April 24, 2018 in Ovens
The oven is a crucial component in any kitchen. It’s where you make your meals for the day, where you explore new hobbies like baking, and it’s the device that the rest of your kitchen centres around. Since an oven is crucial to ensuring your family gets the nutrition they need each day, it’s important to make sure you have the right one in your home. Of course – that isn’t always easy.
Even if you did happen to be a culinary mastermind with insider understanding of terms like “convection” and “fan-heated”, the sheer number of different models and designs available in the market today could leave you feeling lost and overwhelmed.
A good oven should be something that lasts for years and offers you consistently delicious dishes day after day. Whatever your lifestyle and budget, you can rest assured that there’s an oven out there to suit you – all you need to do is find it!
In this guide, you’ll discover all the information you need to make the best, most informed decision about your oven. Whether you’re choosing an oven to slot into a specific space, or you want an upgrade to suit your preferred styles of cooking, the following guide is sure to help.
Let’s get started.
- The Basics to Consider
The Basics: Choosing the Perfect Oven
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when buying a new oven. There are countless different factors to consider, with various types, features, and designs to choose from. Some ovens are all about versatility – giving you the freedom you need to cook the food that’s right for you. Other ovens are all about speed and efficiency – ideal when you just can’t wait for that fresh, crispy pizza.
Here are just some of the basics to consider:
Electric Vs Gas Ovens
The first thing you need to decide is what kind of fuel you’re going to use to power your oven. This should be an easy choice if you’re replacing a previous model and you want to keep things simple. However, if you want to make your choice based on the benefits of each fuel, here’s what you need to know:
- Cheaper than gas ovens
- More versatile with a range of layouts and functions to choose from, including grill elements and fan cooking.
- Pre-heating times are about the same as gas.
- Require a gas connection
- Retains more moisture in food – perfect for baking and roasts
- Circulates heat evenly when combined with a fan.
Built-in Vs Free-Standing
Next, you’ll need to think about how your new oven is going to fit into your kitchen space. For instance, are you simply going to place it somewhere in the kitchen, or do you want it to fit into a cabinet, or under a worktop.
- Area completely separate unit with a cooktop and grill
- Come in a range of different designs and sizes
- Are perfect for smaller kitchens when you’re trying to preserve space.
- Can be placed into a wall recess, under a kitchen bench, and in other specific areas.
- Help to preserve the overall look of your kitchen
- Can come with separate oven tops depending on your needs.
Double Vs Single Ovens
So, you know how you want to power your oven, and how it’s going to fit into your kitchen design. Now, you can start to think about exactly how much cooking convenience you want. For instance, do you want a double oven or just a single model?
Single ovens are perfect for when space is tight, and you don’t need to cook a lot of food at once. For instance, if you don’t bake much for pleasure, and you generally only cook for a couple of people, then single ovens are a perfect way to get the functionality you need without taking up too much space.
Alternatively, double ovens are far more versatile and can be the perfect option for families. There are two types of double oven available, including built-in ovens, and stand-alone models. The key thing to remember when you’re purchasing a double oven is that you’ll need to measure the space beforehand to check that you have enough room to fit such a large piece of equipment.
Size and Capacity
Size and capacity will always be important components to consider when choosing the perfect oven. After all, you need to make sure that the oven you choose fits in your kitchen and gives you enough versatility to cook the meals and treats you like most. Most gas and electric ranges are about 30 inches wide, though you can get professional styles with a 36-inch width.
Keep in mind that a spacious oven can be incredibly useful when you plan on entertaining, or if you like baking in your spare time. Some of the smallest ovens measure in at around 2 cubic feet in capacity, while larger models are closer to 4 cubic feet.
Pros and Cons
To help you narrow your choices down a little further, here’s a quick graph covering some of the most common oven types available. Remember, every oven is different so you’ll need to do a little research on your preferred model to ensure that you’re getting the pros outlined below, but this guide should give you a basic starting point.
|Type of Oven||Toaster Oven||Steam Oven||Convection Oven||Electric Oven||Gas Oven|
|Pros||– Small and simple
– More energy efficient than a standard oven.
|– Uses pressurized steam to cook.
– Cooks faster than baking or roasting.
– Healthier – retains more nutrients
| – Faster cooking
– Provides even heating
– Energy Efficient
|– Provides an even heat all around.
– Less likely to rust.
|– Retains more moisture in doughs and baking.
– Quick to heat up.
|Cons||– Takes longer to heat.
– No automatic cooking functions.
|– Only good for certain types of cooking.||– Difficult to get dough to rise.
– More fragile and susceptible to breaking.
|– Heats up slower.
– Hard to manage temperature.
– High energy consumption.
|– Requires a gas connection.
– Needs a fan to distribute heat evenly.
Functional Features: Finding the Oven that “Works” for You
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, it’s time to think about the additional functional features you might need from your oven. Depending on your personal preferences, how often you like to cook, and how many people you cook for, you might find that it’s helpful to invest in an oven with special features, like dual capacity, or a timer feature. Here are just some of the “functional features” you might want to think about when choosing the ideal oven.
If you always seem to be the person hosting the large family dinners, or you’re constantly responsible for Christmas lunch, then a dual oven might be the right way to go.
Everyone with a passion for cooking and a lot of mouths to feed has struggled to find a compromise with the perfect temperature setting on their oven in the past. However, desperately trying to cram everything into an oven that simply can’t handle it all can lead to disaster. Your oven might break and you’ll be required to call an expert oven repairs service for some help.
If your cooking experiences often leave you seeing double, then make sure that you have the right oven to handle it. A dual-oven gives you double the space and double the versatility when it comes to roasting turkeys and baking treats. You can even get dual ovens with different capacities so that you’re not wasting any excess energy.
Each oven in a dual set-up has its own set of temperature controls and solutions for minimal stress during your meal-prep. If you’re only cooking for a couple of people, you can simply keep the larger oven switched off, and stick with the smaller one.
The chances are you’ve already heard of convection heating. It simply means that your oven uses a fan to circulate the hot air in your oven for faster, and more even heat distribution. This is much more efficient than the standard radiant heating of an old-fashioned oven.
If you’re looking to save money on energy, and cook your meals much faster too, then a convection oven could be the key. While this equipment isn’t exactly new, it’s something that many homes still haven’t taken advantage of. With a convection oven, you don’t have to worry about things heating differently depending on where they’re placed in the oven itself. Instead, everything gets the same distribution, and rack placement becomes less of an issue.
At first glance, “Sabbath Mode” seems a lot like the name of a heavy-metal album, or a religious sect. However, it’s something that can make cooking and baking much easier for everyone involved. When your oven has “Sabbath mode” built-in, this means that it comes with a convenient “hold” feature which keeps your food at eating temperature for a set amount of time, without cooking it any further.
Many commercial ovens have features like this, particularly if the company in question isn’t large enough to afford its own dish-warming devices yet. If you’re worried about keeping dinner warm when your other half works late, or you simply want to be able to serve fresh and warm dishes to your guests when they arrive at an undefined time to a dinner party, Sabbath mode can help.
While glass doors might not seem like a big deal at first, they can be an important feature when choosing the perfect oven. Not only do these doors look great, but they also mean that you can look in on your food as its cooking. When you include this feature in your search for an oven, you’ll save cash on the wasted energy that seeps out of your device every time you open the door to peek at what’s cooking.
When you’re not totally sure how long a meal or bake will take, it’s a good idea to invest in glass doors. This will help to give you an instant assessment of your food, so you can either start laying the table, or return to the living room to relax for a little longer.
Timers and Delayed-Start Features
Finally, let’s face it – it’s much easier to become a cooking pro when you don’t have to watch the clock to make sure that you’re not burning your entrees. It’s all too easy to lose track of time when you’re cleaning the house, watching television, or running yourself a nice hot bath.
A timer can automatically tell your oven to shut off when the cooking time has elapsed, so you’re less likely to fill the house with smoke.
Combine the timer feature with a delayed-start option and you have the ultimate combo. For instance, if you want to put your cookies in the oven, but you’re planning on going for a long shower, you can set them to start cooking in twenty minutes or so, so you don’t have to rush out of the bathroom when your home smells like a burning bakery.
How to Choose the Best Oven for Your Needs
Modern ovens come with plenty of great functions to choose from. If you tend to stick with basic meals, and you don’t like to cook often, then you’re free to stick with a simple oven that doesn’t have many extra features. On the other hand, if you’re the kind of chef who likes to experiment, then you’ll have plenty of new tech to play with.
For instance, a fan-adjusted oven will help to distribute heat more evenly around your oven, while a timer makes sure that you end up with fewer burnt meals. Here are just a few additional things to consider before you make the decision on that ultimate oven.
Do You Need a Grill?
Most ovens will come with a grill feature, but you might be surprised to learn that there are a host of grill options to choose from. For instance, with a simple grill, you can place your dish inside and move it closer to the grill to get a faster cook. On the other hand, a variable grill will allow you to set the temperature according to your needs.
Do You Need a Bottom Drawer?
Some ovens come with a bottom drawer that offers a range of different functions, including the opportunity to act as a separate oven cavity, or broiler drawer. Depending on your cooking preferences, your bottom drawer can even keep your meals warm for you when you’re getting ready to serve.
Do You Need Special Cooking Features?
Some more high-tech ovens in the marketplace today come with special settings when you’re baking, cooking pizzas, or proofing a batch of dough for some bread. If you’re the kind of person who likes to experiment with meals, these special features could be ideal for you.
Do You Need Wireless Connectivity?
You might be wondering why you would need something like wireless connectivity for your oven – but you’d be surprised how useful this option can be. Ovens with built-in wireless capabilities allow you to control your oven from your smartphone. This is ideal when you’re worried you might have left the oven on after you go to work.
Do You Need Simpler Maintenance?
If you’re not the kind of person who likes to spend a lot of time cleaning their oven (and who is?) or spend few hours learning some DIY oven repairs lessons online, then you can choose a model that’s easy to clean. These options are resistant to grease, are less likely to have food particles burned on, and they’re easier to clean too!
How Much Are You Willing to Pay?
Finally, the budget is the last thing you’ll need to consider when you’ve chosen all the other elements of your perfect oven. In Australia, the average oven can range anywhere from a cost of $400 to over $3000 depending on what features you’re looking for. The more energy-efficient ovens, with larger capacities and more features, are more likely to set you back a pretty penny.
And there you have it – everything you need to know about buying the perfect oven for your cooking needs.
Although this guide might not cover every question you’ve ever had about ovens, it’s hopefully enough to give you an insight into what you can find on the market today – and what you really need. Now all you need to do is go out there and buy your ultimate oven.