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Best ovens buying guide: top brands and models

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Published: November 2, 2021 at 4:58 pm
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Discover the best oven for your household, the questions you need to be asking yourself before you buy, and which features are worth looking out for with the BBC Good Food ovens buying guide.

What is a kitchen without an oven? A study by Statista found that 90% of households in the UK own an oven, which is unsurprising given that they’re the appliance of choice for cakes, bakes and your Sunday roast. So, whether your oven has bitten the dust, you’re looking for an upgrade or after a new model to fit your kitchen redesign, it’s important to pick the right one for your family and budget.

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We’ve found the best models for a range of price points, from basic but efficient budget models, to blow-out, high-tech ones.

It can be hard to know where to start when you’re looking for a new oven. We’ve spoken to domestic white goods experts from AO.com, Currys and Appliances Direct as well as advisors from UK Whitegoods to bring you genuine and useful advice, plus all of the questions you need to ask yourself before you part with your hard-earned cash. You’ll also find our independent expert-approved best oven suggestions.

Head over to our reviews section and find out how we test products. Our reviews experts test hundreds of products every year, from the best air fryers to the best stand mixers. If you’re after more white goods advice, we also have expert-approved best dishwasher and best fridge freezer guides to discover.

A halloumi and vegetable traybake

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Considerations before buying

Single or double oven?

Before you even begin to think about nifty features and aesthetics, you need to consider what size oven is right for you and your family. In-built ovens are available in two sizes: single and double. Always check the dimensions before buying. Here are the differences:

Single ovens are around 60cm tall. They can go anywhere in the kitchen, but most people choose to place them under the counter, beneath a built-in hob or at eye-level in a cabinet.

  • Pros: single ovens have a larger single compartment compared to double ovens, making them ideal for big roasts and for fitting large casserole dishes.
  • Cons: you can only use one function at a time and only set the oven to a single temperature.

Double ovens are around 90cm tall and they only fit into a cabinet at eye-level.

  • Pros: ideal if you’re looking to cook lots of different dishes at different temperatures or looking to use two different functions, e.g. grill and fan, at the same time.
  • Cons: take up more space, less oven space for larger dishes/pieces of kitchen kit

Gas or electric

Both gas and electric ovens have various pros and cons. We’ve laid them out below to help you make the right choice.

Electric

Pros:

  • Modern-looking
  • More electric ovens available
  • Easy to use
  • Generally cheaper to buy than gas
  • More high-tech features

Cons:

  • Slower to heat up
  • Slow to adjust temperature

Gas

Pros:

  • Can control oven temperatures easily
  • Gas creates a more moist environment that's ideal for baking
  • Quick to heat up and cool down

Cons:

  • Can cost more upfront than electric
  • Food needs to be rotated to ensure it cooks evenly
  • Moist environment makes these ovens less than ideal for food you want crisp

Features to look out for

As with all white goods, there have been various advancements in the technology used and range of features found on ovens. We’ve detailed the features we think are worth looking out for and asked white goods experts about which features are nice to have but not essential.

  • Self-cleaning: look for pyrolytic or catalytic self-cleaning ovens to keep clean up simple and chemical-free
  • Telescopic runners: these are rails that extend fully out of the oven that make removing trays, pots and dishes smoother, easier and not to mention safer
  • Temperature/meat probes: if you’re not the most confident cook or you just like to ensure accuracy, meat probes are a great addition for precise cooking and to ensure food is cooked through
  • Timers: set your oven to automatically cook and turn off without you having to do anything
  • Digital controls: these are ideal for when you need an exact cooking temperature, i.e. for bakes. Five- or 10-degree manual dials are fine, but they’re not particularly precise; one or two degree increments ensure accuracy
  • Controls that sit flush: this is a real benefit of touchscreen digital controls as it makes the fascia easy to clean. Some manual dials can be pushed inwards so they sit flush, too
  • A good selection of accessories: we favour ovens with a range of oven trays, wire racks and a decent number of shelves
  • Steam cooking: if you love baking bread, this is the function for you. Some ovens have a water tank that sends plumes of steam into the oven cavity
  • Automatic cooking settings: these allow you to choose the setting for exactly the food you’re cooking, e.g. roast chicken, cake and more
  • Lights/how easy to see inside: an oven cavity that illuminates allows you to peek through the glass without affecting the temperature inside the oven. This is ideal for those bakes where you shouldn’t open the oven halfway through, like cake

Additional features: are they worth it?

If you’re happy to spend a decent amount of money on a new oven, it's easy to be seduced by the wealth of additional features on offer. We spoke to buying experts from AO.com, Appliances Direct and Currys to find out what they think about the following features.

  • Split ovens: these ovens can be split in two, allowing you to cook at two different temperatures at the same time. A central panel splits the oven into two separate compartments, so you could cook sweet and savoury dishes without the flavours melding. AO’s expert, Claire Bowler, says split ovens are ideal for busy households and make a fantastic addition 'if you’re short on space, or for those who want the choice of more cooking options'. Vicky Bennion from Currys says: 'with split ovens you can also save energy, as you don’t have to waste energy on heating the full oven if you’re only cooking something small'. Do be aware though, these ovens tend to cost more than their single oven counterparts.
  • Slide-away doors: If you’re a fan of The Great British Bake Off, you’ll have spied these ovens in the tent. The slide-away door does exactly that: when the oven is opened, the door slides underneath, allowing you to get closer to the oven cavity. All of the experts we asked agreed that these ovens make getting close to the oven safer, allowing you to remove heavy things with ease while also avoiding spills. Vicky says that this kind of oven is ideal for smaller kitchens, like galley kitchens, and Appliances Direct’s expert Matthew Bibbington pointed out that the soft-close hinge is great for mitigating any impact on delicate bakes. But, like the split ovens above, this feature comes at a cost. Plus, cleaning the door can be difficult.
  • Smart ovens: it seems like every kitchen appliance nowadays has some kind of smart function; we’ve seen them on dishwashers and fridge freezers, so it’s no surprise that ovens have been given the 'smart' treatment. The smart features on offer can vary, but the majority allow you to control your oven from your phone via the brand’s app. This could be used to cut the time it takes for dinner to be ready when you are on your way home, or use the app to see more specific cooking options. Vicky also pointed out that 'it’s easy to stay aware of any technical faults with the oven, as smart ovens come with a built-in performance assessment system that identifies hardware issues before they begin to affect the cooking performance. Once a problem is detected, you’ll be alerted right away, so you can get it fixed before it gets worse'.

Self-cleaning ovens

No one enjoys cleaning their oven; we'd be willing to bet it's the one task you really put off doing. But, this is where self-cleaning ovens come in. Designed to make the task easier, there are a few different types of self-cleaning ovens to look out for:

  • Pyrolytic: this function heats the oven cavity to a super-high temperature, meaning any food, grease and dirt is carbonised (turned to dust) that can then be simply swept or vacuumed up
  • Catalytic liner: these liners absorb fat and anything else that drips down to the base of the oven. The oven will come with a self-cleaning program that’ll need to be run once in a while to loosen all of the dirt, making it easy to wipe away with a damp cloth
  • Easy clean enamel: As the name suggests, the enamel lining of the oven doesn’t absorb fat and dirt, making the surface wipe clean. Be aware, these need to be cleaned regularly to avoid grease build-up baking on hard
  • Steam cleaning: this natural cleaning method uses steam to loosen dirt and grime from the oven cavity. Simply pour water into the indent in the base of the oven, select the steam clean function and let the oven do its thing. Once the cycle has ended and the oven has cooled slightly, you’ll be able to wipe it clean

Oven symbols: explained

Have you ever looked at your oven and wondered what on earth all of the symbols mean? If you’re a 'pop it on 180C and let it do its thing' type of person, you may not be making the most of your oven. Our graphic details what each symbol means – read on to find out more.

Oven_Guide_Asset_1 (003)
  • Low heat element only: only the base of the oven is heated. Ideal for crisping up the base of dishes, like caramelised onion quiche with cheddar & bacon, custard tart or deep dish meatball marinara pizza
  • Upper and lower heating elements: this heats both the top and bottom of the oven without the fan. Use this on foods you want to cook on the top and bottom, like classic cheese scones or these spiced 'chorizo' pastry slices
  • Fan with lower heat: the heat in the oven comes from the base of the oven and is moved around the oven cavity by the fan. This setting is great for those dishes with a crisp base and gently cooked tops, such as this herby spring chicken pot pie: the base and filling cook while the delicate filo on top doesn’t burn
  • Fan oven: heat comes from the element at the back of the oven and is circulated evenly by the fan. You may see a fan symbol with lines above and below – this means the heat comes from the top and bottom of the oven and is circulated by the fan. Fan cooking is great for a range of dishes, but ideal for even bakes on cake, be it quick and easy cakes or decadent chocolate cake
  • Full grill: heat is produced by the full grill element – great for grilling bacon or finishing off pasta bakes
  • Part grill: for when you’re only grilling a small amount, like cheese on toast or a couple of rashers of bacon
  • Grill and fan: this setting focusses the majority of the heat on the top of whatever you’re cooking, while the fan distributes the heat, allowing for gentle cooking. Great for fish
  • Grill and lower: for browning the tops of dishes and also crisping up the underside. Use this setting on our sausage & leek mash pie or fish pie mac & cheese
  • Defrost: this setting turns the fan on minus any heat, so that air circulates, defrosting your food faster than leaving it on the counter would
  • Oven light: to turn on the light inside the oven
  • Plate warming: gently warm your plates in the oven before serving
  • Pyrolytic cleaning: high-heat cleaning function (see above)
  • Alarm: so nothing burns!
  • Minute minder: this setting automatically turns off the oven after cooking – great for meringues or baked cheesecake
  • Child lock: this stops the oven settings from being fiddled with and changed while also keeping children safe

Which oven brand is best?

There’s no real answer to this question, as one person’s idea of what is best for them may not correlate with what is best for another. Statista surveyed just over 24,000 people in 2020 and found the most popular oven brands to be Hotpoint, Beko and Bosch.

Best single and double ovens at a glance

  • Best oven: Bosch HBS534BB0B, £385
  • Best double oven: Hisense BID95211XUK, £319
  • Best budget oven: Indesit Aria IDU6340IX, £207.97
  • Best premium oven: NEFF N50 U2ACM7HH0B, £1449
  • Best oven for bakers: NEFF B57CS24H0B, £777.53
  • Best oven for range of functions: AEG BSE978220M, £1089.47
  • Best smart oven: De Dietrich DOP8785X, £1079
  • Best eco oven: Beko BBRIE22300XD, £239
  • Best oven for versatility: Hotpoint SI6874SPIX, £379
  • Best oven for families: Zanussi ZOPNX6X2, £389
  • Best oven for medium-sized households: AEG DCB331010M, £529.61
  • Best oven for small households: Hotpoint AOY54CIX, £209

Best single and double ovens to buy in 2021

Bosch Serie 4 multifunction electric single oven

Best oven

Bosch HBS534BB0B 001

Top features:

  • Capacity: 71 litres
  • Energy efficiency rating: A
  • Seven heating methods
  • Child lock
  • Eco Clean Direct catalytic cleaning

This oven features a sleek and understated fascia and is available in three colourways: all black, black and silver, or white, making it easy to find a version that fits your kitchen. This isn’t the most high-tech oven on the market, but it gets the basics right.

Equipped with five oven shelf positions, you can easily arrange the interior of the oven how you like. You’ll also find seven different heating methods, allowing you to fully tailor the way you cook your food. We particularly like the pizza function that ensures a crisp crust every time.

This Bosch model is easy to keep clean thanks to ‘Eco Clean Direct’, a technology that coats the interior and breaks up any grease splatters from particularly bubbly dishes.

With an A energy rating, this oven is cheap to run, too.

Hisense BID95211XUK

Best double oven

Hisense BID95211XUK 001

Top features:

  • Capacity: 38 and 72 litres
  • Energy efficiency rating: A
  • Easy clean enamel coating
  • ‘Set and go’ feature
  • Simple to use controls

This reasonably priced double oven from Hisense features a 38-litre capacity in the top oven and a 72-litre capacity in the bottom. Both ovens have an 'Easy Clean' enamel coating, so any messes and spills can be wiped away effortlessly.

The controls are intuitive and simple to use. For added ease, this model has a ‘set and go’ feature, meaning you can program the oven to automatically turn off once the cooking has finished. This is ideal for desserts that need to stay in the oven, like meringue, or for lasagnes that need to cool down slowly.

If you’re after a double oven that won’t break the bank, this one comes highly rated by white goods experts.

Indesit Aria IDU6340IX

Best budget oven

Indesit Aria IDU6340IX

Top features:

  • Capacity: 37 and 59 litres
  • Energy efficiency rating: B
  • Easy clean enamel coating
  • Second electric oven with handy grill setting
  • Simply designed

If you’ve not got lots of money for a new oven, this Indesit double oven offers a good amount of bang for your buck.

As you’d expect, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the high-tech models on this list. The top 37-litre oven only has two settings for grilling, and the bottom 59-litre oven has three. You’ll find a light in the main oven, but not the top.

This fan oven ensures that food is cooked evenly. This budget model still comes with some of the same features as the Hisense above, including the useful easy clean enamel coating and the ‘set and go’ feature. The B energy rating is good to see, too.

NEFF N50 U2ACM7HH0B

Best premium oven

NEFF N50 U2ACM7HH0B

Top features:

  • Capacity: 34 and 71 litres
  • Pyrolytic cleaning
  • Telescopic runners
  • Meat probe
  • Energy efficiency rating: A

If you’ve got lots to spend and are looking for a truly impressive bit of kit, this NEFF oven will not disappoint. This double oven is unlike some of the others on this list, in that both the top and bottom cavities are multifunctional. So, you can cook your roast chicken in the bottom and dessert in the top at the same time, with no risk of the smells cross-contaminating.

There’s a great deal of attention to detail to be found on this oven; the runners are telescoping, keeping your arms safe, and the oven doors stay a cool 30C (even when the oven is on high).

The premium price point means premium features. This oven is WiFi connected, allowing you to control the oven from your phone and access NEFF’s bank of tips and recipes, so you produce perfect results every time. Use this in tandem with the meat probe and you’ll have guests singing your praises.

NEFF N90 Slide & Hide

Best oven for bakers

Neff B57CS24H0B 001

Top features:

  • Capacity: 71 litres
  • 'Slide and Hide' door
  • Pyrolytic cleaning
  • Easy to navigate controls
  • HomeConnect

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that this is the oven used on The Great British Bake Off, so it’s unsurprising that our white goods experts rated this model the best oven for bakers.

One of the most unique features of this model is the 'Slide and Hide' door that tucks under the oven, allowing you to get closer to the oven cavity to insert and remove food. This not only makes it easier, but also safer to use.

There are 13 cooking functions to choose from, as well as an in-built baking and roasting Assistant. This feature offers suggestions for the best cooking temperature, time and mode for a range of dishes, from sponge cake to roast beef.

The digital display ensures accuracy of temperature. And, for fuss-free clean up, this model comes with pyrolytic cleaning. It’s also A energy rated.

AEG 7000 SteamCrisp

Best oven for range of features

AEG BSE978330M 001

Top features:

  • Capacity: 71 litres
  • Energy efficiency rating: A++
  • SteamCrisp function
  • Fan-controlled defrosting
  • Food probe

This AEG oven is packed with genuinely useful features. It has 19 functions, including everything from classic fan cooking to a floodlight in the oven cavity. There’s also useful fan-controlled defrosting and AEG’s own SteamCrisp function. Use this setting to make a next-level roast chicken and watch the steam keep the bird juicy while it also crisps up the skin.

To take the guesswork out of clean up, this model will let you know when it’s time to clean the oven. Thankfully, with the pyrolytic function, there’s no need to scrub.

The display screen is an understated LED digital display. The screen is touch-responsive and you’ll find a range of cooking options, from meat and fish, to cake and other desserts. The oven can also be connected to an app wherein you can control the temperature, choose settings and get oven software updates.

De Dietrich DOP8785X

Best smart oven

DeDietrich

Top features:

  • Capacity: 73 litres
  • Energy efficiency rating: A+
  • Chef mode
  • Soft-close door and telescopic rails
  • Pyrolytic function

If you’re for an oven that takes the uncertainty out of cooking, this model features 'chef mode'. This unique setting allows you to program what you’re cooking and the oven chooses the best cooking time and temperature for your food.

There are other useful settings, such as the French pastry catalogue that has pre-set settings for macaron, canelés and much more. For slow-roasted meats and vegetables, use the low temperature function to produce buttery soft, melt-in-the-mouth results. This model even has a drying function that works like a dehydrator. This setting can be used to dehydrate fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Clean up is easy thanks to the pyrolytic function. Plus, the soft-close doors and telescopic rails are the pleasing luxury touches we’d expect to see on this model.

Beko AeroPerfect™ RecycledNet™ BBRIE22300XD

Best eco oven

Beko AeroPerfect™ RecycledNet™ BBRIE22300XD

Top features:

  • Capacity: 66 litres
  • Energy efficiency rating: A
  • AeroPerfect
  • Easy clean liners
  • RecycledNet

For an affordable oven with impressive eco credentials, look no further than this Beko model. As the name alludes, this oven uses recycled fishing nets and industrial thread waste in its oven components. This, coupled with its A energy rating, makes it a great choice for the eco-conscious.

This model is simply designed. It comes with just six functions, so if you’re not looking for anything too fancy or complex, the functions on this oven really are the essentials. But, there are some useful additions, such as Beko’s own AeroPerfect function. This feature circulates hot air around the oven cavity, ensuring an even cook whatever you’re making.

There are also easy clean liners inside to absorb spills and grease for quick clean up. We like the addition of the programmable time that automatically switches off the oven when cooking is done.

Hotpoint Class 6 SI6874SPIX

Best oven for versatility

Hotpoint Class 6 SI6874SPIX

Top features:

  • Capacity: 73 litres
  • Energy efficiency class: A+
  • Automatic bread setting
  • MultiFlow technology
  • Pyrolytic cleaning

This reasonably priced Hotpoint oven comes with a wealth of useful features. It’s equipped with 16 functions, offering all the classic settings, plus useful extras like an automatic bread setting.

If you’ve got a young family or pets, you can rest easy knowing they’re not going to get hurt, as this oven’s door stays cool even at high temperatures. The display screen also has an anti-fingerprint coating to keep it smear-free.

Hotpoint’s MultiFlow technology ensures that food is evenly cooked. This function keeps the oven cavity at a steady and even temperature, giving you great results every time. For low-maintenance upkeep, this model has pyrolytic cleaning built in, so all you need to do is sweep up the ash.

Zanussi ZOPNX6X2

Best oven for families

Zanussi ZOPNX6X2

Top features:

  • Capacity: 72 litres
  • Energy efficiency class: A
  • Retractable dial controls
  • Heats up 40% faster than standard models
  • Fan-controlled defrosting

Equipped with 10 settings, this oven is a great choice for big families looking for a fuss-free piece of kit. The touch controls and retractable dial controls make this model easy to program and wipe clean, as the whole fascia can be made flat.

Zanussi claims that this model heats up 40% faster than other models, which is ideal if you’ve got hungry mouths to feed. Also, if you forgot to get the chicken out of the freezer to defrost before you left for work, the fan-controlled defrosting setting makes life a lot easier.

This is an understated oven packed with all the features a busy family needs, as well as well-considered extras that make life easier. The pyrolytic cleaning function means you’ll spend less time scrubbing and more time with the family.

AEG DCB331010M

Best oven for medium-sized families

AEG DCB331010M

Top features:

  • Capacity: 43 and 68 litres
  • Energy efficiency class: A
  • Multifunctional oven
  • Catalytic liners
  • SurroundCook

This AEG double oven is a great option for busy households. With a range of functions for both the top and bottom oven, there’s plenty of options to ensure you cook your meals to perfection. This mode features AEG’s SurroundCook, which ensures the oven is evenly heated from the top to the bottom while the fan circulates the hot air all around the cavity. This setting provides perfectly even browning – ideal for your favourite lasagne.

Like the Zanussi above, the display is touchscreen and there are retractable controls that not only make the oven smart-looking, but also easier to clean.

For added ease of cleaning, this model is equipped with a catalytic liner that absorbs all greasy drips and spills, meaning all it needs is a quick wipe.

Hotpoint AOY54CIX

Best oven for small families

Hotpoint AOY54CIX 001

Top features:

  • Capacity: 65 litres
  • Energy efficiency rating: A
  • Catalytic liners
  • Automatic shut off
  • Tilting grill

If you’re a small household that's not looking to break the bank, this simple and understated Hotpoint oven is affordable and comes with all the features you’ll need from a simple oven.

This model has five cooking functions as well as a tilting grill. This means the grill can be unhooked, allowing you to clean fat and grease splatters that have gathered above the element. For added ease, this model can be programmed to automatically turn off after cooking, ideal for those moments you’re just not able to get to the oven in time.

This is a low-maintenance oven thanks to its few controls and catalytic liners. It’s good value for money, so ideal for those on a budget or not looking for anything too fussy.

cleaning-oven-9931dba

General oven tips

How long should an oven last?

This is an open-ended question that depends on a range of factors, such as how well you look after your oven, how often you use it and the kind of things you use it for. All of our experts agreed that a well-maintained oven should last over 10 years.

When should you replace your oven?

In most cases, if something seems up with your oven, professional help should be your first port of call. But, there are some tell-tale signs that indicate your oven may be on its last legs:

  • Your much-loved recipes aren’t turning out as they normally would
  • It’s making strange sounds
  • It isn’t heating up
  • Your bills are higher than usual
  • Nearby cupboards or units are looking scorched

Top tips for looking after your oven

We asked experts from AO.com, Appliances Direct and Currys for their top tips for looking after your oven:

Clean, clean, clean! The best way to keep your oven in tip-top shape is to keep it clean; this means avoiding messy cooking, wiping away spills and messes as soon as you spot them, and cleaning the whole unit regularly. Use the intense self-cleaning functions sparingly, as they can be hard on your appliance.

Get to know your appliance: this’ll make it easier to spot funny sounds, issues with the controls or when something is taking longer than usual.

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