If you love to cook, and have room in your kitchen, then why not think about buying a Range Cooker.
Centered at the heart of your kitchen, a Range Cooker doesn’t have to be a mega expensive outlay and will pay its way on a daily basis, making your culinary life far more enjoyable and a lot easier.
In fact, entry-level models can cost a similar price to buying a separate oven and hob.
If you’re considering buying a Range Cooker then here are some questions to ask yourself before purchasing along with some important information to know.
What is a Range Cooker?
A Range Cooker is a free-standing unit that incorporates a hob on top and usually one large or two smaller ovens, often with a separate grill too.
There are many different combinations though available from a number of manufacturers so understanding how you will use your Range Cooker and going to a store to look at them is crucial to making a choice on which one to buy.
If you have a large family or often throw dinner parties then the convenience of more than one oven will give you the flexibility to cook different dishes at different times.
Similarly, having an oven with a built-in grill rather than a separate one will limit your ability to cook certain foods together.
Some Range Cookers have space underneath for pots and pans thanks to a storage drawer but this will limit the size of the oven/ovens.
How much space will I need in my kitchen?
Generally the most popular Range Cooker sizes are 90cm and 110cm. However, some makers are now producing a 100cm model to bridge the gap. There are limited numbers available as small as 70cm and as large as 120cm.
Remember though, if placed between kitchen units, you will need to leave a small gap on either side of the Range Cooker for the heat generated to escape.
What type of fuel do they use?
Like separate ovens and hobs, Range Cookers come with a mix of fuel types, generally using gas on the hob and electric in the oven.
You can get traditional ceramic electric hobs, which are convenient as they heat up quickly and are easy to wipe over to clean. They distribute heat evenly across the base of a pan whereas gas may focus on the middle of the pan, with the heat radiating outwards.
Newer induction technology is also now available on some Range Cookers. It is proving very popular as this delivers all the heat of gas but with the convenience of electric, along with being more environmentally-friendly.
Induction hobs only heat up the area underneath where a pan has been placed. If you put a small pan on a large ring, only the small area will get hot. This ensures no energy is wasted and should therefore save you money on your utility bills.
You will need special pots and pans to work with induction though. If the bottom of your existing cookware sticks to a magnet, then it will work with induction as this uses a magnetic field while cooking.
The downside of induction hob options is they are more expensive than traditional gas or ceramic ones.
The size of your Range Cooker will also determine how many burners you have. This could be as many as seven and you will often have an extra large burner that comes with a holder around it, in which to sit a wok.
What type of oven do I need?
Range Cookers with one single oven tend to have a conventional oven as standard. These heat up the centre as the hottest part.
Fan ovens or fan-assisted cost more but circulate the air inside to help maintain an even temperature and speed up the time your cooking takes.
On dual oven models, you will often find a conventional and a fan built in or for a higher price, a mix of a fan and a multi-function/programmable oven.
Multi-function are exceptionally clever and come with pre-programmed cooking options that can be activated at the touch of a button. Depending on the cost, it can have just a few options or many to choose from. They can be tasks such as baking, cooking pizza and defrosting.
You will immediately see from the design of each Range Oven that the size of the dual ovens will usually differ. Occasionally it will be split 50/50 but usually there will be one traditional square oven and one taller but thinner oven.
It is important to remember that you may need to buy different size pans to place inside, instead of the ones you already own, as these thinner ovens may also not be as deep as a traditional one.
A Range Cooker with two ovens and a built-in grill inside one of them will obviously give more flexibility than a single oven with built-in grill. But the most flexible option is two ovens and a separate grill, usually placed above the square one.
Be aware of the different liners in your oven as this affects how easy it can be cleaned. They can be Enamel, which is hardest to clean or newer Pyrolytic or Catalytic which heat up to high temperatures to burn away grease and food. You then simply wipe away the ash left but these liners are more expensive.
Also consider the Energy Rating of your oven. This will be clearly displayed on the label of the product with A and A+ being the most energy efficient.
How do the various makes differ?
All the manufacturers of Range Cookers offer different designs and styles. This includes the number of burners and sizes of each oven.
It is important to think about what you will cook where and when to get an understanding of the size and variations you will need.
You will find many different colours now on offer to suit most interiors with traditional big names such as Rangemaster, Belling and Stoves having the most options.
What else should I consider?
As well as the size of each oven and how you will use it, look for an internal light so you can see clearly how your food is cooking.
Also pay attention to whether an oven has fixed shelf heights or whether these are adjustable. Look too at how many shelves it has or can be fitted in.
Other additional elements include timers, whether a purely mechanical one, an electronic minute minder or full on countdown and programmable clock.
If you live in a flat, you will also need to buy a Range Cooker that is FSD compliant.
What accessories can I use with my Range Cooker?
Most Range Cookers will come with a grill pan included and various shelving options.
Some more expensive ones may include extra pans inside the oven and also detachable shelving on the oven door itself.
You may also get the wok burner housing and accessories such as a hotplate or griddle – which sit over the gas burners – included in the price.
All the major manufacturers offer additional products to purchase including flatplates and specific pans and dishes.
Do I need a Hood?
All Range Cookers need a hood with an extractor fan placed above them. There are many types and you do not have to buy the same make as your Range Cooker.
The different designs give you a real opportunity to create a style statement in your kitchen as they come in all sorts of shapes and styles.
Make sure to know how much it will cost to replace the charcoal filter within the extractor each time and look at how many speed settings the extractor has for a more powerful performance to rid the kitchen of smells faster when needed.
You may also choose a hood with built-in lights to illuminate the hob while you are cooking.
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