Ovens buying guide

Ovens aren't simple anymore – our buying guide takes you through the choices.
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03.Layout pros and cons

Built in vs freestanding

A built-in oven gives you more flexibility with your kitchen layout — you don’t have to put it under your cooktop, and it can either fit under-bench or in the wall. It can also be positioned at your preferred height to minimise bending or squatting and make cleaning easier. But a built-in oven with a separate cooktop may take up more bench space than an upright stove, depending on the layout.

If your kitchen is small, freestanding stoves (oven and cooktop combined) are available 50–60 cm wide, which may fit better. Just make sure it’s installed correctly, with wall brackets if applicable (see Tipping stoves).

Typical prices
Standard built-in (60 cm wide): 1000–$2100 (gas); $970–$2100 (electric), although you can pay up to $4700 for a top-of-the-range MIELE.
Standard freestanding stove (50–60 cm): $800–$1200 (gas); $760–$1600 (electric).

But it’s not just about your kitchen layout — you also need to check the oven capacity when buying to make sure you’re getting the size that meets your needs. Although Christmas only comes once a year, you may want to base your decision on the size of your annual turkey. A more practical approach is to take your favourite or largest baking dish with you when selecting a model.

Double ovens

Double ovenA double oven is essentially two distinct ovens, each with its own door and functions, stacked one on top of the other, or positioned side-by-side as one unit. They’re excellent for entertainers or large families who like to bake lots of different types of food. They’re versatile, as you can bake and grill different dishes at the same time, or bake two things that require different cooking temperatures and functions.

If you’re cooking large quantities of food at a time, a standard-width (60 cm) double oven can have much more space than a single extra-wide (90 cm) oven — around 164 L, compared to 118 L. Of course, if you want double the capacity but don’t fancy paying the price of a double oven, a cheaper alternative may be to install two single ovens –– subject to your electricity circuit(s).

1½ ovens — often referred to as double ovens and sometimes as a single plus secondary oven — provide similar versatility to real double ovens. However, the secondary oven tends to have limited functions (generally classic bake and grill) and only one shelf. For single or small items, though, using the secondary oven is likely to save on preheat and cooking time, as well as energy.

Typical prices
Built-in double ovens: $2200–$2500;
Built-in 1½ ovens: $2100–$2500, although you can pay up to $3600 for an ILVE model.

Extra-wide ovens

If you’re completely renovating your kitchen and styling is all-important, you might want to go for a flash extra-wide oven. The 70–80 cm width is excellent for fitting extra-large trays and great for large batches of cooking. And it might surprise you that while 90 cm models are externally wider, most 70–80 cm ovens often have the same internal usable volume. Like standard-width ovens, extra wide ovens can be single, double and freestanding.

Typical prices
Built-in single
$3000–$3300 (70–80 cm), $1900–$4300 (90 cm)
Built-in double $7000 (70–80 cm)
Freestanding single $2400–$7500 (90 cm)
Freestanding double $2100–$9500 (90 cm).

Internal vs external grill

An external grill is more versatile, as you can grill one item while you roast or bake another at the same time. It also isolates the mess, so the main oven cavity stays cleaner. Open-door grilling tends to give a better result than closed-door grilling, which can steam food, making the skin of meat tough. However, an internal grill is more common, takes up less space and can give more direct heat for certain types of cooking, such as au gratins.

Ovens with external grills are limited to the Electrolux manufactured models.

Typical prices
Ovens with an external grill
(single, built-in): $1000–$2200 (gas oven with electric grill); $1100–$3700 (electric).

Side opening door

With a side-opening door you don't have to reach the food over a hot oven door, but there are only a few on the market.

Typical prices: $950-$1160 (WESTINGHOUSE), $2400 (BOSCH) and $1500 (ASKO).


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