Electric smooth top ranges have spent decades as an incredibly popular choice for homeowners around the country. Their ease of use and cleaning, relatively inexpensive price points and streamlined appearance combine a great mix of value and functionality. But choosing the right Flat top electric stove for your kitchen isn’t easy—there are dozens of brands, hundreds of models, and prices ranging from bargain-basement to top-of-the-line. So how do you know which features (and price tags) are worthwhile? What makes one electric range better than the other?
At Designer Appliances, we’ve been selling and servicing electric ranges for years. And because 2020 has been an exciting year for new products from established brands, we decided to create this round-up of the best electric ranges currently on the market.
But first, it’s important to know what goes into the process of picking the right smoothtop range for you.
The five-element cooktop features two adjustable size heating elements, and a warming zone. This is on par with other smooth top electric ranges in the middle of the price range. The front of the range features knob controls for easy stovetop control, while the oven is controlled by a glass digital control panel at the rear of the appliance.The ProBake convection oven is a real star with its immense capacity – 7.3 cubic feet split between dual ovens. This is plenty of room to cook up a three-course meal or a feast for your next dinner party. Note, however, that only the lower oven has convection cooking. When it’s time to clean up, the oven features a 10-minute EasyClean option that uses water to dissolve messes and eliminate odors. So if you want major cooking capacity, combined with adjustable elements, choose this LG smooth top electric range.
Electric smooth top ranges
Flat top electric stove
Best Budget: Whirlpool 4.8 cu. ft. Electric Range
Buy on Home DepotFor a smooth top electric range with all the basic functions you need at an affordable price, check out the Whirlpool 4.8 cu. ft. Electric Range. This model is available in stainless steel, black, or white.To make the most of the smooth cooktop surface, you’ll find four heating elements that include two adjustable size elements. Inside the oven, you’ll have 4.8 cubic feet of space to cook up a variety of meals. The large window in the oven door helps you keep an eye on things without having to open the door. One thing to be aware of, though, is the fact that this is a manual clean oven — so you’ll need to put in some effort to keep it clean.This model is at the bottom of the price range for smooth top electric ranges — but you’ll still have everything you need for tasty meal prep.
Runner-Up, Best Budget: Whirlpool 5.3 cu. ft. Electric Range
Buy on Home DepotIf you have room in your budget to spend a little more on an entry-level smooth top electric range, then Whirlpool offers a 5.3 cu. ft. range with a self-cleaning oven that makes a great choice.Similar to our best budget model, this Whirlpool range also has four heating elements with two adjustable size elements. What sets this smooth top range apart from the more basic (and slightly more affordable) model, is found in the oven.The oven grows to 5.3 cubic feet, and also has a self-cleaning option – which may be important to some home cooks. Additionally, it features a SteamClean option to handle smaller messes using only a little water and a short cleaning cycle. The oven also has AccuBake technology to ensure that a consistent temperature is maintained during cooking and baking. You’ll spend a little more money than what you would spend on our top budget pick, but this Whirlpool model may suit your needs for an entry-level smooth top electric range.
Best Slide-In: KitchenAid 7.1 Induction Range
Buy on Lowe’sInstalling a new stove and oven isn’t an easy task normally. Common projects involving the installation of a new range will often require professionals which increases the overall price of the project. Slide in stoves, however, are great alternatives that can usually be done by yourself on your own time. As the name suggests, these ranges typically slide right into the dedicated oven space in the kitchen and hook up to the necessary connections with ease.For the ultimate level of performance and convenience, there is nothing like the KitchenAid 7.1 Induction Range. Offering the easy installation of a slide-in stove, this option is one of the most efficient ranges on the market today. As an induction range, the stove transfers heat directly through metal pots and pans. This creates an efficient energy transfer with minimal heat loss, meaning liquids will heat up more quickly while the stove top remains cool to the touch.
Ready to find out the five best electric smoothtop ranges for 2019? Let’s get started.
1) Cafe CES700P2MS1 30″ Slide-In Electric Range
Cafe is GE’s high-end appliance imprint company, and their 30″ slide-in tops our list of electric ranges for a reason. It not only boasts high-end power and cooking ability, but also luxurious visual style and features to boot. The edge-to-edge glass cooktop is sleek and streamlined, featuring a Power Boil heating element for fast boiling of water. In the oven, you’ll enjoy True European Convection with Precise Air that’s designed to evenly heat food for world-class baking and roasting.
As with most high-end appliances these days, this Cafe model is also highly connected. It allows you to sync with your favorite digital assistant device or smartphone to remotely control your range.
2) Frigidaire Professional FPEH3077RF 30″ Electric Range
Frigidaire’s name might conjure thoughts of old-fashioned and outdated appliances, but there’s nothing old-fashioned about this high-end range. Featuring 5 burners, two of them linked for griddle or large pan cooking, the FPEH3077RF also features PowerPlus Convection cooking, a built-in temperature probe, Frigidaire’s unique PowerPlus preheat function for lightning-fast preheating, and additional luxury features like smudge-proof stainless steel and PowerGlide racks that slide out to make accessing hot dishes easy and safe.
3) Samsung NE59R6631SS
This Samsung model might seem straightforward, but it’s backed up by Samsung’s commitment to quality and high-tech features that make this a smart choice for any home kitchen. It’s also reasonably priced, making it accessible for more homeowners without breaking the bank. It features five heating elements, a 5.9 c. ft. large capacity oven, convection cooking, self-cleaning mode, rapid boil capabilities, and a stainless steel finish for a contemporary look. Overall, it’s a great budget option for an electric range.
4) Bosch HEI8056U 800 Series 30″ Slide-In Range
Bosch is a highly respected brand in the world of appliances, and this impressive electric range makes it easy to see why. It’s slide-in design eliminates the back panel for a seamless look in your kitchen, and it features elements t hat can be switched between 6″ and 9″ diameter. 11 specialized cooking modes make gourmet cooking easy, while convection cooking and fast preheat times make your oven as flexible as you need it to be. Overall, this is a high-quality entry from Bosch in the world of electric ranges.
5) GE JB860SJSS 30″ Free-Standing Double Oven Range
Occupying the midrange of price but offering high-end features, this GE 30″ double oven allows you cook two different meals at once. And with five cooktop burners, one of them designed for fast-boiling power, you’ll have all the cooking flexibility you need. When it comes to style, this model is available in six distinct color patterns, including stainless steel, and you’ll love the sleek black gloss interior of the oven (and its built-in self clean feature.
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.