Are you looking for a reliable cooking system that you can fall back on for tasty meals for years to come? This Range Cooker Guide will support your research and buying decisions giving you confidence to buy the right range for you.
Think about all the different meals you are likely to make. You’ll need an oven, hobs, and more – but what type of hobs? Gas hobs? Induction hobs? What’s more, should you be looking for gas ovens or electric ovens?
Range cookers will likely appeal to you if you’re looking for a good all in one unit. Is it called a range cooker because it gives you a full range of options? We’re not sure, but it’s pretty academic – a range is going to give you access to all kinds of tasty treats, and the best units on the market will make dinners, lunches and more an absolute doddle.
In this guide, we will look at different types of fuel, little extras, and more besides. Before you go ahead and start making any offers on range cookers, do read this full guide and check out our buying guides, too, for more of a breakdown on what to expect.
What is a Range Cooker?
A range cooker combines an oven and hob into one freestanding appliance, but unlike standard cookers, they’re much bigger with a much larger capacity and several individual cavities. Therefore, they tend to be great choices for bigger families or for kitchens that need as much space and support as possible.
They are great for anyone who wants an impactful, yet traditional, kitchen design. Most commonly found in country kitchens over the years, there is now a huge variation in sizes and styles so you can find one that genuinely benefits your unique kitchen look and style.
As mentioned, range cookers tend to cover the whole ‘range’. You get hobs, oven cavities, even a hood – meaning that you’re investing in a real cooking powerhouse that will free stand easily in your kitchen.
Range Cooker Fuel Types
Range cookers are available as single fuel types or multiple, using a different power supply for different functions. You’ll find that there are electric range cookers in the main, as well as dual fuel range cookers, but you can also invest in gas ranges if you prefer maximum precision over everyday convenience.
Not sure what’s going to work best for you? Unsure whether or not an induction hob is going to be worth the money? Keep reading and we will run through all of it with you.
Electric Range Cookers
These range cookers are perhaps not the most popular choice, but offer the most modern feel. Electric Range Cookers feature both electric ovens and hobs, with the hob type usually being either ceramic or induction. Induction hobs tend to be popular with those kitchen owners who are looking for the most efficient experience, as there are some which are fancy enough to pick up whether or not they have pots or pans placed overhead!
While they may not have the most traditional look, they’re great for anyone who wants the convenience of more space or a bold statement without having to let go of the electric they’re comfortable with. What’s more, they tend to be the safest range cookers around, as there’s no risk of any gas escaping. Gas is great at what it does, but you’re always going to need to be extra careful.
- Uses the most modern and user-friendly fuel
- More likely to be easy to fit in newer kitchens as some don’t have gas
- A more modern look
- Because they look more modern, you may miss the traditional look
- Some functions may not be available, such as the ability to heat your room with the remaining heat
- Fewer accessories available for electric-topped ranges
Gas Range Cookers
These use gas for both the oven heating and the hob. Gas Range Cookers are technically the original form of range cooker, found in older houses as they’d still work without any electricity supply or during a power cut.
You either love working with a gas cooker or hate it. They have their cons, such as difficulty getting an even heat or the risk of it going out, but they benefit from the lowest overall running costs.
Therefore, if you really prefer to go the fully traditional route, there’s certainly nothing stopping you going for gas. However, gas ovens and range cookers are generally pretty tricky to use, and as mentioned, they can carry safety risks. Thankfully, modern oven systems and oven cavities built into gas cookers are safer now than they have ever been. Gas hobs, too, are safer than ever to work with, with many cookers giving you flame failure and gas safety features.
Do also keep in mind that unlike those electric cookers offering induction hobs or catalytic liners, a gas range is potentially going to be pretty tough to clean. Plus – cooking times may vary!
- The most traditional option
- Many can be left on low heats when not in use, to warm the kitchen or dry clothes/plates
- Gas is cheaper than electricity so it may be more budget-friendly to run
- More accessories available for gas-top ranges than electric
- Can be tricky to work
- Gas often doesn’t heat as evenly in a chamber than electricity, so there could be issues with food results
Dual Fuel Range Cookers
As the name suggests, Dual Fuel Range Cookers use both forms of fuel above to get the job done. This often means a gas hob and electric ovens.
They’re currently the most common range cooker type on the market, so you will have more choice. You can benefit from instant gas hob cooking and uniform, reliable oven cooking in one unit.
If you’re really on the fence about whether or not you want an efficient gas cooker with speedy cooking times, or a dependable electric cooker system built in stainless steel, dual fuel oven and cooker systems will really give you the best of both worlds. However, again, as there is gas involved, dual fuel options can carry safety risks. Just be careful!
- Best fuel for both tasks
- More gas-friendly hob accessories around
- Still benefits from traditional look
- Requires two forms of power supply which may not be appropriate for some kitchens
Range Cooker Sizes
Range cookers are generally available in three widths – 90cm, 100cm and 110cm. There are some around which are a bit shorter than this, and some a bit larger, so always have a good look around and ensure you make the most of the space available in your kitchen.
Another issue you have to consider is how many cooking chambers the range has. This can vary from one or two up to four, so think about how you manage your current mealtimes with what you have. If another chamber would come in handy, or you’d like a separate grill, look for more cavities and ensure they’re all still good sizes.
Some range cooker models are height adjustable too, so can be lifted further off the ground if you’d prefer. This can be for cleaning purposes, or if you have an old stone flooring that is a bit uneven.
Range Cooker Extras
Range cookers come with a whole host of benefits and extra functions in comparison to ordinary cookers or ovens.
Here are some things you may want to look out for:
Range Cooker Warming Drawers
If a range cooker has four cavities, there is a good chance one is a storage or warming drawer. This will be the perfect place to keep all of your baking sheets and trays when not in use, or to keep plates and pre-cooked food warm before serving. If you’re a budding baker, you can of course use these areas to help prove your baking before moving to the next stage!
Range Cooker Covers
Also known as lids, these are fold-down covers for your hob area, which protect the hob when not in use but also keep your family safe and can prevent accidental switch on.
Range Cooker Hob Supports
Depending on the hob system you choose, you may find that some support pots and pans with cast iron fittings, while others will actively magnetise to specific utensils. This choice really will differ from user to user, meaning there’s no real right choice here. Choose a cast-iron option if you want to keep things safe and steady.
Range Cooker Splashback
Not an ‘extra’ found on the range cooker as such, but something you may want to consider as an additional purchase. We have reviewed many range cooker-suitable splashbacks here. Splashbacks, as their names suggest, help to keep your walls clean – as even though your cooker might be easy to clean, if you’re likely to create an explosive mess, you’re going to need something protecting that backspace!
Range Cooker Accessories
From a HandyRack which clips onto the door for easy accessibility, to Chef Top’s and Griddle Pans, to bread proving drawers and even clothes drying racks, there are a host of added extras available for range cookers. Check what is available before you buy.
Range Cooker Hood Options
As mentioned briefly above, some range cookers come with hoods built on. You can also buy them separately if you wish. A cooker hood isn’t essential for any kind of oven or cooker, however, you may well find that your range cooker benefits from overhead lighting, as well as smoke and grease extraction from a fan. Whether you are likely to create smoky dishes on the hobs or in the oven cavities, always make a point of considering range hoods at the very least!
Range Cooker Guide – Conculsion
When shopping for any kind of oven or cooker – in this case, we’re focusing on ranges – there are always going to be a few commonalities you will need to compare and contrast between. Here’s a few points to consider – and questions to ask yourself when you are in the process of fine-tuning your buying decision.
- Is the range cooker easy to clean? Does it have a pyrolytic or self cleaning oven? Is it made in stainless steel?
- What are cooking times like? Does it have power boosters or an induction hob to help improve cooking times?
- Will you have enough space in the oven cavities to cook what you want?
- Can you easily fit your range in your kitchen? Does the look blend in with your interior design?
- Does the cooker have a guarantee and/or a warranty in place?
- How many burners/ cooking zones will you need for your hob?
- Is the oven fan assisted? Or, is it a fan oven cavity outright? This will help make for speedier cooking.
- Do you need an expert to install your cooker and/or oven? This is likely to be essential if you are installing a gas or dual fuel option.
- Is your cooker easy to customise? Are there accessories and enhancements you can buy and install to improve your cooking times and general experience?
- Is the manufacturer well-rated and reviewed? Is this a brand you can trust, or is it one you have at least heard of?
Ultimately, the best range for you is not necessarily going to be the one with all the fanciest bells and whistles! Make a point of narrowing down the essentials you absolutely demand from your system, and do take a look at what others have to say about the systems you are keeping an eye on.
Again – Which Kitchen Appliance is here to help! Take a look at our buying guides for access to the buzz on the best systems and kitchen assets online for you to buy right now: