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The Which? guide to buying the best freestanding cooker

Find the best gas, electric and dual-fuel freestanding cookers with Which? reviews

Cooking on an easy-to-use freestanding cooker with the features you need and reliable heating can be the difference between cooking being a pleasure or a chore - so it’s important to find the right cooker for you. Watch the video above to find out what makes a Which? Best Buy.

Freestanding cookers vary in size and can be powered by gas, electricity or both fuels. And the oven arrangement is also something to consider when buying – do you need two ovens or do you only ever cook with one?

Which type of freestanding cooker is right for me?

Freestanding cookers are all roughly the same height and depth, but they come in 3 standard widths of 50, 55 and 60cm, so you can make sure the cooker you buy will fit into the right size gap in your kitchen.

If you’re a busy cook you’ll value the extra cooking space a freestanding cooker with 2 ovens offers. On a double-oven cooker, you’ll find a grill in the top oven and sometimes there’s one in the main oven too.

Freestanding cookers with one oven and a separate grill offer you two cooking cavities, but only the larger, lower cavity has an oven; you’ll find the grill in the smaller cavity.

Freestanding cookers with single ovens and integrated grills are the cheapest kind of cooker. They come with one large cooking cavity which contains both the oven and grill, so that restricts what you cook and when.

Which cooker fuel should I go for?

Most electric freestanding cookers have oven fans which help to spread the heat around the oven. If your freestanding cooker has a fan it will heat up more quickly, and this means that you can reduce cooking times and the temperature you cook at.

Electric freestanding cookers with an induction hob heat quickly and efficiently. With induction cooking only the pan gets hot, rather than the hob and, because of the way induction works, you’ll need to use iron-based pans. Stainless steel will be fine, but glass, copper or ceramic won’t work.

Gas freestanding cookers will be the cheapest to cook with – gas is about 3 times cheaper than electricity. Freestanding cookers with gas hobs are easy to control and provide instant heat when you need it.

Dual-fuel freestanding cookers will provide the best of both worlds for some cooks who’ll like the easy to control gas hob, and evenly heating electric oven.

Which features should I look for on a freestanding cooker?

A freestanding cooker with pyrolytic self-cleaning could make your life much easier. Cookers with this feature super-heat the oven to temperatures of more than 400°C, and incinerate oven spills and splashes. At the end of the programme all you need to do is sweep the ash away.

Catalytic self-cleaning linings on the walls of cookers will also help to keep your oven clean – food waste that lands on the linings is slowly absorbed during cooking and burned away. But most cookers that come with catalytic linings don’t have all of the walls lined, so there will be some manual work to do to keep your oven clean.

Freestanding cookers with multifunction ovens allow you to cook with a variety of heat sources independently or in combination, such as the grill and fan together.

Most electric cookers come with an oven fan to spread the heat evenly around the oven. On cookers with two electric ovens, one usually has a fan and the other is heated by upper and lower heating elements.