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How to buy the best oven

Our hot tips on finding the right oven for your needs.

baking cookies and oven

Fitting out a new home? Renovating your kitchen? The oven is something you'll want to be happy with. Whether you go for a standard oven, freestanding oven, double oven or a smaller toaster oven, there are lots of brands and features to choose from. First you need to decide what type of oven you need.

How to buy the right oven

Single/wall ovens

  • Is typically 60cm, and is the standard found in most homes. 
  • Can be electric or gas. The majority of ovens sold are electric and we currently don't test any gas models.
  • Gives you more flexibility with your kitchen layout. 
  • Doesn't have to go under your cooktop and can either fit in a wall or under a bench. 
  • Can be conveniently installed at your height so you aren't bending or squatting.
  • 70-90cm models are ideal if you have a big family, do lots of entertaining or just like the look of a larger oven
  • Larger ovens make a statement in your kitchen ease of use is particularly important - they have large trays that can be awkward and heavy to lift and remove when they're filled with food and their large accessories can be difficult to clean in your kitchen sink.
  • Ranges in price from under $500 to $10,000.

Freestanding ovens

  • Can make for quite the show stopper in your kitchen.
  • Gives you your oven and cooktop all-in-one. 
  • Has many variations - electric or gas oven with gas, induction or ceramic cooktop. The majority have electric ovens so we currently don't test gas oven options.
  • Is available in 60cm if you're strapped for space.
  • Is available in 90cm if you have the space, have a large family and love to cook up a storm. 
  • Is available in new designs like the revival of the old-style ranges with divided compartments.
  • Can range in price from $600 to $10,000 or more.

Double ovens

  • Is two distinct ovens, each with its own set of functions, stacked one on top of the other. 
  • Can be electric or gas, but the majority is electric.
  • Is excellent for entertainers or large families who like to bake. 
  • Is versatile, allowing you to bake and grill different dishes at the same time or bake two things that require different temperatures and functions. 
  • Can also come as a 1½ oven (or single-plus-secondary oven) which provides similar versatility to a true double oven, however, the secondary oven tends to have limited functions and only one shelf.
  • Typically ranges in price from $1300 to over $6000, but can cost as much as $8000 or more.

Toaster/benchtop ovens

  • Is a compact alternative to a full-sized oven. 
  • Can bake, roast, grill and toast, and some even have a hotplate on top.
  • Comes at a fraction of the price of a full-sized oven, along with reduced energy consumption. 
  • Is useful for small cooking jobs like cheese on toast and handy when space is an issue (like in a caravan) but can't cater for larger scale baking.
  • Is comparatively inexpensive, ranging in price from $39 to $500 or more.

 Steam ovens

  • Claim to produce healthier food than conventional ovens because fewer nutrients are lost. 
  • Aren't as versatile as a conventional oven, and there are cheaper ways of steaming food. 
  • Aren't capable of browning foods, so you'll need to grill or fry before or after steaming to achieve browning. 
  • Can be pricey, ranging in price from $2000 to over $7000.

Combination steam and convection ovens 

  • Combines the benefits of steam cooking with all the necessities of a multifunction convection oven. 
  • A 'true' combination steam oven has typical multifunctional baking, combination steam/convection and steam-only settings. 
  • Another alternative is a typical multifunction electric oven with an added moisture function. These simply inject bursts of steam into the oven during normal baking to help retain moisture. 

Light ovens

  • Take an ordinary combination convection/grill/microwave oven and add a halogen lamp. 
  • This type of oven doesn't cook using just light – the light's main purpose is to assist browning and heating.

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