Cooker Buying Guide
A cooker is an all-in-one appliance with a hob on the top and an oven at the bottom. Many people may call an oven a cooker, however an oven can be a part of a cooker while a cooker cannot be a part of an oven. Looking to purchase one of these versatile appliances? Read on to find the best one for you.
Types of Cookers
A freestanding cooker is a great choice that offers great flexibility. You can set this up in any space so long as there is a socket and an extraction fan or hood for the hob. These cookers are around 60cm wide and offer great flexibility when you are deciding on a location.
Range cookers function in the same way as a freestanding standard cooker, but are a larger size and have added burners and are more versatility. These cookers are usually roughly 100cm wide and provide more heating zones so that you can cook more food. Some of these heating zones have different functions such as a grill function or warming drawer.
Cooker Fuel Types
Electric cookers are more modern than gas. The oven will heat up your food evenly with accurate temperature settings. While their temperatures are more accurate, they take longer to reach. Some electric cookers will come with a fan oven which will speed up the cooking process. An electric hob is safer than gas as it doesn’t use an open flame. There are many different types of electric hobs to choose from, including ceramic, induction and solid plate hobs.
Ceramic hobs work with any type of cooking utensils, and do not require special purchases. These hobs are easy to clean, heat up reasonably fast and will give your home a very modern appearance.
Induction hobs are the quickest to heat up out of all of the electric hobs. They are also more energy efficient than the other electric hobs and traditional gas hobs. Induction hobs use electromagnets to detect and heat the base of pans. Due to this, induction hobs have to work with iron or stainless steel pots and pans in order to work.
Solid plate hobs are very easy to use. It uses durable plates which are heated underneath by electricity. This heat is absorbed by your pots and pans so that you can cook. This type of hob is the slowest to heat up which might not be ideal for active household, but is great for the food’s flavour!
Gas cookers are the opposite to electric ovens in many ways. These appliances are the traditional way to cook food. The oven heats up and adjusts temperatures quickly but these are not always accurate. The gas burns at a high temperature, meaning that you need to keep an eye on your food as to not overcook it. Gas hobs are quicker to heat up as they offer instant heat. Gas costs are usually lower than electricity costs as well, so gas hobs cost less to run. It is also easier to control the level of heat. Gas hobs can come as LPG hobs or domino hobs.
Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) hobs can reach higher temperatures than a standard gas hob. This heats your equipment and food very quickly. The higher pressure used by LPG hobs is more energy-efficient than other gas hobs as well. If you wish to cook with gas, this is a more environmentally-friendly option.
Domino hobs are smaller and are suited to small kitchens. They can come in many materials and colours so are great for getting a modern gleam.
These cookers give you the best of both worlds with an electric oven and a gas hob.
Cooker Oven Types
Convection Ovens (AKA Fan Oven/Fan-Assisted Oven)
Convection Ovens heat food evenly by using a fan to circulate the air around the oven. This makes convection ovens quicker than conventional ovens.
Conventional ovens cook from the top and bottom. The heat does not circulate which means that certain parts of the oven are hotter than others. Therefore, food is not cooked evenly but different meals can cook at the same time by placing the food that suits the specific level of heat.
Multifunction ovens have several cooking functions in a single appliance. This type of oven usually has the functions of a conventional oven and a grill. This means the range of food that you can cook is much greater than any other type of oven.
Many compact ovens are very similar to a slightly larger microwave with more functions. Most compact ovens offer fan, conventional and microwave functions. They are beneficial for people trying to save space in their home.
Single cookers are suited to a small kitchen. They are around 60cm high, 60cm wide and 90cm deep. They can be slotted under a counter if you wish. Ovens measure in litres and an average single oven hold 64 litres. The hobs usually come with 2 large and 2 small rings.
Double cookers have two sections in the oven. The top oven usually ranges between 35 and 60 litres, and the bottom oven generally ranges between 50-75 litres. These ovens are ideal for a larger household or for cooking multiple dishes simultaneously. They generally measure at about 90cm high. The hobs can range from 5-10 rings which vary greatly in sizing.
Measuring For A New Cooker
If you already have a cooker, measure the height of the space in front of it. If you do not have a cooker already, measure in front of the space that you wish to install your new appliance.
You also need to measure the width of the space, and depth. Cookers generally have their standard sizes, but it is a good idea to double-check your own space and the size of the model you wish to get. Allow for a few centimetres at the back and sides to allow for it to be plugged in. There should also be roughly 75cm of space between the hob and the hood to ensure there is proper ventilation and that your kitchen is safe.
Energy ratings are a well-discussed feature and applies to any electrical appliance. Energy ratings are there to help make decisions based of the eco-friendliness and long-term running cost of the product. Appliances that are A-rated are very energy-efficient, while G-rated appliances use a lot of energy to run. These ratings are becoming increasingly important as the conversation surrounding global warming continues. The annual energy consumption should be taken into consideration if selecting an eco-friendly cooker is important to you.
Dark colours are easier to keep clean, while bright colours can make the environment look bigger. Stainless steel cookers are very durable and are able to give your kitchen a modern feel whilst withstanding wear and tear. Brighter colours are great making your kitchen appear bigger, but these are more difficult to keep clean.
Other Considerable Features
Auto-cleaning cooker use pyrolytic cleaning so that you won’t have to go through the hassle of scrubbing your oven clean. Pyrolytic cleaning involves heating the oven to approximately 500°C so that any grease or dirt burns away and forms a pile of ash which you can easily sweep clean. The smooth surfaces of some of the hobs can also be very easy to wipe clean.
Many cookers come with timers that you can set a certain time to. When this time is reached, the oven section can switch on, switch off or alert you with an alarm. This is very convenient as easy to use.
Advancements in technology now mean that some cookers have smart features. This will allow you to preheat your oven, change the settings, and check on your food from your smartphone or other smart device.
A grill function with the oven section is a useful tool to broadening the range of food you can make. Grills offer as a healthier method of cooking than frying, and the taste in delicious. It is a useful tool for crisping your food.
Some cookers with a gas hob come with a lid. This is useful if you need more counter space and would like to use this section as another worktop.
With such a large range of machines to choose from, we’ve made a list of some of our most trusted brands that have been proven to provide high-quality products.
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