Buying a New Oven: 5 Questions to Ask

Buying a New Oven: 5 Questions to Ask

Shopping for a new oven? You’ve got some big choices to think about: gas vs. electric, freestanding vs. built-in — and how about convection? Our oven buyer’s guide can help.

So you’ve finally decided to pull the trigger and get a new oven. With an overwhelming amount of options available, it can be tough to decide which is best for you and your family.

Of course you’ll want to keep in mind your cooking habits, but your house itself can also dictate the type of appliance you buy. Ask yourself these important questions to get started and find the perfect oven for your home.

1. Freestanding or built-in?

Your kitchen would look awfully funny with a range/cooktop combo and a huge empty wall cavity. “Usually people replace like with like,” says Jonathan Klinkert, a buyer for Sears. “There are some regional preferences, but often it’s just what builders had put into the home originally.” There may be more flexibility with a built-in, which can be installed at counter height so there’s no bending over. And, there are double built-in or freestanding options that have two cavities. But neither style is better performing than the other.

2. Gas or electric?

People who cook frequently swear by gas stoves and electric ovens. “Probably 95% of the built-in oven market is electric, which perform better,” Klinkert says. For the best of both worlds, there are dual fuel options for the range/oven combo, which may mean ordering up a gas line to your home.

3. What size do I need?

The actual interior of your oven is defined by its capacity — how much it holds. Take a look inside the oven and think about the number of people you cook for, the amount of cooking and baking you do and the size of all your baking pans. As for the exterior, “90% of freestanding ovens are 30 inches; wall ovens are often 27 inches or 30 inches,” Klinkert says. “In some older homes, 24 inches is common.”

4. Is digital better than just turning a knob?

“It’s really personal preference,” Klinkert says. “There are pretty accurate thermostats for all ovens today, and no manufacturer makes one that’s more accurate than anyone else.”

5. What features are most important?

Again, this is personal preference. “If you’re a real foodie and love to bake, a convection oven gets baked goods done uniformly, and it’s a little faster for roasting,” Klinkert says. In a convection oven, a fan in the back of the oven circulates the hot air. “The next step up is a ‘true convection’ oven, which has a heating element in addition to the fan and also three racks,” instead of the traditional two.

Other Considerations

If you like to see inside the oven during baking, then you want to make sure there’s a window. If you’re not interested in grabbing the oven cleaner and a scrubber, you’ll want the self-cleaning option. There are premier ovens with French doors or a side hinge door so you don’t have to reach over a hot door to remove your food. You can even choose a “connected” oven that you can control with your smartphone.

Now that you’ve answered these questions, you’ve got a big choice ahead of you! Find the perfect oven for you and your lifestyle here.