When you're planning to replace an oven, your first decision is probably going to be about whether you want gas or electric. The next choice is between a free standing or built-in appliance.
What's the Difference Between a Built-In and a Free Standing Oven
The built-in is fitted into the cabinets around it. It can be a wall unit, so that you're putting things in and out at a comfortable level and the cooker can be split from the hob.The free standing one is a self supporting unit which is placed wherever you want it in the kitchen and usually combines the cooker with the top rings in a single unit.
The Pros and Cons of Built-In OvensPros
Flexibility - You can have it at the height that suits you. You can also mix power sources, so you have an electric oven and a gas cook top.
Easy to keep clean - Neither dirt nor dropped food can work their way around the sides or back of the appliance.
Clean lines - The seamless appearance of a built-in oven is very much in keeping with contemporary tastes.Cons
Cost - You'll pay more for a built-in one. Fitting will be more expensive as it involves both wiring or plumbing in and carpentry.
Limited choice - There are less appliances on the market, and you need to find one that fits the exact space you have available. This isn't much of an issue if you're planning a new kitchen but could be a big one if you need to replace a built-in oven.
Harder to access for repairs - This can increase the cost too as it's likely to take your repairman longer to do the job.
The Pros and Cons Of Free Standing OvensPros
Cost - For appliances that are otherwise 'like for like' a free standing unit will cost you less. Fitting costs are also less as you'll only need the services of the electrician or gas engineer.
Choice - You'll find far more free standing ovens on the market than you will built-in ones. They're also available in sizes ranging from 700mm for tiny kitchens up to 1500mm units which is perfect for keen cooks or large families.
Easy to repair - Oven repairs are much easier as your repair man can just pull the unit out to get to the area he needs to access.Cons
Not as seamless - To modern eyes, free standing ones can look bulky, awkward or out of place. They certainly don't fit with the image of am integrated kitchen.
No eye level cooking - People with limited mobility may find a wall mounted oven easier or safer to use.
Harder to keep clean - The sides of a free standing ones will get dirty, you may have to pull it away from the cupboards close to it to clean it and it's almost inevitable that food will fall behind it at some stage.
In terms of cost and choice, free standing ovens win the race. Built-in ones rule the roost when it comes to fashion, their one clear practical advantage being the potential to set them at the height that's easiest and sometimes even safest to use. Ease and safely are big things however.
In the end, it all comes down to personal choice. It's your kitchen and whether you prefer a free standing or a built-in oven the thing that matters most is that you find an appliance that you love to look at and love to use.