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Range cooker features explained

Lynn Wright / 26 May 2016

Here’s our guide to the most important features to consider when shopping for the perfect range cooker for you.

Close up of range cooker controls
Range cookers have a host of labour-saving features

When choosing a range cooker, you’ll first need to consider what size cooker you need and can fit into your kitchen, along with your buying budget and the type of fuel you wish to use – be it gas, electricity or a combination of the two.

For more information on selecting the perfect one for you, read How to choose the best range cooker.

Once you’ve decided on these, you can then look at which range cooker features are essential and those you can live without.

What range cooker features to look for

Fan oven Most electric or dual-fuel range cookers have a least one oven with a rotating fan that evenly distributes heat around the oven. This speeds up both preheating and cooking times, and ensures a uniform temperature no matter where food is positioned in the oven – perfect when batch baking.

Multi-function oven Lots of range cookers feature multi-function ovens, which offer greater flexibility when cooking compared to conventional and fan ovens. They combine up to nine different heat sources, which you can use separately or in combination. For example, you can use the grill element and fan together when cooking meat or bottom oven heating and the fan for baking pizza.

Pyrolytic cleaning More expensive range cookers may offer pyrolytic self-cleaning programmes that help make cleaning the oven far easier. The oven is heated to 400°C which incinerates splashes and spillages, leaving only ash for you to sweep away.

However, the pyrolytic function won’t work on the shelves or oven door so you’ll still have to clean these by hand.

Catalytic liners are found on some range cookers and help to reduce over cleaning. They are rough surfaces that absorb and dissolve grease and splashes, then burn them off during high heat settings. You’ll typically find them on the sides of the oven and sometimes on the back or roof too. You may need to replace them during the lifespan of the cooker.

Telescopic shelf runners allow a shelf to be partial pulled out of the oven, with a safety mechanism stopping it from coming out completely. They make it easier and safer to check items during cooking or baking, and then remove them from the oven.

Oven door rack Some models have a rack attached to the oven door to hold a roasting tray, so that when you open the door, the tray swings out with it. This means you don’t have to reach into the oven when basting meat or vegetables.

Griddle and hotplates Either ridged or flat, griddles and hotplates are useful additions to range cookers. They are perfect for searing meat, shellfish or vegetables, making pancakes or frying eggs and bacon.

Wok burner/support Typically found on gas hobs, this is a high-powered burner that’s perfect for creating stir frys, searing meat or quickly boiling a big pan of water. Alternatively, a wok support provides a cradle that holds your wok over a high flame, directing the heat towards the bottom so food is cooked quickly.

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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