Choose the right cooker
It is the jewel in the crown of the perfect kitchen and arguably the most important appliance of all – the humble cooker. There are many things that you need to consider before buying a new one. Below is a guide to choosing your perfect cooker.
1. Power Supply
Firstly decide how you want your cooker to be powered: – electricity or gas. There are several advantages and disadvantages to both. Decide what type of cooking you will be mainly using the appliance for and which power source best suits you and your home.
5 Things to consider when deciding which type of power supply you require
- Would you need to install a gas supply to your home in order to run the cooker?
- Do you have children or pets, who would be vulnerable to naked flames?
- Would you use the hobs or the oven more when cooking
- Can you open windows to let any additional heat generated by the cooker out of the kitchen?
- How quickly and efficiently do you need your food to be cooked?
Advantages and disadvantages of Gas and Electric Cookers
|Advantages||Cheaper to runProvides instant heat, warming both the bottom and sides of the pan.
A better range of temperatures for professional cooks
A clean burning fuel and kinder on the environment.
Does not warm the surrounding kitchen with extra heat.
|A more even oven temperatureMore multi-functional and can use different parts of the cooker more easily at once.
Easier to clean all parts.
Easier to install and use.
Switches on and off straight away.
A more even surface for pans on the hob.
A drier heat for oven roasting.
|Disadvantages||Uneven oven temperature, so food has to be rotated around the oven to cook properly.Needs to be professionally installed and checked by a gas certificate registered engineer.
More hazardous around children or pets because of naked flames.
Prone to gas leaks and poisonous gas emissions when damaged.
A more humid heat produced which is less effective for roasting.
|More expensive to runSlower heat on the hobs
Slower to cool down after use.
Unable to use during a power cut.
These are a combination of both gas and electric cookers which provide the best of both fuels. The hobs are gas, providing instant heat and quicker cooking times, while the electric oven means a more even spread of heat for baking. These still must be installed by a professional gas engineer.
2. A Freestanding cooker or Built in?
Size matters when it comes to choosing your perfect cooker. Before purchasing a cooker it is vital you measure how much space you have in your kitchen and this will help you determine whether it should be free-standing or built in as part of your work surfaces and cupboards.
Freestanding Cookers Sizes
When measuring space it is important to add a further 5mm so air can escape and prevent over-heating. These appliances come in a variety of widths, commonly 50cm, 55 or 60cm wide. Most freestanding cookers are 90cm tall and 60-65cm deep.
Remember the grill…
If your cooker has an eye level grill (at the top above the hobs) then this can increase its height to around 150cm tall.
Built in Cookers
These are ideal for more compact kitchens, in that they are integrated within other features such as work surfaces and cupboards. The cooker is specially designed to fit into the rest of the fitted kitchen, so you do not need to measure the specific size as the person who installs the kitchen should do this for you. If you are replacing an old integrated cooker with a new one it is best to get a professional to remove and install it because they are difficult to take out and be replaced.
Below is a table of the pros and cons of a freestanding vs integrated cooker.
Freestanding Integrated Advantages Easy to move, install and uninstallCheaper to buy No measuring neededTakes up less spaceMore aesthetically pleasing
Can mix and match power supplies gas and electric
Easier to clean
Disadvantages Restricted to either gas or electricityCan look ugly and takes up more space Difficult to remove once in place.Comes with the rest of the kitchen so is more difficult to replace if you only need a new cooker.
3. What features do you require?
So you’ve decided what power supply you want and whether it should be free-standing or integrated. Now it’s to decide what types of features you require.
There are usually four hobs (or rings) which can be made out of different materials.
Ceramic hobs are usually found on electric cookers and are easy-to clean. However, their heat spread is less efficient than gas ones
Induction hobs: These heat the pan only, using a magnetic field created by the ring and a glass surface. This is a safer hob because it does not heat the surrounding area, meaning it is harder to burn yourself.
Electric Plate Hobs These use electric plates to heat your food, and are the cheapest available option.
Gas Hobs Easier to control and provide instant heat. These are common in professional kitchens.
Glass Gas Hobs: They look like electric hobs as they are more integrated with the surface and are easier to clean than other gas hobs. However they are also slower to heat up.
Single Ovens: One single oven which is around 60cm tall. These are the most common types of cookers.
Double Ovens: These are either in built in or double built in under. The former is around 90cm tall, while the latter is around 72cm, so choose which one depending on how much space you have. Both are split in two, usually with a grill in the top half and baking oven at the bottom.
Compact Oven: These are good if space is a problem because they are only 45cm tall, roughly the size of a large microwave. They are ideal for people living on their own and couples.
Electric fan oven: This spreads the heat evenly around the cooking space providing a drier heat ideal for baking and roasting.
Gas oven: This is cheaper to run, but spreads the heat more unevenly and produces a more humidity, which is less effective for baking. Gas ovens are usually hotter at the top than the bottom.