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Wall ovens should be safe, accurate and easy to use

As their name suggests, wall ovens (also known as built-in ovens) are recessed into a wall. They offer flexibility in terms of kitchen layout and may even help save space. Opting for a wall oven requires that consumers purchase a separate cooktop, which can be installed in a countertop or kitchen island. A range, by contrast, combines the oven and cooktop into one unit. Most consumers prefer ranges because they tend to cost less than a separate cooktop and wall oven. A standard, no-frills range can be had for less than $500, while the cheapest oven-cooktop combo will cost at least $1,000. ConsumerSearch has separate reports on ranges and cooktops.

While the vast majority of today's wall ovens are electric, it is possible to find gas models. Experts generally recommend electric wall ovens, which heat more evenly. Regardless of power source, most wall ovens are 30 inches wide. Compact versions that measure 24 or 27 inches in width, while less common, are also available. Single ovens are the most common, but manufacturers also offer single-double and double ovens that allow cooks to prepare food at different temperatures. Single-double ovens have the capacity of a single oven divided between two smaller ovens, while double models include at least one full-size wall oven and are usually stacked on top of each other.

You can expect to pay at least $1,000 to $2,000 for a good wall oven. We found some budget ovens that cost less, but most of these are compact wall ovens (less than 30 inches in width). You'll also have to budget in the cost of a cooktop when you buy a wall oven. Cooktops range in price from around $600 for a decent budget model to $2,000 for a unit with fancy features. Nearly every wall oven comes with a one-year warranty.

Several wall ovens have been recalled over the years for safety hazards. In January 2010, Thermador recalled about 37,000 wall ovens due to fire hazards posed by gaps in the insulation. In December 2007, about 92,000 GE and Kenmore microwave/wall oven combos were recalled because of an overheating door switch. In May 2008, 7,500 Kenmore gas-powered wall ovens were recalled for fire and explosion risks. In November 2008, GE recalled another 244,000 for overheating issues and fire risks when using the self-cleaning cycle. To protect yourself, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website prior to any purchase to see the most recent product recalls.

ConsumerSearch editors combed through wall oven reviews, both by professionals and consumers, to learn what those reviewers said about the top-rated wall ovens. From there, we narrowed it down to pick the best wall ovens in four categories: best single electric wall oven, best budget single electric wall oven, best double wall oven and best single gas wall oven. One is sure to be a great addition to any kitchen.

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