Ovens are one of the most popular of kitchen appliances around. If you are thinking of buying one there are some things that you need to consider first, such as the amount of available space that you have and what features you would like, as well as your preferred power option. Once you have settled on these matters, you can start to have a look at what manufacturers have to offer, with brands such as Bosch and Smeg listed on our site. The purpose of this buying guide is to make your life easier when it comes to making your decision by narrowing down your list of choices so that you can buy the right wall oven that will satisfy your requirements.
Gas or electric: what’s the difference?
Cooking is more convenient with electric ovens because they are able to maintain an even temperature inside. Many electric ovens have a set of additional functions such as thermal grilling, defrosting, batch baking and programmable timers. You’ll also find that most electric ovens are multi-functional, which means that you can use one, or a combination of top heat, bottom heat, grill and fan settings to optimize your results when cooking. The disadvantage of electric ovens, however, is that they take longer to heat up compared to gas ovens, and that although they cheaper to buy, they are more expensive to run.
Gas ovens tend to heat up and cool down more quickly than their electric counterparts, which is useful when you’re in a hurry. The heat inside gas ovens has another advantage as it will also prevent food from drying up. Naturally, it is not possible to have a fan in a gas oven like you can in an electric appliance, as the flames would blow out and create a fire hazard. Because of this, the temperature is not uniform and the oven is hotter at the top than it is at the bottom. This isn’t always a negative feature because it means that you can cook foods that require different temperatures at the same time.
Take your pick: built-in, freestanding or countertop
Freestanding ovens are all-in-one countertop units that often include both a cooktop and oven. Installation is easier than with the built-in models and you can move them out quickly if necessary. In comparison to the cost, these compact models are much cheaper, but you do compromise on size here. Cooking up a full-sized pizza probably is going to be a difficult endeavour.
Integrated ovens are designed to make the most of kitchen space and allow multiple cooks to work together. They are more versatile and allow you to cook smaller as well as larger food portions. Built-in ovens are much convenient to use, as you can fix them at a convenient height on your kitchen wall making it easier to remove and insert food into the appliance – and they’re easier to clean, too. Unlike freestanding ovens, built-in ovens don’t have a cooktop, so a separate cooktop will take up extra space in your kitchen. Some ovens are also combined with a microwave and/or convection cooking.
Single or double ovens, which should you choose?
Make sure you consider the size of your family and your cooking requirements when deciding the oven capacity. Although you may like the idea of a large oven with many features, be realistic about whether this will be useful, otherwise you won’t get good value for money. On the other hand, if you have the space, love cooking, have a large family, do lots of entertaining, and can afford it, then bigger will be better.
Single ovens: If you are living in a small flat or have less cooking to do, single ovens will be the best bet for you. They are compact, allowing you to cook for smaller numbers of people, and are also available in various capacities – ranging from as little as 20 litres to 80 litres.
Double ovens: If you have a large family or need to cook for larger gatherings, then a double oven will be great for you. They have two ovens integrated into a single unit, and is designed to cook different dishes simultaneously at different temperatures - you don’t have to wait for one dish to finish cooking before putting in another. The main oven features convection heating technology and an electric fan to distribute the heat evenly.
Features that make cooking easier
Self-cleaning: Cleaning any oven is a time-consuming and tedious job, so self-cleaning ovens are a plus. Look for an oven that has an interior with a catalytic liner. Utilising a self-cleaning process means that food spills are burned to ash with high-temperature settings and the residue can be wiped off. Some oven models even allow you to set the duration for self-cleaning. Electronic controls: Operating ovens should be a simple task, so look for ovens that have electronic touch pad controls, which are easier to clean than knobs and dials. Racks: All ovens come with baking trays and racks – the higher the number of racks, the greater your cooking flexibility. You can make the best use of oven capacity if you are able to alter the position of the racks. Timer functions: Timer functions are very helpful, particularly when you want to avoid overcooking food, or you want to delay the start of the cooking process. Doors: Most ovens feature dropdown doors that can be inconvenient as you have to lean across the large door to place dishes, although they can useful to rest heavy dishes, such as casseroles, on when your take them out of the oven to check them. Some models feature convenient side opening doors, which make access to the oven no problem at all. Glass doors also allow you to watch the cooking process, too, so you’ll never have to risk your cake sinking through opening the door too soon ever again!
Online retailers listed on our website stock a wide range of ovens and we hope that this buying guide has made your decision easier. If you are still unsure, check out our detailed product descriptions for more information.
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