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How to compare range cookers: a 16 point check list

20TH MAY 2011
There are so many range cookers on the market that it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Here we present a 16 point check list to help you compare range cookers and select the best range cooker for your needs.

1. Looks
Whether or not a range cooker has good looks is a personal decision, so we can’t really recommend what to look for, but do make sure the cooker style suits your kitchen.

100cm Dynasty XG range cooker in gloss black with Arioso hood in stainless steel.



2. Size
You probably have considered this topic already. If you are having a new kitchen, then the questions you should ask yourself include: How many burners (or induction zones) will you use? Do you need a large or small second oven? Or is one oven enough? Will you have enough space left for your kitchen cabinets?
If you are replacing a range cooker in an existing kitchen, then make sure you check that the range cooker will fit. Also, check what distance is required between the cooker sides and the cabinets – this is different for different range cooker brands!

3. Fuel source
There are many households without mains gas and it is often thought that you need to opt for an all electric range cooker if this is the case. However, many range cookers can be converted for use with bottled gas. The choice is yours: Electric hobs are easier to clean, but maybe you prefer the look of a gas hob? Find out more about fuel options in our buyers guide.

4. Oven cooking features
Comparing range cookers in terms of cooking features is a bit complicated as there is so much to consider. First of all, there is the number of oven functions. We really believe that having a selection of oven functions makes you a better cook. You can find out more about how to use the various oven functions by clicking here. It is also important to compare oven sizes. Sometimes different standards are used (gross, net or usable oven size). Don’t feel embarrassed to take your favourite oven trays and try them in an oven. Shops are used to this, it often happens!
Some range cookers feature a rotisserie for spit-roasting. Do you like chicken? Then go for a range cooker with rotisserie – it’s the easiest way to cook a perfect, succulent chicken.
To understand more about the cooking features of any range cooker, you can attend a live cooking demonstration. These are organised throughout the country by various showrooms. Sometimes range cookers of various brands are demonstrated on the same day.

You'll be able to serve a perfectly succulent chicken roasted on a Britannia rotisserie.



5. Oven furniture
How many oven shelves are provided? Is there a grill pan and grill pan handle? Can you slide the oven shelves out easily? Are telescopic shelves standard or can you buy them as an optional extra?

6. Separate grill compartment
Whether you need a separate grill compartment depends on your cooking preferences. Sometimes range cooker ovens already have a grilling function, but you may prefer a separate grill compartment? Also, if you buy a range cooker with a stainless steel hotplate, then you can use the hotplate for anything you’d normally grill. If you have decided to have a separate grill compartment, then compare grill power and look out for telescopic (or slide-out) shelves.

7. Hob cooking features
You have compared the oven functions and considered a separate grill compartment. You have probably decided whether you want a gas or electric hob.
If it is going to be a gas hob, what features do you need to look for? There is a choice of gas burners: double or triple ring burners are extra powerful – great for a quick stir fry in a wok, for boiling a large pan of pasta or quickly searing meat in a frying pan. Check how powerful the burner is. Some range cookers offer cast iron or stainless steel hotplates. These can be supplied as standard or as optional accessories. Stainless steel hotplates are great for anything that you’d usually prepare in a frying pan or wok or under a grill.
Have you decided on a ceramic or induction hob? Look out for boost functions (the electric equivalent of triple ring burners) and safety features such as child lock and residual heat indicators.

8. Cleaning features
Features to look out for include stay clean liners (these are also called catalytic liners) in the ovens. These liners mean that you don’t have to clean the sides, back and/or roof of the oven.  Individual pan supports are easier to clean in the sink; and single piece hob pressings make cleaning easier. Individual spillage wells mean you don’t have to clean the whole hob when something boils over.

9. Safety features
Flame failure devices (which stop the gas supply when the flame is accidentally extinguished) are now a must have feature for gas burners. A safety feature that is sometimes overlooked is an oven light – not all range cookers ovens have one! Lastly, cooling fans for the fascia and triple glazing for oven doors prevent overheating and burnt fingers.

10. Storage
Would you like to find extra space for storing baking trays, extra oven shelves, griddles, etc? Check out storage spaces – some range cookers have a storage compartment hidden behind a flap, other range cookers have large or small drawers.

Open and close the doors to have a feel for the quality of a range cooker.



11. Quality and durability
These are, indeed, not easy to gauge when comparing range cookers. One way to test the quality of a range cooker is to open and shut the oven door. How does it feel? How does it sound? It gives you an idea of general build quality. You can also ask in store whether they have had a lot of quality problems with the range cooker brand you are considering buying.

12. Programmers
These can function as a minute minder or you can programme start and finish times of the oven. Usually only one of the ovens is controlled by the programmer, but some range cookers don’t feature a programmer at all.

13. Fast pre-heat systems
These are great when you are in a hurry and can considerably reduce the time required for pre-heating the oven.

14. Energy efficiency
This is a much easier one. Most brochures will tell you what the energy efficiency is of the ovens, you are looking to buy. If not, call the company or check with your local showroom. They should know the energy rating of each product they display (it is actually a legal requirement that showrooms display the energy labels of appliances, but some don’t do this as the labels spoil the looks of the cooker).

15. Warranty
What warranty is provided? Is it for parts only or is labour included?

16. Price
Last but not least, there is the product cost to consider. You have compared the various range cookers you like in terms of size, fuel source, features and quality. Which features do you find most important? Are they worth paying extra money for? What about the product quality? You are the only one who can decide what your budget is and which cooker suits you best.

Have we missed anything from this list? Let us know...

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