Combi-Steam cooking may be a relatively new niche in the home appliances vertical, but ask any chef and they’ll tell you that these little work horses have been a mainstay in the food-service industry for decades. By having the ability to utilize both dry and moist heats, these ovens are able to cook virtually anything to perfection. From a delicious pork roast to a delicate french pastry, there is no limit to what can be cooked inside these combination steam ovens. Here is our detailed comparison test of five of the top selling Convection Steam Ovens on the market today. 

Here is our top 5 list:

1st Place Tied – Two Germans Dominate

Gaggenau 400 Series – $5,499.

gaggenau_470_steam_oven

Quite possibly the most impressive machine of the bunch, this oven features impeccable, uber-modern Germanic styling mixed with high tech controls. Gaggenau was one of the first home appliance manufacturers to bring a convection steam oven to market over 15 years ago. There have been 5 different iterations of the design since then and Gaggenau continues to hold an edge when it comes to this product. The most recent technical innovation is a one-touch, fully automated cleaning system.

Quadruple-glazed and thermally coated, the glass oven door of the Gaggenau BS 464 Combi-Steam Oven is a thing to behold. The fit and finish is impeccable. There are no sharp edges, no ugly seams. It looks and feels like the most expensive oven of the group – and it better, because it is by far the most expensive of the group.

MCSA00632370_BS450110_pstz_defDirect water inlet and outlet options are a rare feature in this lineup (only the Miele offers the same) and make living with the appliance much easier. The handle-less automatic door opening system is a show-stopper, Tesla-like impressions right out of the box. The control panel is also flawless, with high-res touch-screen interface functions with well-thought simplicity. This is the most future thinking brand of the bunch, hands down.

  • Automatic door opening.
  • Rotary knobs and TFT touch display operation.
  • Clear text display in 25 languages.
  • Option to save individual recipes (incl. meat probe).
  • Information key with use indicators.
  • Side-opening door opens up to 180° angle.

Cooking Features

  • 2000W full surface grill behind glass ceramic
  • Steam evacuation.
  • Meat probe with automatic shut-off function.
  • Actual temperature display.
  • Timer functions: cooking time, switch-off time, short-term timer, stopwatch, Sabbath mode.
  • Automatic boiling point detection.
  • Capacity display of filter cartridge (if connected to GF 111 700 descaling system).
  • 60 W halogen light on the side.
  • Four rack levels.
  • Safety shut-off.

Pros: Bleeding edge tech, killer looks and brilliant execution.

Cons: Painful Price. Service on Gaggenau products continues to be more painful than other brands.

Miele DGC 6700 XL – $4,099.

Contour_DGC_Silo

The word “surgical” comes to mind when you first lay hands on the Miele DGC 6700 XL. The fit and finish matches the Gaggenau in quality, no question about it, but the styling lacks the soulfulness of its German brother. Practicality trumps all else here, and in that respect this is the most “German” of the bunch. Where the Gaggenau relies on an automated door opening system, Miele went for a redesign of the door handle entirely. In the Countor-Line, the handle center pivots with your hand as you open and feels unbelievably well crafted, with solid weight and feel.

IMG_5678The “M-touch” control panel, while not quite as visually appealing as the Gaggenau’s, functions even better. There is no lag between menu choices, and Menu trees are well thought-out. You can choose between the “Masterchef” fully automated cooking modes, or design your own precise cooking plan, step by step. At the end of custom cycle, the Miele asks you if you would like to save the steps you just did to use as a recipe for future use. This creates a very simple way to fine tune and easily recall the cooking modes that work best for you and your food.

The Miele can be had both in plumbed and non-plumbed versions. In this model, the water reservoirs are stored behind the control panel. A touch of the button automatically lifts up the control panel front out of the way and reveals your inlet and outlet water tanks.

While cleaning is not quite as simple as the Gaggenau’s new one touch system, it results work just as well while needing a little more input from the user. Priced at $4,099, it wins our Best Buy on this list for price vs performance.

  • M-touch control panel
  • MasterChef and MasterChef Gourment, menu driven controls – you can pick from over 100 recipes that take the guesswork out of cooking with steamContour_DGC_w_panel_up
  • Halogen interior lighting
  • Wired roast probe will turn the oven to keep warm after your food reaches the desired temperature
  • External steam generator heats water to create steam before it enters the oven cavity for a faster, more even cooking result
  • 3rd element convection designed to burn off impurities in air to prevent flavor transfer between racks similar to a catalytic converter
  • Comfort handle will move with your hand when you pull own oven door
  • Included accessories
    • XL perforated stainless steel container
    • ½ XL solid stainless steel container
    • ½ XL perforated stainless steel container
    • Grease filter
    • Roast probe
    • Perfect clean wire rack
    • Perfect clean universal tray

Pros: Fair price. Fit and finish on par with the Gaggeanu. New handle is sublime.

Cons: Plain, sterile styling.

 

2nd Place – The Italian Value

Bertazzoni PRO-CS30X – $2,499.

bertazzoni_steam_oven

Those pesky Italians are here, doing their best to appeal to Wolf and Viking customer base, at Kitchenaid price points. Enter Bertazzoni’s Convection Steam Oven, their latest 30″ unit features exactly 6 cooking modes you need and not a single bit more. The controls couldn’t be easier, two large knobs control the only important inputs: cooking mode and temperature setting. The fit and finish is not up to the German’s standards but neither is the price. At $2,499. it’s price puts it in direct competition with Bosch and Smeg. Compared to the Smeg SU45VCX1, it looks and feels far superior. And set it next to the Bosch, and your scratching your head on why the Bosch costs $500 more. It’s a bit of a conundrum, and a good one for the consumer.

bertazzoni_steam_oven_controlsThe Bertazzoni Steam Oven operation is simple and the cooking results do not disappoint, but you must know what you’re doing as this is a bare-bones machine. No recipe saving or temperature probes here, back to the basics of cooking where you use your brain, follow a recipe, and set a timer. And while that may be prosaic and tedious, the key selling point here is value and Bertazzoni knows it. Not only is the Bertazonni Steam Oven priced $600  less than it’s nearest rival in this group, it’s warranty is better than the Miele and the Gaggenau with 2 years parts and labor covered out the gate.

Feature list:

  • European convection system ensures even roasting and baking.
  • Metal knobs and touch LED display controls
  • 5 cooking modes, and 1 cleaning mode
  • Large-Capacity, Easy Access Water Resevoir
  • Flush installation options for cleaner European looks

Pros: An unbeatable price-tag, a generous warranty, and Italian styling.

Cons: Cheap feeling knobs, fit and finish leaves us wanting.

 

3rd Place – A New Benchmark

Bosch HSLP451UC – $3,099.

bosch_steam_oven_open

The new Bosch Benchmark series is breathing new life into the brands line-up by trying to bring a higher priced, better finished product to compete with some of the new Italian and American products out there. This Bosch Convection Steam Oven features a beautiful new color TFT control panel, which functions well and looks beautiful for the price point. It features a 2 Chicken and 7 Vegetable specialty programs that automatically set the temperature and humidty level needed. It looks and functions like a  pared-down version of Miele’s MasterChef program.

bosch_control_panel_steam_ovenFrom the front, the unit looks like it’s worth every penny it’s $3,099. price tag, but open the door and disappointment sets in. Water reservoir is stored on the side, giving the Bosch Convection Steam Oven one of  the smallest oven cavities of the bunch. The oven cavity itself is spartan in it’s design and no better appointed than it’s Siemen cousin. Low power draw and lack of broiling elements leave us without any roasting modes.

Feature list:

  • Cooking Modes: Steam, Steam Convection, European Convection, Reheat, Keep Warm, Defrost, Slow Cook, Proof, Dish Warming, 2 Chicken & 7 Vegetable programs
  • 1.4 CuFt Oven Capacity
  • Halogen Lighting
  • Accessories Included: Wire Rack, 1 Full-Size & 1 Half Size Perforated Cooking Pan, & Baking Tray
  • Steam Element Wattage: 1,960 W
  • Designed to fit perfectly above a warming drawer or storage drawer
  • Color TFT touch screen controls

Pros: Sleek control panel and styling compared to the other steam ovens in this price range.

Cons: Spartan interior, lack of broiling element and smallest oven cavity of the group.

 

4th Place – An American Misfit

Wolf CSO24TE/S/TH – $3,889.

CSO24TES_Wolf

The Wolf Steam Oven comes in both 24″ and 30″ sizes. Although interior dimensions remain the same regardless of the exterior size chosen – it is nice that the unit can be lined up to their superb 30″ E series oven without the need of a trim kit.

IMG_5695The best thing going for the Wolf Convection Steam Oven in this lineup is the fact that the manufacturer’s warranty and service level is also a step above the rest of the pack. Wolf’s impressive “Reveal” configurator provides cabinet makers with clear and concise details for flush inset cabinet construction as well. The  Combi-Steam Oven is one of the only pieces in the Wolf lineup that is not manufactured entirely by Wolf here in the USA, and sadly it shows.

Compared to it’s in-house convection oven lineup, this Steam oven feels foreign to the E and M series, both in quality and in practicality. While it does function competently as a combi-steam oven, it’s controls and design leave much room for improvement. For instance, the Wolf is missing a broiling element like the Bosch. It’s control panel is complicated and counter-intuitive, with cheap feeling rubber buttons and an LCD screen barely big enough to fit the names of the functions. Saving a recipe is a long and painstaking process, especially compared to the Miele’s simple: “Save this Recipe?”  And Wolf’s “Gourmet” recipe mode is quite limited in it’s offering.

wolf_convection_steamSome of these issues might be easily overlooked, if the price reflected such shortcomings. But at right around $4,000, the Wolf pales in comparison to the Miele and Gaggenau, and feels more on par with the  cheaper Bosch and Bertazzoni.  We would venture to say it’s one of the few products in their current line-up in desperate need of refinement.

  • 24″ Steam Oven with 1.8 cu. ft. Convection Capacity
  • 12 Cooking Modes,
  • Temperature Probe, Non-Plumbed Water Tank and Tubular Handle
  • Large enough to roast a 15-pound turkey.
  • Large water reservoir provides 90 minutes of continuous steam cooking.
  • Install the unit flush with cabinetry to seamlessly integrate it into your kitchen
  • 12 Cooking modes; that allow for precision control of heat, steam and airflow for the best results with any dish
  • Reheat mode uses steam and hot air to rehydrate food gently.

Pros: Wolf continues to wow us with their Service and Warranty. Their 30″ offering eliminates the need for trim kit lines.

Cons: An almost identical feature-set to the Bosch, yet costs $800 more?

John Blair

About The Author

John Blair

John Blair has been an Appliance Specialist for over a decade now, representative various manufacturers throughout his career. He currently is retired and resides in Rockville, MD.

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