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Monday, 14 July 2008

Range Cookers Buying Guide

Manufacturers of range cookers are limited, and include Smeg, Rangemaster, Britannia, Stoves and Baumatic. If your budget limits you choosing a top-end cooker, then look towards the mainstream Italian brands like Baumatic, CDA, Indesit and Cannon. The prestige market has more choice than ever before, with Falcon, Britannia and Smeg offering a huge selection of range cookers in various sizes and configurations for fuel type and hob.
What should I choose - dual fuel or all electric? Dual fuel is the most common choice, providing the versatility of multi-functional electric cooking and the quick reaction of gas burners. All electric is an excellent option if no mains gas is laid on. However, you may also want to consider LPG - some manufacturers will adapt a range cooker for LPG and this saves you the hassle of arranging this yourself.
Once you have decided on your style of range cooker, chosen your colour (stainless steel is most popular) and opted for either a dual fuel or all-electric model, there are a number of other features to look out for.
Electronic programmers are ideal for those of you with hectic lifestyles, these allow you to programme start and/or finish cooking times. If time is really of the essence in your kitchen, look out for special features such as fast pre-heat which ensures less time is spent waiting for the oven to reach perfect cooking temperatures.
Oven size - especially secondary ovens can be relatively small. It may be worth going for at least a 100cm cooker instead of 90cm as the larger width will mainly benefit the second oven. Beware that some 100cm cookers have a relatively small secondary oven.
Stay clean liners or catalytic liners - these will help you to keep your oven interior in pristine condition. Look out for replaceable liners as they may need to be changed after several years of heavy usage.
Triple glazing - this will ensure the cooker doors remain cool when cooking (a must-have for families with small children).
Individual pan supports - these are easier to clean under the tap than large pan supports.
Triple ring burners - these are very useful for large saucepans, frying pans and woks. Depending on your cooking style, you may prefer to have two triple ring burners rather than one.
Separate grill compartments - great if you love your grills. However, many cookers have a grill in one or two of the ovens. A grill in a multi-functional oven will provide you with the possibility of fan assisted grilling, which is more suitable for grilling chops, sausages and mixed grills. Fan grills reduce spitting and splashing which makes for a clean oven and also reduces the number of times you have to turn or baste. These grills are usually used with the door closed which offers great safety to both cooks and their children plus very even cooking. Some ovens will also feature a rotisserie and this provides a great way to cook succulent pork, chicken, duck and game birds.
Griddle features - can serve as barbecues, frying pans and woks. The Chef Top is made of pure thick stainless steel and has remarkable heat storage capabilities. It is also durable and easy to clean.
Telescopic trays - these roll out the shelf or grill to help eliminate unnecessary lifting or reaching over when handling heavy dishes from your Range Cooker.
A efficiency rating - watch out for ovens that carry this rating (this is important for both ovens on double oven models).

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