If you struggled to cram your entire Thanksgiving feast into an old, undersized oven, you should know that newer ranges have bigger ovens. And if you need a new range, it’s a particularly good time to splurge on one.

It will arrive in time for the busy holiday baking season, and you’ll save money over what you’d pay other times of the year.

“Now is the perfect time to buy a range,” says Claudette Ennis, CR’s market analyst for ranges. “You can get a good deal this time of year, and the newest models are on the showroom floor.”

Consumer Reports has found big differences in the size of ovens in the ranges we test, and our test results show that capacity and capability don’t always go hand-in-hand.

“A huge oven is nice to have if you’re trying to heat a bunch of casseroles for a potluck,” says Tara Casaregola, who heads up CR’s range testing program. “But a bigger oven isn’t as useful as you might think if you’re trying to bake or roast different foods at once, since you can still cook at only one temperature.”


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In other words, if you’re slow-roasting a pork shoulder at 275° F, a large oven may also have space for a gratin dish full of root veggies. But if you want to roast them at, say, 450° F, so they develop a nicely caramelized exterior, a bigger oven won’t help you.

Instead, look to a double-oven range, which features two separate cavities that can be set at different temperatures. These models are more versatile and tend to do very well in our oven capacity test. You’ll have to give up the bottom warming or storage drawer to accommodate the second oven, but you’ll get more usable space for baking and roasting.

How We Test Oven Capacity

In addition to our standard set of cooktop and oven performance tests, which call for heating water, simmering, and baking upwards of 2,400 cakes per year, we assess and score oven capacity in a way that captures usable space, not just total size.

We put a rack in the oven’s lowest position and measure to the underside of the upper heating element. Next, we measure the width of the rack to see how much usable space is on each rack. Ranges with the biggest ovens and the broadest array of rack positions tend to fare best in our capacity test.

Here are five top-performing ranges from CR’s ratings with ovens big enough to cook for a crowd:

Electric Ranges

Best Single-Oven Electric Smoothtop
LG LRE3083SW
Price: $855
CR’s take: This workhorse from LG crams a whole lot into its 30-inch-wide footprint. In addition to its cavernous oven, which offers a generous seven rack positions, it features a high-powered burner, a warming element, and digital controls. It aced our top-of-the-range heating and simmering tests, and bakes and broils beautifully, too. We tested it in white, but it’s also available in stainless steel.

Best Double-Oven Electric Smoothtop
Samsung NE59J7850WS
Price: $1,300
CR’s take: All but one of the double-oven electric smoothtop ranges in our ratings gets top marks for usable oven space. This Samsung is among them and features a partition that allows you to divide the oven cavity and bake or roast at two different temperatures. Or you can remove the partition and use the entire cavity for cooking large items such as a turkey or roast.

Gas Ranges

Best Single-Oven Gas Range
Samsung NX58H5600SS
Price: $700
CR’s take: This Samsung range exemplifies our finding that paying more rarely gets you a better range. For $700, this model has five gas burners, continuous grates, and one of the largest ovens of any range in our ratings. It’s also stellar at simmering and a solid baker, even if it takes a little longer to heat water than other models.

Best Double-Oven Gas Range
GE PGB980ZEJSS
Price: $2,200
CR’s take: This GE is among the strongest performers of any gas range in our ratings. It heats quickly, simmers steadily, and offers above-average baking. And because it features two ovens, it has more usable capacity than other gas ranges. The smaller, upper oven, has two rack positions, and the larger oven below has four.

Pro-Style Range

Best Pro-Style Range
GE Monogram ZGP304NRSS
Price: $4,700
CR’s take: Pro-style ranges are a compromise. None of the models in our ratings have second ovens, warming drawers, or dedicated storage drawers. And because they’re often better insulated, and built from thicker materials, many don’t have the oven capacity of regular ranges.

This GE, which doesn’t score well enough for us to recommend, does offer one of the largest ovens of any 30-inch pro-style model in our ratings. And it scored just a few points shy of the top-rated pro-style, the KitchenAid KDRS407VSS, $4,140. That model earns a score of good for oven capacity, has better cooktop scores, and costs almost $600 less. If you can live with a little less oven space, it’s the better deal.