Built-in ovens: How to buy the best oven Ovens: which type is best?
There’s more to buying an oven than you might think and, with so many different types of oven available, it’s easy to spend money on a model that isn’t right for you.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, here we explain all the types of built-in oven available so you know what to look for when you head to the shops.
If you want to skip straight to our recommendations, check out our built-in oven reviews to find the best one for you. If you're not a member, you can gain access to all our reviews with a £1 trial subscription to Which?.
Video guide: built-in oven buyer's guide
Types of oven
There are four types of built-in oven to choose from: single ovens, double ovens, double built-under ovens and compact ovens. All are around 60cm wide, but vary in height.
Single ovens are cheaper than double ovens at around £250 to £350, while double ovens cost more than £500. Paying a higher price will get you more features, but you may not need all of them. Visit our page on oven features and prices to find out which ones would be most helpful to you.
Single ovens only have one oven to bake, roast and grill in, but there’s usually enough space to cook most things. Single ovens are around 60cm tall and can fit pretty much anywhere in your kitchen – whether it’s under a counter or in an eye-level cabinet.
Only having one oven to cook with will be a limitation for some, particularly if you’re looking to bake and grill at the same time, or if you’ve got a lot of cooking to do.
You can get single gas ovens and single electric ovens, although you’ll find more single electric ovens in shops than any other type of oven.
Double ovens offer more cooking options than a single and there are two types: double built-in and the smaller double built-under. The main difference is how tall they are, so choose the right type for your kitchen based on the space you have available.
Double built-in ovens are about 90cm tall and need to be slotted into cabinets at eye level. Double built-under ovens are around 72cm tall and slot into an undercounter unit or at eye level.
Double built-under ovens can be smaller than you’d expect, particularly the main oven. This is because manufacturers have fitted two ovens into a space only 12cm taller than a single oven.
There will always be a grill in the top oven, and on higher spec ovens you’ll sometimes find one in the main oven, too.
As with single ovens, you can get built-in and built-under ovens in gas or electric. You can use our ovens compare features and prices tool to narrow down your selection of ovens we've reviewed so you can find the best one for you.
Compact ovens are a good option if space is at a premium in your kitchen – they’re smaller than single ovens at just 45cm tall, and are the same size as a large built-in microwave. They usually come with an oven and grill.
You’ll also find compact steam ovens, which are more likely to be used as an additional cooking option rather than the main family oven.
The trade-off for it's compact size is that there’s not much room inside, so don’t try cooking the Christmas dinner in a compact oven.
Electric ovens vs gas ovens
Most of us will have a preference for the type of fuel we cook with and some of us might not have a choice. For everyone else, here’s our assessment of the good and bad points of cooking with gas or electric built-in ovens.
Pros: The benefit of cooking with an electric oven, especially one with a fan, is that heat is distributed all around the oven. Electric ovens also heat accurately and there are plenty to choose from – you'll find more electric single ovens in shops than any other type of oven.
Cons: Electric ovens are more expensive to run.
Pros: Gas is the cheapest fuel to cook with, so you’ll definitely save money if you cook this way. But the savings aren’t massive – there’s around a £25 difference between the cheapest-to-run gas oven and the most expensive electric oven.
Cons Gas built-in ovens aren’t quite as effective as electric ovens at distributing heat all around the oven. Also, gas built-in ovens are few and far between – there’s far more choice if you’re in the electric-oven market.
Oven cooking costs – gas vs electric ovens
Gas will always be cheaper to cook with than electricity. We find out how much each oven we test costs to run by baking bricks for two hours, at the same temperature as you would cook a chicken, to get consistent results each time.
Based on using the oven five times a week, gas ovens cost around £20 a year to run and electric ovens cost around £40. The difference isn’t massive annually, but over the lifetime of your oven it would add up to around £120.
Oven heat distribution – gas vs electric ovens
All but the cheapest electric ovens come with fans to spread the heat around the oven. Fans are helpful because you can cut cooking times and reduce the temperature you cook at. They also make baking on two levels at once easier by circulating the heat.
Most gas built-in ovens don’t have fans and heat distribution suffers because of this. But if you get to know your gas and adjust to it, you’ll be able to produce excellent results.
Oven temperature control – gas vs electric ovens
It’s usually easier to maintain an even temperature throughout an electric oven – oven fans help to do this, as do digital thermostats, which can be set to the degree.
In gas ovens without fans, it’s harder to maintain an even temperature throughout the oven – gas ovens are usually noticeably hotter at the top than at the bottom.