Built-in ovens

Which? Best Buy built-in ovens

by Jane Darling

A Best Buy oven will heat up quickly to the right temperature and stay there – giving excellent cooking results. It will also have at least one evenly-browning grill.

Some ovens obediently heat up quickly to the temperature you set them to, and then maintain that heat so you can be confident your dinner is getting the ideal cooking condition. Unfortunately, others veer far off the set temperature and lead to unwelcome results. Which? tests all kinds of ovens – single and double as well as gas and electric, including modern self-cleaning models, so you can find the one that will suit you, your cooking and your kitchen.

  • If you cook in an oven that isn't heated at the temperature it claims to be, you'll be left with undercooked, overdone or unevenly cooked food. We measure the temperature in several parts of the oven, and then bake cakes and shortbread in the same oven to check that accurate measurements will translate to great cooking results.
  • We measure the real usable volume of the ovens we test – from the top of the lowest shelf to 3cm below the roof of the oven. This means you get an accurate picture of what you can really fit inside an oven – so there'll be no nasty surprises when your turkey won't fit in come Christmas day.
  • If you don't own a toaster, or find yourself grilling bacon, sausages or fish fingers on a regular basis, you'll want a grill that browns food evenly. Many grills don't cover anything like the surface area of the grill pan beneath, and will have you shuffling the food around, so make sure you choose a grill that has impressed in our tests.

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How we uncover the best built-in ovens

As well as investigating just how well an oven performs at cooking, we also take into account how easy it is to use. Our experts assess, among other things, how easy the oven is to set, the clarity of the markings on the dials, whether you can see inside when cooking is underway and how easy it is to load and unload items from both the oven and the grill. If you go for a Which? Best Buy oven, you can be sure it will be great at cooking and also be a pleasure to use.

  • Speed of heating: You'll want a hob that won't keep you waiting as it heats up to the right temperature. We time how long each oven takes to reach 180°C - the quickest manage this in less than four minutes, while slow ovens will have you waiting nearly three times as long.
  • Accuracy: The temperature inside an oven may not reflect what you've set the dial for. We've found some ovens that are more than 30°C higher than they should be, while the best ovens stick consistently to within a degree or two of the temperature you want.
  • Grill: We cover each grill pan with crustless white bread, then measure how evenly it gets browned by the grill. An outstanding grill will cover over 90% of the grill pan, but there are some terrible grills that barely manage to cover a third, and will mean that you'll need to move your food around to get even browning.

Built-in oven reviews you can trust

Models from the biggest oven brands on the market – including AEG, Belling, Bosch, Hotpoint, Neff, Whirlpool and Zanussi – are tested in the Which? lab. We've discovered that sometimes even the best-known brands don't always come up with the goods.

Which? is independent – we work for you, the consumer, so you can be sure that our product recommendations are influenced only by our test results. We don't take advertising and we buy all the products that we test ourselves, so our advice helps you to make the right choice first time and avoid costly mistakes. 

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