In the appliance market today there are four main companies that seem to make up the mainstay of most of the wall ovens that we sell. In this review, we will examine the units offered by Wolf, Viking, Miele, Electrolux Icon, and Bosch. Each has their own pros and cons that one must consider before making a purchase.
Wolf Electric Single Wall Ovens (SO30 and SO30-2)
The Wolf SO30 oven comes in two different offerings; the L series and the E series.
The L-series Wolf Oven is arguably the Rolls-Royce of built-in ovens. Out of all the ovens we review today, this looks and feels the most expensive – and it is. The Wolf SO30 has in many ways been the “industry standard” since it debuted in 2002. For the past 8 years many manufacturers have been chasing this design and slowly changing their products to match its look and feature-set. That says something.
The amount of stainless on the unit is astounding, and it flows and bends perfectly with no seams or imperfections. The door looks and feels solid. It has a hydraulic door dampening system which allows you to swing the door open and let it go; the heavy door glides smoothly to open. The LCD display system is well thought-out, although a button to hide the screen entirely is a bit gimmicky. The Wolf L-series comes with one glide-out rack standard, and while this is a welcome feature, for the price we would like to see two – with the addition of one at the top for broiling steaks, garlic bread, etc.
With the E-series, Wolf has brought an oven that can cook as well as its famed L-series, without the hefty price tag. The oven’s exterior is more flush and modern, with less stainless and more glass.
Both units have 8-way cooking, with dual convection fans with (4) separate heating elements. It has ten cooking modes, including bake, roast, broil, convection bake, convection roast, convection broil, convection, bake stone (for pizza, accessory required), and dehydrate (accessory required). Both units feature the signature Wolf cobalt blue porcelain interior which make it easy to spot spills and just looks great.
The industry standard, hidden bake element below allows for easy clean up and a recessed broil element above keeps you from scraping food on it accidentally. Each comes with a temperature probe, a self-cleaning mode, a delayed start mode, and a Sabbath mode. Both units are certified Star-K Kosher, and CSA compliant.
The main difference between these units is in the exterior applications. The L-series is more pronounced, with exquisite stainless bulging into the room and a solid large handle. The E-series is more flush with the surrounding cabinetry, making it ideal for more modern design applications. The E-series feels less bulky, less “solid” if you will. But then, the price is less bulky as well.
Pros: Dual convection, cobalt blue porcelain interior, beautiful L-series stainless steel exterior with no screws or seams.
Cons: Only comes with (1) roll-out glide, heavy duty racks and a glass enclosed broiler would be a welcome upgrade for the price, takes a bit longer to heat up than others in the review.
Viking Electric Ovens – Professional and Designer Series
With Viking, there seems to be no shortage of choices. There’s the Professional Series, which within itself contains two different models – the Select and the Premiere, each with a choice between manual and touch controls. There is also the all new Viking Designer Series which also offers the choice between manual or touch controls. This is not to be confused with Viking’s old “Designer” series, which was just the Professional Products with different facades. Those have been phased out completely and now the new Designer Series has been placed in it’s stead.
The versatility of all the different model choices is great, but there is a down-side. For instance, in our store in South Florida this happens constantly: a customer will come in and want to purchase the Viking Professional Oven, we will explain the features and they will decide on the Premiere. Then the customer will go to another appliance store to price-check us, and there an appliance salesman will take their quote of the Premiere unit and will tell them he can give them a better deal, and will proceed to quote them the ‘Select’ model. If they don’t look closely, and many don’t, they end up buying the Select model and get a rude awakening when they get home and find certain features are missing.
As a side note: Viking, like almost all high-end appliance manufacturers, sets it’s pricing limits, making the pricing the same everywhere.
Viking Professional Select Electric Oven (VSO130)
Viking Professional Ovens claim the largest oven cavity size in the industry. Each oven utilizes their Vari-Speed, Dual-Flow convection system. This system features a very large fan (8 1/2” inches in fact) and works bi-directionally for maximum airflow throughout the oven cavity. It sports the usual concealed bake element within its black interior and features Rapid Ready Preheat which provides one of the fastest preheat times in the industry.
The oven comes with six rack positions and the standard three oven racks, while featuring the usual line-up of cooking modes, including a three-level conventional broil utilizing the 10-pass broiler.
Viking Professional Premiere Electric Oven (VESO5301)
The Viking Premiere Oven features the same specs listed above for the Select, with the addition of a few upgraded features.
The first of which is a glass enclosed infrared broiler, which has been the standard in the restaurant industry for years. The unit also includes a meat probe for roasting fine meats and one TruGlide full-extention gliding rack.
Each Premiere unit comes with two additional halogen lights to offer even more visibility inside the oven. It also comes with a heavy duty broiler pan and tray.
With the Premiere, you get the choice of over 20 different exterior color finishes as well.
The price difference between the Select and Premiere models is within a couple hundred dollars, and it behoves us as to why Viking chose to make this into two separate models at all. 90% of sales are undoubtedly the Premiere line, and it almost serves solely to confuse consumers than anything else.
Viking Designer Series Electric Oven (DSOE301)
The Viking Designer Series Oven is the true bargain for the money at a difference of around one thousand dollars from the Viking Professional Series. It still has a convection bake element, with the same 10-pass electric broiler with heat deflector, and TruConvec convection cooking. It also looks the part. The exterior follows the traditional Viking look and can be had in both knob controls and touch control variants.
For the cut in price, you’re giving up the Rapid Ready Pre-Heat System, the Vari-Speed dual flow convection, and the larger capacity space. But when you factor in the savings of around a thousand dollars, it doesn’t seem like you’re giving up much at all.
Pros: Serious brand recognition, well built product, large capacity interior, heavy duty racks, all the colors of the rainbow.
Cons: Confusing product line-up, Professional Series are very “industrial” and stick out into the room quite a bit, thus limiting design implementations.
I’m constantly surprised, year after year, that no one has yet copied Miele’s truly brilliant MasterChef program. Imagine, you tell your oven exactly what it is you’re cooking, insert a temperature probe, and it automatically selects the correct cooking functions all on its on. It’s literally a set-it-and-forget-it mode, and it makes cooking ridiculously simple for people like me, who are “cooking-challenged”.
The Miele MasterChef oven has all the normal operating modes, as well as an Auto Roast, Intensive Bake, and Sabbath mode. Unlike the Viking, this only has a two-zone broiler. It comes with a multi-lingual touch screen operation, and can work with both english and metric measurements. Miele claims True European Convection, which heats the air via a pressurized convection system.
One cool feature of the Miele is that if you cook a dish using particular settings, and like the results, you can set it as a favorite and then every time you cook the dish you can use that favorite setting to replicate the exact conditions. The Miele Oven comes with (3) wire racks, a roasting pan, and temperature probe. Bottom rack is now a glide out rack as well. Unlike the other brands reviewed, the Miele come with a double rotisserie insert.
One innovative feature on the Miele that we’ve yet to see done correctly anywhere else is their patented Clean Touch Stainless Steel, which is stainless steel treated with their patented coating which greatly reduces fingerprints, scratches and smudges. No other manufacturer has been able to replicate the effect of this treatment, and so it currently remains a great feature exclusive to Miele.
Miele also offers a “Chef” line (as opposed to MasterChef) which at around one thousand dollars less, offers the same oven minus it’s MasterChef features. For instance, the oven comes with a different control system, part electronic, part knob controlled, with only 8 modes of operating. It still has infrared broiling, self-cleaning, and CleanTouch Steel. A good option for those on a budget.
Pros: MasterChef program is great, Build-Quality is consistently top-knotch, Clean Touch stainless just works.
Cons: Needs heavier duty grates, black interior makes spills and drippings hard to spot, at this price, a second glide rack would be fitting.
Electrolux Icon Professional Series Oven (E30EW75GPS)
Electrolux has two lines: the original Electrolux line (the one with the Kelly Ripa commercials), and the new Electrolux Icon line. With Electrolux Icon, they’ve moved into the higher end market and since then have taken many of the new innovations and features of the Icon line and tranferred it to the base Electrolux line.
The Wave-Touch control panel on the Electrolux Icon Oven is very attractive, with blue on black keys that disappear completely when not in use. Because of the price-point, the use of stainless steel on the unit exterior is more sparse than the others, substituted with a much larger glass window in the center. Interior lighting is weaker than the others of the group, but does fade in and out when opened and closed. A gimmick feature, but of worthy note. On the up-side, you can view most of the oven interior at any angle due to the larger window.
Most of the usual oven features are here, convection cooking with variable speed fan and temperature setting options. There’s a Sabbath mode, and the unit is also ADA compliant. The unit comes with a temperature probe as well as (3) glide-out racks (somebody’s been listening!), and one stationary rack which can be moved around within the oven. These units also come in a “Designer” series as well, with more modern ascetics and clean lines.
The Electrolux Icon Professional Oven is one of the least expensive of the bunch, and in our opinion provides the most bang for your buck. If budget is a main factor, this unit is well worth a look.
Pros: Price is great, Wave-Touch controls are a big draw, three glides!
Cons: Stainless is minimal and thin, with a few sharp edges, convection function is nothing special.
Bosch Built-In Wall Ovens
Bosch has three different oven models, all based on the same platform. Each slightly more expensive then the next. All of which sport the exact same exterior finish, save for changing control panels.
Bosch 300 Series Oven (HBL3450UC)
The 300 series is Bosch’s base model, with a 4.7 Cu.Ft. interior, a recessed broil element, and a hidden bake element like the others. However, the display on this model is very cheap looking and basic. Knob controls on the top allow you to switch between the 10 basic cooking modes. The interior is lit by only a single halogen light and is quite dim.
For a price around $1,849, this oven is missing a lot of features in our opinion.
Bosch 500 Series Oven (HBL5450UC)
The 500 series is the most comparable to the rest of the ovens reviewed ere. For the higher price, you gain a new(er) amber display, which shows more information, exterior controls that are retractable, and two oven lights instead of one. Two lights instead of one? Carl Bosch would be rolling in his grave.
You also gain genuine european convection with ACS, a “speed” convection mode, a fast preheat mode and four additional modes of cooking: a Pizza, Pie, Warm, and Proof mode. A meat probe is now added so you can monitor your dinner as well.
The 500 series is a mere $350 more than the 300 series. Which begs the question: what exactly is the point of the 300 series offering?
Bosch 800 Series Oven (HBL8450UC)
The 800 series gets all of the above, with the addition of a touch control panel. It still uses the cheap looking amber screen, but now all options can be selected via the touch-sensitive glass. One full-extension glide rack is a welcome addition, but the real problem with this unit comes when you get the price.
At over $600 more than the 500 series, we wonder where all that money is going? A touch panel and one glide rack. That’s it? Thanks, but no thanks.
Also, the Bosch ovens (all models) just look and feel cheaper than the rest of the ovens in todays lineup. Stainless is used sparsely and the handle and exterior design seem antiquated.
Pros: Name recognition, low price.
Cons: Feels cheaper than it costs, tiered series are pointless, amber display is straight out of 1980’s.