The vast majority of wall ovens sold today are electric. Experts say that electric ovens generally heat faster and more evenly than gas models. However, they may dry food out more if they do not include a convection feature, which uses high-speed fans to circulate warm, moist air throughout the oven space. Convection also shortens cooking time and improves surface browning.
Last year's best-rated wall oven, the Kenmore Elite 48043, is no longer available. The Kenmore Elite 48093 (*Est. $2,900) has very similar features -- so similar that one leading consumer publication treats them as equivalent. Based on its testing of the 48043, that publication gives the Kenmore Elite 48093 top marks for its baking and broiling performance. We did not find many user reviews to back up that professional test. Only one owner has reviewed the 48093 at Sears.com (the only retail site that sells Kenmore appliances.) The user gives the oven 4 stars out of 5 but offers no details about its performance beyond, "So far it has worked as it was advertised to perform." The Kenmore Elite line as a whole gets above-average ratings from owners in J.D. Power and Associates' annual appliance survey, but this particular model is not rated.
The Kenmore Elite 48093 wall oven is 30 inches wide with a 4.2-cubic-foot capacity and a stainless-steel exterior. It includes a dual-fan convection feature that Kenmore claims can cut roasting time by up to 36 percent. Other features include a self-cleaning cycle and a temperature probe for roasting meats that automatically turns the oven off when the meat reaches the right internal temperature. The oven control and door lockout features prevent the wall oven from being turned on accidentally. Another handy addition is AirGuard, which traps unpleasant odors in the oven. (This feature can be switched off to allow the smell of baking cookies to fill the kitchen.) The Kenmore Elite 48093 comes with a one-year warranty.
Although the Kenmore Elite wall oven offers great performance, it comes with a high price tag. The Bosch HBL5450UC (*Est. $1,750) costs significantly less and it does nearly as well in independent tests for cooking performance. This 30-inch wall oven is stainless steel (though black and white versions are also available) and has an internal capacity of 4.7 cubic feet, making it considerably larger than the Kenmore Elite. It includes convection and self-cleaning settings, 14 cooking modes, a temperature probe for meats and a warming setting that keeps food hot until serving time. The Bosch HBL5450UC is backed by a one-year warranty.
While the Bosch wall oven scores highly in an expert test, user reviews are less consistent. The oven gets 4 stars overall from 10 users at Buzzillions.com, most of whom say it is well made, easy to use and easy to clean. Users praise the fast heating time and convection roast setting, which they report produces juicy meats with beautifully crisped skin. On the other hand, a couple users complain about the reliability of this Bosch wall oven. One says, "From the day I installed two of these ovens, I have had many repairs: broken convection fan, fire in the convection fan, doors do not seal closed, ovens never reach correct cooking temperature." Another owner complains of "lots of expensive computer board repairs." One user at Epinions.com describes repeated problems with the fan sensor and adds that Bosch refused to replace the defective oven, suggesting instead that she purchase an extended warranty.
If cost is no object, the stylish Wolf SO30FS (*Est. $3,850) single oven is a solid option. This stainless-steel wall oven (with a striking cobalt blue interior) is loaded with high-end features. Its dual convection system uses four heating elements and two fans to circulate hot air within the oven. It also offers 10 cooking modes, a hydraulic door (which lowers slowly on its own), halogen interior lights, a self-cleaning function, a rotating glass touch-control panel (which can tuck away for a sleeker look), a temperature probe and three adjustable racks.
In a test of five high-end wall ovens in SmartMoney magazine, the Wolf outperforms similarly priced wall ovens from Miele, Thermador, Gaggenau and GE's high-end Monogram line. Professional chef Cat Cora, who tested the ovens, suggests the Wolf oven's 20-minute preheat time is a little long, but she is impressed with its cooking performance. "The hen cooks beautifully, and the potatoes, which have reached a perfect crisp and the most delicate balance in browning, are incredible," writes the reviewer. The Wolf SO30FS is only sold through specialty kitchen retailers, and it has a two-year warranty.
We did not find many reviews for wall ovens at the other end of the price spectrum (aside from the compact models discussed below). The best choice under $1,000 appears to be the Maytag MEW5530DDW (*Est. $850) , which earns a Budget Buy award from the reviewer at ConsumerGuide.com. This 30-inch electric oven comes in white, black or (for an extra $200 or so) stainless steel. The Maytag wall oven has a 3.8-cubic-foot capacity, which is on the small side, and lacks features found on more expensive wall ovens, such as a convection option. Among the features it does have are a self-cleaning mode, a delay-start timer and electronic touch controls. It's covered by a one-year warranty and the electric heating element and the electronic control board are covered for five years.
The editors of ConsumerGuide.com praise the Maytag MEW5530DDW's overall value and the convenient keep-warm setting. The reviewer also likes a setting that allows the oven to be programmed to remember the time and temperature of a user's favorite recipe. However, user feedback for this oven is limited and extremely mixed. Five reviewers at HomeDepot.com give the oven a 3-star rating overall. Although owners think the oven bakes evenly and looks good, most comment that the internal fan is very loud. Several reviewers complain of electronic control panel failures just outside the one-year warranty period. Maytag earns middling scores in J.D. Power and Associates' customer-satisfaction survey relating to wall ovens, cooktops and ranges; its overall score is exactly equal to the industry average, and it earns 3 points out of 5 for overall satisfaction.
Double wall ovens have two separate ovens, allowing users to cook foods at two different temperatures. Some double ovens are quite pricey but many are comparable in price to top-rated single wall ovens. Single-double wall ovens have two separate compartments in the same overall space as a single oven, while a true double wall oven has at least one full-size oven. This gives users a ton of capacity, but you'll need to have a larger space in your kitchen to accommodate the bigger oven. Most double wall ovens still measure 30 inches wide, but they are around 50 inches tall (compared to about 30 inches for single wall ovens).
The professional tests in our source list do not cover double wall ovens, so our recommendations are based on a consensus of user opinions. The best-rated double oven we found, the Frigidaire FFET2725LW (*Est. $1,300) , measures only 27 inches across and has an ample 3.5 cubic feet per oven compartment. This basic double oven does not include a convection feature, but it does have a self-cleaning cycle and touchpad controls. It is available in white or black; a stainless-steel version costs a few hundred dollars more. The warranty provides coverage for one year.
At retail site AJMadison.com, more than 15 users give the Frigidaire FFET2725LW wall oven an impressive overall rating of 4.9 stars out of a possible 5. Owners praise the oven's looks and performance, especially its even baking. They also say it is quite roomy for a smaller oven and easy to install. We found only minor quibbles with this oven: one user says the surface shows fingerprints, while another finds the timer hard to set. Overall, users love this wall oven and consider it a great value.
An even smaller double wall oven that is popular with users is the Maytag CWE5800ACE (*Est. $1,000) . At 24 inches wide, this double wall oven has only 2.8 cubic feet of space in the upper oven and 2.4 cubic feet in the lower oven. Neither wall oven includes a convection feature, and only the upper oven is self-cleaning. This oven is available in black or white; stainless steel costs a few hundred dollars extra. The warranty is good for one year.
We found about 15 user reviews (spread across two different pages) for the Maytag CWE5800ACE on Buzzilions.com, where the oven earns an approximate overall rating of 4.3 stars out of 5. Users praise the oven's quality construction, quick and accurate heating and easy-to-use controls. However, a few users complain of uneven heating and poor customer service from Maytag. Overall, users seem to consider it a good basic oven -- not fancy, but a decent value.
Reviewers at AJMadison.com are impressed with the KitchenAid Architect II KEMS308SWH (*Est. $2,650) , a 30-inch white wall oven that also comes in black or, for an extra $200 or so, stainless steel. The KitchenAid KEMS308SWH double wall oven offers something that most others don't; the 1.4-cubic-foot upper oven is a microwave in addition to a standard convection oven. The 4.3-cubic-foot lower wall oven also has a convection feature, a self-cleaning cycle, a delay-cook timer, a temperature probe and a bread-proofing setting for preparing bread dough. The warranty covers the entire oven for one year. The electric element and parts of the control system are covered for up to five years, and the door and lining of the microwave are covered against rust for up to 10 years.
Nearly 20 reviewers at AJMadison.com give this double oven a 4-star overall rating. Most owners believe the wall oven is well made and many report both ovens cook quickly and evenly. "It's roomy, beautiful and for the most part intuitive to use," one owner writes. Others love the convenience and space saving nature of the microwave/oven combination. Several users complain that the venting system blows hot air into the kitchen, which is extremely inconvenient in the summer. About two users report problems with the small upper oven two years into use and state that KitchenAid customer service was not merely unhelpful but mean.
Small single wall ovens are available in 24-inch and 27-inch widths with typical capacities of less than 3.5 cubic feet, which is probably not large enough to serve as the main oven in a kitchen.
One smaller model is the 24-inch Frigidaire FEB24S2AS (*Est. $600) . This basic oven does not include a convection feature nor does it have a self-cleaning cycle. It is available only in white or black and has a capacity of a little over 3.1 cubic feet. The product is covered by a one-year warranty. This bare-bones wall oven gets an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 from roughly 25 users at AJMadison.com. Most users consider its small size a plus, as it fits into existing spaces in older kitchens, although a couple of users did find the small capacity inconvenient. We also saw good comments about this oven's looks, performance and low price tag. The most common complaint we found is that the timer signal is too quiet to hear.
The 24-inch Whirlpool RBS245PRQ (*Est. $900) also has a 3.1-cubic-foot capacity and offers a few more features than the Frigidaire, such as a self-cleaning mode, a child lock and a delay bake setting. It is available in white, black or biscuit; stainless steel costs a couple hundred dollars extra. The warranty is good for one year.
There are no major reviews or ratings of this model but it gets a 4-star overall rating from more than 10 owners at Sears and another 15 or so at Buzzillions.com. Most users are happy with the Whirlpool RBS245PRQ wall oven, saying it has an attractive design and user-friendly touch controls. A couple of users are particularly pleased with the preheat display countdown that shows exactly how long it will take for the oven to reach the set temperature. Several owners mention a problem with the self-clean function: it blows a fuse whenever run. Additional reviews on Google's shopping site turn up a couple of reports of durability problems, including one from a user who had two complete oven failures in the first three years.