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How to choose the best range cooker

Lynn Wright / 26 May 2016

A range cooker can be a real boon for any kitchen, but choosing the right model can be a challenge. Our guide will help you buy the perfect one for you.

A range cooker in a kitchen setting
Modern range cookers combine cutting-edge technology with stylish good looks

Whether you’re after a country-cottage vibe or stylish hi-tech look, a range cooker can make any kitchen the heart of the home. Modern range cookers combine cutting-edge technology with stylish good looks and a host of labour-saving features to help make cooking an everyday pleasure.

For a full list of essential features read Range cooker features explained.

Range cookers buying guide

Fuel source One of the first considerations when shopping for a range cooker is the type of fuel it will use. Generally, it’s easier and cheaper to stick with the fuel your existing cooker use, as switching electric to gas can result in a heavy installation costs for example. The different fuel types of range cookers are:

  • Electric range cookers are available with different hob types such as ceramic, solid plate and induction. Although more expensive to buy, induction hob cookers deliver quick, even heat and are cheaper to run than other electric hobs. As they use a magenetic field between the heating element and the pan, the hob itself stays cool but you do need to use induction-suitable cookware. You can check your existing cookware by using a fridge magnet. If it sticks, then the pan is magnetic and so can be used on an induction hob.

Most electric range cookers come with one or two fan ovens that ensure fast preheating and cooking times, and more even temperatures.

  • Gas range cookers are cheaper to buy and cost less to run. With their visible heat source, they offer lots of control with the ability to switch instantly from a high heat to a low flame for simmering. Most have mains ignition and some have automatic ignition so the burner ignites as you turn the knob.
  • Dual fuel is the most popular type of range cooker. They combine an easily controllable gas hob with the fast and even cooking of an electric oven. Both gas and dual-fuel range cookers must be fitted by a Gas Safe Registered fitter.

Size Larger than traditional cookers, range cookers come in a range of width sizes  – the most common being 90cm, 100cm and 110cm. Depending on their size, you can expect between five and eight hob burners, two to four ovens, a grill and a warming or storage drawer. If you’ve a compact kitchen but still hanker for the classic cooker look, consider a 60cm mini range cooker with four hobs and double ovens. When measuring up for a range cooker, be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommended gap between the cooker sides and the kitchen cabinets to allow for ventilation, as this can differ from brand to brand.

Price Range cookers are expensive with prices starting from around £600 to more than £4,000 for a top-of-the-line model. Mid-priced range cookers around the £1,200 to £1,500 mark come with plenty of features and accessories such as fan-assisted and multi-function ovens, while premium models include self-cleaning options such as catalytic liners and pyrolytic programs as standard.

Features When it comes to range cooker features, there’s a lot to consider. Cooking features and accessories such multi-function ovens, griddles, hot plates and wok burners deliver loads of versatility while an extra compartment for pots and pans can be very useful. As with all cookers, cleaning is a necessary chore so look for a range cooker that offers easy clean features such as catalytic oven liners. These absorb spills and splashes, which then burn off during cooking so you won’t have to clean the sides, back and/or roof of the oven.

Ready to choose the perfect range cooker for you, read our guide to the Five best range cookers.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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