5 things to think about before buying a new cooker
Gas or electric? Self-cleaning? Find your perfect cooker with our handy checklist.
24 May 2021
1. What’s the difference between free-standing, range and built-in cookers?
There are 3 main types of cooker to choose from:
This is an all-in-one cooker that stands on its own. It’s got a hob on top, oven space below and sometimes a separate grill.
Main advantage: flexibility. You can find a freestanding cooker to fit the space in your kitchen and you can move it around if you want to redesign your kitchen or move house.
This cooker is literally built-in to your kitchen units. They’re usually 60cm wide, which is the same as standard kitchen units and you’ll have a separate worktop hob.
Main advantage: aesthetic. Built-in cookers are nice and neat and you can position the oven at an easy height, so you don’t have to bend down all the time.
A range cooker is a larger style of free-standing cooker with more hob space, bigger ovens and fancy additions like griddle plates and storage drawers.
Main advantage: more space. The standard widths are 90cm, 100cm and 110cm wide which can accommodate up to 8 burners and 4 ovens.
The Rangemaster Kitchener was first launched in 1830 and blends traditional style with the latest innovation. Dual fuel delivers the best of both worlds – gas hobs with two electric fan ovens – and the catalytic self-cleaning liners mean you won’t be slaving over the clean-up.
2. Should I go for gas or electric? Or both?
Your existing fuel supply may make this decision for you. If you’ve got the option of gas and/or electric, here are the pros and cons for each:
- Immediate heat
- Hob heat is easy to turn up and down
- Cheaper than electricity
- Uneven oven heat (hotter at the top)
- Hob is harder to clean
- Easy to clean
- Even spread of heat (and multiple functions available)
- Induction hobs have responsive temperature control
- More expensive to run
- Non-induction hobs take a while to heat up and cool down
Dual fuel ovens
- Best of both
- Responsive gas hob
- Even heat from electric oven
- Hob is harder to clean
- Installation isslightly more complicated
Further reading: What's the difference between gas and electric ovens?
3. Hobs – what are the options?
You’ve got five options when it comes to hobs: electric solid plate, ceramic or induction hobs, or standard gas or gas on glass hobs.
Ceramic hobs are replacing old solid plate hobs asthe standard for electric ovens. The ceramic glass surface makes them easy to clean and looks sleek, but it doesn’t transfer heat to pans very well.
Induction hobs use a copper coil under the glass top which transfers heat directly to magnetic pans. They’re energy efficient and easy to clean.
The quick and accurate temperature control on the AEG Induction cooker means there’s little risk of you burning dinner.
If you prefer cooking on gas and have a worktop hob, then a gas on glass hob looks stylish and will make cleaning easier.
4. What size oven do I need?
This really depends on how much space you have in your kitchen and how many people you cook for.
If you’re cooking for one and are short on space, a compact oven measures just 45cm tall. Standard single ovens are usually 60cm by 60cm, but if you want something big enough for a Sunday roast, a double oven will be your best bet. These are usually 90cm tall and incorporate a large main oven and a smaller top oven – perfect for cooking multiple dishes.
If you’ve got the space and enjoy feeding the five thousand at the weekend, range cookers have up to 4 separate ovens.
Top tip: You’ll need to leave 5mm around the cooker for ventilation.
5. Do you want an auto-clean oven?
Cleaning the oven has to be one of the most hated household chores. But what if you could skip it altogether?
Auto-clean ovens burn off all the grease and dried-on food in your oven by heating the inside to over 500°. The cycle takes a couple of hours and all you have to do when it’s finished is wipe away the ash.
These ovens are very well insulated to withstand the high temperatures, which makes them more efficient than other models. Plus, you’ll never have to buy nasty oven cleaners again!