U-Select Buying Guides: Combi Ovens

By Phil Scoble

If you are thinking about buying a combi oven, there are a huge amount of options. So to help make the process less painful, we’ve produced this buying guide for you. I gives you the kind of questions you need to ask to help you make the right choice for your business. 

1: Do you need a Gas or electric Combi Oven? 

This is the most basic question to answer, but it does come with implications. If you want a gas combi, you will need to have extraction of some sort in your business. You simply HAVE to have extraction, no exceptions.
But if you have electric, you MAY be able to get away with a top-mounted extraction canopy, but get expert advice on this

2: How many meals do you need your combi oven to prepare?

Combis tend to come in three basic sizes: 6 grid, 10 grid and 20 grid. You can also get all these in 2/1 gastronorm sizes and 1/1 too. These are perfect for those with a bit more space that want to produce more meals. 
A good rule of thumb is 6 grids are perfect for businesses producing up to 150 meals a day, 10 grids up to 300 meals and 20 grids for more than that

3: Space for your combi oven?

How much space you have will, of course, affect what machine you can have. But if its a real issue, this doesn’t stop you from having a combi. All the major manufacturers have compact versions of their ovens, normally taking 2 / 3 gastronorm trays. The Rational EX model can even be mounted on a wall! 

4: How much do you know about combi cooking?

Do you know how to combi cook? Do you know when to add steam to a dish to give it the perfect moistness? How to use it to create a crackle on bread? When to use solely dry heat on a pastry? 
If the answer is yes, then you are ready to use the basic models produced by the main manufacturers. Look for Rational’s CombiMaster +, Lainox’s Sapiens, Convotherm’s EasyDial or one of Blue Seal’s combis. 
If you have no idea how to achieve these things, then look to one of the touchscreen models on the market. By this I mean something like a Rational Self Cooking Centre, Lainox’s Naboo range or Convotherm’s EasyTouch models.  They use automatic programs to cook food with minimal contact from human hand. Each brand offers training and demonstration days around the country. Contact us and we can arrange for you to check them out and see which interface suits you best. 

5: Cleaning 

When you are choosing your combi, take time to look at the stands you can get with them, which you’ll need for most sizes other than 20 grids. Consider getting a stand with castors on it – this makes deep cleaning your kitchen much easier.

6: Installation Considerations 

Each manufacturer will have different requirements for the installation. If you don’t follow their requirements, you may invalidate the warranty if you don’t. So make sure you are following the right guidelines. 
For example, Rational need to be installed by a certified engineer and it will invalidate the warranty if not. U-Select engineers are Rational trained and certified. 

Our Advice

If you want to add a combi oven to your setup, think about what power it will use and whether you need improved extraction. Consider how many meals you need to serve each day, what space you have available and what cleaning you want to do. Ask yourself if you know enough about combi ovens to use the simpler models. If not, you need the intelligent models with automatic programs and touchscreen interfaces. 
Do you need a stand with castors for easy cleaning? How you will get the machine installed, as this may have implications for your warranty. 
There you do, there’s our advice for what to think about when you are buying a new combi oven, we hope they help – good luck! 
Merrychef Eikon e2s

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