Oven Buying Guide

Oven Buying Guide

The right oven makes a real difference to the experience you have while cooking. Our oven buying guide offers you all the information you need to choose the ideal appliance for you. Read on to learn how to decide between gas or electric, built-in or built-under, and much more.

What is an oven?

Ovens are kitchen appliances with a hollow chamber that’s used for baking, grilling, heating and roasting food using controlled heating. There are many varieties of ovens including gas, electric, multifunction, steam and more. A good oven will heat up rapidly and spread the heat evenly.

Electric or gas oven – which is best?

When picking out an oven, the first thing to consider is whether you go for an electric or gas oven. Your oven fuel will impact the cooking experience you’ll have, running costs, and more. We’ve summarised the key features of electric vs gas ovens below.

Electric ovens

Electric ovens are a great choice for everyday cooking uses. They’re easy to use and offer the following features:

  • Electric models tend to be cheaper in terms of upfront costs.
  • They provide a dry, even heat with the most accurate temperature settings, which is ideal for roasting and baking.
  • This type of oven is generally easier to clean (and some even come with a self-cleaning function).
  • They take longer to heat up, cook food, and adjust temperature than gas ovens.
  • It’s often more expensive to run an electric oven than a gas oven.
Electric oven


Gas ovens

Gas-fuelled ovens are the traditional way to cook your food. This fuel type offers you the following features:

  • The upfront cost of a gas oven tends to be more.
  • They heat up quicker than electric ovens and allow for more immediate changes in temperature once running.
  • Running a gas oven often costs less than an electric appliance.
  • Gas ovens tend to have the longest lifespans.
  • Their fuel burns at a high temperature, so you can end up overcooking or burning the edges of food if you’re not careful.
Gas oven



Different types of oven

Decided on your fuel of choice? The next step is to think about which type of oven you’d like to buy. Below, we’ve outlined the characteristics and benefits of each oven type.

Convection ovens

Convection oven

A convection oven (also known as a fan oven or fan-assisted oven) circulates air around the oven to distribute heat and cook food evenly. The increased circulation of air also makes a convection oven cook food faster than a conventional one. They’re a great all-round choice and are particularly useful for baking and roasting.

Conventional ovens

Conventional oven

A conventional oven uses two heating elements: one at the bottom of the oven and the other at the top. Whereas convection ovens circulate heat evenly, conventional ovens don’t have a fan and so produce hotter and cooler areas. This causes food to cook slowly or more quickly depending on where it is placed, enabling you to cook multiple meals at the same time.

All of our electric ovens use convection but can also cook via the conventional method (i.e. without the fan) if required.


Multifunction ovens

Multifunction oven

Multifunction ovens offer you more than one cooking function in one appliance, often including grill settings as well as conventional and fan cooking. Looking to bake a sponge cake, cook a Sunday roast, or grill some cheese on toast? This type of oven can do it all.

You’ll find several ovens with electric grills in our selection, including the Stoves BI902MFCT, the Belling BI702FPCT, and more.

Self-cleaning ovens

Self-cleaning oven

Self-cleaning or auto-clean ovens come with a special feature known as pyrolytic cleaning. This technology works by heating up the oven to around 500ºC. At this temperature, grease burns away and any other food spills will be reduced to a pile of ash to be swept away. Simple and stress-free cleaning.


Steam ovens

Steam oven

As the name suggests, steam ovens use steam rather than hot air to cook food. These ovens allow you to lock in the nutrients and moisture in your food. Steam is a more effective method of reheating than a microwave. This type of oven also cooks food faster than conventional ovens, especially with larger dishes.

Compact ovens

Compact oven

The smallest type of oven you can get, a compact oven will tend to be around 45cm high with a capacity of roughly 45 to 50 litres. Many compact models will offer fan and conventional cooking modes as well as a microwave function, making them the ultimate space-saving appliance. They tend to be just a bit larger than a built-in microwave.



Single or double oven?

Another key choice to make is between a single or a double oven. You could just base this on the size of your household or whether you’ll want to cook more than one meal at once. Read on to learn about some of the reasons why customers choose each type.

Single oven

Single ovens

Single ovens are a great choice for smaller households or those with a small kitchen area. The average capacity is 64 litres but can run as large as 115 litres depending on your cooking needs. Single ovens can be gas, electric, or stream.

If you’re looking for something smaller, a compact oven could work for you. These are just a little bit bigger than a built-in microwave and often come with a microwave feature. They tend to be around 45cm high, and are always electric rather than gas.

Double oven

Double ovens

Double ovens come with two cooking areas: the smaller top oven, ranging from 35 to 60 litres, and the main oven, ranging from 50 to 75 litres. These oven types are a great choice if you have a growing family or you want to cook multiple dishes at the same time.

If you opt for a double oven, you can pick from either electric or gas fuel. You’ll also have a choice when it comes to the fit of your appliance, as double ovens can be built-in or built-under (read on for more information about choosing your fit).



Choosing your fit

Your oven’s fit can have a big impact on the overall look of your kitchen. Unlike cookers – which have a hob on top – all ovens are integrated seamlessly into your kitchen units. They can either be built-in or built-under.

Built-in ovens

With this fit, your oven sits in the kitchen cabinet at eye-level. This arrangement makes it easy to check on your food as it cooks and take it out when it’s done. All single ovens slot into your kitchen units in this way. You’ll also find built-in double ovens if you need more cooking space.

Built-in oven

Built-under ovens

Want your oven to sit under the counter? Then a built-under oven is the right choice for you. This fit is ideal for integrating your oven neatly into the rest of the kitchen design – you’ll also be able to choose a different hob for the counter above. Built-under ovens tend to be double rather than single.

Built-under oven

Oven sizes

Whether you go for a built-in or built-under oven, you’ll need to think about the size of your appliance and make sure it’ll fit into the space you have in mind.

Built-under ovens come in fairly standardised sizes as they’re designed to sit neatly beneath a kitchen counter. They tend to stand around 70-72cm tall (although some taller models are available for high counters). The width is usually between 56cm and 60cm, whilst the depth should be 54-58cm.

Built-in ovens, on the other hand, can vary quite a bit in height. For example, compact built-in ovens are around 45cm tall in general whilst double built-in ovens are typically 89cm in height. The width and depth measurements of built-in models are usually quite standardised to fit a conventional oven cabinet.

Below, we’ll take a look at how to measure up for built-under and built-in ovens.

How to measure for a built-under oven

Tape measure at the ready? Measuring for a built-under oven is relatively easy if you stick to these steps:

  1. Measure the height of the available space under your counter.
  2. As you shop for a new built-under oven, check the height measurements to ensure that the appliance will fit snugly under the kitchen worktop.
  3. Measure the width of the available space between your other kitchen units.
  4. Check the width of appliances you’re looking at to make sure they’ll fit widthways.
  5. Built-under ovens are usually made with a depth of 54-58cm. This should allow your new appliance to slide neatly under the counter with room for the wiring at the back, but measure the depth of the space just in case. Built-under oven diagram

How to measure for a built-in oven

Follow the simple steps below to measure for a new built-in oven:

  1. Measure the height of the available space in your oven cabinet.
  2. If you’re looking at single or compact ovens, check the height of products as you shop (this should be between 45cm and 60cm). Make sure your new appliance will fit into the oven cabinet.
  3. After a double oven? The same process applies here, but in this case the ovens will tend to be around 89cm tall. Check that your oven cabinet has enough height room.
  4. The width and depth of single and double built-in ovens should be standard because they’re designed to fit into conventional oven cabinets whilst allowing enough room for ventilation. With this in mind, you don’t need to worry about measuring these dimensions – just the height! Built-in oven diagram

Features to consider

Many modern ovens come with extra features that you might want to consider as you shop for your new appliance. Below, we’ve included some of the useful functionalities that ovens can offer to help you pick.

Smart oven

Smart oven technology

Smart ovens use Wi-Fi to connect your smartphone to your appliance, allowing you to control your oven remotely using an app. The range of functions differs from brand to brand, but smart oven technology can enable you to preheat your oven, change cooking settings, and check how your food is cooking from the palm of your hand.

Self-cleaning oven

Self-cleaning technology

If you’re tired of cleaning or short on time, self-cleaning ovens can be a life saver. Look out for pyrolytic ovens as you shop. This type of oven can heat up to around 500ºC using a pyrolytic cleaning function. Any food spills and grease on the lining of your oven will burn away at this temperature, so all you have to do is sweep away the ash.


Digital Controls

Digital controls

Like to be precise with your cooking? Unlike conventional dials and knobs, digital controls allow you to set specific cooking temperatures via an electronic interface that wipes clean easily. As well as offering practical benefits, ovens with digital controls look sleek and are the perfect complement to a modern, minimalist kitchen.

Steam cooking

Steam cooking

Steam ovens offer a healthy and convenient alternative to cooking with gas or electricity. Using steam to heat food, this cooking method locks in all of the nutrients and moisture in your food. Other benefits of steam cooking include faster cooking times than conventional ovens plus the ability to reheat food more effectively than a microwave.


Slide-away doors

Slide-away doors

Some built-in ovens come with slide-away doors. As you open your oven, the door slides away into a recess so that it doesn’t get in the way when you’re taking food out. Not only does this make the contents of your oven more accessible, but it also stops you from catching things on the door and creates more open space in your kitchen.

Programmable timer

Programmable timers

Most ovens now come with programmable timers, allowing you to set a specific time setting when cooking food. Once the time is up, your oven can either alert you to the fact that your food is ready with a sound or switch itself off automatically so that your meal doesn’t burn. Programmable timers are both convenient and easy to use.



Picking your colour

Consider how the colour of your oven will complement your kitchen décor and how easy it is to clean. Here, we’ve outlined some of the perks of the most common oven colours:

Black oven

Black: Black ovens work well with many design styles – and they can also be used to make a statement. Stylish, yet practical, matte black ovens are almost smudge proof, hiding fingerprints and other mucky marks with ease. Overall, black appliances tend to be low maintenance and easy to clean. Check out our extensive range of black ovens.

Stainless steel oven

Stainless steel: Stainless steel ovens are incredibly durable. They fight off rust, fire, and heat, which makes them a top choice for anyone wanting an oven that doesn’t show wear and tear. This colour adds a sleek and smart look to your kitchen decor and can bring in a touch of modernism as well. Explore our wide selection of stainless steel ovens.


White oven

White: White ovens can be used to give the illusion of a bigger kitchen, making this colour a great choice if you’re a bit short on space. They are also neutral, versatile, fresh and give a clean look. Some say that white appliances suggest cleanliness and hygiene (but they may need a little more cleaning than other colours). Explore our extensive range of white ovens.

Cream oven

More colours: There are many more colours available for anyone looking for something a little different. Black, white, and stainless steel may be the most common choices, but you could also pick silver, grey, or even cream to add a subtle touch of personality. Use the Quick Search on our ovens page to find the right type and colour of oven for you in just a few clicks.



Energy ratings for ovens

If you’re after an oven that reduces your impact on the environment or saves money on bills, then take a look at the energy ratings of appliances as you shop. The energy ratings of ovens are rated on a scale of A+++ to G, with A+++ being the most energy efficient.

Our product pages highlight the energy ratings of each appliance to help you choose.



Oven brands

You have plenty of choice when it comes to oven brands. Maybe you’re looking to complete the set with an oven from the same brand as your other appliances? Alternatively, you could compare different makes to find one with all of the right functions.

We stock a wide range of different oven brands:



Buying the right accessories

Once you’ve decided on the ideal oven for you, think about any accessories you may need. There are a range of accessories to help you use your oven to its full potential, from steam oven containers to handy accessory drawers.


Oven FAQs

We get that you probably have a lot of questions when it comes to choosing an oven. You’ll find answers to some oven FAQs that we often hear from customers below. Don’t worry if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for here – just get in touch.

What is a convection oven?

A convection oven (also known as a fan oven or fan-assisted oven) circulates air around the oven to distribute heat and cook food evenly. The increased circulation of air also makes a convection oven cook food faster than a conventional one. They’re a great all-round choice and are particularly useful for baking and roasting.

What is a conventional oven?

A conventional oven uses two heating elements: one at the bottom of the oven and the other at the top. Whereas convection ovens circulate heat evenly, conventional ovens don’t have a fan and so produce hotter and cooler areas. This causes food to cook slowly or more quickly depending on where it is placed, enabling you to cook multiple meals at the same time.

Many fan-assisted ovens also give you the option to cook using the conventional method.

What is a steam oven?

Steam ovens use steam rather than hot air to cook food. This cooking method locks in the nutrients and moisture in your food. Steam is a more effective method of reheating than a microwave. This type of oven also cooks food faster than conventional ovens, especially with larger dishes.

What do self-cleaning ovens do?

Pyrolytic self-cleaning ovens can heat up to around 500ºC using a specialised cleaning function. Any food spills and grease on the lining of your oven will burn away at this temperature, so all you have to do is sweep away the ash.

How do I use a self-cleaning oven?

We recommend reading your oven’s manual before using the self-cleaning function.

That said, the following general tips apply when using a pyrolytic self-cleaning oven:

  • Before starting the pyrolytic function, remove everything from inside the oven including the racks.
  • Next, scrape off as much excess bake-off food or grease as you can.
  • Lock the oven door before turning on the self-cleaning mode (some models come with a lever whilst others lock automatically).
  • Use the controls to set the self-cleaning timer. Two hours is enough for a light clean but an oven that’s particularly dirty might need three or four.
  • Once the cleaning cycle has ended, leave the oven to cool down.
  • Finally, wipe away the ash that’s left at the bottom of the oven (you could even use a vacuum cleaner for this part if you can reach).

How do the energy ratings work?

The energy ratings of ovens are rated on a scale of A+++ to G, with A+++ being the most energy efficient.

Where should I put my oven in the kitchen?

You could choose to position your oven so that it forms part of your kitchen units, either in the middle or at the bottom – in this case, look for a built-in oven. If you’d prefer to have your oven sitting underneath the counter, then a built-under oven is the right choice for you.



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