“Whether you’re completely refitting your kitchen or simply replacing an old cooker, selecting the right range cooker for your needs can be really daunting,” says Andrew Longfield, Director at Rangecookers.co.uk: “There are such a wide variety of styles available, not to mention fuel types and features from rotisseries to frytops. We help our customers find the perfect match by asking them the five questions that anyone buying a range cooker should ask.”
What is my budget and what will it buy?
Range cookers are a more accessible purchase than people sometimes believe, but the price scale varies dramatically. From an entry-level model such as a Flavel, starting from around £600, up to a range from renowned French manufacturer Lacanche, starting at no less than £12000, there is really no limit to what you can spend. That’s why it’s important to decide at the start how much you want to spend and decide if you are looking for an entry level (£600 – £1500), mid level (£1200 – £2000) or high end (£2500 and above) model, so you can ensure you get the very best for your budget.
Good entry-level brands perfect for normal domestic cooking include New World, Indesit and Flavel, while a step up to the lower rungs of the mid level price bracket includes well-known brands such as Stoves and Range. A slight increase in budget introduces Britannia, Rangecookers and Falcon into the mix, bridging the gap between domestic and professional or commercial cooking.
In the upper mid-level ranges build quality steps up a notch, with heavier control knobs and more rugged pan supports, designed for heavier use. At the most expensive end of the price range you’ll find premium brands like Lacanche, which are often built by hand from the finest quality materials and offer equivalent cooking power and similar features to commercial cookers.
Delivery is always free to mainland UK, while installation (where available) is at extra cost, so you will need to factor that into your budget too!
Is your style traditional or contemporary?
Generally and stylistically speaking, range cookers are either traditional or contemporary, so knowing which style best suits your needs is an excellent starting point.
Traditional range cookers tend to feature lustrous enamel, arched bakers oven style windows and sturdy iron pan supports that complement country or farmhouse style, while contemporary ranges are more sleek, feature full glass oven doors and combine clean architectural lines with high gloss enamel or deep stainless finishes.
What size cooker do I need?
This question can be considered from a physical space point of view, or a more cooking-related perspective, based on how many people you cook for and what kind of food you tend to prefer.
If you’re replacing an existing range cooker, or are working to a pre-designated space in your new kitchen, then size will play an important part in your cooker choice. Standard nominal range cooker sizes are 90cm, 100cm and 110cm, with a limited number of models available in narrower and wider sizes. A point of note is that generally the nominal width refers to the space that the cooker is going to fit into – the actual cooker is usually slightly narrower to facilitate ease of fitting.
If you’re not working to a set space, the main limitation will be the way you want to use your cooker. You may cook for two only, but want your range to be the centrepiece of your kitchen, so you opt for a large, imposing model, or maybe you love cooking Asian food, so you opt for a range that comes with a sturdy wok ring. The choice is yours.
What fuel type do I need?
In addition to deciding on the size and style of your range, you will also need to decide on a fuel type. Range cookers are available in all gas, all electric or dual fuel.
All gas, as the name suggests, are powered by mains gas or in the case of a small number of models, log (bottled) gas.
All electric cookers combine electric ovens with either ceramic hobs, or increasingly more efficient and safe induction hobs.
Although more efficient than gas, electric cookers require a larger electrical feed – up to 60amps for induction models.
Dual fuel cookers combine electric ovens with the power and controllability of gas burners, and are the most popular choice largely due to the ‘best of both worlds’ combination.
Cooking style plays a large part in fuel type choice – gas cookers are usually the choice of traditionally skilled, old school cooks and require greater involvement in the cooking process, whereas electric cookers offer greater efficiency and convenience.
Another important factor to consider is availability of mains power. Some rural areas don’t benefit from a mains gas supply so will be limited to all electric cookers or utilising log gas in place of mains gas. Conversely, there are occasions whereby a large enough electrical supply isn’t available, making gas cooking the only option.
What and when will I be cooking on my range?
Range cookers offer varying cooking features depending on the brand and specific model. Some are certainly worth paying extra for, whereas others are just nice to have if the model you like comes with them
Multifunction ovens are extremely useful and allow the user to select the way in which the oven cooks the food – fanned, conventional, top or bottom heat etc. depending on the dish being cooked. Multifunction ovens are found on an increasing number of mid to high-end range cookers and offer a greater level of versatility than static or conventional ovens
A pyrolytic cleaning function, although expensive and hard to find on most models, really will take the work out of oven cleaning by heating the cavity up to a high temperature and burning the residue off the oven liners, leaving a pile of ash to be swept out.
Telescopic shelves are useful but not essential, and Rangemaster’s Handyrack is worthy of mention – a shelf fitted to the inside of the oven door in such a way that brings the food out when the door is opened – nifty, but not essential.
Ethos 120 Deluxe – movable telescopic shelf in main oven
Britannia Delphi 120 – telescopic shelf in main oven
Stoves Richmond 1000ei – telescopic shelf in main oven and in smaller cavity top left
When choosing your range it is worth considering if you really will use the features offered as usually more features equate to higher cost.
Do I know what this range cooker will look AND feel like?
You can see most range cookers available online on myriad websites, but there is no substitute for getting to grips with various models. A range that looks stunning online could feel flimsy and tinny, falling far short of your expectations for your investment. Make sure you see models in person and compare against different manufacturers to get an idea of build quality and finish. The Rangecookers.co.uk showroom in Chester is the perfect place to do this as we display 31 range cookers from 13 brands, you can also call our team for expert advice and an objective opinion on 01244 402 975.
Article by Andrew Longfield, Director at Rangecookers.co.uk