cooktop, $900, has two high-powered and one expandable element.

Induction cooktops and ranges. These require magnetic cookware, though it's readily available.
Recommended cooktop with this feature. Kenmore 43820, $1,700, induction cooktop was excellent at both high and low heat.

An oven's usable capacity. It can be a lot less than a manufacturer claims because some manufacturers include nooks and crannies. If you have a favorite large roaster, take it along when shopping.
Recommended wall oven with this feature. The Maytag MEW9530AW, $1,400, features a large oven with ample capacity.

Double-ovens. In double-oven ranges, convection is usually in the lower oven; some have it in both. Double wall ovens usually have convection in the upper oven.
Recommended wall oven with this feature. The Whirlpool WOD93EC0AS, $2,500, features convection in the upper oven.

Double-oven ranges with the oven on bottom. Imagine yourself lifting a turkey or large roast out of the lower oven. Does it feel too low?
Recommended range with this feature. The Frigidaire FGEF302TNF electric smoothtop, $1,400, has two same-sized ovens.

—Kimberly Janeway

Kitchen Planning Guide

Cooking with gas or not. Find cooking gear that fits your lifestyle plus the right refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave and more in our Kitchen Planning Guide.

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