Searching for a new Range Cooker can be a daunting task. The seemingly endless choice of options in colour, size, manufacturer and fuel type (to name but a few of the choices you'll be faced with) can make it seem like you'll never be able to find that perfect Range for your kitchen. With this guide we'll be able to offer some advice and insight in to the vast world of Range Cookers.
Before diving in to rest of the article, we feel it necessary to list some of the keywords which will be used or you may come across when looking at the specifications of the machines and what they mean.
Dual Fuel – Range cookers which are a combination of gas and electric fuel types, these normally consist of an electric oven and a gas hob.
Electric Ceramic – A range cooker with all electric components. This will consist of an electric oven and an electric ceramic top.
Electric Induction – This will again be all electrical components but will be made up of an electric oven with an Induction hob on top.
FSD – FSD stands for Flame Safety Device. This is a device on gas cookers which cuts off the gas supply if the flames go out. This stops the room from being filled with gas.
Pyrolytic – A type of self cleaning that some cookers come with. This works by the oven heating up to high temperatures (400/500 degrees) to burn any left over food and grease to ash. This ash can then easily be wiped up leaving you with an easily cleaned oven.
LPG – LPG stands for 'Liquefied Petroleum Gas' and is an alternative name for bottled gas. This would be a fuel type for a gas cooker when a mains gas line is not available in your home.
Child Safety Lock - Fairly self explanatory, but a child safety lock is a feature that keeps the oven door locked when in use to be sure a child can't accidentally open it and harm themselves.
Cast Iron Pan Support - Hobs will normally come with 1 of 2 pan supports. Cast iron pan supports are considered the superior of the 2 and are much more of a durable product. It is not recommended to put these in the dishwasher as they can rust.
Enamelled Pan Support - The second type of pan support available. This type of pan support is not as durable as the cast iron version and are more susceptible to heat damage from the hob burners compared to the cast iron.
Why Should I Buy A Range Cooker?
Chances are if your reading this article you've already asked yourself this question and have made your decision, but nonetheless, it's the first questions that you'll come across should you start thinking you may want to buy a range cooker.
There's a few advantages that a range cooker can provide over a traditional oven the main ones being capacity, design, durability and the traditional feel of cooking.
Capacity - Depending on which model you choose will dictate just how large the oven in your range cooker is, but as a whole range cookers are able to offer a larger capacity that a built-in oven with plenty of room for both every day cooking and also large occasions such as your Christmas dinner.
Design – The visual benefits of a range cooker over a traditional oven are huge. As they are fairly large appliances they will tend to be the focal point of your kitchen and the range of design available reflects this. Whereas normal oven's usually usually have a similar design and limited colour choice a range cookers is the total opposite. You can find traditional looking cookers, modern looking cookers and everything in between.
Durability – Range cookers are solidly built machines. That's not to say that a normal cooker is built poorly but every care is taken to make sure range cookers are built to last with both the internal components and the outer shell being of the highest quality.
Traditional Feel – Cooking on most modern day ovens is a very automated process with not much user input. Part of the joy of a range cooker is that it brings a more traditional hands on cooking feel back to the kitchen, making it a perfect choice for someone who just loves cooking.
One of the first decisions you will be making to narrow down your available choice is what fuel type you want the range cooker to be. There are 4 types available, duel fuel, electric ceramic, electric induction and all gas. Your choice may be affected by both personal preference and also by what fuel connections you have available in the kitchen.
All Gas – This is the rarest fuel type available for a range cooker but can be found if it is what your after. As it's all gas it means that the oven compartments and the hob will both be gas fuelled. This will require you to have a mains gas connections available in your kitchen and will need to be installed by a gas safe registered engineer.
Dual Fuel – A dual fuel range cooker will be made up of an electric oven and a gas hob. This is the most popular choice for the fuel type as it allows you the modern and easy cooking which an electric oven offers while also giving you a gas hob. Gas hobs are preferred by most people as they are versatile, easy to visually judge the heat being used, cheap energy efficiency wise and allow you to properly cook wok based meals (such as stir-fry) which an electric cannot cook as effectively.
Electric Ceramic – The more classic of the electric fuel types. It is a cheaper option than having an induction hob. They provide a sleek finish to the cooker while also being easy to clean and easy to use.
Electric Induction – Both the oven and the hob will be electric based with the hob being an induction hob. Induction hobs work by heating the pan directly instead of the hob top. As this is the case you will need to buy a set of induction specific pan sets as the technology needed to do this is not available when using a normal pan. This is the most modern fuel type and is gaining popularity due to it's efficiency, speed and also its safety benefits.
If your home isn't equipped with a mains gas line then you would either have to go for an electric cooker or alternatively narrow your search down to a cooker which can be converted to LPG.
Size Matters - Especially When Buying A Range Cooker
One factor that you may not have any control over depending on your kitchen design is how much space you have available to accommodate the range cooker. In general range cookers come in 3 sizes, 90cm, 100cm and 110cm. It is possible to find larger ranges than these if required such as the 4-Oven Aga or Lacanche models which you can custom build with sizes going up to just over 220cm wide. These extra large cookers are generally not going to be needed for the domestic kitchen but should it be required the option is always available.
When your checking for the space you have available to fit the range cooker it is vital to remember that as well as the space needed for the appliance, you will also need to leave additional space either side of the appliance. This can very from manufacturer to manufacturer so will always be best to check with them directly once you have chosen a manufacturer and they will be able to confirm the space required. For example, Britannia recommend a gap of 2.5mm either side.
Another key factor in the size to be sure about is the depth. The majority of range cookers are 60cm deep but there are models available which are shallower or deeper. As this is the case it's vital for you to check not only the depth which you have available in your kitchen but also the depth of the appliance being considered.
Range Cooker Design - The Importance Of Style
Once you've thought about both the fuel type which you want to use and the size available you'll want to start looking around and narrowing down your options. The best way to further narrow down your choices is to look in to the design of various models and see what type of layout you want to proceed with.
2 easy ways to do this are to first decide if you would prefer a more modern or traditional style and also what oven layout you would prefer. An example of more modern range cookers are the Britannia Delphi range and a more classic design can be seen in the Britannia Fleet range. Depending on the manufacturer and range the oven layout can vary hugely from one model to the next. Generally with a range cooker you will find it will have 2 ovens (sometimes with an additional storage drawer or grill and sometimes just the 2 ovens alone) but it is also possible to find some models, such as the Bertazzoni A905MFEXE, which just has one massive oven cavity.
If you have looked around and you can't find a model that jumps out to you as the perfect cooker for your kitchen, then a good place to look would be Lacanche. With a Lacanche cooker you are able to custom build your range cooker specifying the size, over layout, hob layout, fuel type, colour and trim. This will let you build exactly what you need and want, but as the cookers are all custom built to your specifications, they can be quite costly.
In addition to doing research online, there's quite a few additional resources that are available to help you make your choice in cooker:
Brochure Request – If viewing page after page online of cookers isn't your preferred method of research you can contact the manufacturer directly and ask them to provide you a brochure of their current products. These brochures will show you the products with the full specifications and a clear picture of the appliance. If this is how you would rather do your research then the manufacturer will be happy to get one sent out free of charge.
Colour Swatches – Seeing a picture of a range cookers colour online is great to give you an idea of what it would look like, but this won't show you exactly how it will look in your kitchen. Once you have made a choice on manufacturer and colour you will be able to contact the manufacturer directly and ask for a colour swatch. As they are aware that ranges are a big investment they will be happy to send out the swatch free of charge so you can make sure that the colour will fit in with the rest of your kitchens colour scheme.
Store Locator – Most of the manufacturers have a dealer/store locator on their website which you can use to find a local showroom to yourself. This will allow you to find a store close to you which you can contact to see if they have the model your interested in in stock. If they do we suggest viewing the appliance before buying it and that way you can test certain things out on it such as the durability of the doors and knobs.
Rangemaster Selector App – This is a Rangemaster specific tip, but if your looking to buy a Rangemaster Range cooker they have a mobile app available that asks you questions and then suggests possible cookers based on your answers. It is available on both Android and IOS.
Once all of the above have been considered and looked in to you should be left with a fairly small and specific list of range cookers that can fit your requirements. At the end of the day though, no matter which one you choose chances are you'll satisfied with your choice and will have a range cooker to last many years to come.