Oven reviews - $850 to $1900

Modern ovens do a lot more than just bake.
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 

01 .Introduction

Oven

Test results for 10 electric wall/underbench ovens priced from $849 to $1899

If you haven’t been in the market for a new oven for a while, you might be surprised to discover what they can do these days. There’s no need to go for an oven with a host of different functions. Five basic functions are enough to get a good performance.

Buying an oven is a decision you'll have to live with for a long time. To help you make the right one, CHOICE bought a selection of popular cheaper ovens and brought them back to our lab. Here, our experienced home economist assessed them for six weeks.

To compare the ovens' performance, she roasted 10 chooks, baked 20 sponge cakes, 10 custard tarts, 10 pizzas, 180 scones, 60 meringues, 160 slices of toasted bread, and grilled 160 sausages. Each food was designed to test a specific oven function and ability, for example, evenness of heating, multi-shelf cooking, low, moderate and/or high temperatures and so on.

She also measured how big the ovens were inside (to fit that all important Christmas roast), how easy they are to use, and how effective their self-cleaning functions were.

Our objective: To give you clear, unbiased advice on buying the best oven for your cooking needs.

Please note: this information was current as of April 2007 but is still a useful guide to today's market. 

Video: What to look for - Ovens

Fiona Mair shows us what to look for when buying an oven.

Brands tested

  • Blanco BOSE67X
  • Bosch HBN430551A #
  • Chef EOC644S
  • Electrolux EOEE62AS
  • Fisher & Paykel OB60SCEX1 #
  • Glem GF69PI #
  • Miele H 4212 B
  • Smeg SA504X #
  • Westinghouse POP668S
  • Whirlpool 6AKZ452IX

# Discontinued but may be available in some stores.

 
 

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The following models scored the best results in our test.

What to buy
Brand Price
Chef EOC644S $849

Smeg SA504X (A)

$1490
Miele H 4212 B $1599
Westinghouse POP668S $1319

(A) Discontinued, but may still be available in some stores.

 

Results table

Full results for all models are shown in the table below.

  Performance Cost
Brand / model (in rank order) Overall score (%) Oven score (%) Grill score (%) Ease of use score (%) Running costs ($ / 10 years) Price ($)
Chef EOC644S
www.chefappliances.com.au
85 90 90 78 96 899
# Smeg SA504X
www.smeg-australia.com.au
81 80 95 70 125 1490
Miele H 4212 B
www.miele.com.au
78 82 90 65 97 1699
Westinghouse POP668S
www.westinghouse.com.au
78 77 73 83 93 1379
# Bosch HBN430551A
www.bosch.com.au
76 75 83 73 107 1949
Electrolux EOEE62AS
www.electrolux.com.au
76 76 75 78 96 1959
Whirlpool 6AKZ452IX
www.whirlpool.com.au
73 82 70 68 111 1469
# Fisher & Paykel OB60SCEX1
www.fp.com.au
70 83 65 65 129 1299
Blanco BOSE67X
www.blanco-australia.com
69 77 60 70 130 1600
# Glem GF69PI
www.glemgas.com.au
68 73 65 68 113 1899
 


  Features
Brand / model (in rank order) Number of shelf positions Self-cleaning liners Pyrolytic function Smokeless grill tray Controls / Clock
Chef EOC644S
www.chefappliances.com.au
5 Dial / •
# Smeg SA504X
www.smeg-australia.com
4 Dial / -
Miele H 4212 B
www.miele.com.au
4 Dial / •
Westinghouse POP668S
www.westinghouse.com.au
8 (A) Dial / •
# Bosch HBN430551A
www.bosch.com.au
5 Dial / •
Electrolux EOEE62AS
www.electrolux.com.au
8 Touch / •
Whirlpool 6AKZ452IX
www.whirlpool.com.au
4 Dial / •
# Fisher & Paykel OB60SCEX1
www.fp.com.au
4 Dial / •
Blanco BOSE67X
www.blanco-australia.com
5 Dial / •
# Glem GF69PI
www.glemgas.com.au
4 Dial / •
 


  Functions Specifications
Brand / model (in rank order) Half grill Bottom element only Useable oven volume (L) Internal useable dimensions (mm, H x W x D)* Claimed external dimensions (mm, H x W x D)
Chef EOC644S
www.chefappliances.com.au
45 260 x 470 x 370 595 x 595 x 566
# Smeg SA504X
www.smeg-australia.com
42 270 x 440 x 350 595 x 596 x 566
Miele H 4212 B
www.miele.com.au
• (C) 34 255 x 380 x 350 596 x 595 x 566
Westinghouse POP668S
www.westinghouse.com.au
50 230 x 460 x 370 595 x 595 x 566
# Bosch HBN430551A
www.bosch.com.au
46 300 x 450 x 340 595 x 595 x 548
Electrolux EOEE62AS
www.electrolux.com.au
50 290 x 470 x 370 595 x 595 x 567
Whirlpool 6AKZ452IX
www.whirlpool.com.au
(B) 40 270 x 440 x 340 595 x 595 x 564
# Fisher & Paykel OB60SCEX1
www.fisherpaykel.com.au
43 265 x 430 x 380 597 x 595 x 567
Blanco BOSE67X
www.blanco-australia.com
• (C) 42 307 x 320 x 320 594 x 592 x 561
# Glem GF69PI
www.glemgas.com.au
33 250 x 420 x 310 591 x 597 x 547
 

Table Notes

* Internal width is from runner to runner; height is bottom shelf in lowest possible position to the grill element; depth is the depth of the shelves.
# Discontinued but may still be available in stores. It's replaced with model SCA504X which has more functions.
(A) Six shelf positions and two telescopic runners for the grill tray and baking tray.
(B) Multiple heat levels.
(C) Bottom element and fan only.

Using the table

Scores
The overall score is made up of

  • Oven performance: 30%
  • Grill performance: 30%
  • Ease of use: 40%

Features
See What to look for and How to get the best from your oven, for more on features in the table.

Running costs
Based on running the oven 150°C above room temperature for one hour, three times per week for 10 years at 15 cents per kWh.

Price
Recommended retail, as of May 2010.

Profiles - what to buy

Chef EOC644S

Chef EOC644S Price $899

Good points

  • Excellent grill and oven performance.
  • Relatively cheap.
  • Moulded shelf supports are easy to clean.

Bad Points

  • No catalytic liners available for this model.

Smeg SA504X  (A)

Smeg SA504X 
Price $1490

Good points

  • Excellent grill performance.
  • Very good oven performance.
  • Catalytic liners on back and sides of walls with good coverage.
  • Pull-out grill element shield.

Bad Points

  • Grill rack can be fiddly to clean.
  • Scored only 55% for cooking custard tart.
  • Shelves tilt when pulled out, allowing dishes to slide.

Miele H 4212 B

Miele H 4212 B Price $1699

Good points

  • Excellent grill performance.
  • Very good oven performance.

Bad Points

  • No grill rack supplied.
  • Manufacturer recommends using the shelf with the oven tray positioned below which is difficult to clean.
  • An extra wire shelf and grill tray insert to minimise flare ups and drain to the grill tray beneath is available but will cost extra.
  • Only one shelf supplied by manufacturer.
  • Catalytic liner on back wall only.
  • Front of grill element is slightly exposed.
  • Poor result for custard tart.

Westinghouse POP668S

Westinghouse POP668S Price $1379

Good points

  • Best for ease of use in this test.
  • Excellent result for cooking sponge cake, meringues and pizza.
  • Smokeless grill tray.
  • Catalytic liners on back and sides of walls with good coverage.

Bad Points

  • Scored only 50% for roasting chicken.
  • Shelves tilt when pulled, allowing dishes to slide.

Profiles - the rest

Bosch HBN430551A  (A)

Bosch HBN430551A Price $1949

Good points

  • Very good grill performance.
  • Excellent result for grilling sausages, cooking scones and sponge cake.
  • Catalytic liners on back, top and sides of walls with good coverage.
  • Smokeless grill tray.

Bad Points

  • No stopper to prevent grill tray being pulled out of the shelf supports.
  • Poor result for cooking custard tart, which means the oven didn’t cope well with cooking a combination food.

Electrolux EOEE62AS

Electrolux EOEE62AS Price $1959

Good points

  • Excellent result for cooking pizza.
  • Very good result for grilling toast, cooking scones, sponge cake.
  • Smokeless grill tray.
  • Catalytic liners on back, top and sides of walls with good coverage.
  • Function display is written with set temperature guides that can be adjusted.

Bad Points

  • Digital control panel display is not very bright.
  • Borderline result for roasting chicken.
  • Shelves tilt when pulled out can cause dishes to slide.

Whirlpool 6AKZ4521X

Whirlpool 6AKZ4521X Price $1469

Good points

  • Very good oven performance.
  • Excellent result for cooking sponge cake and meringues.

Bad Points

  • Catalytic liners on sides and back wall does not give full coverage.
  • Limited access to back of grill tray, can make it difficult to move the food around.
  • Grill tray sits on shelf can slide easily.
  • Shelves tilt when pulled out can cause dishes to slide.

Fisher & Paykel OB60SCEXI  (A)

Fisher & Paykel OB60SCEXI Price $1299

Good points

  • Very good oven performance.
  • Excellent result for cooking pizza.

Bad Points

  • Grill rack is fiddly to clean.
  • Front of grill element is exposed slightly.
  • A lot of holes and crevices on back wall that can trap grease.
  • Shelves do not pull out smoothly.
  • Very poor result for grilling toast.
  • Shelves tilt when pulled out can cause dishes to slide.

Blanco BOSE67X

Blanco BOSE67X Price $1600

Good points

  • Excellent result for grilling sausages, roasting chicken and cooking pizza.
  • Oven beeps when preheated.

Bad Points

  • Grill rack can be fiddly to clean.
  • No stopper to prevent grill tray being pulled out of the shelf supports.
  • Grill element cannot be lowered to clean above.
  • Very poor result for grilling toast.
  • Poor result for cooking custard tart, which means the oven didn’t cope well with cooking a combination food.

Glem GF69PI (A)

Glem GF69PI Price $1899

Good points

  • Excellent result for cooking scones and sponge cake.
  • Pyrolytic cleaning system.
  • Moulded shelf supports easier to clean.

Bad Points

  • Limited access to back of grill tray, can make it difficult to move food around.
  • No stopper to prevent grill tray being pulled out of the shelf supports.
  • Small viewing area.

(A) Discontinued, but may still be available in some stores.

Clean machines

While it sounds almost too good to be true, all the models in this test, except one, offered some kind of self-cleaning function. However, although ‘self-cleaning’ does what it says you’ll still have to do some of the work as you’ll still have to clean the glass, shelves, racks and runners.

The different types of cleaning offered with these models are:

Catalytic liners

Often referred to as ‘self-cleaning’ surfaces, these liners work by absorbing fat splatters. For the liners to work well, you need to regularly heat the oven when it’s empty (shelves and runners removed too) to 250°C for an hour to burn off the splatters. If they become heavily soiled they’ll need to be removed and soaked in warm soapy water for at least two hours and then wiped clean with a soft cloth. If you care for them well they should last a long time, although they will need to be replaced eventually, although Bosch claim their liners ‘regenerate’ and won’t need replacing at all. While some of the models on test come with the liners as part of the purchase price, others are available at an additional cost.

Pyrolytic cleaning

A true self-cleaner, a pyrolitic oven heats up to about 500°C when it’s set on self-cleaning mode, turning any food residue into ash which you wipe away when the oven cools. But you'll need to remove the shelves and runners first.

Door

  • Light, easy to open and stays open in any position without falling fully open or slamming shut. Be sure to check that the hinges are in the right place to suit your kitchen layout.
  • A large enough window that allows a good view inside.

Useful interior features

  • Check the usable space by measuring inside the oven rather than going on the stated capacity. You can measure from runner to runner and bottom shelf to grill element. You’ll also need enough space at the sides to move your baking dishes in and out.
  • Interior light — check that the bulb is easily replaced before you buy.
  • Shelves should have a safety stop to prevent them from being pulled out accidentally.
  • A good range of shelf positions. Three or more shelves can be handy, especially if you want to cook several things at the same time.
  • Tilting Check that the shelves that don’t slope down when they are pulled out with a heavy baking dish on them. If the shelves do slope, a guard at the front of the shelf will help stop dishes from falling off but will make it harder to slide heavy dishes in and out.
  • Moulded runners are easier to clean than metal pull out runners.

Useful grill features

  • A grill tray that’s easy to slide in and out and comes out far enough so that you can place food towards the back. Look for a safety stop mechanism to stop it from pulling right out.
  • A smokeless grill tray traps fat and grease below it, rather than under a wire rack. This is important for an internal grill as spattering and smoking fat can be messy.
  • An element that’s set high into the ceiling or has a shield so that it isn’t exposed and can’t be accidently touched. This is particularly important if you place the oven under the bench.
  • At least two grill tray heights are best.

Display

  • Look for something that is easy to read. Digital displays can be difficult to read if they are not bright enough and may be awkward to read if you set your oven under the bench.
  • Many dials are marked with ambiguous symbols so make sure you can recognize them easily and understand what they mean.
  • If you don’t have the best eyesight, stainless steel ovens with low contrast labeling can be difficult to read. You may prefer a plain white model with easy to read labels.

Multifunction ovens can combine 5 or more cooking options all in the one oven, but the more functions you have the more confusing it can be — not to mention more expensive. The main functions you’ll be more likely to use in an oven are the follwing ones. All of the models on test have them unless otherwise stated.

  • Fan forced is what you’ll use most often and it’s great for cooking different kinds of food at the same time on different shelves, as long as they all need the same cooking temperature. Heat is circulated by a fan for even distribution. This works best for roasts, cakes, casseroles and baked foods. Temperatures and cooking times are reduced slightly compared with the conventional cooking function. Preheating the oven is necessary for most foods.
  • The conventional or traditional cooking function uses the top and bottom elements and is especially useful for baking delicate foods and foods that need to be cooked more on the base, although certain types of foods need to be placed on the correct shelf level. The temperature is usually slightly higher and a longer cooking time is needed compared with fan forced. Preheating is necessary for most foods. Only the Smeg doesn't have this feature, but the replacement model does.
  • Bottom element and fan, or fan-assisted baking: A bottom element is a useful function that’s ideal for cooking pastries, pies, pizzas and any food that requires crisp cooked bases. With fan assisted cooking although it also uses the top element, the majority of the heat is directed at the bottom of the food while the fan assists the heat to cook the filling or top of the food. Food is usually placed on the bottom shelf or close to it. You’ll need to make sure you preheat to get the best results. All tested models except Blanco, Chef, Miele and Smeg have fan-assisted baking; and only the BLANCO and MIELE models have the bottom element and fan function.
  • A grill element is featured in most multifunction ovens where the grill functions inside the oven. A grill element is useful for foods that only need a short cooking time such as cheese on toast or browning the top of au gratin dishes. Maximum temperature is required but preheating is not necessary. The best position is usually the top shelf. Some, including the Whirlpool in this test have variable heat control for the grill which can help to get better results when grilling delicate foods like fish.
  • A fan grill is useful for grilling cuts of meat such as sausages, chicken, cutlets or fish, and it combines the fan with the grill element. The door is closed during cooking and cooking times and temperatures are reduced. The shelf position is usually second or third from the element. Preheating is usually not necessary. Overall, grilling meat in the oven cavity can leave your oven smelly and splattered with fat and grease. If you do a lot of grilling it’s a good idea to have catalytic self-cleaning panels fixed to the top, sides and back walls of the oven. Make sure that the liners have good coverage of the walls.

Which foods go on what shelves?

Once you’ve decided on a cooking mode it’s also important to select the correct shelf position for the food you are cooking.

  • Pastries, roasts, reheated foods can be set on any shelf when cooked with the fan forced setting.
  • Muffins, egg dishes such as quiche and heavy cakes cook best using the top and bottom element and should be placed on the middle shelf.
  • Pizzas, foccacia, bread, meat pies and fruit pies cook best using the bottom element only or bottom element plus fan. These foods should be placed on the bottom shelf or as close to the bottom as possible.
  • Chicken legs, sausages and baked vegetables suit the fan grill setting and are best positioned around the middle area of the oven.
  • Chops, cutlets, steaks and fish cutlets should be cooked using the grill element only. Use the top shelf or as close to the top as possible.

Method

We changed the method this time, so it’s not possible to compare these ovens to those we’ve tested previously.

Performance

Our CHOICE home economist got busy baking a range of delicious treats from meringues and custard tarts to chickens and pizzas. Different foods were cooked to test the various features of the oven and grill on offer:

Grill

  • Our home economist toasted bread to assess the speed, evenness and heating area of each griller, as well as its ability to produce a quantity of evenly toasted bread in a short time.
  • She also grilled sausages to assess the speed, evenness and heating area of the griller. Grilling sausages also creates a lot of mess in the oven so it helps our testers assess how easy each model is to clean.

Oven

  • She baked scones to test how well it baked using convection mode at a high temperature and to examine how evenly it baked.
  • She cooked sponge cakes to check how well the ovens cooked evenly on multiple shelves.
  • Meringues were baked to test how well the models could handle cooking at a low temperature for a long period of time.
  • Custard tarts to see how the ovens handled a combination food and the ‘turn down’ capacity.
  • She cooked a fresh pizza to see how well each model could cook a crisp firm golden brown base.
  • She also roasted a chicken.

Ease of use

The ovens were assessed for ease of use which included the controls, grill, oven and cleaning.

Key points

  • No significant differences in reliability were found between gas and electric ovens, though gas ovens were likely to have more niggling problems with timers (5%) and ignitions systems (6%). However, this doesn’t affect the 89% of you who own an electric oven.
  • Bosch and Miele are sitting comfortably at the top of the reliability table.
  • Problems for newer machines were:
    • Door hinges: Delonghi (6%)
  • While Delonghi had a good reliability record, some owners mentioned that their machines were noisy and that, when they did break down, it was difficult to get service for them.
  • Kleenmaid owners also complained of difficulty in getting service, and one in six Simpson owners complained of poor features.

Oven repairs by type

Percentage not needing repairs in the 12 months prior to the survey*
Electric (3804) 88
Gas (448) 87
 

*These figures have been adjusted for the age of the appliances.
No significant differences were found between the two groups.
The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand bought in or after 2000.

Percentage not needing repair

All ovens (4330) 88
Bosch (156) 95
Miele (292) 94
DeLonghi (100) 88
Fisher & Paykel (382) 88
Simpson (174) 87
Smeg (288) 87
Ilve (108) 87
Blanco (189) 87
Westinghouse (874) 87
Chef (458) 85
Kleenmaid (178) 85

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.
These figures have been statistically adjusted for the age of the appliances.
Differences of 8% or more are statistically significant.

Percentage who would buy the same brand again

All ovens (4340) 77
Miele (287) 91
Bosch (152) 86
Fisher & Paykel (387) 86
Westinghouse (870) 81
Ilve (107) 79
Smeg (291) 78
Kleenmaid (180) a 75
Chef (470) 73
DeLonghi (101) b 69
Blanco (191) 69
Simpson (171) c 67

The figure in brackets is the number of subscribers reporting on this brand purchased in or after 2000.
a) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Kleenmaid again (24%) gave their reason for not buying again as "Difficult to get service".
b) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy DeLonghi again (29%) gave their reason for not buying again as "Noise" and also (19%) "Difficult to get service".
c) A higher than average number of respondents who wouldn't buy Simpson again (47%) gave their reason for not buying again as "Poor features".

Your say - Choice voice

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