Most of us tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking be that for ourselves, family or friends and the cooker is very much the centrepiece of the room.
It's also one of the most important kitchen appliances you'll invest in, so we've pulled together the basics in this buying guide to aid you in your search for the perfect cooker.
With a gas cooker the hob and the oven will be powered by gas. The hob will provide instant heat with precise control, which is why foodies and professional chefs tend to prefer them.
The oven will provide zoned temperatures with the top of the oven being the hottest, enabling you to cook multiple dishes at different temperatures.
Choosing an electric cooker you'll get a choice of hobs; ceramic, induction or sealed plate. The oven will be electric, sometimes including a fan. It won't heat as fast as a gas oven, however it will give you a more even cooking temperature, making it ideal for cooking multiple dishes at the same temperature.
These cookers give you the best of both. The instant heat and precise control of a gas hob alongside the even and reliable cooking temperatures of an electric oven.
Simple and uncomplicated cooking. Oven cooking and grilling can all be done in the one cavity. Generally cookers with a single oven offer larger oven space than other cookers as no space is sacrificed for a separate grill.
These cookers give you two cavities. The larger bottom cavity is for oven cooking and the smaller top cavity is for grilling. You lose a little oven space due to the separate grill, however you'll be able to cook simultaneously in the two cavities.
You'll get the best of both with a double oven. They have two cavities, the larger bottom cavity is for oven cooking and the smaller top cavity can be used as a grill or oven. You'll be able to cook in both cavities simultaneously and they come in great for more complicated recipes.
These hobs are robust but tend to be slower at heating up. They are a more affordable option and definitely worth considering if you're on a tight budget or you're fitting out a rental property.
With a visible flame, gas hobs give instant heat, precise control and generally deliver faster cooking results. They tend to be favoured by cooking enthusiasts.
These hobs have a modern look and their smooth surface makes them really easy to wipe clean. They heat up faster than sealed plate hobs but not as fast as gas or induction hobs.
Directly heating the pan and not the hob surface, these hobs are a safer and more energy efficient choice. They heat up fast but not as fast as gas hobs. Their modern and smooth surface makes them easy to wipe clean.
Cookers come in three standard width sizes, making them easy to fit into your kitchen and handy if you're replacing an old cooker. Most have a width of 60cm, but if you're tight on space there are also 50cm and 55cm wide options. The height and depth of the cooker will always roughly be the same on all models to fit perfectly by the side of your kitchen cabinets.
Most cookers have some sort of lining to aid with cleaning. Some may have pyrolytic cleaning, which burns off grease and grime at 500°C, leaving you to simply wipe away ash. Some will have catalytic liners that absorb spillages and splatters. These are then burnt away when cooking on temperatures over 200°C. Others have smooth enamel coated interiors, making it easier to wipe away dirt.
A grill comes in really handy for quick snacks like cheese on toast and crumpets. They’re also ideal for giving an oven cooked dish a crispy or golden finish such as a shepherd's pie or lasagne. So with some cookers offering a dedicated grill and others not, you'll need to think carefully if this is an important feature for you.
Some electric ovens can come with a variety of functions to choose from. These give you different heating options, so you can pick one or a combination which best suits your dish. Such as top and bottom heat or fan and grill. There are even cookers which will include pizza and dough functions specially designed for perfect baking results. Think about the type of cooking you do on a regular basis and functions that may come in useful for you.
Many of our cookers can be converted to work with bottled LPG gas. This comes in great for those wanting the precision of gas but who don't have access to a mains gas supply. It's also handy for holiday homes and caravans. Some cookers will include everything you need to convert them others may not, it's best to check the cookers instruction manual to make sure.
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Cookers are freestanding so they'll easily slot between your kitchen cabinets, just make sure to measure your space carefully so you pick a cooker with the correct width. You'll need a gas safe registered engineer to fit a gas cooker and a qualified electrician to fit an electric cooker. We can help you with that - we offer an installation service
Some cookers come with a lid, these tend to be those with a gas hob. The lid can come in really handy to protect the hob and enable you to utilise the surface space as a work top. When they're up whist you’re cooking they also come in ideal as a splash back.
The hot zone is the area directly above the hob on the cooker. You need to take this space into consideration when fitting your cooker as nothing can be fitted here unless it is heat resistant. This includes items like plug sockets, shelves, cupboards, boilers and even wallpaper. For both gas and electric hobs you'll need at least a 76cm clearance space above. The cookers instruction manual will give further details on this when you come to install it.
Not every cooker offers the same warranty period, it all depends on the brand. Each cookers product description will give details on this. We also offer a variety of extended warranties on cookers, you can choose to add one of these as you add the cooker to your basket.
A cooker combines the hob and oven/grill into one freestanding appliance. Whereas an oven is built-in or built-under, and is simply just the oven.
A range cooker is essentially a larger model of a cooker. They often have a double oven and a hob with eight cooking zones, sometimes including a large wok burner which comes in handy for stir-fry’s and curries. They are wider, so you’ll need to consider your kitchen space carefully, however they are definitely worth considering if you frequently cook for lots of people or you’re a real foodie.
The oven cavities will have different linings such as enamel or catalytic liners or a pyrolytic function to aid in cleaning. The hob will need to be manually cleaned. Ceramic and induction hobs are super easy to wipe clean with a warm damp cloth, whereas gas hobs may need a little more elbow grease with a warm damp sponge.
Both will bring a modern look to your kitchen and will be easy to wipe clean thanks to their sleek and smooth surfaces. However an induction hob heats up faster and it directly heats the pan using magnetic technology, not the hob surface. Heating the pan makes it much more energy efficient as no energy is lost through heating the surface and it makes it a safer choice as the surface will only get warm from the pan. It will not get hot enough to cause burns.
Induction hobs will only work with magnetised pans. Iron, cast iron and black metal pans will work, also stainless steel pans with a magnetic grade of steel will work.
Most cookers that can be converted to work with LPG gas will include everything you need to make the switch. However there are a few which may not include the kit and you may need to purchase it separately. It’s always best to check the instruction manual before you purchase.