Cooker Buying Guide
There are lots of important considerations when buying a new cooker, from the fuel type and capacity to the oven and hob types. This cooker buying guide takes you through each step to help you find a new appliance that suits your needs and complements your style.
Over the course of this guide, we’ll look at:
- What is the difference between a cooker and an oven?
- Fuel type
- Single, double, and grill cookers
- Oven type
- Hob type
- Cooker sizes
- Features to consider
- Cooker energy ratings
- Picking your colour
- Cooker brands
- Cooker FAQs
What is the difference between a cooker and an oven?
A cooker is a freestanding appliance with a hob and an oven, whereas an oven is integrated or built into the kitchen units and doesn’t come with a hob. Cookers usually have a hob on top and an oven beneath this, catering for all your cooking requirements with just one appliance.
You’ll find cookers in a range of different sizes. These appliances can be powered by gas, electric, or dual fuel, and there are many different oven and grill type combinations to choose from.
As you shop for your new cooker, the first decision to make is the fuel type: gas, electric, or dual fuel? Below we explore the features of these three fuel types.
Electric cookers are the most popular choice for modern kitchens and cooks. Most models use fan-assisted cooking to distribute the heat and cook food evenly. You can choose to combine your electric cooker with a range of different hob types like ceramic, induction or solid plate (more on these below).
Gas cookers are usually preferred by chefs and foodies because the hob provides instant heat and precise temperature control. The oven in a gas cooker heats up to the right temperature quickly for convenient cooking in no time at all. Running costs are usually cheaper with gas than with other fuel types.
A dual fuel cooker combines the best elements of the other two fuel types. The gas hob on top offers instant heat and precise temperature control, whilst the electric oven component of the appliance helps to ensure that your meals are evenly cooked by using fan-assisted technology to distribute heat.
Single, double, and grill cookers
Whichever fuel type you go for, you’ll find different capacities and oven cavities to pick from, including single, double, and grill cookers. Base your decision on how many people you usually cook for, the types of meals you make, and the available space in your kitchen.
Single cookers offer just one oven cavity, but often combine both an oven and a grill. There are a range of capacities to choose from with single cookers, starting at small 40-litre models and going right up to 115 litres. You’ll find gas, electric, and dual fuel single cookers.
A grill cooker has two cavities: the oven is positioned at the bottom with the grill on top. There are several different capacity options with this type of cooker – the oven cavity usually ranges from 60-70 litres whilst the grill is typically 25-35 litres. The grill component offers consistent and precise heating using a variable temperature control to heat food evenly.
A double cooker has two separate oven cavities. Typically, the top oven will range in size from 35 litres to 60 litres and can also be used as a grill. The main bottom ovens start at around 50 litres but can be as large as 75 litres. Double cookers are a great choice if you have a growing family or tend to cook adventurous meals more regularly.
Once you know which fuel type and capacity you’re after, the next step is to think about cooking functionalities you’d like the oven(s) to have such as fan-assisted technology. There are a wide variety of oven types to choose from, each of which offers different cooking capabilities.
Fan oven cookers
Fan-assisted ovens distribute evenly around the to help your meals cook evenly. Many modern electric cookers now offer this useful functionality as standard.
Conventional heating cookers
Conventional cookers use two separate heating elements at the bottom and top of the oven. With different temperature zones, they can cook multiple food types at once.
A cooker with a grill functionality is ideal for grilling and crisping up meals. You can either heat all or just half of the grill oven depending on how you’d like to cook.
Fan cookers with grills
Cookers with both fan-assisted and grill ovens are ideal for versatile cooking. The lower fan oven cooks food evenly and you still have the option of grilling food on top when required.
You have several different hob types to choose from with electric cookers:
Many electric cookers come with a ceramic hob. The smooth ceramic glass makes these hobs easy to cook with and wipe clean. This style of hob also offers a sleek and tidy finish.
Induction hobs are stylish, safe, and energy-efficient. They heat the pan directly using electromagnetic induction, so you will need to use special induction hob saucepans.
Gas hobs allow you close control over the temperature of the flame for precision cooking. You’ll also find that the running costs are typically lower with gas than with other fuel types.
Solid plate hob
Solid plate hobs heat your pan using electric heating elements. They offer even cooking temperatures, but take longer to heat up and cool down than other hob types.
All cookers have roughly the same heights and depths at around 90cm tall and 60cm deep. These standardised cooker sizes ensure that your new appliance will fit in neatly with standard kitchen cabinets, and also make it simpler to replace an old one.
There are three different widths to choose from when it comes to the size of your new cooker. Most cookers are 60cm wide. There are also more compact 50cm and 55cm options available if you want to save space.
How to measure for a new cooker
It’s important to make sure your new appliance will fit snugly into your kitchen design. Follow these steps to measure for a new cooker:
- Measure the depth of the area where you plan to position the cooker. You’ll need at least 63-65cm to accommodate a standard cooker (60cm deep) plus a few centimetres for pipes and/or plugs at the back depending on the fuel type.
- Next, measure the height of the space. Cooker heights range from 85cm to 92cm – as you shop, check that there’ll be enough room for your appliance, leaving 75cm between the hob and your extractor fan for ventilation and safety.
- Finally, measure the width of the available space, allowing a few extra centimetres so the oven door can be opened easily. Choose an appropriately sized 50cm, 55cm or 60cm cooker based on this measurement.
- Once you’ve chosen a cooker that will fit perfectly, select the installation service at the checkout to make the process easier.
Features to consider
Modern cookers come with a range of useful features that you might want to consider before you buy your new appliance. Here, we’ve explained some of the functionalities you might come across as you shop around.
Some cookers offer easy cleaning features. Often, cookers come with a smooth wipe-clean enamel interior or a catalytic lining to catch dirt as you cook. Certain models have pyrolytic cleaning, which burns grease and grime away by raising the temperature in the oven to 500°C (leaving nothing but a pile of ashes to sweep up).
You’ll also find cookers that offer a special defrost mode. Without heating up the inside of the oven at all, this functionality circulates air around constantly to ensure that your food defrosts quickly and evenly. Rather than simply leaving frozen food in the fridge or on the side to thaw out, purchase a cooker with a defrost feature.
Cooker lids cover up your hob when it’s not in use, helping to protect the cooker from damage and also providing an additional worktop area for you to prepare food on. When the lid is in the upright position, it acts as a splashback to prevent your walls from getting dirty. We stock cookers with cast lids and glass lids.
Most cookers come with a timer feature. Basic models will alert you when your food is ready by beeping. More advanced models are able to switch the oven off automatically after a set amount of time, enabling you to cook meals with precision and even focus on other things as you cook for added convenience.
Oven lights are a handy functionality that you’ll find on most modern cookers. With this feature, an internal light provides improved visibility inside the oven compartment so you can check on the progress of your food without opening the door and losing heat. Some oven lights come on automatically whilst others are manual.
The warming function keeps your meal at the perfect temperature without cooking it any further. If you’re cooking a large meal with several different parts, this feature makes it much easier to get all of your timings right and have all of the food come out warm and at the same time. It can also be used to warm plates ready for serving.
Cooker energy ratings
Cooker energy ratings range from A+++ to D, with A+++ being the most energy-efficient. Choosing a cooker with a good energy rating will help you to do your part for the planet and also save on your energy bills.
Picking your colour
With the type and features of your new cooker taken care of, you might want to think about which colour to go for. Here, we’ve explained the benefits of some of the most popular colour choices.
Black cookers go with many different colour schemes and add a modern touch to your décor. This colour is also a great option for easy cleaning.
White cookers can help to create the illusion of space, making them a great choice for smaller kitchens. It’s easy to spot and clean up dirt on these appliances.
Stainless steel cookers are ideal for creating a contemporary feel in a kitchen. This material is also durable and fights off rust and germs.
If a black, white or stainless steel cooker is not your style, then shop our other colours for something a little more creative:
We stock a wide variety of trusted cooker brands:
You may still have questions to ask. Below, we have included the most frequently asked questions from our customers. If your question is not here, please get in touch with our team of experts and we’ll be happy to help.
Which fuel type should I choose?
An electric cooker with fan assist is the best choice for cooking meals evenly throughout, although a gas cooker gives you a hob with accurate temperature control and an oven that heats up rapidly. For the best of both options, you could choose a dual fuel cooker.
Which type of hob should I choose for my cooker?
Consider the style you’re going for and how you’d like to cook. Ceramic and induction hobs look sleek, plus they offer even cooking and are easy to wipe clean. If you’re looking for the most accurate temperature control, then a gas hob is the way to go.
What is the hot zone?
The hot zone is the area around your kitchen hob. There needs to be a minimum distance of 75cm between the hot zone and your extractor fan for ventilation and safety.
How should I install a new cooker?
We recommend using a specialist to install your new cooker – and for gas and dual fuel cookers, you must use a Gas Safe-registered engineer to connect up the appliance. Use our installation service for an easy process.
What should I put on the wall behind the cooker?
If your new cooker doesn’t come with a lid, it’s advisable to use a splashback panel to keep your walls clean. They come in different materials, with options including glass, stainless steel, marble, laminate.
Alternatively, you can also use tiles as a splashback or install a cover made from the same material as your worktop for a seamless look.
Can I recycle my old cooker?
Yes, you can recycle your old cooker with our recycling services. To make things easier for you, we can collect your old appliance at the same time as delivering your new one.