Appliances

Product overview

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Freestanding ovens

15sep dual fuel hero default

Simple electric all-in-ones vs stylish dual-fuels

We've tested simple electric freestanding ovens as well as dual-fuel ovens that offer the instant high heat of a gas stovetop and reliability of an electric oven.

From our test

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Dual-fuel ovens - things to consider

If you already have gas connected for heating and hot water and are looking to replace an existing freestanding oven, we think a dual-fuel oven is a good option.

Fisher & Paykel's OR60SDBGFX2 dual-fuel oven
Fisher & Paykel's OR60SDBGFX2 dual-fuel oven

But if you’re renovating your kitchen and have the option to install a separate built-in oven and cooktop we think this offers more flexibility and better performance.

Installation considerations and fuel costs

All the dual-fuel oven cooktops in our latest test are set up to run on reticulated natural gas. If you don’t have access to natural gas, the cooktop can be adapted to run using bottled LPG. We recommend looking into the costs of installation and fuel supply before buying a dual-fuel oven.

If you’re hooked up to reticulated natural gas you’ll pay a fixed daily charge plus the cost of whatever you use – daily charges range from $1 to $1.92 – so it makes sense to make the most of it and use it for space heating, water heating and cooking.

If you’ll be using gas for cooking only, you may be better off converting the cooktop to LPG. This requires a conversion kit for the oven, so consider that cost at the time of buying. A licensed gasfitter must perform the conversion.

LPG is supplied via 45kg cylinders installed outside. These will cost $88 to $107 to fill (and you’ll need two) plus an annual cylinder rental fee of about $115.

An alternative is using 9kg “swappa” bottles, which can be filled for $30-$40 at petrol stations. Ideally, these will be installed outside but can be installed in a cupboard next to the oven if there's adequate venting to outside and there's no electrical sockets or switches. All hoses and fittings must be LPG-approved. In some situations, other requirements may apply so it pays to contact the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board to check.

Whether you choose natural gas or bottled LPG, a licensed or certifying gasfitter needs to install the oven. Once installed, you need to obtain a gas certificate from a certifying gasfitter to confirm it’s been properly installed.

Extra wide ovens

Your heart’s set on one of the 90cm-wide models? Here are a few things worth knowing.

  • The shelves and baking trays are much wider than a standard oven’s. So they can be difficult to handle, especially when hot.
  • The trays and shelves won’t fit in a standard kitchen sink. If you’re installing a 90cm-wide stove as part of a new kitchen, choose your sink accordingly.
  • These large ovens can take a long time to preheat: around 30 minutes to heat to about 200°C. During our testing, some ovens never quite reached their maximum heat setting and so the preheat light remained on.
  • For the quickest preheat, choose the hottest function with the most elements switched on and then switch to the appropriate setting once the oven is up to temperature. If there’s no “rapid heat” function, use “fan-assisted baking” – this uses the top and bottom elements to heat the oven, and the fan to circulate the hot air.
  • On the plus side, these ovens provide loads of internal space. So you’ll be able to roast two turkeys at the same time on Christmas day. Try doing that in a 60cm-wide wall oven!
  • The best models performed well in our oven and cooktop tests. But we think you can get even better performance – and greater flexibility – from a separate cooktop plus a single or double built-in oven.

Reliability

We received information on 739 freestanding stoves in our 2017 appliance reliability survey.

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Dual-fuel oven Top Brands

The Top Brand award recognises brands that perform consistently well across product testing, reliability and customer satisfaction.

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Oven functions

Multifunction ovens have a variety of heating methods.

  • Conventional baking: This is standard convection baking using the top and bottom elements. It tends to be slightly hotter towards the top, allowing food to brown. It's good for cooking foods such as cakes, roasts and casseroles.
  • Fan-forced: Heat comes from an element at the rear of the oven, and a fan in the centre of the element circulates the heat. The oven heats relatively quickly and efficiently. Heat is distributed evenly – making it good for multi-shelf cooking. It's similar to conventional bake but heats faster and more evenly.
  • Classic ("base") baking: Heat comes from the bottom element only. It's particularly recommended for getting crispy bases.
  • Fan-assisted: This uses the top and bottom elements of the oven, with a fan circulating the heat. "Fan-assisted" helps distribute the hot air evenly, so it's useful when you're cooking on more than 1 shelf.
  • Grill: This may use a special grill element, or just the conventional top element. It's good for finishing off dishes that have cheese toppings, and for other "browning" tasks.
  • Grill with fan: Can be used to cook chicken and other roasts or larger cuts of meat.

Features

If you are considering buying a new stove, here's what to look for.

  • A large oven-window - it should be big enough for a clear view inside.
  • Usable inside space - check this by taking along your largest baking or roasting dish (or the measurements and a tape) to see if it'll fit.
  • Interior light - make sure the bulb is easy to replace.
  • Shelves - these should have stops to prevent them being pulled out accidentally and they shouldn't tilt down when pulled out with the weight of a heavy dish on them.
  • A good range of shelf positions and 3 or more shelves - for flexibility.
  • Moulded runners - they're easier to clean than metal pull-out ones.
  • A counter-balanced oven door - this should be light and easy to open, and should stay open in any position.
  • Under-oven storage - useful for large trays and racks.
  • Several grill-tray heights - at least 2.
  • A sensible and safe grill tray - the tray should come out far enough to let you deal easily with food at the back of it, and should have a "stop" mechanism to prevent it from accidentally being pulled right out.
  • A smokeless grill tray is good.
  • A safe grill-element - make sure the element has a shield or is set high into the oven ceiling, so that your fingers can't accidentally touch it.

Hassle-free cleaning?

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About our test

We use the same cooking tests for all stoves.

We roasted a whole chicken to assess how each oven copes with a non-uniform food.
We roasted a whole chicken to assess how each oven copes with a non-uniform food.

Oven

We bake scones to test how well the ovens do at high temperatures over a short time, and meringues to test them at low temperatures for a long period.

We make a freshly prepared pizza and cook it at a very high temperature for a short period to assess the oven’s ability to crisp and brown the base and evenly cook the toppings.

And we roast a whole chicken to assess how each oven copes with a non-uniform food.

Grill

We make toast and grill sausages to assess speed and evenness of grilling.

Cooktop

First we make white sauce on the simmer-burner to test the cooktop’s ability to perform at a low temperature for a long time.

Next we cook rice on the medium-sized burner. This tests the "turn down" capacity of the element and whether the burner can maintain a suitable level of heat at the lowest temperature setting.

We cook a beef and vegetable stir-fry on the wok burner or the largest element to assess its ability to deliver continuous high heat.

Our final test is chocolate-melting. Chocolate is sensitive to high temperatures: it must be melted on a very low temperature to avoid burning.

Ease of use

We look at the user-friendliness of the controls and displays, and at how easy it is to use the cooktop elements, grill trays and oven shelves. We also evaluate the tedious stuff – cleaning each stove (inside and out).

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