The Fresh Loaf

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Need Help! How do you evaluate a used commercial oven?

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uberathlete's picture
uberathlete

Need Help! How do you evaluate a used commercial oven?

Hi everyone. I am considering buying a used commercial gas convection oven, so I wanted to ask if anyone has advice when it comes to evaluating used ovens?  There are a number of equipment places in my area that sell used. But a lot of the stuff I see are in poor condition if judging by looks. They say that they will refurbish so don't be fooled by the appearance. But it's difficult to determine if something is good value when from the outside it doesn't look that good (even when you're told that it's going to be refurbished). I don't care much about outside appearance to say the truth, but I just want to make sure that the equipment works well, the temperature inside corresponds to what is indicated in the dial, there are minimal hotspots, etc. Is there some way to know these things just by visual inspection? I'm really quite lost on this one. Any comments would be much appreciated. Thanks.

flyboy912's picture
flyboy912

I will just comment from what I know, which isn't much. Temperature in regular kitchen ranges is said to be more stable with an electric oven. Gas temperature is more erratic. Don't know why a commercial oven would be any different. Consider an electric. Convection seems the way to go, especially to have even temperatures. Why not have a decent looking outside? Pay a little more. Look at the ebay completed sales to determine what it is worth. Performance must be guaranted by seller, if local, not a problem. Everything either works or it doesn't, like a complicated light bulb. Calibration of the knob with the inside temperature is often adjusted by loosening a screw on the inside of the knob and turning on the shaft to match inside temp. acording to a good oven thermometer. I am looking for a used one, but I am determined to get a good looking one, after all, I have to look at it. Also, a window in the door.

wally's picture
wally

I bake on a daily basis with a commercial Italian gas oven and on the basis of my experience, I wouldn't buy a used gas oven without being allowed to bake in it.  That, of course, might nix a lot of potential purchases.  But unless you can bake in the oven - or in another of its type that is in operation - you are not going to know if you're buying something that's going to bring you joy or sorrow.


I wouldn't be too concerned with external appearances.  What's important is: 1- how evenly the decks heat (all ovens have hot spots, by the way, so that shouldn't be a disqualifier), 2- how well the oven maintains a consistent temperature once it's loaded, 3- how quickly the oven can gain or dissipate heat, and 4- how effectively the steam and venting work.


You can't evaluate those things by looking at the oven.  So you need to bake in it or in one in operation, or else find an expert who can counsel you on your potential purchase.


Larry

uberathlete's picture
uberathlete

Thank you for the replies. The seller that is going to refurbish the equipment has also guaranteed a 2 month warranty. What are your thoughts on this? 

flyboy912's picture
flyboy912

Two months sounds good on something used and full of controls. To make it really good, you might ask for some sort of a trial period, and agree to a return if not satisfied, minus installation, delivery or something so you don't get off scott free to protect him from you getting a better deal and wanting to return it during the agreed upon trial period.

wally's picture
wally

I'm with flyboy912 on this.  Even with a warranty, you may not like the way the oven preforms.  See if he'll allow a trial period - even a week should be sufficient to determine if you are happy with it.

flyboy912's picture
flyboy912

Just as an aside, I am new to this baking and am really having a good time at it. Bread is stacking up around here. In the freezer, on the shelf, and I can't bring myself to give it away. Oh, life's travails. I am looking at the countertop 1/4 or 1/2 sheet convection ovens. Funny, in addition to my home electric, which is large and works well, also, I use a $43 GE toaster oven. It does good with one breadpan, am about to try two. Also one cutdown 8x10 saltillo tile, and works great. Only drawback is that it is not insulated. Best of luck with whatever decision you make.

termite64's picture
termite64

This is a late reply, but I might be able to help if you haven't made a decision yet.  Can you post the make, model number, age, finishes and features (manual or electronic controls, steel or stone deck, etc)?  I design commercial kitchens for a living and am often asked to evaluate used equipment.  If it's a major US commercial brand, I can probably track its history by the serial number.


Also, where will this be installed?  Commercial gas ovens are hazardous if not ventilated properly, and don't have the insulation that residential units have and so will be a fire hazard if placed too close to combustible walls.


BTW, I agree with Wally's comments and if the oven is not too old, the local manufacturer's rep may have a test kitchen with one in operation.


Regards,


Mark