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Which type of oven should you buy?

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

person holding a tray of cookies next to a freestanding 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.

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Video: How to buy the right oven.

Wall ovens

If you want flexibility with your kitchen layout, a wall oven is the way to go. They can fit in a wall, at a conveniently installed height to avoid bending or under your cooktop or bench. Or if you have a small kitchen, a single wall oven can be installed underneath your kitchen counters (including underneath your cooktop).

The standard size found in most homes is 60cm, however, if you have a big family or do lots of entertaining, extra wide 70- and 90cm models are also available. While larger ovens make a statement, bear in mind that ease of use is particularly important and they have larger trays that can be awkward and heavy to lift and move and the larger accessories can be difficult to clean in your kitchen sink. 

You can also choose from electric or gas. The majority of ovens sold are electric, and we currently don't test any gas models. 

They range in price from under $600 to $10,000.

Freestanding ovens

A freestanding oven gives you the oven and cooktop all-in-one. It can be a show stopper in your kitchen and is available in a variety of designs, from a modern aesthetic to the old-style ranges with divided compartments.

You can also choose from many variations - electric or gas oven with gas, induction or ceramic cooktop. The majority are electric ovens - we currently don't test gas oven options. If you're strapped for space 60cm options are available, however, if you have the space and/or have a large family and love to cook up a storm 90cm options might be better suited for you.

 They range in price from $600 to $10,000 or more.


Illustration of a double oven.

Double ovens

A double oven is two distinct ovens, each with its own set of functions, stacked one on top of the other. It allows you to bake and grill different dishes at the same time or bake two things that require different temperatures and functions. They're a great option for entertainers or large families who like to bake and can be electric or gas (although the majority are electric). 

The main thing you'll need to decide is the configuration of your double oven. Some are actually two full-sized ovens, and others are a smaller half-oven above (or below) a full-sized one. Keep in mind that half ovens tend to have limited functions and only one shelf. Consider how much space you have in your kitchen, and what you'll be using the second oven for.  

When it comes to features and functions, look at the same aspects as you would for a regular wall oven

Installing a double oven is a little trickier than for a single wall oven, because both ovens need to be accessible, but it's likely that one will end up being at an easier height than the other. Think about which of the two ovens will get the most use and install it at the right height for easy access. 

They range in price from $1300 to over $6000, but can cost as much as $8000 or more. 

CHOICE no longer reviews double ovens.

Toaster/benchtop ovens

This is a compact alternative to a full-sized oven. It can bake, roast, grill and toast and some even have a hotplate on top. It comes at a fraction of the price of a full-sized oven with reduced energy consumption too. A toaster/benchtop oven is useful for small cooking jobs like cheese on toast and handy when space is an issue, but it can't cater for larger scale baking. 

 They range in price from $39 to $500 or more.

Steam ovens

Steam ovens claim to produce healthier food than conventional ovens because fewer nutrients are lost. However, they aren't as versatile as a conventional oven, and there are cheaper ways of steaming food. 

There are three types of steam oven: 

  • Standalone steam oven - which only steams. This type isn't capable of browning foods, so you'll need to grill or fry before or after steaming to achieve browning. 
  • Combination steam and convection ovens has typical multifunctional baking, combination steam/convection modes, and steam only settings. 
  • Multifunction oven with added moisture function. This type is often the cheaper option and injects bursts of steam into the oven during normal baking at appropriate cooking phases to help keep in moisture. 
They range in price from $2000 right up to over $7500. 

CHOICE no longer reviews steam ovens.

Light ovens

A light oven takes an ordinary combinaton convection/grill/microwave oven and adds a halogen lamp. This type of oven doesn't cook using just light - the light's main purpose is to assist browning and heating.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.