What to Know When Buying a New Gas Oven

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From roasting chickens for family dinners to baking the cakes you serve on special occasions, your oven likely sees plenty of use. With proper care and maintenance, modern gas ovens can easily last for a decade or more, so it's important to choose one that can meet all of your cooking needs for years to come. When shopping for a new gas oven, take the time to compare different models and features to find the model that best fits your life.

Combo or Stand-Alone

  • Gas ovens come in stand-alone units designed just for baking, or models that combine a gas oven and cooktop into a single unit. While choosing a separate gas oven and cooktop gives you greater flexibility over where to place your appliances, you'll typically pay a premium for this flexibility. Purchasing a separate gas oven and cooktop costs an average of $1,300 as of 2012, according to Consumer Reports, while purchasing a combination unit costs just half that amount.

Installation

  • As you compare gas ovens, consider the installation requirements for each model. Freestanding units feature finished sides and often have a backsplash, allowing them to be placed almost anywhere in the room. Drop-in or wall ovens have unfinished sides and no backsplash and must be fit within existing cabinets to create a finished look.

Size

  • The capacity of the oven, measured in cubic feet, serves as an indication of how many people you can generally cook for at one time. If you typically prepare meals for one to two people, Best Buy recommends an oven measuring 2 to 3 cubic feet. For three to four people, look for a capacity of 3 to 4 cubic feet. If you routinely prepare meals for more than four people, choose an oven measuring 4 cubic feet or more.

Features

  • Gas ovens come in traditional single oven designs, which allow you to cook one item at a time, or double oven configurations, which allow you to cook two items at two different temperatures at the same time. Double ovens make the most sense if you entertain often or have a large family. Other features to look for include warming drawers and separate broilers. For faster, more even cooking, choose a convection oven, which uses a small fan to distribute warm air around the food as it cooks. Conventional ovens don't have this feature, which results in less even cooking.

Cleaning

  • The choice between manual and self-cleaning ovens is largely a matter of personal preference. While the added insulation in a self-cleaning oven makes it more energy-efficient than a manual unit, using the self-cleaning feature more than once a month eliminates any efficiency advantages over manual ovens, according to the Maryland Energy Administration. Keep in mind that self-cleaning ovens are also harmful to birds, so if you have pet birds in the house, a self-cleaning oven might not always be your best bet.

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