Stand-Alone vs. Wall Ovens
Wall ovens do provide a greater level of flexibility.
Kitchen remodels are full of big choices, many of which revolve around appliances. The biggest choice of all often regards which type of oven range to choose. There are two types of oven installations: standalone ranges and wall oven/cooktop combinations. Designer and professional kitchens almost universally prefer wall ovens for style and convenience, but that does not mean a wall oven is the better choice in every kitchen. There are essential factors that make one or the other the right choice for each individual kitchen.
Wall Oven/Cooktop Combos
Wall ovens are installed in conjunction with cooktops, or ranges built into countertops. They are great for kitchens designed with separate cooking areas, such as islands with cooktops and the oven built into the wall/cabinetry. Wall oven/cooktop combos generally cost considerably more than standalone ranges—often $1,500 and up for both. And even when the cost of the appliance competes with higher end standalone models, labor and installation costs typically drive the price tag higher.
Wall ovens do provide a greater level of flexibility. For example, if you are tired of bending over to put food in the oven for baking, a wall oven can be incorporated into kitchen design at a height which maximizes personal convenience. Meanwhile, the cooktop provides an aesthetic quality by blending in to the countertop, leaving room underneath for storage or a warming drawer. Flush models are easy to clean and other available features include downdraft ventilation, built-in deep fryers, or grills. On the other hand, cooktop/wall oven combos take up extra counter space and are not only costlier to install but also to repair.
Wall ovens are best considered when planning a kitchen remodel, especially when a design overhaul is in the works. They are also preferred by avid cooks or home chefs, especially those that prefer double ovens. When simply replacing or upgrading appliances or executing a more subtle remodel, the costliness of labor and materials for installing wall ovens comes at a much higher and more inconvenient price—which for many homeowners outweighs the convenience provided by separate cooking areas.
Standalone ranges are best for economy, often beginning at a third of the price of wall oven combos. Stainless steel, pro-style, and dual-fuel ranges cost more—some as high as wall ovens—but are definitely cheaper on average. They also leave more area open for countertop space.
Standalone ranges have no extra installation costs because they simply slide in where the old oven range used to be. Dual-fuel models add some convenience by providing the fast heat of a gas range and the capacity of an electric oven.
In larger kitchens, there is nothing saying that you cannot have two standalone ranges or a combination, such as a separate wall oven with a cooktop and second oven installed in a kitchen island.
If you are remodeling your kitchen, especially if you have room for an island, and financing the added installation costs is no problem, then a wall oven and cooktop combo is probably the way to go. However, if the budget is tight or space is an issue, or you simply do not cook that much, then prioritizing space over cooking convenience may be the best option. On the other hand, a homeowner with a passion for cooking may revolve an entire remodel around a wall oven and cooktop. The ultimate choices always seem to boil down to preference and lifestyle and the fact that, no matter how you cook it, great food tastes great.
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