Welcome to T3's roundup of the best ovens, cookers, stoves and all the other mad things Americans call ovens. America differs from the UK in quite a few respects. For starters you use different names to describe your cooking appliances (stove or range instead of cooker, slide-in instead of freestanding and wall-mounted instead of integrated). You also use the word ‘broil’ to describe what Brits call ‘grilling’. What's all that about?
Anyway, we’ve scoured the American side of the interweb and read a raft of user reviews to arrive at this quintet of very competent range cookers and wall ovens, plus a small worktop model for those with little space.
A little bit about American ranges and wall ovens
American cooker and oven sizings are radically different to those in the UK and are measured in inches rather than centimetres (or centimeters if you’re American). Where in the UK the width of most ‘freestanding’ appliances is a uniform 60cm (23.62”) or sometimes 90cm, in the US the standard width for a ‘slide-in' cooker is 30 inches (76.2cm) and 36 inches for gas versions. Wall ovens, on the other hand, are on average around 24 inches in width.
Another thing worth noting is that not all convection ovens in the US are the same. A standard convection oven has two heating elements (one above, one below) and a fan at the rear that blows the heat around the cavity. A ‘true’ or ‘European’ convection oven has a third heating element behind the fan which blows pre-heated air into the cavity for more uniform cooking results.
The best American slide-in ranges and ovens, in order
If you live in a small apartment with a galley kitchen, consider this compact but efficient budget-priced convection model.
The Costway is equipped with an intuitive interface comprised of three good old fashioned Luddite-friendly knobs instead of a flash but clumsy touch screen. Knob one controls the heating elements so you can roast or bake using either the top and bottom elements in tandem or just the lower one. If you want to broil (or what we in the UK call, grill), then simply turn the knob to the appropriate icon. Knob two is an overly simplified timer that covers a two-hour cooking period (when the timer runs out, the oven sounds an alarm and switches itself off) and knob number three controls oven temperature from 100˚F to just over 450˚F (232˚C). Simple, then.
The Costway 24” provides 2.5 cu feet of meal estate and users rate its performance highly. Its stainless-steel interior is also said to be very easy to clean, as long as it’s wiped down after each cooking session.
This handsome stainless steel slide-in dual-fuel range is 30” in width (a US standard) so it will easily slip in between your kitchen cabinets. The Profile is fitted with a continuous cooking surface that extends all the way to the edges – and that means you can slide pots and pans from one burner to the other without picking them up. It features five gas burners ranging from 5,000 BTU to an extremely powerful 21,000 BTU ‘tri-ring’ for woks and fast frying. Rather handily, the centre burner can be covered with the included griddle plate for whipping up pancakes, toasties and shallow stir fries.
The huge 5.7 cu feet (161 litres) oven cavity uses True European Convection (an extra heating element behind the variable speed fan) to deliver uniform cooking results at lower temperatures on all three levels. And with the Precision Temperature Probe, you can easily monitor the progress of your bake or roast via the GE Appliances app for Android and SmartHQ for iPhone.
Some American ranges are quite ugly in appearance but this one bucks the trend with a clean design and an attractive, highly intuitive interface. Hob control couldn’t be more self evident (just choose a knob and turn it on) but it’s the simplicity of the of the centrally located touch-panel LED control that impresses most. A great choice for sophisticated cooks.
Hamilton Beach is a uniquely American brand that specialises in small kitchen appliances like blenders, juicers, food processors, coffee makers and toasters. It also manufacturers a range of small worktop ovens like this excellent counter-top convection model.
The 31100D measures just over 20 inches in width and has enough capacity to bake two 12-inch pizzas, two 13-inch casseroles or 12 cupcakes at a time. It also comes with a really handy revolving rotisserie skewer for chicken and wildfowl up to five pounds in weight. The addition of a convection fan can be considered a major bonus on an oven this size.
This efficient little oven requires zero manual reference; simply dial in the required temperature (from about 100˚F to just above 450˚F), select either convection, bake or rotisserie, set the timer and retreat.
Designed for smaller dwellings, caravans and RVs, the Hamilton Beach is said to perform exceptionally well in most disciplines and is a big hit with both Amazon and Walmart customers. And who are we to argue the toss?
Empava is a popular US appliance brand that specialises in budget priced offerings that are generally well received by users. This compact electric convection model is a best seller on Amazon’s US website and it’s a popular choice at Walmart too.
Designed ostensibly for under-counter installation, this 24” convection oven comes with 2.3 cu feet (65 litres) of cooking space (plenty enough for a decent sized Thanksgiving turkey), a 360˚ rotisserie function for reduced-fat roasting and triple-layer tempered glass that feels cool to the touch, even when the oven is at full bore.
Granted, the glass-covered touch display takes a little while to get a handle on but there’s nothing too taxing here for even the most technically ignorant Luddite. The Empava measures 23.43” x 20.67” x 23.43” and includes all necessary wiring plus a pair of recessed handles for easier installation.
If you’re in the market for an easy-to-clean wall-mounted oven that's small enough for a titchy kitchen, a mobile home or even an RV, consider putting this one on the shopping list.
And so we come to the pricier end of the wedge – a huge wall-mounted French door double oven with a total oven capacity of 9.4 cu feet. That’s enough interior estate for a smorgasbord of epic proportions.
The upper oven is equipped with the best opening mechanism in the business. Pull one of the handles and both doors swing open in synchronised tandem to provide easy access to its ample 4.7 cu feet interior. The lower oven uses a conventional door system but the capacity is the same.
To maximise airflow, both ovens are equipped with a single heating element behind their respective two-speed dual directional fans. They also feature a concealed Bake Element that is said to provide finer temperature control when baking cakes and breads. For those who like seared steaks, the ‘restaurant-quality’ Gourmet-Glo Infrared Broiler is just the ticket for succulent locked-in flavour.
Available in a whopping 21 colours (or 'colors' if you’re American), the Viking Professional 7 Series is anything but cheap, but if you can afford it (and have plenty of mouths to feed) then go forth dear dudes and embrace the beast.