An oven is one of the most common kitchen appliances that are used in various forms of cooking, such as heating, baking, broiling and roasting.
Ovens are generally grouped into 2 common kinds: gas ovens and electric ovens. Then there are also microwave ovens (uses microwave radiation to cook or heat food) and convection ovens (uses a circulating fan to move hot air around the food inside the oven).
With this range of choices, not to mention the variety of features and designs available in ovens, shopping for one can be a difficult task. Below are some guidelines that you need to consider – helpful hints that will help you buy the right oven.
The location. Whether ‘freestanding’ (set in a range) or ‘built-in’ in walls (known as wall ovens), make sure that you measure the size of the oven against the location where you plan to have it installed. The location should not only have enough space; it should also be sturdy enough to support the unit.
The capacity. The “actual” size of the oven is defined by its capacity. The oven capacity refers to the amount of food or the size of the container that it can hold. The ‘size’, therefore, that you need to consider when buying an oven is the size of its interior (the cavity). Note that some ovens seem large on the outside but are actually smaller inside.
There are many things to consider when deciding on a particular oven capacity to buy. Some of them are the following:
Family size: The amount of food you need to cook at one time (i.e., the oven capacity) depends on the number of people in your family. Below are some of the recommended oven capacities (in liters) for various family sizes (denoted by the number of members):
2 members – less than 29 liters
4 members – 20 to 29 liters
6 members – more than 30 liters
Usage: The oven capacity should also depend on how you intend to use the oven. An oven that will be used for actual and all types of cooking will naturally require a higher capacity than that which shall be used as a mere supplement (such as defrosting or reheating food).
Cookware: Make sure that the dishes (such as baking sheet, pan, and other cookware) that you regularly use will fit comfortably (and circulate freely) inside the oven.
The controls. The control panel is where you manage and control the functions and operations of your oven, which can be any of the following:
Analog – mechanical switches that use knobs. Are less expensive but more durable; can also be less precise, since everything is set manually.
Digital - electronically-controlled push buttons. The most common nowadays, they can be more expensive and less durable; but they have more accurate and precise settings, since everything is set automatically.
Different ovens have various (and sometimes complicated) control panels, but all of them generally include these basic components:
Clock or timer displays - properly sets the length of time for cooking
Temperature settings - allows you to set the temperature for cooking.
Thermostat – senses and maintains a set temperature to stop or further the flow of heat. This prevents an overcooked food and an overheated oven.
Oven light - enables you to see the interior of the oven to check the status of the food that you are cooking.
Additional components. Some ovens may come with additional components, such as the following:
Oven rack – allows you to place more than one dish in the oven at the same time; should be thick and durable.
Rotisserie – a removable grill with a turning spit; for better and uniform grilling.
The add-on features. In addition to the basic functions, most ovens today are designed with additional (and advanced) features, some of which are as follows:
Clear-view window – it enables you to watch the cooking process without having to open the door.
Self-cleaning option – found at the control panel, pushing this button enables the oven to clean itself.
Lockout feature – can be a button in the control panel or a door lock switch, it prevents misuse or unintended and accidental operations, especially when cleaning the control panel or when there are children in the house.
The price. Of course, everything is greatly affected by the price, so it is important for you to set the amount that you would like to spend.
With these guidelines, you will surely be able to find the oven that is perfect for your money’s worth.