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A good oven should last you a decade or more, so you'll want to pick one that fits well with your cooking needs.
Modern ovens can include a host of hi-tech features. But if you don't get the basics right, you could end up with one that's slow to heat up or cooks unevenly.
The best ovens will heat up rapidly to the correct temperature and spread heat evenly throughout the oven. Read on to discover some of the best ovens we've tested and get all the advice you need to choose the one for you.
The following built-in ovens are the very best of all the appliances we've tested - to see more high-scorers in each category, just follow the links.
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While single ovens have just the one oven to bake, roast and grill in, there’s usually enough space to cook most things. Single models are around 60cm tall and can fit pretty much anywhere in your kitchen, such as under a counter or in an eye-level cabinet.
Pros You'll find more single ovens than any other type in the shops, particularly if you go for an electric model, and the oven in a single model is bigger than either of the ovens in a double.
Cons 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.
Having two ovens gives you more cooking options. There will always be a grill in the smaller top oven and, on higher-spec models, you’ll sometimes find one in the main oven, too. Double fitted ovens are about 90cm tall and need to be slotted into cabinets at eye level.
Pros: You can use the grill in the top oven and cook in the main oven at the same time. Or you can have two ovens on the go simultaneously, cooking dishes that need different temperatures.
Cons: It takes up more space in your kitchen than a single oven, and there are fewer models to choose from.
A compact oven is smaller than a single oven, at just 45cm tall. It's around the same size as a large built-in microwave. Compact ovens usually come with a grill inside the oven compartment. You can also buy compact steam ovens, although these are more likely to be used as an additional cooking option rather than the main family oven.
Pros: A good option if space is at a premium in your kitchen.
Cons: The trade-off for its compact size is that there’s not much room inside, so don’t plan to cook Christmas dinner for a crowd in a compact oven.
If you need the flexibility of two ovens but kitchen space is limited, a double built-under oven could be the best option for you. Double built-under ovens are around 72cm tall and can fit into an under-counter unit, or be positioned at eye level.
Pros: You still get two ovens, but without taking up the extra space of a full-sized double oven.
Cons: Double built-under ovens might be smaller than you’d expect, particularly the main oven. This is because manufacturer has fitted two ovens into a space only 12cm taller than a single oven.
If you buy a single oven, it will also have a grill in the same compartment. This means you can't bake at the same time as grilling.
If you go for a double oven or a freestanding cooker, however, there will be the option to do both at the same time. Some double ovens even have a grill in each oven compartment.
Combination microwaves are bigger-than-average microwave ovens that can also cook with convection, and have a grill. Some combi microwaves are built in rather than freestanding, so look neater and more like an oven than a regular microwave.
You might consider buying one of these if you regularly run out of space in your oven, as it gives you an extra cooking compartment.
Watch our video to help you decide which type of oven is right for you.
As well as the points covered in our video, you'll also need to decide on your preference of gas versus electricity and conventional, fan or multifunction cooking.
Most of us have a preference for the type of fuel we cook with, while some of us might not have a choice. For everyone else, here’s our assessment of the good and bad points of cooking with an electric or gas integrated oven.
These are by far the most popular ovens. As with gas ovens, most electric ovens need to be installed by a professional. You do still come across models that can simply be plugged in, but these are relatively few and far between.
In general, electric ovens do better in our tests. How well heat is distributed through an oven's cavity is an important predictor of reliable cooking results – and we've found that the best electric ovens beat the best gas models at spreading heat evenly.
Built-in ovens usually have a grill function, too. Again, electric grills outperform gas grills in our tests. The best spread heat evenly to more than 90% of the grill pan below.
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 tend to stay at a more accurate temperature than gas models. There are also plenty to choose from – you'll find more electric single ovens in shops than any other type.
Cons: Electric ovens are more expensive to run.
There are far fewer built-in gas ovens on the market than electric models, but you can still find good ones. Gas ovens can be cheaper to buy and run, too. So if you've got gas installed, and don't want the hassle and expense of going electric, don't despair.
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 – based on the ovens we've tested, average annual running costs are over £40 more for single electric ovens and £25 more for double electric ovens, when compared to gas.
Cons: Gas built-in ovens aren’t as effective as electric models at spreading heat evenly around the oven.
There are several ways an oven can provide heat, and it helps to understand what these mean so you can choose the right option for you.
A standard, conventional oven supplies heat from two heating elements: one towards the top of the oven and the other near the base. This can result in hot and cold spots, and food placed nearer the top of the oven tends to cook more quickly than food near the bottom.
Conventional cooking can sometimes have the edge over using an oven with a fan. Cakes, soufflés and flans fare better with just top and bottom heat, and anything liquid you want to cook slowly, such as a casserole, doesn't get any special benefit from fan cooking.
Most electric ovens come with a fan, which helps to distribute the heat evenly. Some gas ovens can also be fan-assisted. True fan ovens have a single heating element around the fan, while a fan-assisted oven is essentially a conventional oven (two heating elements) with a fan set into the back.
Food cooks faster in a fan oven, as warm air is constantly moved around the cavity. You'll need to reduce the cooking temperature, too.
In double ovens, the larger main oven usually has a fan and the other operates as a conventional oven, so you can choose the option that suits your dish best.
Multifunction ovens usually include top and bottom heat, a grill and a fan. They allow you to cook with these heat sources independently or in combination. So you could use just the top heat to give your lasagne a bit of extra browning when it's cooked through, or use bottom heat only for a pizza or quiche to get the perfect crispy base.
Multifunction ovens often also have a defrost setting. Some models use just the fan to move unheated air around, while others introduce a little bottom heat at the same time. Either way, the job gets done far more quickly than defrosting in a fridge.
Multifunction ovens are becoming increasingly common. They can offer more flexible cooking options, but be sure to check how easy they are to use, as more options means potentially confusing controls.
If you've a little more budget to spend, you'll be able to invest in some of the following useful features.
If you’re finding it difficult to use your oven – because of impaired vision, reduced strength or dexterity in your fingers, or if the oven is too low or the hob too high – there are a few features that might make things easier.
Here we answer the most common questions about oven sizes and getting a new oven installed.
No, all four types of built-in ovens are around 60cm wide, but their heights vary.
Manufacturers generally quote the total internal volume of their ovens as a guide to size. But this isn't especially useful. You can't use all that internal space to cook with, and the layout and positioning of shelves also makes a big difference to how much you can fit in. It's possible for an oven with larger dimensions to have less space available for cooking than a smaller one.
'The usable capacity of an oven can be 27 litres less than the stated capacity'
We measure the actual usable volume of each oven, ignoring any space that won't count when you're cooking, such as the top 3cm of the oven, and any space under the lowest shelf position. If you cram food into these spaces, you prevent hot air circulating properly, which will affect cooking results.
We also use our collection of life-sized foods (a fake turkey, chicken and beef joint on roasting trays) to check what you can realistically fit in each oven. The biggest ovens will fit in a large turkey and still leave space for a tray of roast potatoes or veg. Smaller ovens might fit in a turkey but leave no space for extras, while others can be too narrow to even fit in a turkey on its own.
Some single ovens have a special divider that allows you to split the internal space and cook at two different temperatures. This is handy if you don't have space for a bigger type of oven but want a more flexible cooking space.
As we explained above, the standard width of all integrated ovens is 60cm, so all you need to worry about is measuring the height.
Oven cabinets should all be built with space for ventilation, too. But if you're planning a new kitchen then you'll need to factor in a 5mm space along each side and 35mm at the back. Some cabinets are also built with 20mm at the top but it's not a necessity - most fitted ovens sit flush with a top cabinet.
If you’re replacing an old oven it's even easier: just measure its dimensions and pick a new oven that matches.
Don't forget to factor in oven installation costs when buying. Changing fuels can be quite costly, but if you're replacing like for like, then John Lewis offers oven and cooker installation services for £75-110, and it will remove and dispose of your old model for an extra £20. Currys' current cost is £75-90, and it charges from £15 for removal and disposal.
Built-in oven prices vary from around £130 for an ultra-basic single oven to more than £1,000 for one with all the bells and whistles. We test ovens at all prices to find the best options for every budget. Many years of oven testing has taught us that you'll usually need to spend more than £250 to get a decent single oven, and at least £350 if you're after a good double oven.
We've found some respectable ovens from budget brands such as Beko, Belling and Hisense, as well as some mediocre ovens you'll want to avoid. If you're looking for a higher-spec oven from brands such as AEG, Bosch, Neff, Miele, Samsung or Smeg, you'll want to be doubly sure the oven will cook to perfection. Paying more doesn't always guarantee brilliant results, as our tests have shown.
'We've found several Best Buy single ovens for less than £250'
Some pricey ovens do an expert job of cooking, as well as offering useful extras such as steam cooking or self-cleaning. But we've also tested models costing more than £1,000 that do a worse job of cooking than ovens costing less than half that amount. Our in-depth testing roots out the most accurate and efficient ovens, which are also easy to use and clean.
Ovens aren't typically as energy-hungry as other large kitchen appliances such as fridges, freezers or tumble dryers, but it’s still worth checking their energy efficiency before making your choice.
We measure energy consumption using a special standardised test that simulates roasting a whole chicken. We take into account the energy each oven uses to heat up to temperature and stay there for the time needed.
The table below combines upfront costs alongside annual running costs, so you can pinpoint which models will leave you least out of pocket for the lifetime of your oven.
We’ve also introduced the Eco Buy logo to highlight the most efficient and reliable ovens we’ve tested.
As well as being energy efficient, Eco Buy ovens impress in our lab tests and come from brands that have done well in our annual longevity survey.
Cleaning the oven is a messy, unpleasant job, so an oven that's promised to clean itself is a tempting prospect. There are several options available:
Pyrolytic ovens are becoming increasingly popular and they can be very effective. The best ones clean the glass door, too. Some models have a choice of shorter or longer cleaning cycles depending on how grimy your oven has become. Bear in mind, though, that you'll need to remove the shelves and clean them by hand.
While ovens with a self-cleaning feature will generally cost more, they will save on elbow grease and money spent on oven-cleaning products over time. Also, we've seen prices for pyrolytic ovens tumbling lately as they become more mainstream.
You don't have to splash out on self-cleaning for an easy life, though – some ovens don't have fancy self-cleaning features but still proved easy to clean in our tests. We've also found that not all pyrolytic ovens are worth paying for, so make sure you check our before buying.
Some oven brands have a reputation for being good for a particular job, or especially reliable. Neff ovens, for example, are a regular feature in The Great British Bake Off tent, which has made them a popular choice among keen bakers. But is their reputation deserved?
As well as picking an oven that fits with your needs and does a great job of the basics, it's worth checking that the brand you choose has a good record for this type of product in terms of reliability and customer satisfaction.
An oven can be a costly outlay, so it’s sometimes worth repairing it rather than buying a new one.
Occasionally, you’ll be able to do the job yourself, for example replacing a light. But in most cases, calling in a professional is the right thing to do, and certainly for anything electrical or a job that requires any dismantling.
Larger retailers such as John Lewis and Currys offer a guarantee - usually two years - on oven purchases. If your oven is still within guarantee, the fix should be free or they should offer you a replacement product. You’ll need to contact the retailer in this instance, and they'll assess the problem.
Occasionally, you’ll see an ex-display oven offered at a knockdown price. Any difference between it and a new model should be superficial and aesthetic. You'll also get the same guarantee as with a new model.
A refurbished oven is usually one that has been returned to the manufacturer because it’s faulty, or because a previous buyer didn't want it. This should also be a safe bet.
It is possible to buy second-hand ovens - you’ll find plenty of sites with them on offer, such as eBay and Gumtree. Exercise caution if you go down this route, though. You’ll want evidence that the oven has been safety checked. If it hasn’t, you'll need to get it tested yourself before you use it.
Most modern electric ovens need to be hardwired, but if it’s one that can be plugged in using a 13 amp connection, it should also be PAT tested (an electrical safety test for portable appliances).
If you buy second-hand, try to use a seller that offers a guarantee, as this will stand you in good stead if there are any safety issues or a problem with the electronics. Whether you have a guarantee or not, ensure you get your oven installed by a professional. Also, don’t forget to register your guarantee to ensure it remains valid.
These days, there’s no excuse for electrical goods to go into landfill, but according to Recycle Now, about two thirds still end up there. This is a waste of valuable resources as well as storing up environmental problems for the future.
Major retailers, such as Currys and John Lewis, will take away your old oven for a small charge when you buy a new oven or cooker from them. They are obliged to dispose of them responsibly under the terms of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive.
Alternatively, you can take your old oven to a local authority recycling centre. Go to to look up your nearest recycling centre that accepts electrical appliances. Most councils will also pick up for a fee, and some stores also accept old electrical goods.
If there’s nothing wrong with your oven, consider donating it to a charity – many will come and pick it up. You also have the option of selling privately.