In this practical guide, we’ve outlined a few key factors to keep in mind when shopping for a combination (or “combi”) oven. These jack-of-all-trade devices can serve as a convection oven, steam oven, or both using dry heat and moisture to achieve a variety of results. Combis allow you to adjust the precise humidity percentage and cooking temperature, so you can cook food at a higher temperature without burning or drying it out. Here’s what you should look for when assessing a combi oven:
Ease of Use
First, take a close look at the oven’s design. Does it use push-button or touchscreen controls, and how intuitive are they? Does the pan layout make sense? There are a wide array of design factors to consider, but ultimately, you should think about whether the combi works well for your specific needs.
Size and Spacing
Make sure the oven fits into your operation and meets your production requirements. For example, the compact Combitherm CTX4-10E might be perfect for a small kitchen, but the 20-full-size pan CTP20-20 would be way too large and more suitable for kitchen designed for large volume production. All of our combis feature a zero-clearance design, so you can place them anywhere on the line. If you don’t have additional space to give up under your kitchen hood, ventless models are also available.
Next, consider the unit’s energy efficiency and overall consumption. Many of the latest combi ovens employ eco-friendly technology to lower electricity and water usage. In fact, Alto-Shaam’s EcoSmart designs consume 80% less water and 40% less electricity, while also increasing production power. Choosing the right combi can lower your energy bill and help the environment, so it’s worth doing your homework.
Depending on the size of your foodservice operation, you may need a compact combi or a much larger model. We recommend choosing a design that doesn’t take up too much space, but also allows you to expand production if necessary. For example, the Combitherm CTP10-20 supports 11 full-size sheet pans, 22 full size GN 1/1 pans, or a combination of the two.
As you test out the various combi features, find out how the oven cleans itself, and see whether you need to remove shelves to activate the cleaning mechanism. In addition, you should find out what kind of cleaning solution is required. The Combitherm series uses a self-cleaning design called Combiclean Plus, which has five automatic cycles and utilizes compact cleaning tablets (or liquid cleanser).
Last but not least, read through the combi’s original manufacturer’s warranty. This protects the consumer against design defects and manufacturing issues. Many companies offer a 1-year warranty from the installation date. When it comes to installation, we encourage you to make the most out of your investment with our Combi Installation Program. This program is factory-authorized by Alto-Shaam, which means we personally guarantee satisfaction with the final product. Though it’s technically possible to handle the installation alone or with an outside service agency, we strongly recommend using a factory-authorized service. Without that distinction, any problems that occur during the installation process will not be covered by the Combitherm’s warranty
Ready to buy a best-in-class, quality combi for your foodservice operation? At Alto-Shaam, our Combitherm ovens offer an all-in-one solution with unbelievable performance. Whether you’re a small-scale restaurant or a citywide catering company, we have the perfect combi for your needs.