??!
Avleen M.
Avleen M.Jun 10, 2020

Wall Ovens Buying Guide

For many Australians, a wall oven is a kitchen essential that makes home cooking so much easier. Integrated into a wall at eye-level, this type of oven is functional, while delivering a seamless kitchen aesthetic. Whether you’re choosing a built-in oven for a new home, renovating your kitchen, or it’s simply time for an upgrade, this buying guide will help you choose the right wall oven for your space - whether that involves a gas or electric wall oven, convection cooking or a self-cleaning oven.

Wall Oven Configurations

Single Wall Ovens · See All

Single built-in ovens are usually around 60cm tall and wide, although extra wide models (suited to pizza) can range from 70-90cm in width. Their smaller size doesn't stop them from sharing the multifunction options of more spacious ovens, such as grill and defrost.

Bosch Series 8 Single Oven

Pros

  • Save space in your kitchen by housing an oven and grill in one
  • Suitable for smaller households that don’t require an abundance of oven space.
  • The most affordable oven configuration compared to double ovens and higher-end compact ovens
  • Highly available on the market, so you can select from a wide range of models

Cons

  • Longer cooking times than desired might be experienced, as you can’t use the oven and grill at the same time
  • The lower capacity compared to double wall ovens makes single ovens less practical for larger households or those who frequently entertain.

Double Wall Ovens · See All

Double Oven Smeg

These provide the functionality of two ovens, stacked on top of each other and installed onto your kitchen wall.
You can choose between two equally sized ovens, or a regular-sized oven and a smaller grill, which operate independently of each other.

Pros

  • Cook multiple dishes that require different temperatures at the same time, saving time and cooking at more accurate temperatures
  • The extra space offered by a double oven is handy for larger households and for preparing multi-course meals

Cons

  • More kitchen wall space is required to install a double oven, making them potentially unsuitable for smaller kitchens
  • More expensive than single ovens, double ovens may be unviable for households on a budget.

Compact Ovens · See All

Smeg Compact Oven

Pros

  • Ideal for smaller kitchens with limited wall space
  • Included microwave oven function in some models eliminates the need for a separate microwave
  • Functionality isn't limited by size, as many compact ovens feature a high number of cooking functions and one-touch programs for cooking specific foods

Cons

  • Compact ovens aren't neccessarily cheap, as often extra features increase the price. Top-rated models can cost upwards of $1500.
  • The ‘compact’ configuration often refers to height. Models with a higher litre capacity can be extra wide, like the Euromaid Multifunction Oven MF90, at around 90cm wide.

Oven Fuel Type

Electric Ovens · See All

Electric wall ovens need to be hardwired, which means the electrical leads attached to your new oven much be connected to your household wiring. Make sure you hire a licensed electrician who can determine the right type of wiring for your oven. While self-installation seems like a good way to save money, accidents could pose a fire hazard, as well as render your warranty useless.

Pros

  • Heat is distributed evenly throughout the oven, particularly if the oven uses a convection/fan-forced cooking method
  • A more accurate temperature can be maintained compared to a gas oven, allowing for precise cooking
  • A variety of cooking modes is often available, allowing you to grill, as well as bake pizza, cakes, vegetables and bread
  • More affordable than a gas oven to buy and install

Cons

  • Dries out food quicker than a gas oven would, since electric ovens cook with drier air
  • Slightly more expensive to run than gas ovens

Gas Ovens · See All

If you don't have an existing gas line in your kitchen, you'll need to have one installed. If your gas oven is equipped with electronic controls or an electric grill, it needs to be close to an electrical outlet.

Pros

  • Moisture is locked in, as gas ovens cook with higher moisture levels than electric ovens, which, conversely, dry out food quicker.
  • Don’t require pre-heating due to their instant flame
  • Cheaper to run than an electric oven, although the cost savings on your energy bill aren’t likely to be major

Cons

  • Doesn’t distribute heat evenly compared to an electric oven. However, a gas oven with convection cooking may remedy this, with its in-built fan that circulates hot air
  • Installing a gas line for the first time requires professional installation, increasing costs
  • Less market availability than electric ovens means there are fewer gas ovens to choose from.

Oven Functions

Conventional Ovens · See All

Also known as conduction or traditional ovens, these are the ovens that aren’t ‘fan forced.’ Conventional ovens work by generating heat from either a top or bottom heating element, or a combination of both.

Pros

  • The most affordable type of oven in terms of functionality, as the technology is the most basic

Cons

  • Food takes longer to cook, as traditional ovens are around 25-30 degrees cooler than convection ovens
  • Food needs to be rotated at regular intervals so it cooks evenly
  • A single heating element only means that food may burn on the bottom but remain undercooked at the top, or vice versa.

Fan forced or Convection ovens · See All

Along with the top and bottom heating elements of conventional ovens, convection ovens have a secret weapon. This is the fan at the back of the oven, with a third heating element wrapped around it. The fan circulates hot air evenly throughout the oven chamber, preventing hot and cold spots in your food.

AEG Fan Forced Oven

Pros

  • Cooks food faster and more thoroughly than a conventional oven
  • Locks in moisture much better than a conventional oven
  • Correctly positioning food on shelves doesn’t matter, as heat is distributed equally throughout the oven
  • Reduced pre-heat times make cooking more efficient, thanks to the included fan
  • Adjustable fan speeds let you cook a wide variety of foods, e.g. pizza, cookies and roasts

Cons

  • More expensive to buy than conventional ovens due to better technology.

Fan assisted ovens

These ovens are also equipped with a fan, but only use two heating elements, on the base and roof of the oven. The fan doesn’t have a heating element wrapped around it. The benefit is that food is still cooked evenly, but more gently, making fan assisted ovens suitable for desserts like pastries and custards.

Steam Ovens

These are available as steam-only ovens, or with a steam function on a convectional oven (called a ‘steam-assisted oven.’) Steam ovens allow food to retain their nutrients without the need for oil, offering a healthy cooking method. Food also keeps its moisture and flavours better, and you can cook dinner and dessert simultaneously without flavours mixing.

You can bake a wide variety of foods in a steam oven, including vegetables, dumplings, curries, pasta and puddings.

Ovens with steam functionality can be dear, adding roughly $800 onto the purchase price of an oven. Weigh up whether the increased cost is worth it for you when compared to other steaming options like portable food steamers.

Combination Ovens · See All

Also known as combi or convection steam ovens, these offer three cooking functions: steam only, convection only, and a convection/steam combination. When you combine convection with steam, you can achieve food that’s soft and tender inside, and browned and perfectly crisped on the outside. Most models come with microwave functions such as re-heat, defrost and grill.

Self Cleaning Ovens

Pyrolytic cleaning demo

Pyrolytic ovens · See All

These ovens aren’t completely ‘self cleaning,’ but they simplify the cleaning process. After removing shelves, turn the oven to pyrolytic cleaning mode. This heats it up to 500 degrees celsius for 1.5-3 hours (your choice). Food residue is burned to fine ash, which can then be wiped away.

Catalytic Liners

If a pyrolytic oven is out of your price range, catalytic liners are the next best thing. Catalytic liners or panels absorb fat splatters and grease emitted during cooking. When the oven is turned up to 500 degrees C, the heat releases food residues and turns them into a white ash, which you can then wipe off with water and soap.

Steam cleaning

Some ovens are designed with a steam clean function, the most affordable of the three ‘self cleaning’ oven options. These are suitable for smaller cleaning jobs. Simply set the oven to one hour, and heat up the oven to 90 degrees Celsius. It won’t be as much of a thorough clean as a pyrolytic or catalytic cycle, so you might need an oven cleaner along with warm soapy water to wipe away the residual mess.

Other factors to consider when buying a wall oven

Capacity

This refers to the number of usable litres inside an oven. As a general rule of thumb, a 60L oven is sufficient for a single-person household or a couple, while an 80L oven suits a four-person household or those who enjoy hosting dinner parties.

There is a correlation between capacity and oven size/ configuration, i.e. a built-in double oven will have more usable space than a single oven. Also keep in mind the shelving options, as an oven with three shelves and 55L capacity will fit more food than an oven with two shelves and a 60L capacity.

Cost

The purchase price of a new wall oven can be anywhere between $350 for a single oven with basic functions, to a cool $15,000 for an advanced model with pyrolytic cleaning and over a hundred cooking programs.

Don’t forget to account for installation costs, which can cost $100 at a minimum if your new oven can simply replace the old. However, if you need to install new wiring, circuitry, a gas line or connect to a water line (for some steam ovens), installation can cost around $50-$100 an hour.

Appearance

A new wall oven lets you showcase a chic new appliance n your kitchen. Particularly if you’re renovating, you can select a colour and style that complements your kitchen’s design scheme. Black and stainless steel are the most popular options, however if you’re opting for stainless steel, ensure you buy a model with a fingerprint-resistant surface, to keep your oven looking sleek.

Extra Features

These features are optional extras, and the more you have, the pricier your oven will become. Choose only the esential cooking functions and features that you know you'll regularly use.

  • Adjustable pre-set temperatures: suggests the best temperature and cooking time for certain foods.
  • Automatic cooking programs: remove much the manual work, as your oven will calculate the correct cooking time, temperature, operating mode and shelf position.
  • Baking setting: makes baking desserts easier, by controlling the level of moisture in the oven.
  • Child safety lock: disables all oven controls. An oven door lock can also be purchased separately for as little as $10.
  • Defrost function: doesn’t use any heat, but does use the oven fan. Defrosting in the fridge or microwave may be more efficient, however.
  • Digital controls: should be clearly labelled and easy to read.
  • Divider shelves: separate a large oven into two sections, allowing you to use one section for grilling, and one section for baking.
  • Fan grill: combines a fan and the grill function, to brown and crisp foods on the outside, while keeping them fresh and juicy on the inside (think baked potatoes or pasta bake).
  • Glass oven door: provides a safe way to view food that’s cooking, without opening the oven door and releasing heat.
  • Grill function: uses the top heating element only to grill food such as melted cheese on toast.
  • Keep warm: keeps food at a comfortably warm temperature without continuing to cook it, at an oven temperature of 65-80 degrees.
  • Pizza mode: uses a bottom heating element and fan to keep pizza crispy on the bottom, and fresh and melted on the top.
  • Rapid heat: offers a super-fast heating option that's an upgrade from the usual method of waiting for an oven to pre-heat.
  • Shelving: should include a minimum of two shelves, which can support the weight of heavy dishes without tilting downwards.
  • Shelving safety stops: ensure shelves can’t be pulled out completely during the cooking process, which prevents hot dishes from spilling, falling, or otherwise causing accidents.
  • Smokeless grill trays: are designed with gaps to channel dripping fat into a tray underneath, where it can more easily be cleaned.
  • Touch screen: in place of digital controls can further simplify the cooking program selection process, by displaying images and clear text.

Thanks for reading, we hope that this buying guide has helped narrow down your selection, so you can find the most efficient, convenient and affordable wall oven for your household today.