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5 things to consider before buying a new cooker

What’s the difference between free-standing, range and built-in cookers?  

Freestanding 
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 area. 

The main advantage here is 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 take it with you if move house.  

Built-in 
This cooker is literally integrated into your kitchen units. They’re usually 60cm wide, which is the same as standard kitchen units and you’ll have a separate worktop hob area. 

The main advantage of these is in the aesthetic. Built-in cookers are nice and neat, you can position the oven at an easy height, so you don’t have to bend down all the time. 

Range 
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. 

Types of oven

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: 

Gas Ovens 

Advantages: 

  • Immediate heat 
  • Hob heat is easy to turn up and down 
  • Cheaper than electricity 

Disadvantages: 

  • Uneven oven heat (hotter at the top) 
  • Hob is harder to clean 

Electric Ovens 

Advantages: 

  • Easy to clean 
  • Even spread of heat (and multiple functions available) 
  • Induction hobs have responsive temperature control 

Disadvantages: 

  • More expensive to run 
  • Non-induction hobs take a while to heat up and cool down 

Dual fuel ovens 

Advantages: 

  • Best of both
  • Responsive gas hob
  • Even heat from electric oven 

Disadvantages: 

  • Hob is harder to clean 
  • Installation is slightly more complicated 

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 as the 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. 

If you prefer cooking on gas and have a worktop hob, then a gas on glass hob looks stylish and will make cleaning easier. 

What size oven do I need?

This depends on a few factors. Firstly, how much space you have in your kitchen and secondly 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. 

Open oven door

Top tip: You’ll need to leave 5mm around the cooker for ventilation. 

Do you want an auto-clean oven?

Cleaning the oven has to be one of the most onerous household chores. But with Auto-clean ovens you can skip this task altogether. How? By burning 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.  

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