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The Which? guide to buying the best range cooker

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

Cooking on an easy-to-use range cooker with the ovens 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 range cooker for you.

Range cookers vary in size and can be powered by gas, electricity or both fuels. The space you have available in your kitchen, and the oven and hob set-up you need is something to consider when buying. Do you need two ovens or do you only ever cook with one? How many hob burners do you usually use? And is a warming drawer a priority or do you just need a storage drawer?

What is a range cooker

Range cookers are bigger than freestanding cookers, with most being between 90cm and 110cm wide and coming with 6 to 8 hob rings or burners, 2 reasonably large ovens, a grill and a warming or storage drawer.

On 90cm wide range cookers, space is saved by the secondary oven being tall and narrow. They have fewer burners or hob rings, and tend to come with 2 ovens and a grill. Larger range cookers have more hob options and also come with a warming or storage drawer.

Mini range cookers are range cookers by name but not in size – they’re usually just the same size as a standard freestanding model, but have the look and feel of a larger range cooker. Some mini-range cookers can be slightly larger at 70cm wide.

Which range cooker fuel should I go for?

Electric range cookers

Electric range cookers will usually have an oven fan in at least one of their ovens. Oven fans help to spread heat evenly right around the oven, so if your range cooker has a fan, it will heat up more quickly and you won’t have to cook for as long or at as high a temperature.

Electric range cookers with an induction hob heat pans 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. Range cookers with induction hobs are usually found at the higher end of the price range.

Gas range cookers

Gas range cookers will be the cheapest to cook with – cooking on gas is about a third of the cost of using electricity. Gas hobs are easy to control and provide instant heat when you need it.

Dual-fuel range cookers

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

Which features should I look for on a range cooker?

Door-mounted roasting trays are helpful because you don’t have to remove the tray from the oven to baste your meat. Look for them on both the main and secondary ovens.

Fish burners are longer-than-average and designed for use with a fish kettle. Fish burners can also be used for casserole dishes and griddles.

A rotisserie, or spit, inside a range cooker oven turns large pieces of meat slowly as it cooks under the grill.

A wok burner is a large hob burner designed for wok cooking or rapid boiling. Wok supports, or rings, provide a cradle to hold a wok and keep it stable. They also move the bottom of the wok closer to direct heat - this is great for searing meat.

A range cooker with pyrolytic self-cleaning could make your life much easier. Range 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 range 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 usually be some manual work to do to keep your oven clean.

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