Ovens buying guide
Before we get started with our buying guide, let’s clear up a common misconception - ovens and cookers are two different things. Unlike cookers, which are typically free-standing, ovens are built-in units that don’t have hobs or stove-tops.
It’s tricky to get past all the complicated appliance-jargon when hunting for a new oven, and since the oven is one of the most important home appliances, you certainly don’t want to invest in the wrong type. So if you’re after a flashy oven for your newly renovated kitchen, or if you’re looking to upgrade on an old out-dated model, use our buying guide to help decide which is right for you.
Types of oven
There are a few main types of oven, and they’re all suited to different kitchen, cooking, and household needs. Ovens will either be gas or electric, and they’ll often come with a built-in grill too - but their size and capabilities vary. So, where to start?
You should first ask yourself whether you want a single or a dual model. Single ovens are usually less expensive, offering a spacious single-cavity with one or two cooking shelves. Single ovens are built in a box shape, and are generally ideal for small-to-mid-sized households that want a subtle and seamless addition to their kitchen. Neff boast a particularly snazzy range of sleek, stainless steel single ovens that would complement a contemporary aesthetic.
If you’re an amateur chef, however, or enjoy cooking large and luxurious meals for family and friends, you might feel restricted by the single oven’s limited cooking capabilities - the single cavity only allows you to cook at one temperature. If you think this will be a problem, the duel oven design is definitely the best option for you.
There are two main types of dual or double ovens. The first type is the twin-zone, which offers a large single cavity separated by a divider. The divided areas are heated by separate fans, allowing you to cook at two different temperatures. These sorts of dual ovens often come in the same size as the single ones - meaning that they’re perfect if you’ve got a smaller kitchen, but want the advantage of dual cooking.
The obvious drawback to the twin-zone dual model is capacity. Since the two cooking zones in many models essentially offer half the capacity of a single oven, aspiring chefs might feel frustrated by the lack of room.
If this sounds like you, then look for standard double ovens. Double units generally come in taller sizes, greatly increasing the capacity available for all your roasting and baking requirements. There are two separate and spacious cavities, the top one often being smaller than the bottom. This is the ideal answer if you’re cooking say, a roast dinner and a delicate pastry case at exactly the same time, and can be a huge time-saver for ambitious and serious home cooks.
What about convection ovens?
When buying a new oven, you’ll probably hear a lot of complicated kitchen-speak about the benefits of convection heating. Simply put, a convection oven is heated by a fan, or multiple fans. Because the fan spreads warm air evenly throughout the oven, you can pack it with food and it will all be cooked at the same temperature.
While smooth-running convection ovens are most commonly electric models, there are gas convection ovens too. An electric convection model will be heated entirely by the fan, whereas a gas convection uses the fan to spread the heat of the gas flame throughout the cavity. Bosch, with their diverse range of sleek-looking and high-performing single and double convection ovens, are a great place to start hunting.
How much should I spend?
There’s no sense in going for a cheap oven if you’ll end up needing to replace it in a year or two, so don’t be afraid to splash out a little. Saying that, you don’t want to overspend either.
A well-performing, long-lasting, and good-looking single oven will probably put you in the £250 - £400 range. Brands like Stoves and Hotpoint offer plenty of models in this bracket, with intelligent timer-functions and convection heating. At the lower-end of this bracket, look for basic but reliable brands such as Indesit.
A rough starting price for standard and twin-zone double ovens is around £300. Standard double models can spiral into the £700+ price bracket, but you should only really consider those suave and flashy models if you’re an aspiring chef, or desire a ritzy addition to your kitchen. Otherwise, stick to the £400 - £500 region.