Trying to cook more at home? If so, it’s time to get to know your oven.
The oven is one of the most essential appliances in your kitchen, and you’ll start using it almost daily as you make your meals at home more often. In this post, we’ll be covering the many different types of ovens, comparing them, and helping you decide which one is best for you!
The Two Main Types of Ovens
There are two primary oven varieties that you’ll run into on your at-home cooking journey – conventional and convection. Underneath the umbrella of these two types of ovens, you’ll find plenty of unique models with useful features that can help you get more done in the kitchen. Before getting into all those extra bells and whistles, let’s explore the basics!
This oven has a heat source at the bottom, from which heat will rise and cook your food over time. These are the most commonly found ovens out there, and chances are yours has a conventional heat source – but maybe with some added features.
A convection oven is usually a countertop appliance that uses a unique mechanism to cook your food faster. While these ovens are often standalone appliances, your standard oven might have some built-in convection features as well.
By using a built-in fan, a convection oven speeds up the cooking process by heating your food from all directions. In addition to added convenience, a convection oven can also provide you with a more even, thorough cook in less time. If you’re feeding a big family and are on the clock, that extra cooking speed can make all the difference!
Do I Need a Convection Oven?
While a convection oven definitely isn’t necessary for every cook, it can be a huge help – especially with certain recipes. Here are some of the main reasons you’d want to make sure that your oven has a convection mechanism installed.
It’s Less Humid
A lot of humidity can build up in a conventional oven, which can affect the way your food turns out. In contrast, a convection oven eliminates virtually all humidity by distributing heat throughout its entire interior. While you might think this would make your food taste tough and dry, the opposite is true – a less humid oven can keep the inside of your food tender and flavorful, while making the outside brown and crispy.
The convection mechanism can really speed up the cooking and baking process, saving you time and getting food on the table sooner. Most convection ovens can cook a meal around 25 percent faster than a standard oven!
In addition to cooking your food faster, a convection oven can prevent certain parts of a dish from getting overdone or underdone. By evenly distributing the heat throughout the interior of your oven, the convection mechanism can help you gauge whether your food is fully cooked with greater accuracy.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about your oven-cooked food tasting like it was warmed up in the microwave!
Why Not Both?
No, we’re not telling you to get two separate ovens – although that would be pretty cool. Instead, we think it’s a great idea to look for an oven that has convection capability, as well as a standard heating mechanism. That way, you’ll be able to turn convection on and off whenever you want, giving yourself the option of a slower cook when necessary.
In addition, if you think you’ll only be using a convection oven on occasion, you might be interested in an air fryer or a countertop convection oven. These appliances take up far less space than a standard oven and stove setup, and you can store them when they’re not being used.
Special Features: Let’s Discuss Deluxe Ovens
Some ovens, both convection and standard, come equipped with some “special features” that are intended to give you a better cooking experience. While you can get by fine without them, the functions that you’ll find on a deluxe oven can be a big help, especially if you cook a lot.
Below are some of the most common oven extras:
Wi-Fi Connectivity: The Smart Oven
If you’re a big fan of the smart appliance revolution, you probably already know all about wif-fi-enabled ovens. These futuristic appliances allow you to adjust cooking temperatures, set built-in timers, and more, all from your phone. If that sounds too good to be true, we hear you – we’re living in the future!
Many smart ovens are equipped with a high-powered convection mechanism, which allows you to get high temperatures without preheating. For some at-home cooks, that feature alone is worth the price of admission!
However, while smart ovens are indeed amazing inventions, all those bells and whistles come at a price that is unattainable for many cooks. Some of the most popular wi-fi-enabled ovens on the market cost over $3,000, which can buy you about a year of groceries if you live alone!
As is the case with many of the nifty bonus features that some ovens have, it’s up to every cook to decide whether wi-fi connectivity is worth the investment!
If you spend hours cooking and baking each week, your oven can quickly start to get messy. That’s where the self-cleaning feature comes in! Using extremely high temperatures, a self-cleaning oven burns away leftover residue and debris, leaving its interior looking shiny and good-as-new. And when we say high temperatures, we mean high. Some ovens get up to around 900 degrees Fahrenheit during the self-cleaning process!
In addition to making your life easier by keeping itself shiny, a self-cleaning oven has more perks to offer. Most self-cleaning models are outfitted with thick insulation, which can help to keep the cooking and baking process as efficient as possible. This insulation keeps heat from escaping, allowing for a faster, more thorough cook.
Let’s Talk About Oven Installation
Take a look in your kitchen. How is your oven positioned? If it’s standing on its own in the most convenient spot, you have a freestanding oven. This is the most common type of oven installation for a few key reasons – it’s quick, simple, and cheap.
Wall-Mounted Ovens: Sleek, Stylish, and Pricey
If, on the other hand, your oven is built into the wall of your kitchen, you’re dealing with what’s aptly called a wall-mounted oven. This type of oven installation is a bit trickier, and getting one installed in your home can cost quite a bit. However, wall-mounted ovens are also extremely convenient, and they look great!
A wall-mounted oven is typically best suited for a kitchen with a separate stovetop. Most freestanding ovens have stovetops built into them, but this isn’t the case with the wall-mounted build. You’ll need a stove somewhere else for when a recipe calls for it!
Slide-Ins and Drop-Ins: Good Looks for an Extra Price
Slide-in and drop-in ovens look a lot like their freestanding counterparts. However, these ovens are designed to be installed directly into an opening between two cabinets in your kitchen. As a result, one of these ovens blends in seamlessly with the rest of your appliances and is famously easy to work with.
However, compared to freestanding ovens, slide-ins and drop-ins can be pretty pricey. That extra cost gets you stylish good looks, but it’s up to you to decide whether you’ve got room in your budget for a fancy, expensive oven!
Do We Have a Winner?
When it comes to oven installation, there’s not really a one-size-fits-all best choice for everyone. You know your kitchen, your style, and your favorite meals better than anyone, so you should be the one to pick your perfect oven!
Some of the biggest factors to consider when choosing an oven are budget, size, and the layout of your kitchen. Certain kitchens will need a lot of remodeling to make room for a wall-mounted or slide-in oven, which gives freestanding models a point for convenience. However, a sleek, stylish wall-mounted oven looks great and is a blast to cook with!
Need Some Cooking Inspiration?
If all this talk about ovens is making you hungry, you’ve come to the right place! At JOW, we’re passionate about helping at-home chefs find creative recipes, and we’ve got a massive database of delicious dishes that you’ll love!
If you’re looking to put your oven to good use, check out some of our favorite baked recipes, including Baked Eggs With Spinach and Parmesan, Half-Baked Salmon With Rice, and our Tuna Bake Au Gratin. These delicious dishes can all be made with the help of your oven. To access these recipes and dozens more for free, head over to our website.