Whether you need a new cooker to replace your old one or you simply want an upgrade, finding the right one for you can be a challenging task. There are a number of points that you need to consider when buying a new cooker, such as your fuel supply, the type of cooker that you want, the features that you need, the size and the installation process – which is why we have created this guide. With our Buyer's Guide finding the perfect cooker for your kitchen is easy.
To find the perfect cooker you must first find out what fuels are available in your house. There are four types of fuel that cookers can run on: gas (natural gas and LPG), electric, solid fuel and oil.
If you previously had an electric cooker then choosing a new one that also runs on electricity may be easier for you, although it isn’t essential. Electric Cookers are essential in areas with no gas mains. Electric cookers need to be within reach of a suitable power socket and should be installed by a qualified electrician. You should also check your electric supply when buying an electric cooker as different cookers, such as induction or ceramic may need a different electric supply.
Originally cookers ran on solid fuel like coal and wood, some cookers still run on coal, although the cooker needs to be fed regularly with fuel. Wood is more environmentally friendly and carbon neutral when it burns and is ideal for locations with an unreliable power supply. Although coal and wood can be high maintenance, if you have an unlimited supply of wood then it can be a cost free way to cook.
Oil works well because it can fuel a cooker, central heating and a hot water boiler. Often it is cheaper to invest in a big oil tank rather than fill up smaller tanks throughout the year, although running a cooker on oil can still be expensive because of the price increase in oil. The tank needs to be adjacent to the home to fuel the cooker and boiler. It is important to fill your oil tank up regularly so that you do not run out of oil.
Choosing your cooker
The type of grill will vary with the cooker you choose and can be electric or gas, there are three main types of grill to choose from: fixed, variable and twin grills.
Fixed - This type of grill allows you to move the food on the grill higher or lower to control the cooking; the cooking element is normally situated at the top of the oven.
Variable – This grill allows you to control the cooking temperature depending on what you are cooking, so that you can start off with a high heat and then reduce it until the food is cooked.
Dual circuit – This grill gives you the option of using the full width of the grill or just half of the grill. The half grill option allows you to cook a small meal or snack without wasting energy by heating up the full grill.
If you tend to grill and cook at the same time then you may want a single oven with a separate grill compartment or a double oven as this will allow you to grill, cook or bake at the same time. Fan grilling is usually done in the oven with the door closed and is ideal for cooking items like large pork chops or salmon steaks.
Most cookers come with a timer and a digital clock so that you can time how long your delicious food should be cooked for. There are two types of timers:
Minute minder – You set the cooking time needed and then once the set time is up an alarm will go off to remind you that your food is cooked – simple!
Programmable oven – This timer allows you to set the start and end time for your cooking so if you’re at work but your food needs two hours to cook, your auto timer will start the cooking process so that it’s ready for you when you get in.
Timers are a great feature for a cooker if you are busy and need reminding to check the oven. Thanks to timers, cooking is made simpler.
It is a legal requirement that all hobs are manufactured with an FSD installed. However, it’s still important that you double check with your retailer as you should not be able to buy a hob without an FSD, even if it’s just for the home.
An FSD cuts of the gas supply if the flame goes out to prevent a gas leak.
The air in your kitchen needs to be filtered because of the moisture and odours caused by cooking - this is done by extracting and recirculating hoods.
Cooker hoods are available in different sizes and styles so you can choose one that fits your cooker and suits your kitchen.
Extraction hoods are often the preferred choice as they remove the grease and contaminated odours through a filter and vent it outside. However, you are only able to have an extraction hood if you have an outside wall.
Recirculation hoods work in the same way as extraction hoods except the air is neutralised through filters which can be cleaned or replaced and then the clean air is passed back into the kitchen. Recirculation hoods can be installed anywhere.
Before you decide on your cooker hood you should check that it fits your cooker – the bottom of the hood should be 75cm above the hob and a good cooker hood should change the air in your kitchen 12 times in an hour.
These are the most common and affordable, they are also ideal for small kitchens.
This hood has an extended section.
This type of hood can be integrated into the wall or ceiling and does not take up much room.
This type of hood is normally hidden behind a cupboard door so that it blends into the style of your kitchen, usually part of a fitted kitchen.
Extend down from the ceiling but they still need a lot of space.
If you have a free standing cooker in the middle of your kitchen then you’ll need an island hood as they hang from the ceiling.
The type of cooker that you can buy will depend on the size and style of your kitchen. If you have a small kitchen in a flat then a large cooker may not be the best option, however if you’ve got a large kitchen and you’re a keen cook, a large centrepiece cooker may be the right one for you. It all depends on how much space you have. Before you start to look for your new cooker you should measure the space of where it will live, remember to leave enough space between the cooker and counter top and also enough space for the cooker door to open.
While you want a cooker that will cook the best food, it is also important to try and be as energy efficient as possible to help save our planet. Cookers are graded A-G with A being the most efficient. Only ovens with C rating are available, anything over that is illegal so be sure to check, and look for A graded cookers if you can. Being energy efficient will not only help our planet but it will also help you save money on your fuel bills.
To ensure that your new cooker lasts as long as possible and looks brand new for a long time, it’s essential to keep it well maintained. Some cookers come equipped with self-cleaning ovens such as catalytic liners which clean the oven when it is at a high temperature and pyrolytic cleaning which clean the whole inside of the oven at 500 degrees – turning any dirt to ash that you can sweep away. Make an effort to clean your hob and oven regularly so that grime does not build up.
Use cleaning products sparingly as they contain chemicals that can be corrosive and always wipe any residue away with a damp cloth. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Always ensure that you get qualified professionals to install your cooking appliances. Gas cookers should be installed by a gas safe registered engineer and electric cookers should be installed by a qualified electrician.
Some manufacturers offer to take your old cooker away when you buy a new one so make use of this service to help the environment. Never dispose of your appliances in the street.