Standard Cookers: Buying Guide

Standard Cooker Buying Guide

Your buying guide for standard cookers

Find the perfect cooker for your household! With a variety of styles, functions, fuel types, and colours, there are a lot of great cookers to choose from.

If you’ve never purchased a cooker before, or are replacing your existing cooker and want some help choosing a new one, this guide is for you. Deciding which cooker to buy isn’t as easy as some may think – you have to decide which model is the best, which cooker reviews to trust, what size you need, and more! Below we outline everything you need to know to make an informed choice for your kitchen.


What is a Standard Cooker?

First things first, what is a standard cooker? “Standard” cookers generally consist of a single oven, a separate grill, and a four burner hob. However, there are some slight variations for different needs and preferences.

The beauty of this appliance is that you can cook almost anything with it. As the cooker has both an oven and a hob attachment on top, there is a long list of food items that you can prepare. The oven can be used for all methods of roasting, cooking, and baking, while the hob attachment is suitable for frying and boiling. To put it simply, you can prepare almost any food imaginable with your cooker.

Standard cookers also come in a standardised size to fit most kitchens. If you’re looking for something bigger, you might want to consider investing in a range cooker.

Creda C60CDOX 60cm Freestanding Contemporary Ceramic Cooker – STAINLESS STEEL

What is the difference between a cooker and an oven?

Standard cookers combine an oven, hob, and usually a grill into one device, either as a freestanding or built-in appliance. An oven, on the other hand, can be bought as a standalone built-in appliance or is found as part of a cooker or range cooker.


Fuel Types

Standard cookers can be powered using gas, electricity, or a combination of the two (also known as dual fuel). There are unique benefits for each fuel type, allowing you to choose a fuel type that suits your needs and preferences.

Gas

The are two types of gas cookers; natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Natural gas is the most common type of gas cooker and is usually what we refer to when talking about gas cookers. Some dual fuel cookers are LPG compatible, but not all.

Natural Gas Cookers

A natural gas cooker uses gas to create the flame that cooks your food. Your cooker feeds gas through to the surface and, once the ignition is pressed, a spark creates the flame. A gas cooker will typically feature both a gas powered oven, and a gas powered hob.

One of the main benefits of a gas cooker is the oven cooks food faster than electric ovens. This is because electric ovens take time to reach temperature, but a flame generates heat almost immediately.

Rangemaster PROPL60NGFSS/C Professional Plus 60cm Freestanding Gas Cooker – STAINLESS STEEL

How Do Natural Gas Cookers Work?

When your gas cooker is installed, a connection will be made from your gas mains through to your cooker. Then, when you turn your control knob on the appliance, you’ll open a valve which will allow gas to flow into the cooker’s pipes.

When the ignition is pressed (or when the appliance automatically triggers an ignition) a spark is produced. This spark will meet the gas and produce a flame.


Electric

There are two main types of electric cookers. This includes ceramic and induction cookers. Both types will feature an electric oven, and then either a ceramic or induction hob.

Ceramic Cookers

An electric ceramic cooker combines an electric oven with a ceramic hob. Ceramic hobs feature a glass surface with electric heating elements underneath. This style is popular for its stylish appearance and ease of use.

How Do Electric Ceramic Cookers Work?

The electric oven is operated using buttons and/or dials on the outside of the oven. This is where the temperature or cooking function can be chosen. Then, the heating elements within the electric cooker heat up to the desired temperature.

The ceramic hob also utilises heating elements underneath the glass surface. The heat that is generated through the heating elements heats the hob, the cooking equipment, and the food.

CDA CFC6100MB 60cm Freestanding Ceramic Cooker with Air Fry – BLACK

Induction Cookers

Induction cookers feature an electric oven and an induction hob. The main difference between an induction hob and other electric hobs and gas hobs is induction hobs don’t heat the surface; they use electromagnetism to heat your cooking equipment directly. This provides a much more energy efficient cooking experience.

How Do Induction Cookers Work?

The oven of an induction cooker works the same way as other electric ovens. 

The induction hob generates an electromagnetic current that runs through a coil under the glass surface to create a fluctuating magnetic field. Heat is only produced once a pan is placed on the hob. The surface of the hob itself is not heated.

Smeg TR62IBL2 60cm Victoria Freestanding Induction Cooker – BLACK

Dual Fuel

Dual Fuel Cookers

A dual fuel cooker is often considered the best of both worlds. They have a gas hob and an electric oven. They’re popular because the gas hob offers instant heat and quick cooking, while the electric oven provides fast cooking and an even temperature throughout.

How Do Dual Fuel Cookers Work?

The oven element of a dual fuel cooker operates like any other electric oven.

The hob of a dual fuel cooker operates in the same way as a hob on a full-gas cooker. The appliance connects to your gas mains, and an ignition is used to create the flame used for cooking.

Rangemaster PROPL60DFFBL/C Professional Plus 60cm Freestanding Dual Fuel Cooker – BLACK

Cooker Types

Other than fuel types, there are three different types of designs or layouts of a standard cooker. These include single cookers, double cookers, and grill cookers. The best option for you will depend on your oven cooking and capacity requirements.

Single Cookers

Single cookers consist of one oven cavity. They will typically have the functions of both an oven and a grill. There are many options for oven cavity size to choose from, as well as options in gas, electric, and dual fuel. These are ideal for smaller households, or for those who only require one oven space.

Double Cookers

Double cookers have two oven cavities. The top oven will usually be smaller than the bottom cavity, but will typically have a grill function. This allows you to either use two ovens at the same time for cooking dishes at different temperatures, or use both an oven and a grill at the same time.

Grill Cookers

Grill cookers also have two cavities, however instead of two ovens you have a bottom oven and a specialised top grill. These are perfect for those who don’t require two oven cavities but still require the option of a grill. There are many capacity options available for both the oven and grill.


Cooker Sizes

Dimensions

What is a standard cooker size?

Most freestanding standard cookers have a standardised depth of 60cm, and a height of 90cm. This allows them to fit within standard kitchen units.

However, the width of freestanding cookers can vary with three standard widths: 50cm, 55cm and 60cm.

60cm is the most common, and is usually the size of the gap allocated for your cooker. However, if you have a smaller kitchen or simply require a smaller size, a width of 50cm or 55cm may be a better option for you.

If you’re looking for a larger cooker, a range cooker will suit you better.

Dimensions of a Smeg SUK61MX9 cooker

What Size Cooker Do I Need?

So, how do you figure out what size cooker you need? If you’re simply replacing an old cooker that fits within your current kitchen, we recommend finding a new cooker with the same measurements. This will ensure that your new cooker sits neatly within your kitchen units.

However, if you’re buying a freestanding cooker for a new space, such as in a newly renovated kitchen, you need to measure the allocated space. This includes the height, width, and depth.

Even better is if you’re deciding to pick a cooker before renovating your kitchen. This will allow you to pick your dream cooker based on its capacity and functions, without needing to worry about the dimensions. Once chosen, build a gap in your kitchen units to perfectly fit in your new cooker.


Oven Capacity

Oven capacity is often an important factor for many looking for a new cooker. The size you need will depend on your requirements. However, it’s helpful to understand the average oven capacities you’ll find, and what this means for you.

You’ll find that the average oven capacity is around 60 litres. This is perfect for a household of 3-4 people, fitting a whole roast turkey between 6-9kg.

Single cookers, that is cookers with only one oven cavity, may have larger oven capacities of around 70 litres. These allow you to fit more trays and dishes in the cavity at once, so they can cook at the same temperature. However, you lose out on the flexibility of two oven cavities which will allow you to cook multiple dishes at different temperatures. Furthermore, a larger capacity oven will use more energy as there is more space to heat up.

With that being said, larger oven capacities are great for bakers or those who like to cook many dishes at once. This may be needed for larger households, or those who like to meal prep. If you are looking for larger oven capacities, we recommend exploring range cookers or built in ovens that allow for more room.

AEG CKB6540ACM 60cm Freestanding Dual Fuel Cooker – STAINLESS STEEL

Energy rating scale next to a standard cooker

Energy Rating

Kitchen appliance energy efficiency is measured using an alphabetical rating. For freestanding cookers, A+++ is the highest rating you can get. The further along the alphabet you get, the less energy efficient it is.

Gas and electric cooker models tend to have similar energy efficiency ratings. However, gas is cheaper than electric, so this fuel type can help you save on running costs.


Warranty

What Warranty Do I Want for My Cooker?

When you’re shopping for cookers it’s very important to check what level of warranty is offered. The common warranty lengths range from one year to five years. Although the length of warranty provided shouldn’t be the most important factor in your decision, it is certainly something to take into account.


Features

What are the key features to look for in a cooker?

There are a few features to consider when looking for a new freestanding standard cooker. These include:

Steam Cooking

Some cookers have ovens with a steam cooking function. This is perfect for cooking many different dishes whilst retaining lots of nutrients and flavours. Steam cooking is also particularly great for baking, allowing for perfect rises and an even bake.

Wok Burner/Support

A wok burner, (or a wok support or wok ring) is a high-powered burner that supports a wok. Many woks have a rounded bottom, making them difficult to place on a flat hob. A lot of heat is lost when the wok isn’t supported correctly. A wok support makes cooking stir frys or seating meat a breeze.

Fan Assisted Ovens

A fan assisted oven uses a fan inside to circulate the hot air. This allows the heat to be evenly distributed, eliminating hot or cold spots. In turn, you get a consistent cooking or baking experience. It also means a shorter cooking time, and helps prevent your food from drying out too much.

Steam Clean Ovens

A steam cleaning, or a vapour cleaning, makes the task of cleaning your oven much easier. Simply turn on the steam cleaning function, and wait as the steam softens and loosens built up grease and grime. For the best results, this function should be used about once a week.

Self-Cleaning Ovens

There are two kinds of self-cleaning oven technologies: Catalytic ovens have a special lining that absorbs spills and splashes, and then breaks them down. Pyrolytic ovens heat the oven up to 400°C. This extreme heat completely incinerates any leftover waste.

Telescopic Shelf Runners

Telescopic shelf runners allow a shelf to be partially pulled out of the oven. There is a safety mechanism that will stop it from coming out completely, avoiding any accidental spills. This means that you can safely check or add to your food during cooking, and safely take it out.

Programmable Features

Many range cooker ovens come with sophisticated multifunction pre-sets. For example, one pre-set could defrost a joint, cook it through, and then heat up at the end for a nice crispy finish. That leaves you with heaps of time to sort out all the trimmings, without needing to touch the oven until it’s done.

Defrost Mode

Some cookers with electric fan ovens will feature a defrost mode. This function uses the fan to circulate the air around the oven, without using any heat. This allows your frozen food to defrost quickly and easily, away from the fresh contents of your fridge or kitchen counter.


FAQs

  • What is the best hob type for my cooker?

There are a few different hob types to pick from for your cooker, including gas, ceramic, and induction. There are benefits of each hob type, so the best one for you will depend on your needs and preferences.

  • How do I install a new cooker?

If you have a gas or dual fuel cooker, it will need to be installed by a registered Gas Safe engineer. An electric cooker should be installed by a certified electrician.

  • What is the best fuel type for a cooker?

There are pros and cons to gas vs electric cookers. The best fuel type will depend on what you find to be most important. For example, gas cookers typically have lower running costs and faster heating ovens, whereas electric cookers are often more energy efficient and can cook food more evenly.

  • Where can I put my cooker?

Kitchens will usually have a designated space for standard cookers. So, unless you’re redesigning your kitchen, this will be the best place. However, you will need to ensure the space complies with the following health and safety regulations:

  • A gap of at least 20mm between the sides of your cooker and any work surfaces.
  • A ventilation space between the top of the cooker and a cooker hood of 650 mm for electric hobs, or 750mm for gas hobs.
  • A minimum distance of 1 meter away from a power source, and a gas main if needed.
  • Try not to place your cooker too close to your fridge or freezer, as the heat generated by the cooker can affect the fridge or freezer’s ability to regulate temperature.
  • Never place a cooker close to flammable furnishings, such as curtains or blinds.

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