Anyone who loves to cook knows how essential their oven is in their kitchen. With the perfect oven, you can prepare a meal for your family or a dozen guests, and bake your favorite treats. Read on to learn what you should consider when choosing one.
What Factors to Consider
When choosing the perfect one, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. Here are some great tips:
Choosing the right size for your new oven will largely depend on the amount of space you have available in your kitchen. It’s important to look closely at your space and think about what would work best for the design. Most fall between 27 and 30 inches wide. Look at the interior of the oven as well to make sure it will fit your cooking needs and will fit the casserole dishes and baking pans that you use the most.
Range or Wall
Wall ovens are installed directly into your wall and usually lay flush with your cabinets, while a range combines one with a cooktop on top of it. Wall ovens tend to have less interior space than ranges, but are usually placed higher up on the wall. Thus, you may have to bend down more to remove food. It’s also important to keep in mind how much space there is around it, as when you’re taking hot food out, you’ll want a place nearby to set it down. Having a cooktop that’s separate from your oven means you’ll have cabinet space below the cooktop. Your choice between a range or a wall oven often comes down to how much space you have in your kitchen and which layout you prefer.
Double or Single
If you choose a wall oven, it comes with the opportunity to install a double. A double oven is just what it sounds like – you have two separate, totally independent cooking spaces that can each have a different temperature. This means that you can bake your chicken at 350 degrees and roast your vegetables at 400 degrees at the same time. Double ovens can be convenient because you can cook two different dishes at different temperatures. However, they also tend to take up a little more space than a single one, and each of your double will be smaller on the inside.
Of course, two ovens will be more expensive than a single, so take some time to think about if it’s something you really need. Double ovens are great for larger families or if you tend to cook for large parties often.
Cleaning the oven is rarely anyone’s idea of a great time, so many people opt for a self-cleaning one. However, few people realize that this feature can save them money in the long run. Self-cleaning ovens often are better insulated, which means they keep in heat better. In the long run, this can help you save on energy costs, so while a self-cleaning may cost more upfront, you can potentially make up for the added expense over time.
Colors and Finishes
Trends in oven styles change over the years. Right now, stainless steel ovens are quite popular, while black ones were popular before that. Choosing what is trendy at the moment may be tempting, but realize that what is in style now may look dated in just a few years. It can be a good idea to match all the appliances to ensure the style fits in with the other decor. White or off-white may work well with lighter colored cabinets, while bright, bold color choice may look great in a retro-style kitchen.
Most kitchens will have either a conventional or convection oven, though there are those that are powered by steam and wood. Read more about the different types below.
Electric or Gas
This is often a matter of preference and what’s available to you. In general, wall ovens tend to be electric, while ranges can be either gas or electric. Do you have a gas line available to you? What is a more cost-effective option? In many cases, an electric oven will cost less upfront, but a gas one will cost less to operate over time.
The location of your oven in your kitchen is an important decision, especially if you’re choosing a wall oven. It’s important to consider what’s practical. You’ll need plenty of counter space nearby to set down hot foods, and you’ll probably want to have other appliances nearby. When you’re cooking a meal, you don’t want to be running back and forth across your kitchen from the stove to the oven to keep an eye on everything.
Of course, one of the major factors to consider is your budget. There are a wide variety of ovens available depending on what brands you look at and what features you need. Basic wall ovens tend to start at about $800, while basic ranges start around $350. Remember, when you buy one, you’ll have to consider the price of a stove too. As you add features and choose higher-end brands, prices can go up into the thousands.
Conventional ovens have two heating elements, one at the bottom that is typically used for baking and cooking, and one at the top that is used for broiling. These elements heat the air in the oven, which means that the dishes closest to the heat tend to cook the fastest. Conventional ovens can sometimes heat food unevenly, with hot and cold spots. However, most recipes are written with a conventional oven in mind, so this is what many people choose.
A convection oven circulates hot air around the interior with a fan and exhaust system. This helps to create a consistent temperature throughout the oven and cooks dishes more evenly. These ovens help to reduce moisture which means that your food gets crisp on the outside and stays juicy inside. Convection ones tend to cook food more quickly. With some, you can turn the convection setting off and use the oven as a conventional one.
Specialty ovens include steam and wood. Wood ovens are great for cooking dishes like pizza at high temperatures. Indeed, they are becoming popular as add-ons in higher-end kitchens. Steam cooks food with heated water vapor in a way similar to a pressure cooker. Sometimes, these are added to a kitchen in addition to a conventional or convection one.
If you’re wondering what type of oven is right for your kitchen, contact us for more information. Which oven you choose is a big decision, and Pro.com is always happy to help provide you with the tools and tips you need to make a smart choice!