Freestanding vs Built-In vs Built-Under Ovens – Everything Explained
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 can not only affect your cooking but the overall look and style 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.
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 reside.
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.
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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.
- Although smaller options are available, most freestanding ovens are large appliances and require a fair-sized kitchen to fit them.
- They can cost quite a lot – remember it’s two appliances in one.
- They often lack the latest features and functions (combination microwave or steam functions, WiFi etc…)
- As they are positioned on the floor, you’ll be bending down to access the ovens. Not ideal for taller people or anyone with accessibility concerns.
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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 combination microwave or steam cooking, pyrolytic cleaning, WiFi and multifunctional cooking settings.
- Single appliance, you’ll need to purchase a hob (cooktop) separately.
- Typically a smaller capacity than a freestanding oven. You may need multiple built-in ovens to have the same or similar cooking capacity.
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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 compact oven or single 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.
A built-under double oven will have different dimensions. 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.
- Smaller than a built-in double oven. Both the main oven and top oven are smaller. Not ideal if you need a large capacity oven.
- Need to plan/design in a 60cm gap for installation (not a kitchen cabinet to house the appliance).
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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.
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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 and space out 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, freestanding cooker or range 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.
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 around 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.