Difference Between Freestanding, Built-In & Built-Under Ovens
Freestanding, built-in or built-under ovens. 🤔
It can all get a bit confusing when you’re shopping around for a new oven for your kitchen.
The type of oven you choose not only affects your cooking but the overall look, style and layout of your kitchen design too.
In this post, I’ll explain what each oven type is, what to consider if buying one as well as answer some common questions about the topic.
Let’s get into it.
In a hurry? Here’s the key takeaway:
- Freestanding Ovens: Ideal for those who need a large-capacity oven and hob in one unit, with flexibility in kitchen placement. However, they require more space and may lack modern features.
- Built-In Ovens: Offer a sleek, space-efficient design integrated within cabinetry, with advanced cooking features. Remember, you’ll need a separate hob and possibly multiple units for large cooking tasks.
- Built-Under Ovens: A good fit for compact spaces without sacrificing the integrated look, but with reduced oven capacity. They require bending down for access, which may not suit everyone.
Read on to learn more…
What Is A Freestanding Oven?
A freestanding oven is an all-in-one appliance containing a hob (cooktop) and oven(s) that is installed (typically) between kitchen cabinets and sits on the floor.
Freestanding ovens are usually referred to as a cooker, range cooker, stove or range, depending on the size of the appliance and where in the world you live.
A freestanding oven can vary between 50cm – 120cm (or more) in width but will usually be the same depth and height as your countertop.
There’s normally a small amount of adjustment within the appliance to suit your particular kitchen dimensions.
Freestanding ovens vary in their configurations and fuel types. You can have a gas, induction or ceramic hob (cooktop) as well as gas or electric ovens.
Depending on the size, this typically ranges from four to eight burners or zones on top and one to four oven/storage/warming compartments below.
They are often used to create a single striking focal point to a kitchen layout, especially in more traditional or classic style kitchen designs.
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Freestanding Oven Considerations
- Size: Freestanding ovens typically require more kitchen space due to their larger size, although compact models are available.
- Cost: These are generally cost-effective considering they combine an oven and a hob, but upfront prices can be significant.
- Features: They may not include the latest features such as combination microwaving, steam cooking, or smart technology.
- Ergonomics: Located on the floor, requiring bending to access, which may be inconvenient for some users.
- Capacity: Usually have a larger capacity, suitable for big families or frequent entertaining.
- Variety in Style: Available in numerous designs, freestanding ovens can serve as a focal point in kitchen décor.
What Is A Built-In Oven?
A built-in oven otherwise known as an integrated oven or wall oven is installed inside a kitchen cabinet.
This can be a base or tall (tower) cabinet of varying heights. Unlike a freestanding oven, a built-in oven is only one appliance (an oven) and does not include a hob (cooktop).
If you choose to have a built-in oven you will need to include a separate hob as part of your kitchen design.
Built-in ovens are available as gas or electric fuel types, although electric has become far more popular and is the norm these days.
They also vary in size from compact (45cm high), single (60cm high) and double (90cm high) in the UK.
Most built-in ovens will have a standard width of 60cm and a depth of 55-58cm. This allows them to be installed in standard kitchen cabinets.
However, there are extra-wide 90cm built-in ovens available too, there just isn’t as much choice on the market.
Typically built-in ovens are available with more features and functions than a freestanding oven (although some features are available with both) such as a combination microwave, steam cooking, pyrolytic cleaning, WiFi and multifunctional cooking settings.
Built-In Oven Considerations
- Separate Hob Required: Unlike freestanding units, a built-in oven doesn’t include a hob. You’ll need to install a separate cooktop.
- Capacity: Often smaller than freestanding ovens. For large cooking needs, consider installing more than one built-in oven.
- Space-Saving: Built-in ovens can save space with their in-wall design, contributing to a kitchen’s seamless aesthetic.
- Accessibility: Installed at eye level for easier access and reduced strain during use.
- Advanced Features: Typically offer additional functions like steam cooking, combination microwaving, and self-cleaning technology.
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What Is A Built-Under Oven?
A built-under oven is similar to a built-in oven except it is only installed underneath the countertop.
A single oven or compact oven will be the same appliance and dimensions whether it is built-in or built-under. However, when it comes to a double oven, this is where there is an important difference.
Usually, when we talk about built-under ovens we are referring to built-under double ovens.
Built-under double ovens are smaller than built-in double ovens. They are typically 70cm high (rather than 90cm) as they need to fit in the gap between the underside of the countertop and the top of the plinth (toe-kick) at the bottom.
You will not be able to fit a built-in double oven underneath your countertop.
As with all the ovens discussed, built-under ovens are available as gas or electric and come with lots of different functions and features depending on the make and model you choose.
Built-Under Oven Considerations
- Size: Built-under ovens are smaller than built-in double ovens, which limits the main and top oven capacity. This is a critical consideration for those requiring more cooking space.
- Installation Requirements: These ovens need a dedicated 60cm gap for proper installation, planned during the kitchen design phase.
- Separate Hob Required: The same as a built-in oven, a built-under oven doesn’t include a hob. You’ll need to install a separate cooktop.
- Accessibility: Located under the countertop, they require bending to operate, which may not be suitable for everyone.
- Capacity: The capacity is less than that of freestanding ovens, aligning more closely with built-in ovens.
- Kitchen Design: They integrate into the base units of a kitchen, affecting the overall design and requiring careful planning for a seamless look.
- Maintenance: Cleaning involves bending down due to the low placement, which might be inconvenient for some users.
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Are Built-Under Ovens A Standard Size?
Yes, If we are referring to a built-under double oven the approx standard oven dimensions are 70cm High x 60cm Wide x 55-58cm Deep, with a capacity of 70-100L.
Built-under double ovens are smaller than a standard built-in double oven so they fit in the gap under kitchen countertops and the plinth.
Do Built-Under Double Ovens Need A Housing Cabinet?
No, a built-under double oven will not need a kitchen cabinet to house or install the appliance into.
This is where built-under double ovens are different to built-in double ovens, or single ovens.
Built-under double ovens are designed to be installed between two kitchen cabinets or end panels and do not require an additional cabinet to house them.
Some built-under double ovens are provided with legs for them to stand on, on the floor. While others will be provided with metal brackets that are attached to the side of the cabinet or end panel on either side of where the oven will be placed.
This means you will need to allow for a 60cm gap between cabinets or create a 60cm gap between base end panels in order to install a built-under double oven.
Can Built-In Ovens Stand On The Floor?
No, built-In ovens need to be installed in a housing cabinet and cannot stand on the floor.
Unlike a built-under double oven or a freestanding cooker a built-in oven doesn’t have any legs attached to its base for it to stand on the floor.
Therefore it needs to be lifted off the floor and installed in a housing cabinet. Such as a base oven housing or tall oven housing cabinet.
If a built-in oven was placed on the floor, the door wouldn’t be able to pull down and open fully. Making it incredibly impractical and unsafe.
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There you have it. Everything you need to know when looking at and comparing freestanding, built-in and built-under ovens.
There isn’t a right or wrong choice for your kitchen. It’s about knowing what each type is and how they work and fit into your kitchen design.
That way you can make the best-informed decision on which is right for you and your kitchen.
So, what will you go for, a freestanding, built-in or built-under oven?
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.