Best ovens – built-in cookers that make mealtimes a breeze

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  • If you’ve only got space for a single oven in your kitchen, make it one of these

    Every kitchen needs an oven, even if it only sees serious action at Sunday lunchtime. That said, the class of 2017 are so simple to use and so loaded with precise programmes, they might just spur you on to be more adventurous with your cooking. Best of all, some even clean themselves.

    Here’s our pick of the best ovens out there, compiled by our very own appliance experts, who have put in hours of research to find you the perfect options.

    And scroll down for a buyer’s guide that will point you to the key features to look for.

    Want something bigger? Best range cookers – our top ovens for preparing a full-on feast

    Best budget oven

    Indesit KFW 3844 H IX Aria built-in oven

    Proving that even an affordable oven can come with time-saving features and flexibility, the Aria is sure to change your mind about opting for a budget buy. Its Turn&Cook feature, for example, automatically sets the cooking time and temperature for more than 80 recipes with just one turn of the control knob, while Multilevel means you can cook different dishes on several shelf levels simultaneously, without your cake ending up smelling like chicken. Plus, thanks to the magic of steam, all it needs is a quick wipe to clean.

    Capacity 71 litres Dimensions H595 x W598 x D293mm Cleaning EcoClean steam function Features 11 cooking functions, 2200W grill with tilting element for cleaning, Click&Clean removable glass door, minute minder

    Buy Now: Indesit KFW 3844 H IX Aria built-in oven, £244, Kitchens247

    Best for families

    Hotpoint SI9 891 SP IX Class 9 built-in pyrolytic multifunction oven

    Whether it’s a weekend roast or a midweek feast, this oven delivers dinners that the whole family will love. A meat probe and rotisserie take care of perfectly browned meats and juicy roast chicken, plus they’re twinned with a multi-flow heat distribution system that ensures even results on every shelf and precise electronic temperature controls, Plus, its tip-proof shelf extends out to minimise mealtime mishaps.

    Capacity 73 litres Dimensions H600 x W560 x D556mm Cleaning Pyrolytic Features Six traditional cooking functions, 16 semi-automatic programmes, 28 automatic Multirecipe programmes, telescopic shelf, anti-fingerprint stainless steel

    Buy Now: Hotpoint SI9 891 SP IX Class 9 built-in pyrolytic multifunction oven, £559, Homebase

    Best for smart features

    Hoover Vision oven

    Imagine being able to watch a video cooking tutorial on your oven door or peek inside it while you’re in another room and the benefits of the Vision start to become clear. Not only is it Wi-Fi connected, with a camera inside the cavity, the door has been transformed into a 19-inch touch screen that controls everything, can save recipes and access selected websites. So all you need to do is swipe and scroll your way to smarter suppers.

    Capacity 80 litres Dimensions H595 x W595 x D568mm Cleaning Enamel liners Features 10 cooking functions, variable grill, telescopic runners, two enamelled baking trays

    Buy now: Hoover VISION Wifi-connected built-in electric single oven, £1,499,

    Best for entertaining

    Beko BVM34400 multifunction Split & Cook oven

    For times when you need the versatility of two ovens but only have the space for one, you need a clever solution. That remedy comes in the form of Beko’s Split & Cook oven. Equipped with a partition that turns a single cavity into a double delight so you can cook dishes at different temperatures with no blending of scent or flavour, it’s truly an appliance that divides and conquers. It’s also a win when it comes to space saving, with a cavity that’s 15% larger than a standard oven, while taking up a similar sized housing.

    Capacity 82 litres Dimensions H595 x W594 x D567mm Cleaning Catalytic back wall Features Removable glass door, telescopic shelves, touch controls, closed door grilling, 14 cooking functions

    Buy Now: Beko BVM34400 multifunction Split & Cook oven, £349.99, Currys

    Best for design

    KitchenAid Twelix Artisan oven

    Inspired by the iconic Artisan stand mixer, design devotees will spot several signature details on the Twelix Artisan oven, from its knurled bar handle to branded red end caps and sleek lines. Expect no compromise on the inside either as this multi-tasking marvel combines convection, steam-assisted, and pure steam cooking for perfect results. Even the door has been thoughtfully designed, with a soft-close system that prevents the annoying bang once it reaches a certain angle.

    Capacity 73 litres Dimensions H595 x W595 x D564mm Cleaning Pyrolytic Features Five steam-assisted cooking functions, six standard functions, steam accessory, telescopic shelves, temperature probe

    Buy Now: KitchenAid Twelix Artisan oven, £2,200, John Lewis

    Best for convenience

    Miele H6260BP oven

    While older pyrolytic ovens had to be stripped of their shelves, racks and accessories before running the high temperature programme, making it more of a chore, this model requires nothing of the sort. It features high temperature-resistant PyroFit accessories that allows the side racks, combi racks and FlexiClip telescopic runners to stay in place, meaning cleaning the oven really is as easy as pushing a button. Budding bakers will also love this one for its Moisture Plus technology, which increases humidity when proving dough, so your baked loaves are consistently covetably crusty.

    Capacity 76 litres Dimensions H579 x W554 x D547mm Cleaning Pyrolytic Features CleanSteel anti-fingerprint finish, nine cooking functions, CleanGlass door

    Buy Now: Miele H6260BP oven , £1549, John Lewis

    A buyer’s guide to built-in ovens

    Thanks to smart new programmes, upgrading your oven could change the way you cook and make life in the kitchen a whole lot easier. So, you can spend less time slaving over 
a hot stove, and sit back as clever foodie functions give your dishes a professional edge.

    Check the capacity


    Image credit: Nicholas Yarsley

    While many people dream of owning a beautiful range cooker, and the big kitchen to match, most of us have to squeeze in a single 60cm built-in oven, but that no longer means you’re missing out.

    Still built to fit inside a 60cm gap, single ovens are magically getting bigger inside. This is thanks to more efficient insulation that allows the oven walls to be thinner, along with better-designed shelving. Anything in excess of 70 litres of usable space is deemed generous.

    You can make even more of this space if your oven comes with a divider. Use it to cook two different dishes at different temperatures, with no transfer of flavours.

    Add an extra: Best microwaves for tasty meals in minutes

    Choose an oven with lots of functions and programmes


    Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott

    Multifunction ovens now come with a choice of conventional heating, fan cooking, grilling and top/bottom heat. These functions can often be combined to help cook specific dishes to perfection.

    Bottom heat and fan cooking can be used in tandem to create the perfect flan or pizza while steam injected during a cooking cycle can help retain moisture while baking or roasting meat.

    Ovens are getting smarter and can come with dozens of programmes for cooking everything from sun-dried tomatoes to baked Alaska. They help take the guess work out of cooking by adjusting cooking mode, times and temperatures. Some ‘sensor cooking’ modes can even weigh the food, set the timer and turn the oven off when it’s done. Just be sure you’ll use them before spending the extra.

    Cut down on cleaning


    Image credit: James Merrell

    Keeping your oven clean has never been easier. Choose a catalytic or – better yet – a pyrolytic oven, and you can ditch the Brillo pads and industrial-strength cleaner.

    Catalytic liners break down any dirt that hits them whenever the oven is turned up to a high-ish heat.

    The ultimate in cleaning, however, is a pyrolytic programme. This raises the temperature inside the oven cavity close to 500°C, reducing grime to ash that can be swept out afterwards. It’s a feature that was once confined to top-of-the-range models, but as oven technology has developed, you no longer have to spend big to get it.

    Don’t forget about the exterior, either. Fingerprint-resistant stainless steel is more difficult to smudge, and check the glass door panel can be removed for cleaning – some can even go in the dishwasher.

    Control your oven from your phone

    Save your bakes while sitting on the sofa with a wi-fi connected oven. They can be controlled with an app, and send notifications to your phone – for example, when the cooking time’s up on your Victoria sponge.

    You can then decide whether to turn the oven up, off or down, so you’ve really no excuse for ruining anything ever again.

    Up your Sunday lunch game with a rotisserie or meat probe


    More masterful appliances: Best American fridge freezers for chilling in style

    Rock at roasts by investing in a oven with a rotisserie. This spit is inserted into your meat or poultry and slowly rotates it in the oven. No basting is required as the juices roll across the meat as it turns, and the results are very even and succulent. Things cook around 20 per cent faster, too.

    A meat probe is another great feature for carnivores. Pop your joint or bird in, select the type of meat, its weight and how you want it cooked on the control panel, insert the probe and the oven does the rest – your meat won’t come out dry or raw, as the probe has measuring points along its length for accurate results. Most ovens will give you an estimated cooking time, so you’ll know when to add any veg or other trimmings.

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