Choosing the right range cooker fuel type
When choosing a range cooker, one of the most important factors to consider is fuel type. Range cookers are available in a number of different fuel types – all gas, all electric or dual fuel. Each fuel type has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages, although selection may be dependent on necessity – rural areas often don’t have mains gas supply for example – as well as cooking style and indeed cost.
Gas cookers, as their name suggests, combine gas ovens with powerful gas hotplates and gas grills. Primarily fuelled by mains gas, a limited number of models can be run from LPG (bottled) gas making them ideal for use in rural areas without a mains supply. A strong niche market, the choice of gas cookers is not as great as it once was, but most UK brands are happy to cater for this popular format and there is still a good choice available.
The immediacy, power and responsiveness of a gas hob in combination with the gradient heat distribution of a gas oven make gas cookers the preferred choice of traditionally skilled chefs, and the moist heat created in a gas oven makes them perfect for roasts and casseroles.
A range of different burner sizes make the hob area extremely versatile, and specialist wok burners and griddles can lend the cooker a professional feel.
Electric cookers offer electric ovens with either radiant ceramic or, increasingly, efficient and responsive induction hobs. Electric cookers are generally quicker and more efficient than their gas counterparts, and easier to use. Increasingly popular due to their modern look and easily-cleanable design, the choice of electric range cookers is growing as manufacturers cater to consumer kitchen trends.
Modern electric cookers utilise either fanned ovens, multifunction ovens or a combination of the two. Fanned oven ensure that the heat is consistent throughout the cavity without the natural ‘hotter at the top’ gradient of a conventional oven. Multifunction ovens enable the user to select a cooking method – conventional, fanned, top and bottom heat only etc – to suit the dish being cooked, and will also include an additional grill element.
Induction hobs are becoming increasingly popular as more manufacturers introduce the technology onto their cookers. Induction technology works by utilising a powerful electromagnet beneath the surface of the hob to agitate the molecules of the pan – this ensures heat is transferred directly to the food, with no heat being lost into the surrounding environment. Because of this induction hobs are considerably more heat-efficient – and faster – than their ceramic counterparts and although generally more expensive to buy initially, electric cookers with induction hobs are more cost efficient to run in the long term.
Dual fuel cookers
Opting for a dual fuel range cooker allows for certainly the greatest choice of styles, widths and finishes. By far the most popular choice, dual fuel cookers offer an extremely useful and versatile pairing of powerful gas hotplates and efficient electric ovens, usually fanned or multifunction or a combination of the two. This ‘best of both worlds’ combination undoubtedly provides an excellent cooking experience and is the most flexible format for normal domestic use. As a result most manufacturers offer a wide selection of dual fuel cookers, which span the entire range of widths from 90cm up to two metres or more.
The choice of fuel type will be influenced by various factors – familiarity, lifestyle, cooking experience, style of kitchen – but choosing a range cooker which will continue to be right for you is an important decision, and one we are happy to help with.