If you have to get a double oven either because your kitchen is set up that way or because you are willing to sacrifice cabinet space for eye level baking or simply the look of a wall oven, you have lots of choices.
Recommend this product?
This model might be more expensive than other double wall ovens, but it beats even the more expensive competition by offering the same excellent 98th percentile convection performance in BOTH ovens, not just one, while being easier to clean and use for much less money than more exclusive brands and not much more than less fully featured models.
This double oven is not for the casual cook or those who don't bake at all but are replacing an old appliance or selling the house. It IS the oven for the very active home baker who demands the best convenience, performance and style for the best value.
In case you need justification for spending $2,500, here's some info to help make your case or choose something cheaper.
All thermal ovens will bake at least "ok" - even the cheap ones. But you'll have to babysit, turn and even foil your food to prevent burning and to ensure even heating. And a souffle? Forget it - heating in a cheapie is too uneven, too small a period of "perfect" heat because the mechanical thermostats aren't as accurate as electronic thermostats.
The 2nd kind and next level up are ovens (even the ones in ranges) that use sensors, usually one, but sometimes multiple, to help control the upper and lower heating elements to somewhat eliminate hot spots and not-so-hot spots in the oven which can largely reduce babysitting and turning because there is less risk of burning the top or bottom of the food. Some even cycle the upper and lower elements on and off independently of one another. (Whirlpool calls their sensor system "Accubake", GE calls theirs "TrueTemp". "Accubake Duo" is the one that cycles upper and lower elements independently of each other and costs as much as a base convection oven which is better anyway)
But you still can't really bake several dishes on all the racks at the same time in cheapie or sensor ovens because the heat can't circulate in a tightly packed oven and it would take longer than the recipe says which could result in some foods being overdone, some underdone and some burned if your adjustments of temperature and time are out of whack with whats happening in the oven.
Then there's Speed Bake, the 3rd type of oven which is almost like a convection oven. Speed bake uses a fan inside on the back part of the oven to circulate air so you can theoretically bake many foods on different racks, but the problem is that foods near the upper and lower heating elements would still burn because they are too close to the heat sources. All speedbake is good for is faster baking - about 25-30% faster than ovens without a fan. Cookies on all racks are ok because their low height keeps them away from the upper rack. Maybe you can do a couple other oddly shaped things together in a speedbake oven, but not too many.
The best and 4th kind of oven is convection. (actually, there's an almost better 5th kind below) Like the lower cost speedbake, these ovens have a fan which cuts 25-30% of the time (and energy) it takes to bake, but they also have a concealed 3rd heating element that surrounds the fan and some slightly better sensors and controls. When you turn it on, all three elements come on to heat up the oven. When it reaches the desired temperature, the upper and lower elements shut off completely for the rest of the baking time and only the smaller 3rd element, concealed behind the fan, stays on with the fan to maintain your selected temperature. This system prevents burning which means you can realistically bake multiple foods on all racks at the same time without burning no matter how close they are to the upper or lower elements because they aren't even on. Baking as much food as possible at one time saves energy, money and time and keeps the kitchen cooler. And convection ovens also prevent flavor crossover between different kinds of foods because they heat up so quickly and evenly that they seal the food's exterior faster than a regular oven. This also results in better browning.
The 5th kind of oven, which this one is not, is trivection or micro-convection which would truly be the best, if it were perfected, but not by a huge margin compared to regular convection. Trivection (or micro-convection) uses thermal heat, convection fan/element and microwaves at the same time. The microwaves are the only thing convection ovens don't have. It's main benefit is baking the interior of the food faster so overall bake time is reduced. Trouble is, the microwaving is far from even, is not ideal for all types of foods and you have to really adjust your bake times and temperatures because the food just doesn't come out the same as in a regular convection oven. Although The technology has improved from the 1980s, it needs to be perfected more and it's also very expensive to repair. So it's not really a bad thing that this unit doesn't have trivection like the almost as good GE Profile does. If it did, the advantages of faster baking would be almost wiped out by the disadvantages of unevenness and cost to purchase and repair.
The Kenmore Elite's other advantages over the competition, including the simplicity of no microwaves, are the porcelain coated self cleaning racks which don't have to be removed during self cleaning like chrome racks. If you leave chrome ones in, they discolor badly and become hard to slide. So this feature is great for messy bakers or just messy foods that overflow onto the racks.
All Kenmore Elite convection ovens automatically convert traditional times and temperatures the recipe calls for into proportionally lower convection times and temps to compensate for the faster and more thorough heating. Great for newbies and gourmets.
The durable, frameless glass touch control pad beats the competition's framed plastic bubble button pad because it is "fist-pound" tough, doesn't crack unless you smash it, and is easier to clean than smeary, scratchy, soft plastic and it doesn't trap dirt and grease in the frame. One wipe and it's done. Fantastically practical.
Like all good ovens, the window is large so you don't waste heat and energy opening the door to check. In fact, there's really nothing to check in an oven that browns evenly but doesn't burn. And instead of one light inside each oven, there are 2. One is near the top on the right side, the other on the bottom near the left side. This helps make food visible in all parts of the oven if a light is blocked by an item or if you are baking several cookie sheets at once. And you can set each oven to start and stop baking at different times to finish before you get home.
In fact, there is also a "hold warm" function to keep foods at 170 degrees for up to 3 hours after it's done baking after which is shuts off for food safety reasons. And, to top it off, you can automatically "stage" the baking which means you can program the ovens to start defrosting for a certain time and then automatically raise the temperature and bake for a time and then automatically go into "hold warm" for up to 3 hours after the baking is done.
This oven is great for folks who bake A LOT and often and hate to clean. You can do 2 different dishes at the same time under completely different conditions but have them finish at a servable temperature at the exact same time automatically without you being home.
Imagine throwing everything inside the ovens in the morning, set em and forget em, go out all day long and have the food be at a servable temperature right when everybody gets home so they can serve themselves and by the time you get home there's still something warm left for you to eat and all you have to do is press "self clean" and go to bed.
If you want all the function of this oven in a range to save cabinet space, check out my reviews for the matching electric and gas range versions of this Kenmore Elite wall oven. The ranges have a gas convection oven, with a warming drawer below (which lets you "bread proof" at 90 degrees to get yeast to activate without actually baking) and 5 gas burners on top. You can even get one that is "dual fuel" so the oven is electric like the wall oven you're reading about, which doesn't dry out foods like a gas oven does, but the cooking burners are gas for better temperature control than slow-to-change electric elements.
If you want the best cooktop available to go with this wall oven, check out my review for the Kenmore Elite 42800 induction cooktop. Induction cooktops cook even better than gas and are easier to clean than smoothtop electrics. Induction is the easiest to use and cost the least to operate.