If you want to reduce your impact on the environment and lower your energy bills, you’ll want an efficient cooker. Read on to find out which cookers are cheaper to run and what you can do to cook more efficiently.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY RATING
Unlike many other household appliances, not all cookers have an energy efficiency rating. This is because only electric cookers will have an efficiency rating, and this is only for the oven and not the hob. This can make it more difficult to compare between different models, but we’ll help you to pick out the best cooker for your needs.
If you’re only interested in electric cookers, you can use the energy efficiency rating to compare models. The current scale for new appliances ranges from A+++ for the most efficient, to D for the least efficient. Be aware that there’s some variation in each grade though, so one A rated cooker might be more efficient than another.
For a like-for-like comparison, you can look at the average running costs, which are provided on the energy label.
New technology helps to make electric cookers more efficient. However, gas cookers are still generally viewed as more efficient.
One of the biggest differences between cookers in terms of energy costs is the fuel they use.
We highlight some of the benefits of electric and gas in our Cooker Types section. However, when it comes down to running costs, there is a clear winner.
Which? has found out that if you use a cooker for an average of five hours a week, you’ll pay £17 a year for a gas model and £40 for an electric appliance.
New technology is helping to make electric cookers more efficient. Induction hobs are particularly good as they don’t heat anything except the pan and its contents. However, gas cookers are still generally viewed as more efficient, as the required heat is met quickly.
Size also affects a cooker’s energy efficiency. As larger appliances take more energy to heat up than smaller ones, it’s worth making sure you’re buying the smallest cooker you can use. But, remember that you might need extra capacity every so often, for parties or Christmas dinners.
EFFICIENT COOKING METHODS
There are certain things you can do to increase the efficiency of the way you cook.
Cooking on the hob uses less energy than using the oven, so it may be worth having a stir-fry rather than a roast chicken when you can. If this is something that appeals to you, you might want to look for a model with a good hob.
Similarly, quicker cooking uses less energy than longer recipes, so quickly frying some fish is more efficient than using the grill. Although bear in mind that grilling is often a healthier cooking method.
You can make normal cooking processes more efficient, rather than changing the way you cook. Only put enough water in a pot to cover the ingredients for boiling, otherwise you’re heating more water than you need. Pre-boiling potatoes before roasting them saves you time and energy too. You could also boil the water in a kettle to save time, and use a lid to trap in the heat.
Get to know how long it takes your oven to preheat so you can start cooking as soon as possible.
If you’re cooking with the oven, try not to open the door too often, as heat escapes which makes the appliance work harder to stay hot. Look for a model with a built-in timer and oven light as this will help you know when your food is ready.
Make sure you use the right size pan for your burner on the hob. This is more relevant to electric hobs than gas, but using a six inch pan on an eight inch burner can waste as much as 40% of the heat generated.
It’s also worth making sure your cooker is kept clean, as food debris absorbs heat, reducing the cooker’s efficiency.
Unlike some appliances, cookers don’t have a dedicated Eco mode, but there are some features to look out for that help your appliance run more efficiently.
Investing in a cooker with a glass door is a great idea as it lets you keep an eye on what’s cooking more easily. This means you don’t need to open the door to check your food, so no hot air escapes.
A lot of glass doors on cookers are double or triple-glazed. This increases how good an insulator the door is, as more layers of glass mean less heat can escape. It also keeps the door cooler to the touch. Some doors have heat reflection technology, which helps insulate the oven even more efficiently.
Models that feature self-cleaning technology also tend to be more efficient as the special linings inside the oven offer better insulation.
More layers of glass mean less heat can escape.