Cooker Buying Guide
Cooker or Range Cooker?
Freestanding cookers come in two types, standard cookers and range cookers.
Cookers come in standard sizes of 90cm height, 60cm depth and range in width from 50cm to 60cm, they usually have two oven cavities and 4 burners on the hob.
Range cookers are larger and can have up to four oven cavities and as many as seven burners on it’s stove top. As with cookers they have a standard height of 90cm and depth of 60cm but the width can vary from 90cm up to 110cm.
Cookers come in a range of fuel types each with their own benefits.
Electric cookers are the most popular choice for most cookers, easy to install and use they are a reliable option for everyday cooking. Hobs on electric cookers can be either solid plate, ceramic or induction with the latter offering excellent heat control. Electric ovens can be either conventional or fan, most electric cookers will feature a fan in the main cavity for even cooking while the second cavity will usually be conventional oven and grill.
Gas is the traditional option for stoves and offer the precise control that many chefs favor. Although less popular than they once were, gas cookers offer precise control on the stove top and moist cooking conditions in the oven for perfect roasts.
Dual fuel cookers are a great choice for keen chefs as they offer the flexibility of both gas and electric cooking. Most dual fuel cookers will have a gas hob for controllable stove top cooking while the ovens will be electric offering all the consistency and even heat distribution that electric fan ovens are known for.
The traditional choice for any budding chef and still the most popular choice, gas offers instant heat and complete control while cooking.
Induction hobs are quickly becoming one of the most popular choices for modern kitchens. Induction hobs use electromagnets to heat up the base of the pan, which is a very quick way of heating and offers excellent heat control. Induction hobs are also very easy to clean and as the pan heats up instead of the hob the surface doesn’t retain heat the way a ceramic or solid plate hob would after use. It is worth remembering though that for induction to work you will need pans with a magnetic base like cast iron or look for induction-ready pans.
For everyday cooking ceramic hobs are a popular choice, they are easy to clean and easy to install. They can take a little longer to heat up than gas or induction but don’t require special pans or gas installation.
Solid plate hobs are easy to use and often a wallet friendly choice. The sealed plates heat up and transfer the heat to the pan, however they can be slow to heat up.
Most multifunction ovens will come with a grill as well, A standard grill cooks at one temperature and is perfect for browning off the top of a dish while a carriable grill will let you set the temperature for more control on your grilling.
Pyrolitic cleaning function works by bringing the temperature in the oven up to around 500°c which burns away grease and food residue, leaving a pile of ash at the bottom of the oven which is easy to wipe out, meaning you never have to scrub your oven.
Steam ovens are becoming ever more popular, steam cooking is great for keeping moisture in your food so its great for keeping meat succulent and retaining nutrients in your veg, the steam function is also great for reheating food without drying it out. Steam functions can also be used to naturally clean your oven.
Some hobs on cookers will have special zones or burners such as a wok burner or griddle plate.