If we’re going to be spending a lot of time whipping up culinary delights, we may as well have the best tool for the job, and an oven is one of the most pivotal parts of any kitchen. A built-in oven can set the design for the room as a whole.
However, when you start to look for a new oven the task can be daunting. Do you need a single or double? Which functions are pivotal? And do we really need to invest in a smart oven that can self-clean?
If you don’t have room for a big oven, or would like some extra oven space, mini ovens have come a long way – and some even come with multi-purposes – such as air frying functions or hot plates.
Single, compact or double?
If you’re not bothered about cooking and grilling in the same oven then a single oven is perfect. Most built-in single oven models are designed around the same width and depth measurements, however sometimes their heights vary so make sure you get a tape measure out before purchasing. As their name suggests compact ovens are smaller in height, but do normally have a grill as standard.
If you tend to cook multiple things at once or regularly use the grill at the same time as the oven then a double oven aka two built-in ovens, either side by side or on top of each other, could work better for you. A double oven will give you more flexibility as you can also cook at different temperatures. A godsend come big dinner parties and Christmas day.
If you’ re a fan of technology that makes your life easier (aren’t we all?) some of the smart ovens on the market are worth investing in. These types of ovens are hi-tech with an array of functions – and some can even be programmed with the use of a smart phone.
One great thing about smart ovens is their pre-set functions – if you’re a bit of a novice in the kitchen then they’ll do the work for you – such as deciding on temperatures or timings.
But whether it’s the self-cleaning or voice control that you’re looking for, smart functions normally come at a cost - so be prepared to invest a little more for them.
Installation of an oven
Installing a built-in oven yourself is sometimes possible, but there are a few things you’ll need to check before you install it - it’s not as easy as plugging it in and waiting for it to fire up.
Take a look at the specifications, as some need to be hardwired by an electrician. If you are unsure of anything, we’d recommend consulting a professional. The retailers often have the option to add installation when they deliver your order.
Do I need a Pyrolytic oven?
Most of us see the job of cleaning an oven as a massive chore – but self-cleaning ovens are becoming more common.
A pyrolytic function comes as standard on most smart ovens. The self-cleaning, which is done via heating the oven up to 500C, and burning off any food residue, normally takes around two hours. It’s normal for it to create some ash afterwards – so don’t be freaked out when you’re cleaning up black dust from your floor.
See our pick of the best ovens here.
Fisher & Paykel OB60SDPTDX1 Built-in Single Oven
If, like me, you’re a bit of a lazy cook then the functions on this touchscreen single oven will change your world.
The options mean you can choose to cook by function, food type or recipe. If you choose function, it gives you 16 cooking options including bake, roast and pizza bake – meaning you simply press the button and go. Cooking times or temperatures are pre-programmed by the cooker.
However, we love the cook by food type, which even recommends what shelf position to put particular food on, while the cook by recipe is by far the most impressive. The home chef, via the display will give you full guidance – showing you ingredients and the method – with accompanying imagery.
Like some of the other ovens, the brand has its also own technology integrated into the oven. Fisher & Paykel’s ActiveVent impacts moisture levels, and its AeroTech™ makes sure the heat is well circulated. Other features include pyrolytic self-cleaning and a triple glass cool down door.
Also available at Knees (£1,300)
NEFF N50 Slide & Hide Built in Electric Single Oven
If you’re looking for a large multifunctional electric oven then this is it. The model can house 77L – which is above the average for most ovens, and big enough for four shelves of food.
The sleek stainless-steel model has an LCD digital display, while the two silver levers control the temperature and change the functions of the oven. Our favourite part about the oven has to be the slide and hide door, which literally pops under neath the oven (Bake Off-style) so it doesn’t get in the way when you’re checking on your food.
A bit pricier than some of the other models, we assume its mainly down to its CircoTherm technology – which circulates the hot air - so whether you are cooking one or four meals everything gets baked evenly.
Miele H 7262 BP Oven
This oven’s nine automatic programmes, which are controlled on the display above the door via their icons, include auto roast, intensive bake and defrosting, along with basic functions like the grill and conventional heat.
The smart black design, with a silver handle and small square patterned glass means it looks fashionable built into your kitchen cabinet, while other additions, including Miele’s FlexiClip telescopic runners and a SoftOpen and SoftClose door make it easy to use. The ovens self-cleaning mode also means you don’t have to worry when you make any spills in the oven – simply push a button and it cleans itself.
Even though it was just a single oven, its 70L capacity and five levels felt roomy enough for cooking two meals at the same time, or a big meal on the weekends.
Hoover H-OVEN 300 HOC3E3158IN
One of the cheaper models on the market, this Hoover oven is part of the brands Collection 3 range.
If you’re looking for smart features for this price, you’ll be impressed with its Pyrolytic cleaning function. All of its other cooking functions are accessed via the two round dials, which include a pizza and defrost function.
Slightly smaller than other ovens, it has a capacity of 68L with four levels for cooking, while its LED clock also functions as a timer.
If you do decide to clean the oven yourself, you’ll be pleased to know that its new enamel design means food residue and grease are less likely to stick or burn the inside of the oven while cooking.
Bertazzoni Modern Series 60cm electric pyro BI oven with total steam
For baking lovers that are keen on smart technology, this built-in electric oven has all the mod cons, from Touch TFT display to pyrolytic self-cleaning. It also has 11 functions – which are ideal for mid-to-low temperatures, such as baking or slow cooking meals like casseroles. There’s also defrosting and grilling settings.
Perfect if you have a big family, or just love investing your time in crafted multi-course meals – its 76L capacity means there’s no wait time when you’re cooking big dishes. While we also love that it also has a non-convection mode and fan-assisted mode – the latter means that there is heat distribution on all five levels on the oven - with no flavour crossover.
The oven is fitted with a soft open-and-close door and a smart glass-finish handle. If safety is on your mind, the oven door is quadruple-glazed, which also makes it energy efficient. The design is available in carbonio, zinc, stainless steel and copper.
Hisense BI5543PG Chef Pro Oven
Hisense’s new model is a great high-tech built-in oven – and comes equipped with ChefPro Auto Mode – an intelligent cooking assistant that automatically calculates cooking times as well as recommending best settings for your dish.
Other smart tech features in the 71L oven include the pyrolytic self-clean and a preheat assist function, while if baking is more your bag then its unique design, with rounded corners, ensures cakes or bread are heated evenly - meaning your Bake Off-worthy cakes will look perfect for Instagram.
The fan assisted oven also houses a grill, has a soft close function and there are sensors that mean heat doesn’t rush out at you when you open the doors.
While if you always find it tricky balancing a hot dish when you’re turning over your food, then, like us, you’ll love the ovens telescopic guides - shelves which slide out easily while also supporting the weight of dishes when the shelves are extended.
Mini oven reviews
Sage SMO870 Combi Wave™ 3-in-1 Microwave
Mini ovens are great, but when they have more than one function, such as doubling up as an air fryer and microwave too, it not only feels like a massive bonus, but it also means less clutter on your kitchen workspace.
The Sage Combi Wave is just this – with its main function to oven cook food, it also has an air fry function and works as an inverter microwave. The oven is packed with algorithms, which apparently steers the heat to the parts of the food which need it – meaning no burning, just food cooked thoroughly throughout. Perfect.
Other pre-sets include fast combi and cooking from frozen, while it also has a child lock for ease of mind.
If you like a quiet kitchen then you’re in luck - the oven has just been granted a Quiet Mark certification for its unique almost soundless close door feature and for its acoustic performance while its working.
Ninja Foodi 8-in-1 Flip SP101UK Mini Oven - Stainless Steel
We love how sleek this mini oven looks on the kitchen top, while it can also be tucked away on its side, to create more room.
Big enough for one tray of food, you can choose from different pre-sets such as air-frying, roasting, baking, dehydrating or even grilling. The digital display, with one round dial, shows you exactly how much cooking time you have left, while it also displays the functions clearly.
We loved the keep warm setting the most – nobody wants cold food if they’re running a bit late for dinner. The included recipe book is also handy if you need some meal inspiration.
Tower 42L Mini Oven with Hot Plates
This relatively small mini oven, which has the added luxury of hot plates, means that as well as roasting, baking and grilling, you can also fry and boil.
Black, with silver finishing’s, the 1500W oven opens from the top down to reveal a 42L capacity – enough room to cook a rotisserie chicken – while its rotisserie function also makes sure it’s done so to perfection.
The dials are to the right of the main oven. Although they are a little chunky, they provide ample options for whatever you fancy cooking. The timer dial, which can be programmed up to 90 minutes, is handy for the likes of roasts.
The four stainless steel heating elements, within the oven, ensures even heat distribution, meaning no food will be left uncooked – while the oven comes equipped with a baking tray, wire rack and tray handle.
We loved the smart features of the Fisher & Paykel Oven that gives guidance on how to specifically cook a variety of meals, while it was also big enough to cook for a whole family. If you’re budget doesn’t stretch that far then Hisense Chef Pro Oven comes in a close second, at over half the price.