Bring on the Heat with the Best Budget Ovens

www.morguefile.com/graceywww.morguefile.com/graceyBy Jane Magaro, Cheapism.com

Redoing a kitchen can be so daunting that you might be tempted to open your outdated freezer and indulge in a pint of calorie-laden gourmet ice cream. Even a minor kitchen remodel (giving walls and cabinets a facelift, replacing countertops and flooring, and installing a new sink and energy-efficient appliances) costs an average of $19,588, according to Remodeling magazine's annual Cost vs. Value Report. But such an undertaking also delivers one of the highest returns of any home project -- about 72% of the cost is recouped on resale -- and there are plenty of places to trim the bill. One of them involves the range (i.e., the stove).

Related: Best Budget Dishwashers

Here are Cheapism's picks for the best ranges on a budget:

  • The GE JBS55DM electric range features a smooth cooktop surface and an extra-large oven, packing a wealth of features into a starting price of $495. Reviewers laud the cooktop's ease of cleaning and aesthetics, as well as the even cooking and oven baking. This GE model comes in black, white, stainless steel, and "clean steel" finishes.
  • The Hotpoint RB757DPWH is noteworthy as the only range on our list with a self-cleaning oven. The oven also features timed and delay-bake functions, and consumers report that it cooks and bakes evenly. The electric Hotpoint starts at $404 and comes in white and bisque.
  • The Frigidaire FGF348KS gas range features an extra, oval-shaped burner for a total of five rather than the standard four. Consumers like its sturdy cast iron grates and easy-to-use electronic controls. This white model starts at $539, but a stainless steel finish is also available for an additional charge.
  • The Kenmore 70402 is a basic, no-frills gas range with a four-burner stovetop and a broiler drawer below the oven. Reviewers appreciate its simplicity and performance for the $360 price. The oven comes in white, black, and stainless steel finishes; the stainless steel option is pricier but sports a larger window on the oven door.

All four of our recommended ranges are freestanding units with finished sides and backsplash-mounted controls. Our top picks also measure 30 inches across, a width that fits standard kitchen designs. The oven in each model has at least 4 cubic feet of capacity; the GE JBS55DM oven is the largest, with 5.3 cubic feet.

Related: Cheap Toaster ovens

Stoves are either electric or gas. Gas stoves, like the Frigidaire FGF348KS and Kenmore 70402, generally cost less to operate than electric models and the heat of the burners can be controlled more precisely. Electric stoves, such as the GE JBS55DM and Hotpoint RB757DPWH, often cost less upfront and electric ovens tend to heat and brown more evenly than gas ovens.

Related: Best Cheap Cookware

Many ranges come in a choice of finishes, including stainless steel. The sleek stainless look costs about $100 extra and is more prone to smudges than the classic white or bisque finishes. Still, it's all the rage these days and may pay off if you decide to sell your house.

More from Cheapism:
Best Budget Refrigerators
Affordable Electric Grills
Cheap BBQ Grills for Summer

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