You may already have a good idea about the type of oven you would like to have in your new kitchen. You might be keen to include a beautiful range cooker to create a focal point in your space or you may want a tall bank of units with multiple ovens.
Whether you already have something in mind or have yet to decide, we will explain your options in this handy guide to choosing ovens that are right for you.
Choosing your ovens can be broken down into 5 steps or choices
Choice 1 - Built-in vs Free Standing (Range Cookers)
Modular 60cm wide ovens that are built into your kitchen furniture. Built-in ovens offer the largest choice in functionality and can be fitted in conjunction with other modular appliances like additional ovens, microwaves and warming drawers.
These ovens can be fitted below the worktop, often under the hob to create a ‘cooking zone’ or in tall housings at eye level which makes access easy and allows the user to see what is happening without bending.
Most people choose to install their built-in ovens in this way. As well as the practical aspect of having ovens at eye level, the space below the hob is then allocated to the storage of cooking utensils, pots and pans.
When we talk about built under ovens they are essentially the same as built-in ovens and it’s just the fact that they are installed under the worksurface. The only difference is that a double built under oven is smaller in height than a built-in double oven as you can see in the infographic below
Free standing range cookers are available in a range of sizes from 50cm to 120cm wide, with multi-cavity options and a built-in cook top in gas, electric or induction, there are solutions to suit every kitchen.
Large range cookers have great aesthetic appeal and are often used in kitchens to create a feature focal point.
Installation of this type of cooker is generally straightforward with connection to services in one position. Whilst cookers of this type will generally have multiple and often larger oven cavities, the choice of functionality is limited. For example, microwave and full steam capability can not be found in range cookers.
It is fine if you want to choose a range cooker primarily for aesthetic reasons however, if this is the case, take time to research options and discuss with your designer / retailer to see which models they offer. No two ovens are the same and there are many other features and accessories to consider other than the basic functionality.
If you are undecided and would like to find out more about the diverse range of options available with a built-in solution, then read on…
Choice 2 - Double vs Single vs Compact Built-in Ovens
Double Ovens - Built under
We use the term ‘built-in’ for those that are installed in tall appliance housings and ‘built under’ for those that are installed below your worktop. Double ovens are single appliances with two cavities, typically you will have a Multifunction fan in the main (bottom) cavity and a conventional oven with grill in the top cavity. Built under double ovens are 72cm high in order to fit between the worktop and plinth, the main cavity is fairly small in comparison to other solutions with a capacity of around 50 litres. These ovens are only ever used in kitchens where space is at a premium and the user requires a second cavity and separate grill.
Double Ovens - Built-in
Built-in double ovens are taller at 88cm high, the main cavity is larger at approx. 70l and with certain brands you will have the option of fan cooking in both cavities. Again, ovens of this type are generally only specified where space is at a premium or as a cheaper alternative to using a single and compact oven together. There are no solutions available on the market that offer microwave or steam functionaility. Most manufacturers only offer two or three different models of double oven. This is because there is far less demand now for ovens of this type, in fact, it may surprise you to learn that double ovens are only made to service the UK and Belgian markets.
Built-in Single Ovens
You will find the greatest number of options are found in single ovens. Some manufacturers offer more than 30 variations of single oven, each with different cooking functions, controls, liners, accessories and cleaning settings.
These ovens offer great flexibility, they can be installed under the worktop on their own or side by side. You can also install single ovens in tall appliance housings, again on their own, side-by-side or stacked one on top of the other. They can also be fitted in the same fashion with compact appliances.
Single ovens are 60cm in height and have a capacity of around 70 litres. There are many functions available with single ovens with some brands also offering many additional features like microwave capability, humidity-controlled cooking and wi-fi connectivity all with some incredible benefits.
Built-in Compact Ovens
As the name suggests, these are smaller versions (45cm high) of single ovens. These can be installed in all the same way that single ovens can.
It is very rare for someone to specify a compact oven on it’s own as part of a project unless space is very restricted, they are usually fitted in conjunction with a single oven for increased capacity and flexibility.
Due to the smaller 45l capacity, compact ovens are commonly offered with microwave and combination microwave capability.
Choice 3 - Cooking functions
These are the most common cooking functions available in single and compact appliances. As mentioned above, some manufacturers may offer additional cooking settings to certain models, check with your designer or salesperson for more information.
Varying cominations of top and bottom heat, usually in conjunction with a full surface electric grill element.
– Ideal for cooking pizza, flans, pastries, casseroles and slow cooking
Using a concealed element behind a fan, the heat is circulated and evenly distributed around the oven cavity.
– Suitable for cooking most foods and for batch baking.
A combination of all conventional and fan settings.
– Great flexibility for cooking all types of food.
The grill and fan alternate to reduce roasting times and to evenly crisp food.
– Perfect for poultry, duck and small cuts of meat.
A fine mist of steam is added to the cavity during cooking to help retain colour and moisture in foods.
– Perfect for dough proving, baking bread and for reducing shrinkage when roasting joints of meat.
Lock in nutrients by cooking purely with steam. Variable temperature control for defrosting, reh-heating, dough proving and cooking tender vegetables. Some multifunction ovens are also available with full steam capability, making them the most complete and versatile option.
– Suitable for steamed vegetables, fish, pasta and risottos (yes, risottos!).
Ovens with plug in meat thermometers that reliably measures the core temperature of food to ensure perfect results every time.
– Never under-cook or over-cook meat or fish again.
Ovens with microwave capability eliminate the need for a separate appliance. Using a combination of fan cooking and low-level microwaves can significantly reduce cooking times. Perfect roast chicken in under 50 minutes.
– Flexibility with fewer appliances and reduced cooking times .
Choice 4 - Cleaning functions
According to a survey carried out by Tombola in December 2019. Cleaning the oven is the most hated household chore in the UK. Professional oven cleaning companies are taking advantage of this and charging around £65 for a single cavity. There are features available that make cleaning your oven easier, some without too much hassle which could save you hundreds of pounds!
Eco-Clean / Easy Clean
Ovens with special catalytic liners or direct coating on the roof, rear and side panels of your oven that collect dirt and grease. The liners or coated areas clean themselves by breaking down these deposits whilst the oven is in use, some coatings are activated at 150c but most work at around 180c.
The smooth enamel base of the oven still needs to be cleaned manually. This can be made easier by pouring a dish soap and water solutioin in the base and switching on the bottom heat to soften any grease and dirt that has collected.
Pyrolitic Cleaning / Active Cleaning
Ovens that have a pyro-clean setting are even easier to clean. The cavity of the oven is heated to around 485 degrees C which effectively incinerates any dirt and grease in the oven.
This cleaning process can take anywhere from 50 to 110 minutes depending on the brand. You may have to wipe the bottom with a damp cloth to clean any fine ash from the base.
Please note, the door, shelves and rails will still have to be cleaned manually although this is very straightforward. Some brands use a plasma coating on shelves and rails so that these can be left in the oven for pyro-cleaning.
Choice 5 - Wi-Fi Connectivity / Smart Ovens
This isn’t so much of an option anymore as most manufacturers are moving towards including wi-fi connectivity on all ovens. Whilst you don’t have to use this feature or connect your oven to your home wi-fi there can be some great benefits in doing so.
The level of functionality will differ between brands, some solutions are very basic and may do nothing more than allow you to view the status of your oven remotely, whilst others allow a huge amount of remote interaction.
B/S/H (Bosch, Siemens and Neff) have developed amazing software and have been using and developing it for three years now, here are some highlights of Siemens ‘Home-Connect’ for ovens.
Download the app to a compatible iOS or Android device to enable:
- Remote control of power, function and settings on your appliance from anywhere
Train delayed? Casserole in the oven? Adjust temperature or switch off from the train.
- Get real time notifications when your programs are complete
Find out when your meal is cooked whilst sunbathing in the garden
- Get real time notifications when your oven is turned on / off
Particularly useful if you have a vulnerable family member at home who perhaps should not be using the oven.
- Download recipes and send the correct settings to your oven automatically
Simple and easy hands free set up
- View status of your oven in real time
Check how long is left on your program from the comfort of your sofa
- Troubleshooting or reporting faults
Allow remote access to a Siemens technician who can diagnose faults and repairs without a service visit
- Voice commands to operate your oven via a smart speaker
Hands dirty or wet? Just ask ‘Alexa’ to turn the oven on for you.