The oven is often the unsung hero of a busy household, helping to prepare Sunday roasts, goodies such as cakes and cookies, as well as the (occasional) frozen pizza to crispy perfection. Without an oven, your kitchen almost seems bare. An oven is an essential appliance, but before you buy one, you’ll need to get a good idea of what type best fits your personal circumstances and preferences.
Finding an oven that best suits your kitchen can be a mission, with not only plenty of brands available to choose from but plenty of types as well. To help you with the decision-making process, Canstar Blue has compiled a list of the types of ovens below, regardless of if you’re a kitchen novice or a culinary master.
Gas ovens are a popular option for many households and are often cheaper to run long-term compared to electric models. But more households are starting to turn away from gas ovens, partly because these are more expensive to buy and there aren’t many brands that offer options under $1,000. Plus, households that don’t already have a natural gas line connected could be left with a bigger bill than expected. So, it’ll be a choice of whether you’ll want to pay more upfront and potentially save more over the long run, or if you want to go the other way around.
Whether you should opt for a gas oven or a different type of oven also comes down to what type you usually like to cook. For example, gas ovens typically don’t brown food as well as electrical ovens. However, gas ovens are generally seen to be better at keeping in moisture and ideal for creating juicy roasts.
- Expect to fork out $1,700 to $2,700 for a gas oven.
The more common option for households, electric ovens make up the majority of the market and are usually cheaper to buy than gas ovens. With more brands and model types available, an electric oven may be your best bet if you’re looking for something specific, or if you like to have plenty of options to choose from.
Electric ovens are often viewed as easier to clean and use, especially with many models now including a variety of pre-set cooking programs, plus cleaning and safety functions.
- An electric oven will set you back between $450 and $10,000
Conventional vs. convection ovens
In addition to deciding on how your oven is powered, there’s also the matter of choosing between a conventional electric oven or a convection electric oven. The main difference is based on how the oven heats up the air inside the appliance.
A conventional oven heats from the bottom up, but can create inconsistent cooking as pockets of cooler air can form in some areas. In comparison, convection ovens will circulate warm air from the back via a fan, and can usually be set to a lower temperature than conventional ovens while still achieving the same end results. As it circulates air, however, pans and dishes with high edges may impact how well cooked your food is, so be mindful of what you’re preparing your dinner in.
While steam ovens may not be at the top of everyone’s list, they have begun to become quite popular in recent years, with the water-based oven providing an alternative for consumers. Steam ovens work by injecting water into a boiler, either through a separate canister or through a connection to the waterline, with the steam then heating the oven. The steam cuts down the need for oils, which can provide a healthier alternative for households.
Steam ovens also retain more nutrients, as well as reduce cooking times, but may impact how crispy your food ends up, meaning a steam oven might not be the best suit for everyone. Additionally, steam ovens will set you back more than a traditional oven, meaning it’s more of a financial commitment, costing upwards of $1,000 for basic models.
- A steam oven usually retails between $1,000 and $10,000.
When it comes to ovens, your household size, as well as whether or not your place is the usual spot for those Sunday night dinners, will determine the size and capacity of oven you should go with, with plenty of brands offering both single and double-ovens for you to consider.
Single ovens are generally made to fit anywhere in your kitchen and measure 60cm tall. This type of oven is suitable for most households and comes in a variety of sizes, so there are always plenty of options to choose from. It’s also more readily available than double ovens, which are also usually more expensive.
Double ovens are ideal for bigger families, or those that like to cook in bulk, because it’s essentially two single ovens stacked on top of each other, often between 72-90cm tall. The main benefit of a double oven is that households can use one oven to grill or make roasts, while simultaneously baking dessert.
Specialised oven features
While ovens are handy, cleaning the appliance can be tiring and sometimes fiddly ─ especially when large meals create lots of grease and cause burnt food to stick onto the walls. Thankfully, self-cleaning ovens are readily available. These generally work by heating the internal cavity at a high temperature to essentially ‘burn’ all the residue, leaving ash and grime that should now be much easier to wipe off.
Self-cleaning ovens can be further categorised into pyrolytic and catalytic, with both keeping your oven clean in different ways. Pyrolytic, the more common type, heats the internal cavity at a high temperature to essentially ‘burn’ all the residue, leaving ash and grime that you can now wipe off. Meanwhile, catalytic ovens are lined with special chemicals that absorb any food spills to make cleaning easier.
Regardless of which one you prefer, a self-cleaning function typically means you’ll need to fork out a premium price tag. But when it comes to cutting down on your chores, it may be well worth the money.
- Prices for pyrolytic ovens start at around $1,000 and reach up to just over $8,000, or $15,000 for certain models.
While you won’t find one in every kitchen, a warming drawer could be the difference between a hit dinner or a disaster, with the handy feature used to keep plates and foods warm if you’re pressed for time. Warming drawers are also ideal for defrosting food, handy for those who forgot to take the chicken out of the fridge.
Warming drawers are generally installed in a wall cavity, usually above or below the oven, with an electronic panel located in the top interior edge of the drawer for a rather sleek design. While not necessary for most households, if you’re regularly hosting dinner at your place, or have trouble combining all the elements of a meal together while they’re still warm, a warming drawer may be a worthwhile option looking into.
- Warming drawers usually cost between $1,300 and $3,000.
Which oven is best for me?
Ultimately, which oven you decide to go with will be dependent on your individual circumstances, plus how big your household is, how often you use an oven to cook meals, as well as whether or not you’ll really need additional features such as warming drawers or self-cleaning functions.
With plenty of options on the market, there’s an oven for every household, although you may have to do a bit of research beforehand to find the best one for you. However, with Canstar Blue rating oven brands, you can spend less time researching, and more time enjoying oven-baked goods. Check out our latest oven reviews via the link below.
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