For the kitchens with the space and budget to accommodate them, wall ovens are a nice alternative to the standard all-in-one range. Placed high on the wall, these ovens make it easier to insert and remove heavy food items. But that ease-of-use comes at a price, with wall ovens starting around $700, not counting installation.
Cost Range. Shoppers can expect to pay $700 for an entry-level single wall oven with manual cleaning and up to $3,500 or more for a double wall oven with convection heating.
Size. "With wall ovens it's important to replace like with like," explains Jonathan Clinton, Kenmore product manager for Sears. Wall ovens come in standard widths of 24, 27 and 30 inches, but models can vary by as much as an inch or two, making it wise to stick with the same brand.
Single Versus Double. Because a wall oven is smaller than a range ovenroughly 3.5 cubic feet as opposed to 5having an extra oven can overcome that limitation. For those without the space or budget for a double oven, a less expensive option is to seek out models with the maximum interior space. "Manufacturers keep coming up with ways to find more usable space within the box," notes Clinton.
Fuel Type. Clinton says that wall ovens are predominantly electric, leaving gas users a small selection of lower-end models.
Self- or Manual-Clean. The first major decision after "single or double" is "manual or self-clean," explains Clinton. "You have to ask yourself if it's worth the extra $300 for a few cleanings per year." For the majority of shoppers, the answer to that question is an easy "yes."
Convection. The other major decision facing wall oven buyers is whether or not to spend an additional $200 or so to get convection cooking, Clinton says. Convection uses an internal fan to circulate hot air throughout the oven compartment, which is said to improve heat distribution and reduce cook times. Higher-end models will have an additional heating element around the fan, sometimes called "true convection."
Ease-of-Use Features. While anything but mandatory, some up-sell features will make cooking a little less of a chore. "You have to decide what features are important to you," Clinton says. As wall ovens move up in price, they feature bigger and better viewing windows, brighter interior lighting, and temperature probes that alert the user when the roast is done. Pricier models also will feature porcelain-coated racks in place of chrome ones that must be removed before the ultra-hot self-cleaning function. Full-extension racks on smooth-glide tracks also make cooking easier.
Controls and Settings. Most wall ovens on the market today feature electronic displays, says Clinton. But that doesn't mean they are all the same. Settings such as "delayed bake," which kicks on at a predetermined time, and "warm and hold," which does precisely that, are useful for the home cook who wants a hot meal waiting after a long day of work. A bread-proofing function maintains ultra-low temps perfect for rising dough. "Variable broil" provides a lower setting for a less intense top-down heating. People who observe the Sabbath can purchase an oven with "Sabbath mode," a setting that overrides the safety mechanism that automatically shuts off ovens after a certain time. Look to spend between $900 and $1,200 for wall ovens with most of these features.
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