Steamers & steam ovens – what’s the difference?

Steamers & steam ovens – what’s the difference?

Steam cooking is a method which prepares food in a gentle, flavoursome and healthy way. You can use two different appliances for this: steamers or steam ovens. We take a closer look at the pros and cons of each appliance.


  • Steamers and steam ovens – an overview
  • The properties of a steam oven
  • The properties of a steamer
  • The BORA X BO flex oven


Steam cooking is gentle way of preparing food such as vegetables, fish and meat using steam. The steam is heated to temperatures between 30 and 100 degrees. As the food is cooked or blanched without any fat, most of the vitamins and minerals are preserved. You can either steam-cook food in a single-unit steamer or in a steam oven as a combination appliance.

A classic steamer is a kitchen appliance with several levels. You pour water into the bottom compartment containing a heating element and it is heated up. The rising steam surrounds the food on the different levels. You can also get built-in steamers that are integrated into the kitchen like an oven.

These built-in appliances work in different ways. In some models, the water is heated in a tray at the bottom; in others, the steam is produced outside the cooking chamber and then directed into the appliance. There are also steamers with a water tank and a mains water connection.

If a steamer is combined with an oven, it is called a steam oven. With combination appliances like these, you can also bake and steam without the addition of moisture. That way, dishes come out particularly crispy, tender or succulent, depending on the desired result. There are also steam ovens with a water tank and a mains water connection.

Find out more about different oven types here.


Whether you opt for a steamer or a steam oven depends on your cooking habits, the amount of space in your kitchen and your personal preferences. We have compiled the following list of advantages, disadvantages and functions of each appliance. We’ll start by taking a closer look at steamers.


  • If you have both a food steamer and a conventional oven, you can steam vegetables while baking a cake in the oven, for example. It therefore makes sense to have a single-unit steamer if you often prepare several courses at the same time and you cook for a lot of people.
  • When several dishes are prepared on the different levels of a food steamer, there is no flavour transfer.
  • High-quality steamers often have a few additional functions, such as sous-vide cooking, regeneration and sterilisation.
  • Steamers are generally very easy to use.


  • Steamers can only be used for steam cooking, not for baking or roasting, etc. You therefore need an oven as a separate appliance.
  • You need enough space in your kitchen to accommodate a steamer as an individual appliance.
  • Cleaning a steamer without a mains water connection takes a great deal of time and effort.


The main advantage of steam ovens as combination appliances is that they save space. Here is a list of the other advantages and disadvantages of steam ovens.


  • Steam ovens combine two appliances in one and therefore save a considerable amount of space in the kitchen.
  • Conveniently, steam ovens can also be used for baking as well as steam cooking.
  • High-quality steam ovens boast many additional functions, such as sous-vide cooking, regeneration and sterilisation.
  • By steaming food in a steam oven, several dishes can be prepared at the same time without transferring flavours.


  • Steam ovens can either be used for steaming or baking, so when preparing different dishes you have to cook them the same way.
  • If you have a conventional oven, it is not usually possible to convert it into a steam oven.
  • There are huge differences in the performance and quality of the various steam ovens on the market.


Our BORA X BO flex oven is a professional steam oven for your home – it is operated intuitively using a touch screen, just like a smartphone. Our X BO is a real universal genius as it allows you to cook and bake with or without the addition of moisture. This makes dishes particularly tender, succulent or crispy, depending on the desired result.

Find out more about the BORA X BO.