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When shopping for a new oven you must consider brand, price, oven size and style, and you must determine exactly what you need for your kitchen. You can spend as little as $150 on an oven or well into the thousands. The average homeowner will probably spend between $500 and $1,000 on an oven, choosing one that will provide his or her kitchen with an all-purpose cooktop and an oven compartment.

Some people with a bigger budget may choose to divide up the components, installing a separate wall oven in addition to a mounted cooktop, while others prefer a one-piece freestanding or slide-in oven range.

Basic Oven Information

While it may be said that an oven's functioning is too obvious to merit description, there are actually a number of different methods for applying heat to food as well as many types of ovens. The basic oven type is a conventional oven that uses a thermal heating technique to cook. Heating elements or gas-fueled burners radiate heat towards food, which, given enough time, prepares it for eating.

Convection ovens use a fan to circulate the heat fully around the dish, hitting it from every angle and ultimately taking less time and energy.

Induction ovens feature the use of electromagnetism to transform the cooking utensil into the distributor of heat.

Microwave ovens cause water molecules inside food to heat up and cook from the inside out. Wall ovens, oven ranges, microwave ovens and portable ovens use one or more of these methods to prepare food.

Oven Types

Wall ovens, also called built-in ovens, install vertically into your kitchen layout, fitting into a precut opening in a wall or cabinet. They come in single and double oven varieties as well as combo units that feature a microwave. Some triple wall ovens are available as well that add a warming drawer.

Oven ranges are all-in-one units that come with a single or double oven and a cooktop with a number of burners. High-end oven ranges may include a griddle, charbroiler or French top in addition to burners.

Portable ovens include many different types, such as roasters, pizza ovens, brick-lined ovens, countertop convection/toaster ovens and infrared ovens. Portable ovens usually excel at one type of cooking, but roasters, for instance, are able to roast, bake, cook and steam and can even be used as serving vessels.

Wall Ovens

Wall ovens have no cooktop, but they provide between one and three separate cooking compartments and install upright in a wall or cabinet. Space saving and ergonomically designed, wall ovens provide between 2.9 and 9.4 cubic feet in capacity. Double wall ovens effectively increase your cooking capacity twofold, allowing you to cook, bake, roast or broil multiple dishes at once at different settings. Wall ovens are available in gas models, but most are electrically powered.

Available sizes include 24-, 27- and 30-inch-wide units, although Wolf offers a single 36-inch wall oven. Wall ovens offer everything a range oven provides and, in some cases, more. Convection cook settings, hidden bake elements, telescopic oven racks and preprogrammed one-touch controls are just a few of the features common to many wall ovens.

Oven Ranges

Another option is to select one of the countless oven ranges available. The most common oven style found in homes, an oven range provides everything you need to bake, broil and roast as well as to saute, fry and boil on the cooktop.

Gas, electric and dual fuel oven ranges are readily available in many sizes. Slim 20- and 24-inch oven ranges produced by Summit, Whirlpool and GE, among others, are great for smaller kitchens. A 30-inch oven range is the standard, although manufacturers including Wolf, Bertazzoni and Ilve offer lines of 36-, 48- and 60-inch oven ranges that are some of the most complete available.

Oven ranges come in 3 basic styles: freestanding, slide-in and drop-in. Freestanding ranges feature set-back controls and a framed cooktop. They are designed to install anywhere there is space in a kitchen.

Drop-in and slide-in units, by contrast, are meant to integrate seamlessly into the countertop layout of your kitchen. With their unframed cooktops, they are essentially built-in ranges. Most oven ranges provide between 4.0 and 6.0 cubic feet in capacity, but bigger and smaller sizes are available.

Portable Ovens

Specialty ovens are often portable countertop units that can be cleaned and stored with ease. These include convection ovens, infrared ovens, pizza ovens, rotisserie cookers and roasters. While they usually provide one basic function, some find them more effective and convenient than a traditional range.

Portable ovens are electric units that typically feature 2.0 cubic feet of space or less. Portable ovens are great for quickly cooking pizza or frozen meals or even for roasting a turkey.

Power Sources

Ovens are powered by gas, electricity or, in the case of dual fuel units, both. Gas ovens may be liquid propane convertible, but are designed to run on natural gas. Gas ovens feature fuel-combusting burners. With an electronic ignition, no pilot light is necessary to light the fuel. Gas oven ranges include 4 to 8 sealed or open burners. Continuous grates are often featured to allow for easier movement between burners.

Electric ovens tend to be more stable temperature-wise than gas ovens, but with temperature management systems, gas ovens can maintain a consistent temperature when in use.

Dual fuel oven ranges feature a gas cooktop and an electric oven. Some double wall ovens are dual fuel, with the lower oven fueled by gas and the upper oven by electricity.

Oven Features

In addition to convection cook settings, many wall ovens and oven ranges feature electronic controls, one-touch cook options, infrared broiling, multiple self-clean cycles and fast preheat and delay start options. Ovens are available in an assortment of finishes, from black, white and bisque to silver metallic, platinum and, of course, stainless steel.

Whether you are looking to spend about $500 on an all-purpose range or $10,000 on a state-of-the-art 60-inch double oven range with 6 gas burners, a griddle and charbroiler, you can find the exact unit you want in your home. With so many options, it's good to have a plan. Set your budget, determine what you need and then get to work evaluating the wide and varied oven selection.