Love preparing warm, hearty meals for your friends and family at home? You, my friend, are the quintessential cook. And, who’s your partner in crime? The reliable and sturdy oven that works relentlessly throughout the hosting and entertaining sessions. So, it’s important to decide up on the perfect oven, especially during a kitchen remodeling or when moving into a new home. Don’t worry, we’ll help you with sure-shot ways of how to choose the best oven for your kitchen.
At the onset, you need to ask yourself some pertinent questions.
- Do you want an electric or a gas oven?
- What oven design do you need? Wall, freestanding, slide-in, or drop-in? Single or double?
- What kind of cooking mode do you prefer? Toaster, steam, or convention, or a combination?
- Which size and capacity meet your requirements?
- What features are you looking for?
Focusing around the answers, you can find an oven range that best suits your lifestyle and is perfect for your kitchen. Read on to get all your questions answered. And then some more.
Factors To Help You Choose The Best Kitchen Oven:
1. Power Source: Gas Versus Electric
An important point to note is that, while electric cooktops maybe less expensive than their gas-fired counterpart, they’re more expensive to operate. Controlling the heat on an electric unit is not as easy as in a gas one. Also, electric coils take much longer to cool down. On the flip side, a gas one creates a slightly more humid baking environment due to the water vapors produced during combustion.
Pros of gas ovens:
- Instant response
- Precise controllability of heat
- Lower operating cost in the long run
Pros of electric ovens:
- Even heat
- Lower initial cost
- Faster heating
Now that you have a fair idea of the difference between gas and electric oven, we’re sure you can draw logical conclusions.
There are numerous options and styles to choose from. Here are some of them:
Single Wall Oven: The standard size for a single wall oven is 60 cm. However, if you have a big family or entertain often, a 70-90 cm model is ideal. Keep in mind that too big an oven might have large, heavy trays that can be awkward to lift and remove. Such accessories are more difficult to clean in your kitchen sink. Choose wisely. Single wall oven can be either electric or gas.
- Gives more flexibility in terms of kitchen layout
- Easily fits in a wall or under a bench
- Can be conveniently installed at height level, preventing bending or squatting
Extra info: price ranges from under $500 to $10,000.
Freestanding Oven: Perfect for those who want to use it as a showstopper in the kitchen. Standard size is 60 cm. Go for 90 cm if you have the space or have a large family. And of course if you love cooking up a storm ever so often.
- Facility of oven and cooktop in one unit
- Lots of variations available – electric or gas, oven with gas, induction or ceramic cooktop
- Newer design with divided compartments
Extra info: price ranges from $600 to $10,000, or more.
Double Oven: These are two different oven units, each with its own set of functions, stacked one on top of the other. They can be electric or gas, with majority being electric.
- Ideal for large families
- Versatile, you can bake and grill different dishes at the same time or simultaneously bake two things that require different temperatures
- Can also come as a single-plus-secondary oven, aka 1½ oven. The secondary one though may be limited in terms of function and number of shelves
Extra info: price ranges from $1300 to over $6000.
Slide-in Oven: These ovens don’t have a back panel. They are made to fit in flush with the surrounding countertops. These are often more expensive than freestanding models due to the fact that all the controls are in the front panel, which involves detailed mechanics.
Drop-in Oven: These are very much similar to slide-in models. They too sit flush with the surrounding countertops and all the controls are at the front of the unit. But this type of range looks like you dropped it between two cabinets, and hence the name. It has unfinished sides. The installation may involve certain amount of cabinetry too.
3. Cooking Modes
There are basically six oven types that feature different cooking methods – conventional, convection, toaster, steam, combination, and wood ovens.
Conventional Oven: An oven with two heating elements. The most commonly found kitchen appliance. Its heat source is stationary, usually radiating from the bottom. An ideal choice for those who are not swayed by fancy models.
- Grills or roasts meat such as beef, chicken, and turkey
- Bake breads, cakes, and pastries
- Reheats food
Convection Oven: It cooks with an electric heat source and uses a fan to circulate hot air within the oven. Did you know, the first convection oven was invented in the 1950s to help commercial bakers save time and cook evenly?
- Consistent heat to evenly cook your food
- Quicker than a conventional oven
- Tends to dry food out as it uses moving air to cook
Toaster Oven: A compact alternative to a full-sized oven but with limited functions.
- Bakes, roasts, grills and toasts (some even have a hotplate on top)
- Much cheaper than a full-sized oven
- Reduced energy consumption
- Handy when space is an issue
Steam Oven: Ideal for those who believe in consuming healthier food. Fewer nutrients are lost during cooking as compared to conventional ovens.
- Not as versatile as a conventional oven
- Incapable of browning food (you’ll probably need to grill or fry before or after steaming to achieve browning)
Oven With Combination Of Steam And Convection: Combines the benefits of steam cooking with all the necessities of a multifunction convection oven.
- Ideal for multifunctional baking
- You can choose the cooking mechanism as per your needs
Wood Oven: The perfect appliance for cooking pizza. These are becoming hugely popular for high-end kitchens.
4. Size And Capacity
Most ovens range from 27 to 30 inches in width. Think about the size that would work best for your kitchen design. Look at the interior as well as the exterior measurements to make sure it’ll accommodate your commonly used pans and baking trays. Some models can vary by an inch or two, so be sure to have correct measurements.
Selecting the right oven is very vital. Both in terms of size and capacity. The latter can differ greatly even in ovens with the same external dimensions. If you choose a 24-inch-wide oven, you can anticipate spatial problems. An oven of that width may be able to accommodate a standard cookie sheet, but not a roasting pan.
It’s better to go for a 27-inch-wide oven that can handle just about any size of roasting pan, even a large turkey. If you’re a true-blue baker or have a family with a voracious appetite, a 30-inch oven is what you need. It can even handle two cookie sheets side-by-side!
Looks and features are important. So, which one is it going to be? White, black, or stainless steel? Metallic finishes such as gold and copper are gaining popularity too. Whatever you choose, coordinate it with your cooktop, dishwasher, and refrigerator. For an open-kitchen layout, you may want to match the tones to your countertop, backsplash, floor colors, or even the adjoining dining area.
Another aspect to evaluate is the door-opening mechanism. There are two kinds: pull-down or side-opening. Consider the space and layout of your kitchen and select the style that suits you.
With growing technology, there are newer and more features in an oven to simplify your cooking experience in one way or the other. Opt for features that add convenience and versatility. Some basic ones include audible preheat signal, built-in temperature probe, delay-start, keep-warm modes, or lock-out mode.
High-end features may include:
- Wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi, bluetooth, or even near-field communication (NFC)
- Digital display
- One-touch cooking
- Special cooking modes for that perfect pizza or turkey
- Preset food preparation methods such as dehydration or bread proofing
- Extra bottom drawers for baking, warming, or broiling
Whichever oven you choose, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and always operate it as recommended. To increase the life of your appliance, clean any food residue or spills immediately, inspect the oven gasket periodically, and check for signs of wear and tear. Your oven will happily serve you for years to come.
We hope, we could answer most of your questions regarding buying an oven. We bet, now you know how to choose the best oven for your kitchen.