Whether you use your cooker for everyday family meals, large-scale entertaining on a regular basis or you just like trying new recipes and techniques, a range cooker will cope easily with all manner of culinary tasks.
However, a range cooker is a serious investment. Not only are they generally more expensive than a standard oven, they’re far larger and heavier, so you want to be sure you find the model for you. Here’s what you need to think about before you take the plunge, according to industry experts:
Range cookers can seem dauntingly huge if you’ve not had one before, but if you can afford it and you have the room, don’t be put off by their size.
‘There are benefits to going bigger,’ says Maurizio Severgnini, managing director at Bertazzoni UK and Ireland.
‘You’ll get more oven capacity and burners, perfect for those who are serious about cooking,’
Take your pick from all-gas, all-electric, dual-fuel and induction options, as well as cookers that can run off LPG or oil where there’s no mains gas supply. Some designs also incorporate extra features, such as a wood-fired oven or a condensing boiler to heat your radiators and hot water.
‘Electric or dual-fuel range cookers tend to offer a smaller carbon footprint than gas cookers, but always check the energy ratings,’ advises Lucy Dunstan, product manager for Smeg UK.
You’ll also want to take a close look at the various extra functions that come with each model, which can bring a host of benefits. ‘Induction cookers are a great option for families, thanks to a host of safety options including a pan-detection feature, which means that when the hob is on but no pan is detected, it will automatically switch off, eliminating panicked ‘have I left the hob on?’ moments,’ says Emma Cowley, Brand and Digital Marketing Manager at Rangemaster. ‘You can also activate a child-lock feature when the hob isn’t in use.’
And while a range cooker might be an iconic symbol of a traditional English country kitchen, modern designs often incorporate far more exotic options. ‘Proving drawers, teppan yaki griddles and wok cradles on many range cookers means that world cuisines are more accessible to the average family,’ says Cowley.
Words by Hayley Gilbert