5 Must-Have Range Features for Holiday Cooking

5 Must-Have Range Features for Holiday Cooking

Now’s a good time to shop for a range, cooktop, or wall oven. As the holiday cooking and baking season heats up you’ll see more sales. And while you’re saving money, look for features that save time and make cooking easier—they’re especially handy when hosting holiday gatherings and for marathon baking sessions. The cooking appliance experts at Consumer Reports put these five features on their wish list. (Be sure to check our kitchen planning guide if your new range will be part of a remodel.)

Expandable elements

Why you’ll like them: They add flexibility, allowing you to switch from a large high-power element to the small, low-power one within it, changing from fast heat to a gentle simmer, and from a skillet to a saucepan.
Electric ranges to consider: Many of our top picks have this feature, including the top-scoring smoothtop range, the $ 1,100 Kenmore 95052 and the LG LRE3083SW, $ 800.

Warming drawer

Why you’ll like it: Use the drawer to keep appetizers hot while the turkey finishes roasting in the oven, or put the sweet potato casserole in the drawer while the chicken cooks on high heat to give it that crispy, nicely browned finish. 
Electric smoothtop ranges to consider: The Kenmore 94242 and the Frigidaire Professional FPEF3081MF, each $ 900. Note that the top-rated Kenmore 95052 also has a warming drawer.
Gas ranges to consider: The top-rated Samsung NX58F5700WS, $ 1,600, and the Kenmore 74332, $ 925.

Check Consumer Reports’ 2015 Holiday Guide for our picks of the best gifts, details on the latest deals, time-saving tips, and much more. And see our countdown calendar for top gift ideas for everyone on your list.

Double ovens

Why you’ll like them: Roast a lemon-garlic turkey in one oven while apple pies bake in the other—different foods, different temperatures, and no crossover of aromas. Or use one oven for daily dinner but both when hosting family and friends. Many double-oven ranges pair a smaller top oven with a larger oven below, while some pair two same size ovens.
Electric ranges to consider: The $ 1,800 LG LDE4415ST was superb overall. 
Gas ranges to consider: The $ 2,000 LG LDG4315ST was tops. 


Why you’ll like it: It can speed up cooking by using one or more fans to circulate the oven’s hot air. Some ovens, usually electric, have an additional convection heating element. There’s a learning curve, so read your manual.
Electric smoothtop ranges to consider:
Many of the ranges called out elsewhere in this story have convection, such as the LG LRE3083SW, $ 800, and so does the Whirlpool WFE905C0ES, $ 1,000.  
Gas ranges to consider:
The Samsung NX58F5600SS, $ 1,000. 


Why you’ll like it: Offering precise simmering and control, induction uses an electro-magnetic field to heat pots directly. In our tests nothing was faster than the fastest induction burners, but we’re talking 2 to 4 minutes faster to bring 6 quarts of water to a near boil. To learn more, read, "The pros and cons of induction."
Ranges to consider: The Kenmore 95073 $ 1,700, and the Frigidaire Gallery FGlF3061NF, $ ,1800.  

More choices

See our full ratings of ranges, cooktops, and wall ovens for all the test results and features. Use the filter to narrow your choices and compare models by clicking the Features & Specs tab. Note the brand reliability information, and be sure to search online for great deals. Email questions to kjaneway@consumer.org. 

Kimberly Janeway (@CRJaneway on Twitter)

Holiday Guide

For more ideas and inspiration, see our Holiday Planning & Shopping Guide. You’ll also find dozens of top-rated gifts from Consumer Reports’ tests of appliances, electronics and other seasonal gear.

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this website. Copyright © 2006-2015 Consumers Union of U.S.

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