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Ovens

BING LEE'S OVEN BUYING GUIDE

It doesn't matter if you are Donna Hay about to bake a delicious and moist banana bread loaf or the wicked witch from Hansel and Gretel preparing to preheat your oven to cook children you nabbed from the forest and fattened up, ovens are an essential addition needed in your home (gingerbread or not). Ovens are not the white or cream big bulky appliances they used to be. Modern models are sleek and stylish with an array of features and functions making that Christmas ham you've glazed 18 times easy work although you can find some models that still have a slightly traditional look. As with other kitchen appliances there are lots of options to consider depending on the layout of your kitchen and how much food and sweets you cook or bake. Oven prices can vary anywhere from under $1,000 to over a whopping $10,000 depending on the brand and features so it’s best to know what you're looking for before handing that plastic over.

Ovens can be free-standing or fitted into a wall or cavity. You can find them in gas or electric, fan forced or steam and ranged in single or double. For those of us who hate the scrubbing and foamy chemicals usually used to clean the oven, you can find self-cleaning models. If you're short on space there's models that have the grill component built in to the oven. Don't forget about all the nitty gritty decisions such as the layers of glass on the door, the shelving and baking tray, in oven lighting, hidden elements, touch screens and smart technology features. With so much to choose from it can be confusing to know where to start so our advice to you is to read through this buyers guide to get a better understanding of the diffident types of ovens and their functions then to grab that measuring tape and measure out your space before heading into one of our stores.

Electric vs Gas

Electric ovens are the most common type on the market. Electric ovens have either visible or hidden elements that can multi-function depending on your cooking needs. These elements can be found at the top, bottom and back panel and can have an in built grill element and a fan to circulate the heat. Electric ovens distribute heat more evenly than gas meaning that your cooking will be even too without the need for rotating. With the element or grill at the top of the internal cavity, these ovens are the best for browning and crisping. Price wise, electric oven prices start lower than gas and there is a wide variety to choose from.

Gas ovens require a main gas connection and if you choose a gas oven with electric functions you will need an electrical outlet as well. There is not much variety in the gas range but gas ovens retain the moisture in your food while cooking which is great for all of you cake bakers! On the downside, you will need to rotate your food to keep cooking even as gas ovens tend to be warmer at the top of the cavity and cooler down the bottom however, models with a fan avoid this problem. Most homes feature electric connections for ovens so keep in mind that if you purchase a gas oven you will have to pay for the connection of the gas outlet by a qualified technician.

Free standing ovens

As the name suggests, free standing ovens are not built into your kitchen. They are easy to move around and are the most common ovens on the market. There is a wide variety to choose from and with the right measurements you can find a size that will fit into the space you have. Free standing ovens come as a complete unit meaning that the cooktop is directly on top. You can find models that are run by duel fuel for example; a gas cooktop and an electric oven. The downside of a free standing oven is that you will need to bend down to access the oven for cooking and cleaning - then again there's nothing wrong with doing extra squats! These ovens have a large internal space which is great if you need to put lots of dishes in the oven at once however you will struggle to fit the baking tray and racks into your sink when you need to give them a wash.

Wall/Built in ovens

Wall ovens are the most popular on the market with people renovating their kitchen or replacing an old built in oven. Wall ovens look fabulous in the kitchen as they are built into your cabinet space and are more convenient than the free standing range. These ovens can be installed at waist height and do not need to be located right next to or under your cooktop which gives you more manoeuvrability whilst cooking. You'll worry less about your children opening the oven door as they won’t reach the handle anyway. If the appliances height isn't a concern you can also install these ovens under bench. The only down side to purchasing one of these is that you can expect to pay more for a built in oven and cooktop that you would for a free standing model.

Bench top ovens

A bench top oven is a mini oven that sits on top of your kitchen bench. Perfect for studio apartments that don't have everything in the kitchen. They come in 2 styles:

  • Compact mini oven - is essentially a standard mini oven. Due to its size don't expect to cook meals for a family this baby is only suited for singles and couples so you can forget about that turkey or large pizza. You can find some models that have a heating plate on top to keep food warm.
  • Convection glass oven - does the same thing as a mini oven and is just as limited on space. The difference with this product is that it is a huge glass bowl that comes with a lid. There is a heating element, fan and a light.

Both styles are not ideal to have if you have children in the house. The glass door on the mini oven and the glass bowl on the convection glass oven can get quite hot despite being made of heat resistant glass.

Double ovens

For all of you cooks, entertainers, mothers with large families and grandmothers that can expect lots of grandchildren around on the weekends this one is for you. A double oven is perfect if you have the extra space in your kitchen but are struggling to fit additional dishes or are short on time and need to do dinner and dessert at the same time. Essentially a double oven is 2 ovens stacked on top of one another but both have their own controls. You can have both ovens in the same size or one that is smaller, it just depends on what you need.

Fan forced & Steam ovens

Fan forced ovens are different to fan assisted ovens as the heating element in fan forced oven is directly around the fan. The fan circulates the hot air produced to evenly assist with heat distribution. Ovens that are fan assisted don't have a heating element surrounding the fan, the push the warm air around generated by heating elements on the top and bottom of the internal cavity.

Stand-alone steam ovens are said to be a healthier option to cook food as you won’t lose the vitamins and nutrients the only down side is that steam ovens don't brown or crisp food. So while steamed fish and veg sounds amazing a steamed chicken roast is not as appealing without that crispy skin. You can also find electric ovens that have a steam function which shoots out steam at regular intervals retaining food moisture.

Pyrolytic ovens & Catalytic liners

Pyrolytic ovens are self-cleaning ovens but don't get too excited you still will have to contribute to a little cleaning. Ovens with the pyrolytic feature heat the oven to about 500°C which will burn down any food stragglers into ash. Your cleaning responsibility is to remove the racks to wash them yourself and to wipe the ash residue away from inside the oven. Some trays can be left in the oven during the self-clean program as long as they are pyrolytic proof. Easy peasy and no nasty oven cleaning chemicals! As a safety feature the door to oven automatically locks but you will be able to reopen the door once the temperature falls to a safer level.

Catalytic liners are surfaces that absorb and breakdown grease and food splatter. To clean the oven needs to be heated while empty and the food and fat residue will burn into ash which can be easily wiped away. The liners require some maintenance but if looked after they can last quite a while in your oven although you will eventually need to replace them at some point.

Size

It’s important to pick the right sized appliance to sit you. The layout of your kitchen may restrict you on the size so regardless of what oven style you are after you should accurately measure your available space. Standard single ovens are 60 centimetres but if your kitchen cavity doesn't restrict you on space you might want to consider extra wide options. Before buying your new oven it’s a wise move to check out the internal space. It’s a good idea to bring one of your larger baking trays into the store to assess whether it will fit into the internal cavity.

Features worth considering

Here are some key things to look out for before you select your new oven.

  • Door - the door should be easy to open and should be able to hold its place without slamming shut. Look for glass doors that have more than 2 layers of glass so that the door is not extremely hot to touch when in use.
  • Shelves - make sure that the shelves are solid, that they don't slope downwards and have a safety stopper to prevent it from sliding out unexpectedly.
  • Touch screens - Like with other modern appliances higher end models have touch screens as opposed to the old knobs and dials.
  • Automatic settings - Whether you want to roast, base bake, defrost or dehydrate your food some models have pre-set settings.
  • Warming drawer - a separate cavity designed to keep food warm while the main oven cavity is in use.
  • Internal grill - the top element in the oven can be turned to high and operate by itself working as a grill while your food sits on the top shelf of the oven.
  • Delayed start - While we don't recommend leaving your oven unsupervised, some ovens have a delayed start option for if you don't want cooking to start till a certain time or if you want the oven preheated by a set time.

Still Need Help?

Still have questions? If you are still unsure about what you need, call our friendly customer service on 1300 980 399, or to find the closest Bing Lee to you, visit our Store Locator

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