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Your oven is a very important choice when planning your kitchen. Perhaps the best comment I’ve heard about the oven choice is ‘will a better oven make you a better cook? In my case no!! But one that cleans itself is definitely on my list.

Ovens come in two main categories

  • Steam ovens
  • Gas
  • Electric

Dual energy ovens have the facility to be both gas and electric.Combi steam oven

There are also halogen light ovens, but these are normally combined with microwave ovens

Steam Ovens

Steam ovens and combi steam ovens as the name suggests cook with steaming keep food super moist. The steam is created outside the oven cavity and regulated inside the oven. These are great for health conscious cooking, crisp fresh vegies and no cross over of taste or smell between different dishes cooked at the same time.


Gas ovens are less common in WA. Traditionally gas ovens were not fan assisted and therefore were hotter at the top and cooler at the bottom. This can be great for cooking multiple dishes at the same time that need differing conditions. Cooking with gas keeps food moist. However if the gas oven is fan assisted it will behave more like an electric oven. As the heat comes from the bottom of the oven browning dishes is a little more challenging.


Electric ovens have a large number of cooking options available. It is called multifunction. This means the heat can be supplied from above, below and sometimes the rear of the oven. There is normally a fan to assist with air circulation. These controls can be used individually or in combination depending on what you are cooking. The number of functions will vary from about 5 up to 17.


There is a dazzling array of options available in ovens today. Gone are the days when all you got was an internal light and a timer. As with most things in life the more you want your oven to do the more you will have to pay! Consider the following options

  • Self cleaning (electric only)
  • Automatic gas ignition (gas only)
  • Side opening door, safe and more convenient
  • Cool touch oven doors (a must if you have young children)
  • Internal Baking stone
  • Double ovens
  • Warming drawers
  • Auto temperature check
  • Combination Steam ovens (combines steam oven with conventional cooking)
  • Core temperature probe with auto switch off
  • Rotisserie
  • Fast preheat
  • Grill with fan
  • Defrost option
  • Double ovens
  • Preprogramming or auto cook

Most of these functions are self explanatory but here is more detail on some items

Self Cleaning

Self Cleaning is only available in electric ovens. There are two self cleaning options, pyrolytic cleaning is where the oven is heated to about 500c and any internal splatter turns to ash and can be swept away once the oven has cooled down. (The oven door will lock until it is safe to open the door.) The alternative option is catalytic liners. These are (normally removable) panels inside the oven that absorb food splatter. The oven is then heated to about 250c and when it has cooled down the panels are wiped down with a damp cloth. This is a more involved process than the pyrolytic ovens but also a less expensive option.

Ensure that the cabinetmaker is aware your oven will have a self cleaning cycle. Additional heat protection may be required between your oven and the kitchen cabinets. You may also need to leave adjacent cupboard doors open whilst the cleaning cycle is on to reduce temperature build up. Check the manufacturers instructions.


Most built in ovens can be installed either underbench or wall mounted. If you have the room, wall mounted is easier to see how something is cooking and less back breaking to clean. However wall ovens cannot have the hotplate/rangehood above them so if you burn something in the oven the rangehood can't help you with sucking up the smoke!

Ovens come in various widths 600, 700, 800 and 900mm however check the internal measurements of the oven you intend to buy, a 900mm model may have the same internal capacity as an 800mm model.


This is an area that can be difficult. Grilling in the oven can make a horrible mess. Separate grilling drawers are a good idea or better still give the lamb chops to your husband and get him to throw them on the barbecue!

Pre Programming or Autocook

Ovens with this function allow you to program the type of food you’re cooking and the weight of your dish. The oven sets the time, temperature and cooking functions required to best cook the dish.

Helpful Hints

  • If you are ordering an oven that will be connected to bottled gas don’t forget to specify LPG compliance
  • Test the oven racks, quality racks will not slope down when extended
  • Check the light bulb is easy to change
  • If you like to grill but hate the mess check out combination microwaves with a grilling element
  • Electronic controls can display the exact temperature required

Related Topics

Freestanding Stove/Range




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