Selecting a Kitchen Oven

What you need to know about purchasing an oven for your kitchen.
Oven Features

Width: Ovens are generally 27 to 30 inches wide, though some models may be wider. Consider both the space you have available and the interior size of the oven before you buy.

Color: White, black, and stainless steel are by far the most common finishes for ovens. You may want to coordinate the oven's finish with your cooktop and refrigerator purchases as well.

Gas or electric: If using an existing connection, be clear on what is there and if the connections can handle the model oven(s) you want to buy. For new installations, check with a plumber or electrician to make sure power and/or gas can be installed (or moved) to the oven's location.

Types of heat: Standard heat, broiling, convection, microwave, and steam are the main choices in heat. Budget ovens usually only offer conventional heat, while luxury models will have more heat options. Some "combination" ovens feature a combination of heat (such as conventional with microwave).

Cleaning: Self-cleaning settings are included with most ovens. If this feature is a must-have for you, be sure to check how it works for the model you'd like.

Interior space: Consider the foods you like to cook when choosing an oven's size. Basic models may be too small for a huge turkey. Top-of-the-line ovens often include larger interior space, heavier racks, and precision temperature controls. Some manufacturers also make smaller "convenience" ovens meant for flat items such as one casserole dish or a pizza.

Oven controls: Budget models include knobs or dials to regulate heat and timers. Some may include digital displays as well. More expensive ovens may have options such as one-touch baking, infinite temperature settings, recipe memory, and preprogrammed settings.

Optional accessories: Interior lights, flexible rack systems, thermometers, rotisseries, and other features may be available for your oven.

Do your homework. Browse Web sites and magazines that compare current models and features. Consumer Reports is an excellent source for unbiased information and recommendations. Visit:

Continued on page 2:  Types of Ovens