As one of the most important items in the modern kitchen, electric ovens are both overwhelmingly popular and fairly misunderstood by consumers. Capable of cooking almost any dish, with fried or pan grilled dishes the obvious exceptions, an electric oven is generally the cornerstone of a kitchen, acting as the central appliance for most meal preparation, and also acting as a central utility.
However, despite their immense importance, incredible value for kitchen users, and real versatility as a cooking device, electric ovens are constantly and consistently misunderstood and mishandled, particularly by newbie chefs. Ovens that are too small are frequently installed in apartment kitchen areas, while ovens that are unsuitable for home cooking all too often end up installed in houses.
It’s a fairly poor situation, but it’s one that can easily be rectified with a bit of basic electric oven knowledge. This buyer’s guide is here to help you learn more about electric ovens – which sort of oven would be best in your kitchen; which features are to be expected in an electric oven, and the type of price you should expect to pay for a large oven, a small oven, or a stovetop electric oven.
The Different Types of Electric Ovens
There are three basic varieties of electric oven, with an assortment of other variations also available, most notably different in styling or offering some small additional features. The ‘big three’ ovens are the ‘electric range oven,’ the ‘single or double wall oven,’ and the ‘countertop oven.’ Despite using a form of electrical technology that’s very similar, these ovens are all very different in their designs.
The first – the electric range oven – is a free standing, unsupported oven that needn’t be installed in a wall or kitchen counter. These ovens are very popular in larger kitchens and in homes where low-level space saving is not an issue. Their large size makes them fairly useful for cooking large dishes and roast foods, although due to their bulk they’re generally a poor choice for smaller kitchens.
The second type of electric oven – the wall oven – is generally available as one of two wall oven units. The first is the single wall oven, an oven that’s similar in size to the range oven, but doesn’t stand on its own without any assistance. These ovens need to be installed in a kitchen counter, or alternatively within the wall of a kitchen. Wall ovens are often found in small apartments kitchens.
Another type of wall oven is fairly common – the dual or double wall oven. This oven shares the same design as the single wall oven, but splits its cooking areas into two separate oven spaces. A major advantage of this type of oven is that it allows kitchen users to prepare two dishes are once, as two different temperatures can be maintained using each separate electric oven unit.
Finally, there’s the countertop, or stovetop, oven. This oven is built as an independent unit, which is able to be stored on top of a kitchen countertop. Due to its relatively small size and limited cooking capabilities, these electric ovens are generally only used for small dishes. Nevertheless, they remain one of the most popular oven types for apartment dwellers and homeowner with smaller kitchens.
The Different Sizes of Electric Ovens
Electric ovens come in a range of sizes, most of which are dictated by the type of electric oven that the user is interested in. Range ovens tend to be the largest and most versatile, able to prepare most dished without any space issues. Wall ovens are generally sizes slightly smaller than electric ranges, although their often split-level cooking space can cut their size significantly in many cases.
For preparing most meals, a wall or range oven is likely to be sufficient. However, large grilled or baked meals such as a turkey or chicken may require the additional space offered by a range oven, making the wall oven insufficient. Countertop ovens are normally only large enough to cook small meals, or alternatively to reheat dishes prepared in a larger oven, or frozen for later consumption.
Common Electric Oven Features
Electric ovens, for the most part, share their features with other cooking devices. A light, or often a set of lights, can be activated to help users prepare their meals more effectively and monitor any of their in-oven requirements. Alarms and countdown timers are also fairly common, designed to help users monitor how long their food has been cooking for, and how close to prepared it could be.
Many other ovens are self-cleaning, with a built-in material to assist in removing built-up food and cooking ingredients. Convection ovens, which use channelled air to cook food evenly, tend to have their own self-cleaning features, and even brush-based cleaners built into the oven. Whichever oven you choose, you’re destined to have a fun, convenient, and enjoyable time with your electric oven.