Once upon a time someone discovered that certain foods--meats, fish, vegetables--became even more delicious when they were heated near a flame. The quest for an ideal oven has progressed ever since, and the number of different types of ovens continues to increase. Today's homes and restaurants feature gas and electric ranges, stovetops, wall ovens, brick ovens, convection ovens, rotisserie ovens, outdoor ovens, and microwave ovens, among others. Each specific type prepares your food in a different way, and this can affect how the food cooks and tastes. Depending on your own unique food preparation and kitchen design preferences, it is important to put some thought into the type of oven that would best suit your kitchen and family.
Costs to fit every budget
When you decide which type of oven best meets your cooking needs, your next important consideration is cost. Prices vary greatly. There are very reasonably priced basic models, including simple electric ranges under $250 and microwaves under $50. If your budget is healthier than a few hundred dollars, then your options are wide and wonderful. Full-size residential ovens are available in the following approximate price ranges:
- Electric ranges: $350 to $4,000
- Gas ranges: $400 to $5,000
- Cooktops: $250 to $4,000
- Wall oven (single): $500 to $4,000
Research trusted brands before you buy
You expect to enjoy an oven for several years, if not decades. Reliability, ease-of-use, cooking quality, and even aesthetic appeal should be as good as you can afford. That's why it is so important to do your research and ask friends and family (the ones who love to cook!) about which brands and models they prefer. Study consumer-friendly magazines and websites, and browse the suggestions on home-focused sites like faceyourkitchen.com. Some respected manufacturers and their popular products include these:
- Bosch smooth-surface freestanding electric range or 5-burner freestanding gas range
- Kenmore Elite single electric wall oven
- Whirlpool 2-cubic-foot over-the-range microwave oven
- Electrolux Icon electric cooktop
Color options and construction materials
A new kitchen appliance design trend incorporates bright colors and shiny metals; however, the majority of homeowners continue to choose more neutral tones. Most ovens are constructed from heavy-duty insulating materials and galvanized or stainless steel, then coated in acrylic enamel, usually black or white. These tones blend well with nearly any kitchen design and are subtle enough to let other elements shine. Brushed stainless steel is also one of the most popular choices for range and oven exteriors.
Today's popular styles
Some people swear by gas ovens for the best cooking and baking results, while others wouldn't trade their efficient electric range for anything. Contemplate your own needs, then take a good look at some of the best-selling oven styles among consumers. These include smooth-surface ranges, double wall ovens, cooktops with more than the standard four burners (five-burner and six-burner models are quite popular), and combination ovens like a standard/microwave combination or a standard/convection combination.
What about energy efficiency?
While there is currently no government-endorsed Energy STAR label for ovens, ranges, or microwave ovens, there are other ways you can determine your most energy efficient choice. Is natural gas or propane more economical than electricity in your area? Would a smaller model suit your needs if there are only one or two people in the home? Can a double wall oven get your large family's meal done in less time, using less energy?
Start your search
Get started in your search for the perfect oven by taking some great first steps: Complete the form on this page; talk to the cooking experts in your life; visit home centers in your area; and, make a list of your specific cooking and baking preferences. One of the extraordinary oven options available today is just right for your home.