Whether you’re roasting, baking or simply heating up food, the oven is a key appliance in every kitchen. But with so many brands, models, sizes and functions to choose from, buying the right oven for your needs can be a tough task.
At Price Kitchens, we can source, supply and install a wide range of ovens from well known manufacturers including Neff, AEG, Zanussi, Siemens and Rangemaster at very competitive prices. Here are some handy oven buying tips to help you choose the perfect oven for your kitchen.
Which type of oven?
With two heating elements (at the top and bottom of the cavity), conventional ovens will heat dishes that are placed towards the top more quickly, which can be handy for cooking meals with several dishes that need heating up at different temperatures.
Also known as convection ovens, these models use a fan to circulate hot air so that the heat is distributed more evenly and your food cooks faster, and at a lower temperature too, typically around 20C less than conventional models. Fan-assisted models combine the benefits of conventional and convection heat.
Multifunction ovens offer the best of all worlds and tend to offer top and bottom heating elements, as well as a grill and a fan, so you can select the right heat source that best suits your dish. Many models also have a defrost setting, which is handy for thawing food that’s too big to fit in the microwave.
Healthier than a convection oven, steam ovens use water vapours to cook, which helps to seal in the flavour and speed up the cooking process. Great for producing moist, succulent cakes, breads and biscuits, a steam oven is no good if you’re hoping to brown your joint or crisp your soufflé.
Single or double oven?
Depending on the available space in your kitchen, how often you use the oven and what you will use it for, you can choose between a single or double oven. An integrated double oven has a larger lower cavity and smaller top section, typically with a built-in grill function. Installed at eye level, it’s much easier to get food in and out and check on the cooking progress. Built-under double ovens can be slotted conveniently under the hob or kitchen worktop – handy if there isn’t much room to work with.
A single oven has an average capacity of 64 litres (compared to 97 litres for a double oven – 62 litres for the lower section and 35 litres for the top oven). This is a good solution where space is tight, for smaller households or those that don’t cook a lot. A single oven can be built in at eye level or fitted under the worktop, offering good flexibility.
Key oven features and functions
Ovens carry an energy rating that ranges from A+++ to D. The better the rating, the less energy will be used during cooking and the lower your utility bills will be. You can also check the energy consumption rate in kWh – the lower the number, the less energy will be used.
Lots of functions and programmes means lots of controls – but how user friendly are they? Digital controls and LED screens are more precise than dials, pre-set cooking programmes save time during the working week, and programmable timers can offer handy options such as 24 hour selection and auto power on/off.
Heated on a lower temperature than the main oven, a warming drawer is a convenient add-on feature that’s ideal for keeping plates warm, keeping food hot, even for making meringues and raising dough.
Slide & Hide
Given a recent boost by Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off, Neff’s Slide & Hide oven has a retracting door that gives you safe and easy access to the oven cavity, particularly in kitchens where space is at a premium.
Self cleaning features
Cleaning your oven on a regular basis is a necessary chore that no-one looks forward to. The majority of ovens are made with easy-clean enamel while some models have removable doors for better cleaning access to the build-up of grime.
To save yourself the bother of cleaning, look out for self-cleaning ovens that are becoming increasingly popular. These offer a choice of:
Also known as hydrolytic cleaning, steam cleaning involves adding water to a special dip in the base of the oven which releases steam when heated. In less than 60 minutes, the steam loosens the dirt, which you can then clean off easily.
Situated on the sides and back of the oven, a catalytic liner is chemically treated to absorb any oven spills and break down the residue, once the oven temperature exceeds 200C.
Offered as a feature on high end brands and premium models, this self cleaning function heats the oven up to 500C to burn off food debris and stains, leaving nothing but a small pile of fine ash to wipe away.
If you’re planning to redesign or upgrade your kitchen and need expert assistance in the right choice of oven, the knowledgeable team at Price Kitchens will be delighted to help. Call 020 8686 9006 today or contact us to book your free consultation.