How to Buy an Oven: Find the Best Oven for your Kitchen

Upgrading your appliances or kitchen decor is always a strenuous step. With the proper research, you'll find the appliances that fit your needs from refrigeration and storage to cooking and cleaning. One of the most used appliances in your kitchen?besides the refrigerator?is your oven range.

The type of oven you buy mostly depends on the set-up of your kitchen and the pre-existing wiring. However, you shouldn't think of these factors as restrictions to your kitchen remodeling. How you buy an oven is still in your control. Whether you're looking for a range, which is a combined oven and cooktop unit, or an individual wall oven and cooktop, there are a variety of options, sizes, colors and fuel types to consider. Every appliance in your kitchen is important, but buying the right oven is essential to how you will cook for your family and guests.

Space and size

Unless you're completely remodeling your kitchen, the type and size of the appliances you're buying will be predetermined. If you're just replacing and upgrading your appliances, measure the current size of your range, cooktop or wall oven. For example, if your range is 36-inches wide look for ranges in that size in the color and fuel type of your choice. Again, fuel type may be predetermined by preexisting kitchen wiring. The capacity of your oven is also dependent on the width of your oven or range.

Not all kitchens have the space for a full-size range, which is the traditional stove and oven unit. That's when the wall oven steps in. Wall ovens are built directly into your kitchen wall. Not only is this convenient for those who don't want to bend down to reach in, but wall ovens also save you cabinet space under your counters. Wall ovens are perfect for smaller kitchens that don't have much space, as well as larger kitchens that are looking for a contemporary feel. Also, for the party-planners and home entertainers, an electric double wall oven allows you to cook two meals at a time at different temperatures, rather than trying to fit everything in at once at the same temperature.

Fuel type

There are two different fuel types for ranges and ovens, gas and electric. The type of oven or range you get depends on the current wiring of your kitchen. Unfortunately oven hook-ups are not interchangeable, so if you're looking to replace an electric oven with a gas oven (or vice versa), hire a professional. There are benefits to both gas and electric ovens. Gas ovens tend to heat up and cool down faster than electric ovens, but electric ovens have a self-cleaning feature while gas ovens do not. 

Settings and features

If you're still up in the air about which fuel type oven you should buy, the features offered should help you decide. Not all ovens have the same features and settings, in part because of the fuel source or brand models. There are several features that some people search for, including convection, hold and warm, delay start or hidden bake elements. An oven's convection setting uses a fan to continuously circulate hot air created by radiant heat. The convection feature bakes and browns food quickly and evenly, eliminating cold spots.

If you're looking to keep your food warm until everyone arrives home from school, practice or work, the Cook & Hold feature is perfect. Rather than reheating food in the microwave, keep it warmed at its cooked temperature. For those who observe the Sabbath, some ovens have a Sabbath mode, which overrides the auto oven shutoff and allows you to keep cooked foods warm on the Jewish holidays or Sabbath. If you're just looking to delay cook-time while you do other chores around the house, the delay start feature lets you program your oven to begin cooking when you're not there.

Cleaning your oven can be a real pain, but with a hidden bake element, wiping down the bottom of your oven will be easier. With the baking element hidden under the interior bottom, you'll be able to wipe away any spills and messes that gather in your oven.

Whether you're looking to replace or upgrade your kitchen appliances, make sure you do your research. From size, color, fuel type and settings, every aspect of your oven or range is essential to know before purchasing. Imagine the setup in your kitchen: Is it easier to have the cooktop and the oven separated so multiple cooks can do their work or is it more efficient to have your cooking appliances together? Once you've decided what type of appliances is perfect for your kitchen, purchasing will become easier and you'll be one your way to creating delicious masterpieces.

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