How to buy the perfect oven

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Any baker or cook will tell you that an oven can have a huge effect on recipes and how they turn out. If you’ve had the same oven for years and it’s not working as well as it used to – cake burnt on one side? – then it might be time for an upgrade. Mark Cullen, Electrical Store Manager at Harvey Norman Cork, shares his knowledge on how to get the perfect oven for you.

What are some of the variables to consider when researching what oven to buy?
The main things people consider about when buying an oven is the colour and style. It’s also important to consider how easy it is to clean, if it has self- cleaning options, or fan oven, double oven or multifunction features.

Electric or gas?
Electric fan ovens can have more features for different results. Gas ovens can have moister cooking performance, but now some new electric ovens have steam assisted cooking. This helps to keep the moisture and vitamins in the food, improving taste and nutritional quality. The same for the differences in conventional and fan assisted… Fan assisted ovens heat up faster while conventional ovens are slower. Fan assisted is the most popular feature as it keeps the oven temperature consistent in different parts of the cavity.

Freestanding or built in, what are the pros and cons?
Freestanding ovens usually have a wider choice of colours, but built in would have more options for height placement as well as improved ergonomics such as placing the oven under the counter or at eye level. Eye level is popular as it means less strain on lower back.

For someone updating their oven, what kinds of new features do modern ovens offer that we didn’t have in the past? Are they worth paying a little extra for?
Modern ovens have many features that we didn’t have in the past from smart WiFi functions to pyro- cleaning, whereby the grease is incinerated and turned to ash. Sous-vide, steam-Assist and steam cooking are features in some ovens that create better culinary results. Some ovens even have removable glass panes and doors which make cleaning your oven easier than ever.

What sort of a starting price might you expect to pay for a new oven?
Although you can purchase ovens from less than €200 we would always advise customers to look at the benefits that investing in a better oven will give you and your family, from cooking performance, energy efficiency and cleaning, to style, nutritional value and product longevity.

What lifespan might you expect?
An oven’s lifespan will vary depending on use and build quality and cleaning habits. While it’s not the norm, we have seen ovens that only need replacing a er 30 or 35 years. At Harvey Norman we have options whereby the customer can choose to increase the warranty on appliances.

Ranges have come back in fashion recently. What benefits do these offer cooks and are there any disadvantages?
A range gives you more ovens which allows you cook more than one thing at a time. They are ideal for bigger families or the person who likes cooking and entertaining frequently. The main disadvantage would be the amount of space they take up in the kitchen.

The benefits of choosing a double oven?
The main benefit is having a separate grill and conventional oven from your fan oven.

Are there any mistakes you see consumers make when buying a new oven?
The oven is an important appliance in your home. Its features can bring great advantages to your cooking and your lifestyle. You shouldn’t purchase an oven based on one factor alone, such as price. Take the time to do some research on all of the options and functions available to make sure it’s the oven for you. You and your family will likely rely on it on a daily basis.

Catherine Devane