Best Ovens of 2018
An oven is likely the most-used appliance in your kitchen. From boiling water to broiling steaks, an range oven is indispensable. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best oven for your baking needs.
Shopping Guide for the Best Ovens
After your refrigerator, your oven is probably the most-used appliance in your kitchen. From boiling water to broiling steaks, an oven is indispensable. So, if you're shopping for a new one, it's important to make your decision carefully.
There are a range of factors to consider, however, which can be both frustrating and time-consuming. Overwhelmed by all the ovens on the market? That's where we come in.
At BestReviews, we cut through the jargon and hype to give you thorough and honest product reviews. We never accept free products. Instead, we research, test, and consult with our team of experts. If you'd like to know more about the different types and features of ovens, read on.
Types of Ovens
There are three basic types of ovens available to the home cook: electric, gas, and convection.
Electric ovens are the most popular choice and for good reason. First, they're generally less expensive than gas or convection ovens. Second, they're easy to use. Just press a couple of buttons, and you're cooking with constant, even heat. And third, they're generally safer. With an electric oven, there's no risk of a gas leak.
On the downside, you will see a boost in your utility bill if you go with an electric oven. They also are no good during a power outage.
Some people prefer gas ovens for their ability to heat up quickly. This is an especially useful trait when broiling. Also, clean-burning gas ovens are more environmentally friendly than electric ovens.
Gas ovens, however, don't heat as evenly as electric or convection ovens. The temperature at the top of the oven will be hotter than the temperature in the rest of the oven. For this reason, many professional bakers choose to work with electric or convection ovens.
A convection oven uses fans to circulate heat around the oven. This allows for the most even cooking. Additionally, convection ovens cook faster than gas or electric ovens.
Convection ovens are quite pricey, and they may not be worth the cost if you don't bake very often. Also, since they cook at a quicker speed, you'll need to adjust your cooking times, which can take a while to get used to.
Today's ovens come loaded with bells and whistles. Keep an eye out for these features.
Oven capacity is measured in cubic feet. You can find ovens with capacities ranging anywhere from 3.5 to 7 cubic feet. The capacity you need depends on what and how much you cook. If you only use your oven to prepare meals for yourself or a small family, a smaller oven should suit you fine. But if you cook large meals frequently, you'll probably want more room.
Almost all ovens are made of stainless steel. If you're buying a full range, though, there are differences in stovetop materials. Gas ranges have metal, coil-style burners on the cooktop. Electric ranges and convection ranges are usually topped with ceramic glass. The heating elements for the stovetop are under the glass. Some pricier ovens include induction cooktops.
Oven controls have come a long way since the simple twist knob. Most ovens sold today are controlled by a digital panel. Some newer ovens even use Bluetooth to allow the cook to control the oven via smartphone or other wireless device.
Modern ovens have a self-cleaning feature. When in use, the oven heats to a very high temperature—typically over 800ºF—to burn residual particles into ash. Once the oven cools down, simply wipe out the ashes, and you're ready to cook again. However, the self-cleaning feature shouldn't be used too often since the ultra-high heat can damage oven components.
Q. Which is better: gas or electric?
A. It really depends on what and how you cook. In many professional kitchens, you'll find gas stovetops but electric ovens. Heat is easier to control on a gas burner—turn the knob one way and the flame rises, turn it the other way and it decreases. On the other hand, electric ovens offer more even heating, which is great for baking and roasting. In short, if you use the stove more, go with gas, but if the oven is your thing, buy electric.
Q. Do convection ovens need more upkeep than gas or electric ovens?
A. Most convection ovens sold today have a self-cleaning feature just like gas and electric ovens. You might have to put in a little elbow grease if there are particularly stubborn stuck-on bits, though.
Q. How do I adjust cooking times for a convection oven?
A. Generally, you'll need to lower the temperature by 25ºF when cooking in a convection oven. Use this as a starting point, but adjust as needed. It may take a few bakes to figure it out exactly.