Cooker buying guide

We'll run through the different types of cooker to help you pick out the features that best suit your kitchen and your cooking style.

Cooker buying guide.

Firstly, what's the difference between a cooker and an oven?

A cooker is a freestanding, all-in-one unit that contains at least one oven and a hob. It stands on the floor, and in most kitchens will slot into a gap between your units and counter. They range in size, but can be a great compact solution for smaller spaces - especially if you like to have all your 'cooking stations' kept together.

 

An oven refers to just the appliance used for roasting and baking, which can be bought and installed separately from a hob. If you want to create an integrated look, where your oven is fitted  into your kitchen units, this is the way to go. You also have the option of installing your oven at eye level (a great solution if you can't bend easily) and in a separate area to your hob if that suits your kitchen design.  

 

More interested in a built-in oven? Explore our range

Fuel type

There are three fuel types available - your choice will be largely dependent on what the current fuel supply is in your kitchen, as the easiest option is to purchase a like-for-like type. However, if you're changing your fuel supply as part of a kitchen redesign, here's an overview of the function and features of the three fuel types available.

Electric cookers

A popular choice, especially in modern kitchens, these tend to offer fast cooking times, even cooking results and are easy to clean, but usually cost more to run vs gas hobs.

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The details:

 

Electric ovens

Entry level electric cookers will usually contain one conventional or fan oven and possibly a grill. You can also get cookers that include two ovens which give you the freedom to cook dishes at different temperatures at the same time.

 

Electric hobs

You'll see three terms when looking at electric hobs; sealed plate, ceramic and induction.

  • Sealed plate hobs are slightly raised black plates that usually feature on lower price cookers. They work with any type of pot or pan.
  • Ceramic hobs come on most mid-range models. They are completely flat and quicker to heat up vs sealed plate hobs. You just need to avoid pans that have a copper or aluminium base when using them.
  • Induction hobs often sit at the top end in cooker ranges, and are the fastest to heat up and give you more features and temperature control. The way they heat up also means they're more energy efficient vs alternative electric and gas hobs - you'll just need to stick to stainless steel or cast iron pans.

Why they're great:

 

  • Sleek finish -  Models with  ceramic and induction hobs look great in contemporary kitchens.
  • Even cooking - Fan assisted ovens which create a more even oven temperature, making it easy to get consistent cooking results. This is especially useful if you do a lot of baking.
  • Easy-to-clean hobs - Electric ceramic and induction hobs are flat so it's really quick to wipe clean.
  • Intelligent features - Higher end models come with smart functionality like electronic controls and meat thermometers.

 

Consider:

 

  • More expensive - Electric cookers are typically more of an investment vs gas cookers as they cost slightly more to run.
  • Hob stays warm - Ceramic and sealed plate hobs take a while to cool down after they've been turned off, which can be a safety hazard if you have pets or kids. Induction hobs don't hold onto their heat as much.

Top rated electric cookers

Gas cookers

The traditional cooker type, these are known for their hob heat control and cheap running costs, making them a popular choice for pro chefs and entry level users alike.

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The details:

 

Gas ovens

Both single oven and double oven gas cookers are available, usually featuring a grill or grilling function too. Unlike electric models, gas ovens don't usually have fans to circulate the heat around the oven. As heat naturally rises, this means the top of your oven will get hotter than the bottom. Some people prefer this as you can cook dishes at different temperatures even in a single oven - but it can make precise cooking (like baking) more challenging.

 

Gas hobs

These have a traditional look with a pan frame support that sits over the burners. They provide instant heat as soon as you turn on, compared to electric hobs which take a little longer to heat up, and you can easily control the heat by turning down the flame.  Any style of pan can be used on a gas hob.

Why they're great:

 

  • Instant hob heat - Unlike electric hobs, you don't have to wait for them to heat up, so you'll be able to quickly start frying and bring water to a simmering point.
  • Less expensive to run - Gas is cheaper than electricity, which will make help cut your fuel costs.

 

Consider: 

 

  • Difficult to clean - The frame support makes gas hobs more difficult to clean vs smooth electric hobs.
  • Professionally installed - You'll need to factor in the cost of fitting, as all gas cookers must be installed by an engineer that's registered to do so. We offer this service for gas and electric cookers. 
  • Uneven oven temperature - It's not necessarily a con, as some people like having variable temperature, but you'll need to be aware of this when positioning dishes in the oven.

Top rated gas cookers

Dual fuel cookers

Dual fuel cookers always feature a gas hob and electric ovens. This gives you what many consider the best features of the two single-fuel cooker types; the even temperature control of an electric oven, and the precise, instant heat of a gas hob.

 

Entry level models are around £100 more expensive than entry level gas or electric-only models, and as they feature gas, they'll need to be installed by an appropriately certified engineer.

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What is a range cooker?

Range cookers refer to a style that is usually wider than standard cookers (typically between 90-110cm), and feature multiple oven cavities and hobs. They're available for all fuel types, and their size and capabilities make them a great choice for larger families. Often they are associated with farmhouse kitchens, as many have a traditional, stove styling - but modern finishes are also available which suit contemporary kitchens.

Why they're great:

 

Aside from the fuel-type dependent features mentioned above, the main appeal of a range cooker over a standard cooker has to be their size. Typically a range cooker will come with two ovens, a separate grill and between 5 to 8 hob rings. The extra width means they'll usually feature a taller oven with a large capacity, some with room to cook up to 8 pizzas at once. Many also come with a warming drawer (ideal for proving bread) or built-in storage.

 

Consider: 

They take up more room than a standard oven. Of course, with that extra width you're getting a lot more oven space and hobs, but if space saving is a priority, it would be worth looking at conventional cookers.

 

If you like the look of a traditional range cooker but don't have the room for one, you can get standard sized cookers that have the farmhouse styling often associated with range cookers. 

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Size & capacity

Cooker sizes generally have a standardised depth of 60cm, and height of 90cm - which means they'll sit neatly alongside most kitchen units. You have a choice of widths to choose from depending on the space you have available in your kitchen, and how much oven and hob space you require for cooking.

Standard cookers

Width: 55-60cm

 

Oven capacity: Single oven options will usually have a capacity of between 50-65 litres. If the model has a second oven or grill it usually has a capacity of 30-35 litres.

 

Hob: Usually 2 large and 2 small hob rings or plates.

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Slimline cookers

Width: 46-50cm

 

Oven capacity:  Single oven option usually has a capacity between 35-50 litres, with a second oven or grill usually having a capacity of 30 litres.

 

Hob: Usually 4 hob rings or plates that are slightly smaller than on a standard cooker. 

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Range cookers

Width: 90-110cm

 

Oven capacity: These usually come with two large ovens, each with roughly 60 litre capacities, plus a separate grill. Some models may feature one large oven with a capacity of over 100 litres.

 

Hob: Between 5-10 suitable for a variety of pan sizes. There may be a griddle also.

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What capacity do I need?

Most brands measure capacity in litres, and the bigger your ovens are, the more flexibility you'll have to cook several dishes at once. If you're cooking for a family, we'd recommend choosing a model that has a main oven with at least a 60 litre capacity.

Useful features

Easy cleaning

At a minimum, cookers with easy-clean enamel make wiping away grease easier. Some cookers come with catalytic liners on the side of the oven which absorb fat splashes and burn them off during high temperature cooking (so you don't need to scrape more stubborn dirt) . A pyrolytic function may be available on some high-end models. This is a programme that burns off any grease, so you just have to wipe way the ash.

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Multi-function oven

Some range cookers or more expensive standard ovens may feature multi-function ovens.  Compared to conventional and fan ovens where you can just control the temperature and possibly turn on a grilling option, multi-function ovens offer up to 8 pre-set cooking programmes. This includes controlling what part of the oven heat up and functions such as a slow-cook defrost and 'warming' settings, which will keep your food at an even temperature until you are ready to serve.

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Grill

If you do a lot of grilling, you may consider a cooker with a separate grill cavity. Simple grills will stay at a set temperature, and you control the heat by moving the dish closer to the grill. Variable grills let you set the temperature depending on what you're cooking.

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Programmable timer

Apart from some basic models, most cookers will come with a timer, even if this is just a minute minder to alert you when your cooking time is up. Higher end models come with a programmable timer which can be set to turn your oven on and off - so you can have dinner cooking while you're on your way home from work.

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Top brands

Installation & recycling

We offer an installation service on a select range of cookers, and can also disconnect and recycle your old cooker all in one go. Find general information about our installation service here, or read through some of our FAQs.

Do you install all cooker types?

We offer this installation by a qualified technician on selected electric, gas, dual fuel and range cookers. Please note that we can only connect gas cookers where there’s a supply of natural gas (as opposed to calor gas).

How do I know if a cooker comes with installation?

You'll find any installation and recycling options applicable to the cooker you're interested in on the product page of your chosen cooker. You'll also find how much the service will cost for that specific appliance.

Do I have to have the appliance installed?

We provide the service to make delivery, installation and removal of your old cooker as easy for you as possible, but you can just have your cooker. Remember that any gas or duel fuel cooker must be installed by a Gas Safe certified technician.

Do I need to prepare anything before delivery and installation?

You are in safe hands with our installation service, but we need you to do a little groundwork before we start;

 

  • Check that you have an existing electric or gas supply where you would like your cooker installed.
  • Ensure there's a power point within 1m of where the cooker will be installed (remember a gas cooker still requires an electricity supply).
  • We'll need access to your gas and/or electric meters and fuse box, so make sure you have access to these.
  • Make sure there are no electric sockets or flammable items in the 'splashback' or 'hot zone' area directly above where the cooker will be installed.
  • Make sure there's clear access to the area where we'll be installing your cooker - especially if there are stairs involved as we'll need room to manoeuvre.

Why buy at Argos?