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Ovens buying guide

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Introduction to Cooking Ovens

Cooking ovens are included in nearly every modern kitchen. They are versatile, with such varied uses as baking breads and cakes, roasting meats, and even reheating leftover foods. Your choices are just as varied, including electric or gas ovens, double or single ovens, and built in or freestanding ovens.

While electric and gas ovens are fairly new in human history, indoor ovens date back to at least 3200 BC. Early ovens used wood or coal for fuel, while modern ovens use electricity or gas. If you have an oven that is part of a complete stove, the oven and cooking hobs can use either the same or different fuels.

There are also different cooking methods for different ovens. For baking and roasting, heat from below is the most common, while heat from above gives a broiling option. Convection ovens, also known as fan ovens, use small fans to circulate hot air inside the oven for more even cooking. Some ovens may even include a rotisserie option, while steam ovens add steam to the cooking chamber to prevent foods from drying out during cooking.

Popular brands include Smeg, Neff, Indesit, Hotpoint, Whirlpool, and many more. The most common colours include white, black, and stainless steel. With all these choices, it can be difficult to ensure you’re getting the right oven. Price Inspector can help you buy a cheap cooking oven. We researched the shops, brands, and models to bring you cheap prices and quality ovens.

Types and Sizes of Ovens

  • Conventional ovens are heated from either the top or bottom, so the temperature can vary throughout the cooking interior. The hottest region will be at the top, the middle will be moderate, and the bottom is cooler. Conventional ovens are a great option for traditional cooking such as roasts.
  • Fan ovens, or convection ovens, cook your food more evenly because the hot air is circulated by a fan. These ovens also heat up quickly, letting you cook your food up to 25 per cent faster.
  • Multi-function ovens offer more flexibility, combing both at least five different functions. Common options include a bottom heat source for crisping, a top heat source for browning, an oven grill, and top and bottom fans.
  • Steam ovens add water to the inside of the cooking chamber. This can help a crisp crust form on baked goods, and it helps prevent foods from drying out. You can usually select the amount of humidity to be added. Steam ovens can either use a water reservoir system or be connected directly to your plumbing supply.

Typical sizes include single, double, compact, and range:

  • Single ovens can easily be located beneath a work surface, or you can place it eye level in a larger cabinet. Single ovens come in many different styles, finishes, and cooking functions.
  • Double ovens must be fitted underneath a worktop. Double ovens provide great flexibility because you can use the two ovens at the same time, which gives you more room for cooking large dinners, plus more temperature flexibility for cooking two vastly different items at once.
  • Compact ovens are a perfect alternative if your kitchen space is tight. They offer the same features as larger ovens, but they take up less room. Some may offer a steam option.
  • Range ovens are larger than standard cooking ovens. They include a cook top and have one or two cooking ovens. They are available in several different styles, finishes, and cooking options.

Things to consider before buying your Cooking Oven

  • First, decide whether you want electric, gas, or dual fuel, which pairs a gas hob with an electric oven.
  • The advantages of gas are that you can quickly adjust the temperature, giving you more control. Also, its moist heat will keep food from drying out as easily. Remember that gas appliances must be installed by a licensed Gas Safe Registered fitter.
  • Electric ovens offer a wider range of features for versatility and flexibility. These ovens cook more quickly and evenly. Electric ovens are available in fan ovens, conventional, and steam options.
  • Dual fuel ovens give you instant heat and quick control on the gas hob, while giving you the faster cooking option of an electric oven.
  •  Review the style and design of your kitchen. Many ovens are part of an overall design set, letting you choose matching appliances for your entire kitchen. This can be especially helpful for stainless steel options, as the colours can vary in darkness and tone.
  • Consider how you will clean the oven. Continuous cleaning ovens help break down food splatters over time, while self-cleaning ovens use extreme heat during a cleaning cycle. Steam ovens may use a soaking cycle to loosen food spills, letting you remove them more easily.
  • Review your cooking needs. If you cook food from frozen often, consider a defrost function. If your cooking involves mostly roasts and casseroles, a traditional oven might be your best choice.
  • Whatever style of cooking oven you choose, decide whether you want it be built-in or freestanding. Built-in ovens are installed behind a cupboard door, which gives your kitchen a tidy appearance. A freestanding cooking oven provides adjustable heights if needed.
  • If you choose an electric cooking oven, check the energy efficiency rating. This rating lets you know how efficiently your appliance will use energy. The ratings range from A+ to G, which A+ being the most efficient. Selecting an energy efficient cooking oven not only helps the environment, but it also saves you money on fuel bills.

Optional Features

Once you’ve selected the basic type of oven, such as fuel type and size, you can turn your attention to different optional features. These can be handy cooking tools if you use them, but don’t pay extra for a function unless you’re really going to use it.

  • Timers: Built-in, programmable timers let you set the cooking start and stop times. Another alternative is a minute minder timer, which alerts you to manually control the cooking at your predetermined time.
  • Cleaning systems: - Stay-clean liners are the most basic option, featuring detachable liners in the sides and back that you can remove for cleaning.
  • Catalytic liners use a special material to absorb grease splatters. When you run your oven at 200 degrees C or higher, these splatters burn off.
  • Self-cleaning ovens, also known as pyrolysis, use a cleaning cycle of several hours at an extremely high heat. This burns any food spills and splashes away, leaving only ash residue which easily wipes away. A pyro cycle is efficient, effective, and inexpensive.
  • A glass door window and interior light let you conveniently look inside the oven without opening the door and letting the heat out. 
  •  Non-tip shelves are a good safety feature, which drop-down grills will make it easier to clean. If the oven features a shelf rack, this will let you pull out all the shelves at one time.
  • Easy grip controls are a good option for times when your fingers are sticky or slippery during cooking.
  • If you don’t need a large oven and are limited on storage space, consider an oven with a built-in storage draw. This lets you store pots, pans, and lids conveniently below your oven. Keep in mind that major food spills could overflow to this drawer, so it’s a nice option if it removes for easy cleaning.

Popular Brands of Cooking Ovens

There are a number of high quality brands of cooking ovens. Some of the most popular brands include:

  • Aeg, part of the AEG-Electrolux family, is the world's largest manufacturer of gas and electric kitchen appliances. They offer a wide range of cookers and ovens, in electric, gas, and mixed fuel.
  • Smeg manufactures distinctive kitchen appliances in cooperation with leading architects. Their ovens express their Italian style by mixing design and performance, blending technology and style. They offer both electric and multi-function thermo-ventilated ovens.
  • Neff offers ovens in every price range, from the entry-level Series 1 that offers everything you need for basic cooking to their top-of-the-line Series 5 ovens. Each level in between offers additional features, with the Series 5 boasting steam cooking, a bread baking setting, intensive CircoRoasting, and a centre surface grill.
  • Zanussi is a long-time leader in the oven industry. Their electric ovens include single and double ovens, in under-counter and built-in models.
  • Indesit is the largest kitchen appliance manufacturer in the UK, offering fan ovens, fan assisted ovens, conventional ovens, and multi-function ovens.
  • Belling's range of electric ovens includes fanned ovens, available with or without programmers; multifunction ovens; the first Eco induction oven in the world, and their unique side opening oven. All of their ovens have an A-energy rating and are available in a variety of colours.
Buying Guide to Ovens
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