Ovens are available in gas or electric, and using a number of heating methods, conventional, convection, microwaves or combination oven/microwave.
They come in many shapes, sizes and finishes. Your choice will be influenced by the design of your kitchen, the space available and what you enjoy cooking.
A single oven can be placed in a cabinet below the counter top or in a tall cabinet. A regular double oven or an conventional/microwave double oven combination will be placed in a tall cabinet.
Wall ovens are either 24, 27, or 30 inches wide.
Look out for:
- Controls that are easy to use
- Logically arranged and simple to operate
- Electronic type controls are easier to clean and faster and more accurate to set than dials
Prices of ovens range from $500 to $4000
Have two heating elements, one for baking and roasting and another for broiling. Heat for baking comes from the bottom. As the heat rises, it creates different temperature areas, or ‘zones’ within the oven. The hottest area is at the top, the centre is moderate while the coolest part is at the bottom of the oven.
Some ovens use both elements during baking to compensate for uneven heating patterns and for more even browning.
Available in gas or electric.
Convection ovens use thermal heat much like conventional ovens but use a fan to circulate hot air for faster and more even cooking. They use almost 50% less energy and can cut cooking times up to 30%. They work great for baking and roasting.
Come as fan assisted and fan forced. With fan assisted, the heat comes from the bottom element and is circulated by a fan at the rear. A fan forced oven has the fan surrounded by a heating element which creates a steady, even temperature throughout the oven. All food can be placed anywhere in the oven as it will all be cooked at an even temperature.
One disadvatage is that some foods can dry out or get too brown if not covered properly. Also, the noise from the fan can sometimes be a problem.
Fan assisted available in gas or electric, fan forced in electric only.
Single Ovens are traditional one door models. If you don’t do much cooking or have limited space, then choose this type.
Double ovens are a great choice if you do a lot of cooking and if you have the room.
Double ovens with microwave cooking in the upper oven with a lower conventional or convection oven.
Whether the oven is a single or double oven, ensure the cabinet aperture is the correct size for the appliance as heights can vary. Check the electrical rating of the appliance and fit the appropriate sized outlet, avoiding the space directly behind the appliance.
Once you’ve fed the appliance flex to the outlet (this may be in adjacent cupboard or in the case of a double oven, in the cupboard above), slide in the appliance and screw to the cabinet gables with the screws provided.
Microwaves are available as either freestanding or as a space-saver unit. A freestanding microwave can be used on the countertop or placed in a separate wall or base cabinet.
A space-saver microwave mounts under a wall cabinet above the range or cooktop, and has light and built-in ventilation. They free countertop space and put the oven conveniently at eye level. The standard size of a space-saver unit is 30″ to fit over a standard range.
The sizes of freestanding units vary. Full-size models take up more counter space but have interior capacities up to 2 cubic feet. Cooking power is about 1,000 watts. Compact models usually are less powerful (about 700 watts) and won’t cook as quickly. They also may lack some of the preprogrammed cycles of full-size models, such as sensor cooking.
Convection microwave oven
These microwaves include a heating element plus a fan or grill element at the top to brown food as it’s cooked. They offer all the benefits of a conventional oven along with reduced cooking times and lower energy costs.
Features to look out for
- Turntables for more even cooking
- Multiple power levels
- Preset time options
- Pre-programmed cooking and reheating cycles for different foods
- Moisture/steam-sensor for automatic cooking
- Child-safety for low-height models (security code entry on some models)
Prices for microwaves range from $50 to $2000