For the kitchens with the space and budget to accommodate them, wall ovens are a nice alternative to the standard all-in-one range. Placed high on the wall, these ovens make it easier to insert and remove heavy food items. But that ease-of-use comes at a price, with wall ovens starting around $700, not counting installation.
What improvements are standard for similar homes in your area?
What is your budget?
How much space do you have for the wall oven in your kitchen design?
Where will the other appliances be in relation to the wall oven?
What features do you want?
"With wall ovens it's important to replace like with like," explains Jonathan Clinton, Kenmore product manager for Sears.
Wall ovens come in standard widths of 24, 27 and 30 inches, but models can vary by as much as an inch or two, making it wise to stick with the same brand.
Because a wall oven is smaller than a range oven—roughly 3.5 cubic feet as opposed to 5—having an extra oven can overcome that limitation. For those without the space or budget for a double oven, a less expensive option is to seek out models with the maximum interior space. "Manufacturers keep coming up with ways to find more usable space within the box," notes Clinton.
The first major decision after "single or double" is "manual or self-clean," explains Clinton. "You have to ask yourself if it's worth the extra $300 for a few cleanings per year." For the majority of shoppers, the answer to that question is an easy "yes."
The other major decision facing wall oven buyers is whether or not to spend an additional $200 or so to get convection cooking, Clinton says. Convection uses an internal fan to circulate hot air throughout the oven compartment, which is said to improve heat distribution and reduce cook times. Higher-end models will have an additional heating element around the fan, sometimes called "true convection."
While anything but mandatory, some up-sell features will make cooking a little less of a chore. "You have to decide what features are important to you," Clinton says. As wall ovens move up in price, they feature bigger and better viewing windows, brighter interior lighting, and temperature probes that alert the user when the roast is done. Pricier models also will feature porcelain-coated racks in place of chrome ones that must be removed before the ultra-hot self-cleaning function. Full-extension racks on smooth-glide tracks also make cooking easier.