TYPES OF COOKERS
If you’re shopping for a new cooker, the huge number of options available can be confusing. Should you buy a range cooker or a freestanding model? Would a dual fuel, electric, or gas cooker suit you best? We’ll explain all the options here to help you decide.
This cooker type combines an oven and a hob into one convenient appliance. It’s easier to multitask, as you can keep an eye on your dish in the oven while you use the hob.
Cookers are freestanding appliances, whereas ovens can be integrated into kitchen units. However, cookers can still be incorporated into your kitchen surfaces for a seamless appearance.
Freestanding cookers tend to come in 50 cm, 55 cm, and 60 cm widths, though they can vary. Make sure the model you’re looking at will fit in the space you have available. It’s recommended to leave a gap of at least 5 cm around the cooker to prevent any damage to the surrounding units too.
Cookers are freestanding appliances, whereas ovens can be integrated into kitchen units.
If you have plenty of space and are after an appliance that makes more of a statement, it’s worth considering a range cooker.
These are significantly wider than conventional freestanding cookers, normally 90 cm, 100 cm or 110 cm wide. They often feature four separate cavities, though some models have more. Not all of the cavities can be used for cooking, as you’ll often find a plate warming drawer and a storage compartment.
Most range cookers will have two ovens, one grill and one warming or storage drawer, and between five and eight burners on the hob.
You’ll also be able to find range cookers with a mix of different hob styles – typically gas and ceramic. Some models also feature fish burners, which cover the space of two burners and can be used with larger pans, griddles, and hotplates.
Some of the more traditional models use solid fuels like wood, coal, or oil, and can be used to heat your home and even your hot water. However, these often need to be left on all the time and can be difficult to install. You can get a similar look and plenty of cooking space with a gas or electric range-style cooker.
Range cookers are ideal if you like to multitask and love to host dinner parties or have a large family.
Another type of cooker you might consider is a table-top model. These appliances are similar in size to a large microwave, measuring around 30-50 cm in width, and can sit on your kitchen counter.
They often have a single shelf and offer many of the conventional cooking functions you’d expect from a full-size appliance, but with the benefit of being smaller. Pop in a whole chicken to roast or use it as a backup for your main cooker when you’re preparing a large meal.
Bear in mind that this type of model isn’t as readily available as other cookers, so you’ll have a smaller choice of products.
These appliances are similar in size to a large microwave, measuring around 30-50 cm in width, and can sit on your kitchen counter.
PICK YOUR FUEL
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when deciding on a cooker is the fuel type. Unless you’re after a solid fuel range cooker, you’ll have two options: gas or electric.
Gas is energy efficient and produces heat quickly on the hob, which can be controlled very precisely. However, it can provide uneven temperatures in the oven, as the top tends to be hotter than the bottom.
An electric cooker offers consistent temperatures in the oven, especially if it has a fan. Conventional electric hobs are less efficient and cook more slowly than gas. Ceramic and induction electric hobs are much more practical as the surfaces are smoother.
You can enjoy the best of both worlds if you purchase a dual fuel cooker. These feature electric ovens and gas hobs, but the extra flexibility of these appliances is often reflected in the price.
You can enjoy the best of both worlds if you purchase a dual fuel cooker.
Different cookers vary in terms of what ovens they feature.
Many cookers have a twin cavity, but there are some with only a single cavity. Single models usually have one large oven, sometimes with a drawer beneath to hold extra shelves or pans and trays.
If you want better flexibility than a single cavity oven, twin cavity models are more suitable. Double oven cookers have two ovens. These often have an integrated grill in the top, or you can get a twin cavity model that has one oven and a separate grill.
If you want better flexibility than a single cavity oven, twin cavity models are more suitable.
There are four main types of hob on cookers – gas, solid plate, ceramic, and induction.
One of the most common types of hob, these feature gas burners with enamel or cast-iron pan supports. These models give you great control over the heat and its speed, but they can be difficult to clean as the surface isn’t completely smooth.
SOLID PLATE (CONVENTIONAL ELECTRIC) HOB
This type used to be quite common, but is gradually being replaced by more up-to-date versions like ceramic and induction models. These hobs have electric coil filaments that are raised above the main surface of the cooker. They tend to be fairly cheap, but are quite slow, inefficient, and difficult to keep clean.
Ceramic hobs have a sleek, stylish ceramic glass surface that is easy to wipe down. These are electric, and while often slower to heat up than gas, create a modern, minimalist look.
These are incredibly efficient hobs that produce little waste as they heat the bottom of the pan directly. However, these models can be more expensive and need iron or steel cookware to work.