The oven has traditionally been considered the heart of the kitchen. But most of the products we tested in 2013 were anything but old-fashioned. Induction cooktops, smart wall ovens, and double-oven ranges were among some of the more innovative cooking products we tested this year. We also came across some great entry-level products, and a few great values.
Even though we saw a lot of interesting products this year, we only gave our 2013 Best of Year Awards to the most exceptional products we encountered. If you're looking for a new oven, here are our recommendations.
Best Electric Range - KitchenAid Architect II KERS306BSS
Runner Up - Frigidaire Gallery FGEF306TMF
If you're looking for a large, single-oven range, this KitchenAid is a great choice. The 6.2 cubic foot oven includes two specialty racks: one that slides out with ease, and another that's U-shaped to hold a Thanksgiving turkey or a roast. Temperatures were even throughout the oven, and two burners on the cooktop took almost no time to boil water. (MSRP $1,525)
A close runner-up was the Frigidaire Gallery FGEF306TMF, which features two equal-size ovens, large enough to cook two turkeys at once. Aside from the unique double ovens, it showed consistent and accurate temperatures and fast boiling times. It won our Best Double Oven Range award.
Best Mid-Range Electric Range - LG LRE3023ST
LG's affordable LRE3023ST features convection and a keep-warm burner, and it did quite well in our lab tests. LG's informed us that it's being replaced shortly by the LRE3083ST, so you might be able to snag a deal. Or you can wait for the newer oven, which will feature LG's new EasyClean enamel that promises the ability to self-clean on low heat with just some water and sponge. (MSRP $999)
Best Value Electric Range - Amana AER5523XAW
This entry-level Amana may be inexpensive, but that doesn't mean it can't perform as well as ovens that cost three times as much. Fast boiling and straightforward styling won us over, despite oven performance that's only average. It's still a tremendous value, especially if you can find it on sale. Whirlpool let us know that they're replacing this model with a new range, the ACR4530BAW. Everything remains the same except some minor cosmetic differences. (MSRP $499)
Best Gas Range - KitchenAid KGRS308BSS
The fantastic KitchenAid KGRS308BSS features convection, smooth-sliding racks, heavy-duty continuous grates, and even a griddle. We liked the front-mounted controls and abundance of stainless steel, and we loved the fast preheat and boil times. If you're cooking with gas, you should be cooking with the KGRS308BSS. (MSRP $1,799)
Runner Up - Electrolux EI30GF35JS
With eye-catching contemporary design, this Electrolux marries tradition and modernity. Our tests showed the EI30GF35JS was capable of fast boiling and preheats, and kept temperatures even in the oven. Compared to other gas ranges, this Electrolux's burners produced a wide range of temperatures. (MSRP $1,499)
Best Induction Range - Electrolux EW30IF60IS
Induction is by far the most responsive, most efficient, and safest way of cooking, which is why we're strong proponents of the technology. That's also why this Electrolux is such an exceptional range: It scored at the top of a very impressive bunch of appliances. Taking just three minutes to boil six cups of water, this range also dialed back the heat for a slow simmer in an instant. Add an exceptional oven and tons of optional features—like bread proofing and food dehydration—and you've got yourself the best range we've tested this year. (MSRP $2,899)
Runner Up - Samsung NE597N0PBSR
Samsung's NE597N0PBSR features all the benefits of induction, plus a slightly lower price tag. We like the fact the two left elements can be used individually or as one large burner, and we also appreciated the Boil Alert feature that automatically regulates temperatures to keep liquids from boiling over. (MSRP $2,399)
Best Double Oven Range - Frigidaire Gallery FGEF306TMF
This Frigidaire may be conservatively styled but it'll stand out in your kitchen. With two equal-sized ovens big enough to cook two 28 lb. turkeys at once, superb temperature control in each oven, and some of the fastest boiling times we've seen from an electric cooktop, this range could save your family's Thanksgiving—or at least make it easier to cook dinner. (MSRP $1,699)
Best Induction Cooktop - KitchenAid KICU509XBL
The futuristic-looking KICU509XBL also conceals the latest in cooking technology. Like most induction cooktops, it can automatically adjust the induction field to fit the size of a pan. It can even bridge two burners for unusually large items. The primary burner took just two minutes to boil six cups of water, which is absolutely astounding. (MSRP $1,749)
Runner Up - Electrolux EW30IC60LS
Modern design, responsive controls, and a wide range of temperatures won us over to this Electrolux. The most powerful element boiled six cups of water in under 2.5 minutes, and the others didn't fall too far behind. (MSRP $1,999)
Best Gas Cooktop - Thermador SGSX365FS
This classic Thermador cooktop will give you all the tools necessary to cook like a pro. Five burners, five knobs, and a continuous surface make this cooktop supremely easy to use, and superb temperature control gives a wide range of temperatures to play with. We were especially fans of Thermador's ExtraLow feature, which got the front-left burner down to just 84ºF. (MSRP $1,899)
Runner Up - Whirlpool G7CG3064XS
This thoughtfully-designed Whirlpool will fit in with almost any kitchen theme. Affordable and functional, we were pleased to see a relatively wide range of temperatures and fast boil times. (MSRP $1,099)
Best Electric Cooktop - Electrolux EI30EC45KS
With temperature output ranging from just 86ºF to over 700ºF, this Electrolux's lab results left us impressed. Its ability to boil six cups of water in just four minutes on two elements confirmed that this is a superb electric cooktop. A Flex-2-Fit element can accommodate pots and pans of three sizes, and responsive touch controls didn't leave us longing for physical knobs and dials. (MSRP $1,299)
Runner Up - KitchenAid Architect Series II KECC605BSS
This KitchenAid electric rangetop is also a great choice, and will fit in a wider variety of kitchens. Chunky knobs are easy to turn, and reveal a wide range of temperatures. You'll have no problem simmering soup or searing a steak. (MSRP $1,149)
Best Oven Innovation —
GE Brillion App and Notification Lighting
Though GE's latest wall ovens may look traditional, the company's engineers have actually added a whole lot of tech behind the scenes. One of our favorite advances is the Brillion app, which lets you check on your oven, set timers, and change temperatures from a smartphone. We're also fans of Notification Lighting, a bright bar of red light beneath the oven's control panel that shows how close it is to fully preheated or how long before the timer goes off. It's an easy way to get that information with just a glance. Together, they make GE's new line of high-end wall ovens extremely easy to use.
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