If you love the look of stainless steel but hesitate to fork over $5,000 to $6,000 for a pro-style range from brands like Wolf, Viking, and Thermador, now’s the perfect time to shop. Mainstream appliance manufacturers including GE, Whirlpool, Maytag, and Kenmore are selling Tthe Best electric range under 600 appliances.
There’s a caveat, though. In exchange for the using the shiny, higher-cost metal, some manufacturers have stripped away features such as high-powered burners or self-cleaning ovens to save on manufacturing costs. And it’s rare that you’ll find convection ovens, warming drawers, or griddle burners on these less expensive stainless ranges.
But the burning question is this: Do these cheaper ranges perform well enough on essential cooking tasks like simmering and baking? To find out, CR put 11 stainless steel ranges priced at $600 or less to the test, and the verdict is in:
For our ratings, we buy and test nearly 200 ranges from over 20 brands, including those from major manufacturers like Amana, Electrolux, Kenmore, Frigidaire, GE, LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool. We also buy and test models from pro-style brands like Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, Thermador, Viking, and Wolf to find out how the priciest ranges fare. Here, we’ve highlighted five great-performing stainless steel ranges for $600 or less, plus two models to avoid.
Best electric range under 600
RANK NO. #1
Stanco 5556 4 Pack Universal Electric Range Chrome Reflector Drip Bowl
- Fits most plug-in electric ranges * Fits most Amana, Crosley, Frigidaire, Maytag, Whirlpool plus GE/Hotpoint made prior to 1990
- Heavy Duty Chrome Plating
- Speeds Cooking Time Saving Energy
- Makes Cook Top Look New Again
- Product Dimensions: The 8″ bowl will fit into a stove top opening with diameter of 8.2″ and the 6″ bowl will fit into a stove top opening with diameter of 6. 5″
Electric Stove Burner Covers (50 Pack) – Electric Stove Bib Liners – Disposable Aluminum Foil 6 Inch and 8 Inch Round Burner Cover Liners to Keep Electric Range Stove Clean from Oil and Food Drips
- DISPOSABLE BURNER COVERS FOR ELECTRIC STOVES – This pack of 50 Disposable Aluminum Foil Round Burner Covers is a must-have range accessory to key your stovetop in mint condition. Avoid the hassle of scrubbing out burn or food residue from your oven surface. With these burner bibs, you’ll never have to stress about cleaning your burners again!
- SUPERIOR QUALITY ALUMINUM FOIL – Made of high quality aluminum foil, this pack of silver burner covers are highly heat conducive and extra durable for maximum usage.
- KEEP YOUR STOVETOP CLEAN – Protect your stove from oil and food spills with these durable burner bibs. Removing burn stains can be very time consuming as well. Avoid the tedious cleanup process by investing in the best burner covers on the market. These liners will always have your burners looking brand new and in great condition.
- GREAT VALUE PACK – This value pack includes 25 of each 6-inch round burner covers and 8-inch round burner covers. These liners were specially designed to fit most brand oven and cooktop appliances.
- ORDER YOURS TODAY!
Frigidaire 316442301 Element, 8 Inch, black
- RECOMMENDED USE: Universal element to install in a stovetop surface in the 8-inch space
- GENUINE REPLACEMENT PART: Made specifically to be compatible with Frigidaire stoves
- POWER TYPE: Electric
- COLLECTION: Smart Choice
- COMPATIBILITY: Ensure Frigidaire replacement part number 316442301 is compatible with your appliance before purchasing
Kitchen Basics 101: 2 of WB31M20 and 2 of WB31M19 Range Cooktop Porcelain Drip Pan Bowls Replacement for GE 4 Piece Set
- Includes: 4 Pieces total. (2) 6″ WB31M20 and (2) 8″ WB31M19 porcelain drip pan bowls
- 8″ measure 9.76″ (8.56″ is the critical dimension. See image)
- 6″ measures 7.54″ (6.45″ is the critical dimension. See image)
- Replacement for GE Hotpoint electric ranges made before 1990. WB31T10014 and WB31T10015, P119204XZ
- Made in the USA. Warranty- All parts sold by SupplyEdge come with a 1 year, no questions asked, no hassle warranty.
Weiman Cooktop Cleaner Kit – Cook Top Cleaner and Polish 10 oz. Scrubbing Pad, Cleaning Tool, Cooktop Razor Scraper
- Reveal – non-abrasive cooktop pads help easily remove heavily burned on foods, grease & grime.
- Revitalize – micro-bead technology gives scrubbing power & leaves a brilliant shine without scratching
- Shines – dramatically cleans, shines and protects glass/ceramic/induction smooth top ranges.
- Safe – leave a streak-free shine while removing splattered food, dirt, oily residue & watermarks.
- Use on – All major glass/ceramic cooktop manufactures including GE, Whirlpool, Frigidaire & THERMADOR
Kitchen Basics 101 4 Pack (2) 6″ & (2) 8″ Replacement Chrome Pans for Whirlpool W10278125 W10196405 W10196406
- Includes (2) 6″ W10196406 and (2) 8″ W10196405 chrome pans
- 6″ measures 7.5″. 8″ measures 9.4″
- Fits most Whirlpool and Maytag most plug-in electric ranges cooktops.
- Durable, high quality replacements for Whirlpool, Kenmore, Sears oven range or stove
- Made in the USA
Kitchen Basics 101 4 Pack Chrome (2) 6″ & (2) 8″ Replacement for GE/Hotpoint Electric Range Reflector Bowls Drip Pans With Locking Slot WB31T10010 WB31T10011
- Includes (2) 6″ and (2) 8″ chrome drip pans
- 6″ measures 7.6″. 8″ measures 9.75″
- Style B fits Plug-in Electric Ranges Camco, GE, Hotpoint, Kenmore (1995-2003), Moffat, Monogram (GE), Profile (GE), RCA (GE), Roper (Prior to 1996).
- Made in the USA
Reston Lloyd Electric Stove Burner Covers, Set of 4, White
- Burner cover set designed for electric stovetops in solid white
- Each set comes with 2-8″ and 2-10″ round burner covers made of tin
- Covers help beautify your range top and increase counter space; covers stove top burners when not in use
- Keep kitchen looking clean and organized
- Easy to clean, hand wash recommended and towel dry
Power options for stoves and ovens
The heat output from electric cooktops is measured in watts. Output varies from stove to stove and burner to burner, but the output generally falls somewhere between 1,200 watts for low heat on a small burner and 3,800 BTUs for high heat on a large burner, though we’ve seen outliers at both ends of the spectrum. There are different types of electric cooktops from which you can select:
Smoothtop (glass-ceramic cooktop)
These cooktops are made of smooth glass-ceramic with heating units under the surface. A built-in sensor lets you know when a burner is still hot. This is important with smooth electric cooking surfaces, because the burner doesn’t always turn red if the heat is low.
Keep in mind that this type of cooktop is prone to scratches, and not all cookware is safe to use on the surface (the appliance’s manual will give you those specifics).
These burners convert the electricity that runs into the coil into heat. These cooktops contain thermostat sensors that notify you when a burner is on, but not necessarily whether it is still hot. Electric coil stoves are notorious for uneven cooking because of uneven distribution of the coil.
In short, it is hard to keep the coil perfectly level, which can make all of the food in the pan slide to one side. In addition, electric coil stoves are slow to heat and slow to cool. But ranges with this type of cooktop are cheaper than comparable models.
Induction burners use the heat created from electromagnetic energy to cook your food. An element just below the surface of an induction cooktop creates a magnetic field. When you put a piece of cookware containing iron on top of that magnetic element, it causes a vibration of sorts that converts to heat through a series of magnetic interactions with iron (you can read more about the science behind induction here).
These cooktops are safer than gas or electric burners because they don’t use flames or direct heat — induction burners won’t start to heat if you put something on them that doesn’t contain magnetic material. Induction cooktops are also more efficient and heat things quicker than other types of burners (the ones we’ve tested have boiled a large pot of water in an average of 6 minutes).
There are a few downsides to induction cooktops. You have to make sure you have cookware that will work with the cooking surface, and ranges with induction burners tend to cost more money than comparable electric or gas ranges.
Electric ovens: This type of oven uses a heating element that is either visible on the top or bottom of the oven, or hidden. Our baking tests show that they often cook more evenly than their gas counterparts.
Both home and professional cooks have valued gas stovetops because of the how uniform the heat output is. An open flame surrounds the bottom of your cookware, which evenly distributes the heat around it. This heat output is measured in BTUs (British thermal units). Like electric models, the power range varies from model to model, but the output generally falls somewhere between 5,000 BTUs for low heat on a small burner and 18,000 BTUs for high heat on a large burner. We’ve seen burners on high-end ranges get as low as 800 BTUs and as high as 20,000 BTUs. If you’re a speedy cook, be aware that our cooking tests show gas cooktops tend to take longer to boil large pots of water than electric or induction cooktops.
When it comes to gas ovens, we’ve seen in our cook tests that they have a harder time producing even baking results than electric ovens.
Some ranges use two types of power: gas for the cooktop, and electric in the oven. These dual-fuel ranges are a good compromise for folks who want the direct heat of a gas burner but the even cooking of an electric oven. However, these hybrids cost more than traditional one-power-source ranges.
Freestanding ranges are designed to fit anywhere in a kitchen. Oven controls are often located on a back panel that raises up above the cooktop. These are less expensive than slide-in models.
These ranges don’t have a back panel and are meant to fit in flush with the surrounding countertops. Slide-in ranges are often more expensive than freestanding models because of the mechanics that go into putting all the controls up front.
Drop-in ranges are similar to slide-in models — they sit flush with the surrounding countertops and all the controls are located at the front of the unit. But this type of range looks like you dropped it between two cabinets because of a strip of cabinetry you place beneath the appliance.
The search for an oven or range can resemble a visit to a car dealership — there are always opportunities to upgrade. Assess your needs and decide if these bonus features are worth throwing down more money for an appliance.
Companies have become more proactive in including wireless capabilities such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and near-field communication (NFC) in their ovens and stoves so you can control your appliance from your smartphone. For example, you could begin to preheat your Wi-Fi-enabled oven on your way home from the grocery store, so it’s ready for your frozen pizza by the time you get home.
Manufacturers have also started to connect appliances with smart-home products to add some automation and voice control in the kitchen. For example, GE’s Wi-Fi-connected ranges work with Alex and Google Assistant, so you can give voice commands to control your appliance. And Jenn-Air wall ovens work with Nest Learning Thermostats ($269 at Amazon) so you can automatically lower your home’s temperature when the ovens get hot.
Convection fans are built into the back of oven walls. They circulate the heat in the oven so hot air is more evenly dispersed, which means your food will bake more evenly. You’d want convection fans if you’re baking food like cookies on more than one oven rack at the same time. Midprice ovens will have at least one convection fan. Some ovens have what’s called “true” or “European” convection, which means there’s a heating element that surrounds the fan that warms the air as the fan blows. Read more about the science of convection here.
Special cooking modes
Your basic oven can bake and broil. But as the price for ovens increases, you’ll see that there are more cooking options. For example, ovens with convection fans will have modes for convection baking and convection roasting, which will enable the fans and heating elements. Some ovens also come with cook settings for specific foods, such as pizza or turkey, or food preparation methods, like dehydration or bread proofing.
Bottom drawers (baking/warming/broiling)
Some ranges come with a bottom drawer that can serve one of many purposes depending on the model. Some range ovens offer a baking drawer, which enables a person to use the main oven to roast or broil, and the baking drawer for smaller dishes, so you can cook more than one thing at the same time using different temperatures. A warming drawer will keep food warm, but it won’t cook the food. Some ovens have a broiler drawer, which functions like a traditional broiler and must be watched just as closely to ensure that food does not burn.
Temperature probes plug into the wall of your oven, and you use them to monitor the internal temperature of meat as it cooks. The temperature displays on the control panel of your oven, so you don’t have to open the door to see if your dish is done.
Double ovens in conventional space
The ovens on some ranges have dual baking chambers, which give you the flexibility of double wall ovens without the need for more space. These ovens allow the convenience of simultaneous cooking at different temperatures. Some ovens come with a divider that allows you to split your single oven into two unique temperature zones that will remain separate as long as the divider is in place.