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Six signs it's time for a new oven

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Last updated: 11 February 2022
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Have you had one too many cooking disasters and sure your oven is to blame? Or perhaps you're renovating your kitchen and looking for an upgrade? 

Ovens are expensive but they're also an appliance you're likely to use frequently – if you're not in love with yours it might be time you started shopping around for a new one. 

"A decent mid-range oven should last you at least 10 years," says CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair. "If there's an issue with yours it's well worth investigating whether it can be repaired before splashing out on a new one, but there are a few other reasons why you might want to hit the shops or start researching new models online."

Here's our take on when it's time to buy a new oven.

1. You're always repairing it

There are many problems with ovens that can be easily fixed, but there are also times when the cost of a technician and spare parts may not be worth it, particularly if the appliance is nearing the end of its lifespan. 

There are also some issues, such as if the insides have gone rusty or the thermostat is broken, that are difficult or very costly to repair and may signal that the end for your current model is nigh.

"If you've had your oven for more than 10 years, it will likely become trickier to repai as parts become more difficult to obtain. If you find yourself having frequent issues with your oven, which mean you need to calling for multiple services (costing at least $100 each time), the costs can really add up. 

If you've had your oven for more than 10 years, it will likely become trickier to repair as parts become more difficult to obtain

CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair

"Repairs to ovens with electrical boards and digital controls can also be pricey, so you may want to think about getting a new one if this is an issue that is cropping up regularly," says Fiona.

2. You're sick of cleaning it

Heard of those magic ovens that clean themselves? Yes, they do exist, and if cleaning your oven is one of your least favourite things to do, you should add a pyrolitic oven to your wishlist. Ovens with this feature burn off grease and grime by heating the insides to 400C or 450C leaving you with a cleaner oven that you just have to wipe down. Find out more about pyrolitic ovens.

"Ovens with the pyrolytic cleaner feature are becoming more affordable and more common," says Fiona. "In our most recent oven review, most of the ovens had a pyrolytic cleaning function – it makes them much easier to clean." 

3. You want to be more energy efficient

When it comes to energy usage in the kitchen, ovens aren't the biggest culprit (that's likely to be your fridge and freezer). However, when we test ovens in our labs we do find that different brands, models and sizes of oven vary in terms of the amount of energy they use and how much they cost to run. And if you have an older model, it's also almost certainly using up more energy than if you purchased a new one. 

"Newer ovens have better insulated walls and three layers of glass that reduce heat loss, which means they're more energy efficient than older models," says Fiona. "They also have digital temperature control for accuracy and faster preheat times."

Check CHOICE's expert oven reviews to find out which are the most energy efficient models before you buy.

4. Your current oven no longer meets your needs

Perhaps the size of your family is expanding, or you love to entertain and need a bigger oven that can take the heat (and pack in the roasting trays) when you're preparing large meals with multiple components.

Conversely, a larger oven costs more to run and takes longer to preheat, so if your kids have flown the coop and you no longer need to cook huge family meals, or you just don't like to cook that much, perhaps it's time to downgrade the size of your oven to save on energy and preheat times. 

5. You want to switch styles 

If you're renovating your kitchen, you may be looking to switch from a freestanding oven to a wall oven (or even the other way around). A freestanding oven gives you the oven and cooktop all in one unit and can become a show-stopping kitchen centrepiece when combined with a rangehood.

A wall oven, on the other hand, gives you a lot more flexibility with your kitchen layout and can be installed at a convenient height for you (meaning you don't have to bend down to access the oven door).

Read our oven buying guide for more on different styles of ovens you may like to consider.

6. You want to try fancy new features

Oven technology is continually improving and new models on the market include impressive features such as temperature probes (so you can ensure your roasted meats are perfectly cooked), multiple specific cooking functions such as air fryer or pizza modes, steam cooking modes, and things to make cooking easier such as delayed timer features. "Before buying an oven, really think about how you'll be using it and what you'll be cooking," says Fiona. "Rather than being wowed by a specific cooking function on a new oven model, I'd recommend focusing on the overall performance and aspects such as how easy it is to use and how efficient it is. We cover all these aspects in our detailed reviews.

Keep in mind that some ovens have so many functions that are just not necessary

CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair

"Keep in mind that some ovens have so many functions that are just not necessary. You really only need five basic cooking functions: fan forced, fan grill, top and bottom element, grill and bottom element plus fan forced pizza mode. Any more can be overwhelming, not to mention more costly. "If you are new to cooking and not familiar with multifunction ovens, you might want to look at ovens that have automatic pre-programmed settings and recipes. These ovens will help you determine the best cooking temperatures, cooking times and shelf position for certain dishes," adds Fiona.Many ovens now offer smart features and wi-fi connectivity that allow you to control them from your smartphone or tablet – perhaps from the living room or even if you're outside your home. While certainly not necessary, these features may appeal to you if the idea of checking on how something is cooking from the couch or switching your oven on to preheat when you're heading home is something you would benefit from. For more features you may like to look for in your new oven,

check out our oven buying guide

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