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What is a Built-In Oven?

By Anna B. Smith
Updated May 16, 2024
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A built-in oven is a cooking appliance built directly into the wall of a kitchen. This differs from traditional oven units that are paired directly with a cooking range on top of the oven. A built-in oven does not feature a cook-top, however that feature is often installed instead directly into the kitchen counter-top. This appliance may also be known as a wall oven.

The built-in oven can be sold as a single or a double unit. A double unit features two ovens stacked one on top of the other and can cook at separate temperatures. This type of model is beneficial for cooks who prepare large meals and need the versatility two ovens offer. One oven may be set at a low temperature suitable for cooking meat slowly, while the other can be used at a higher temperature to quickly cook casseroles. A double built-in oven is frequently found in professional kitchens that serve restaurants or catering businesses.

This double oven type is occasionally sold with a built-in microwave instead, which typically stacks on top of the oven unit in a manner similar to the two traditional wall ovens. These microwaves are made specifically for pairing with a built-in oven and cannot be replaced with another model. This can often make repairing or replacing these units difficult.

Built-in ovens are commonly sold in sizes ranging from 24 to 30 inches (60.96 to 76.2 cm). This sizing refers to the width of the oven and can be used as a guide for measuring the space, in kitchen cabinetry, where the oven will be installed. This model may feature either an electric or gas heating element.

Some models may include a self-cleaning feature as well as a safety-locking mechanisms. Ovens can exceed temperatures of 500°F (260°C) while performing the cleaning cycle. The locking safety feature prevents the oven from opening during this process, and must usually be activated prior to initiating the cycle. The built-in oven may also be purchased without a self-cleaning feature.

These units may be installed by a professional contractor or by a homeowner. They are available in a variety of finishes, including stainless steel. The oven must be connected to an electrical junction box through wiring in the cabinetry where it will be placed. It does not plug into a wall socket, like a traditional oven and range unit. The oven must also be properly ventilated during installation to ensure maximum cooking efficiency and safety.

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Discussion Comments

By Rotergirl — On Jun 26, 2014

I'd love to have a built in oven because it doesn't make the kitchen as warm, since the heat is usually vented up and outside. They open up a lot of space in the kitchen and they're at eye level, which is great. No more stooping to take something heavy out of the oven.

That also makes it easier to check the doneness of food, how something is browning -- you name it.

I just don't know if built in ovens have a self cleaning or continuous cleaning feature so you don't have to use nasty oven cleaner for them.

By Pippinwhite — On Jun 25, 2014

Built in ovens are great, but you have to make sure you're getting one that's a standard size. A friend had double ovens when she bought her house, but didn't know they were custom ovens and a special order until she was redoing her kitchen. Then she had to have the wall rebuilt to accommodate standard-sized ovens. To say it was a pain in the neck is an understatement.

By the time it was all said and done, the new ovens were installed, but she said she would measure everything the next time, to make sure it was all standard before trying to replace it.

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