Which oven is right for me?
Posted 26 November 2012 15:13
There is much to consider when choosing the right oven for you. Firstly, there`s the decision about whether to go for a gas or electric appliance. You should think about which fuel suits you better in terms of availability and running costs. Then you need to make sure you have adequate space, especially for larger options such as double ovens, built in grills, range cookers or even an Aga.
The type of fuel you choose may depend on your preference or previous experience of cooking with either or you may be guided by recommendation. Be aware that some properties such as apartments limit you to electrical appliances, as there are no gas supplies, for safety reasons.
In terms of efficiency and cost, electric ovens use less energy, but compared with gas it costs more per unit, so this may not make economic sense in the long run. If your oven has an integrated hob, gas is a good option for this. Gas is a relatively cheap fuel and is good for instant and even heat distribution. However, in a gas oven, the heat does not spread as evenly and the oven space can end up being hotter at the top than the bottom. On the other hand, electric ovens can be fitted quite easily whereas gas ovens will need to be installed by a specialist corgi registered gas fitter.
You also need to consider how much space a new oven will take up and whether you would prefer a built in oven or freestanding oven. Built in ovens are common in modern fitted kitchens and come in a choice of both gas and electric models. It is possible to have the oven separate to the hob, positioned either directly under the hob or at eye level nestled in amongst tall cupboard units. Freestanding ovens are generally cheaper than built in ovens and come complete with a hob and grill, either at eye level or in a separate compartment above the oven.
With conventional ovens you simply set the oven to the desired temperature and allow it to heat up. The only drawback is that you are not guaranteed the same temperature throughout. Fan ovens have a fan fitted on the back wall for even heat distribution. This type of oven heats up quickly and is efficient at cooking and baking items in a shorter amount of time.
There are also ovens with multifunction settings that are ideal for cooking different types of food. Examples of features include pizza settings for creating a crispy base or a defrost setting. Many ovens also incorporate a grill.
With a gas oven, the flame is at the back of the oven, but it is always hotter at the top than the bottom as the heat is not able to be spread evenly.
Range cookers, such as the Rangemaster Classic Deluxe, comprise of two ovens, a grill and a hob. The hob is often fitted with specially sized burners to accommodate large pans such as woks and griddles. They are available in many different sizes to fit most kitchens but also have a wide price range. Some of the most expensive ovens are range cookers.
You also need to consider what other functions are important to you. You may wish to choose an oven with timers, alarms and digital displays or prefer to purchase an oven that comes in a colour to complement your current kitchen style.
Of course, if you are tight on budget and space, a microwave oven could solve all of your problems.