Fellow house-buying, renovation friends!
I am notoriously slow at making any house-related decisions but miraculously one of the easiest decisions throughout the whole kitchen planning for me has been around choosing appliances – specifically the cooker. Let me share why.
As you know we are renovating a 1930s semi-detached house in Brighton, planning to knock down our dining room wall to create one big open plan kitchen diner (work begins in a few weeks time, yay!) so in evenings and weekends I've been in front of the TV, laptop on my lap, choosing and ordering the products needed to pull off the design without any hiccups.
If you're about to embark on a kitchen revamp or if your cooker is on the brink and you're ready for a new one, I leaned to sites like AO.com, My Range Cooker, and Amazon, to give me a whole wealth of information and honest reviews across cooker ranges. I could see exactly what customers think before committing to anything, and it's this that makes decision making so easy.
But what if you're baffled to know which type of cooker is right for you and your kitchen? Electric or gas? Built-in or freestanding? What if you don't know what you're looking for? Here's my cooker-buying tips I've learned along the way, what we've chosen to buy and why.
Small kitchen? Opt for a built-in cooker
If you're working with a galley kitchen or if the worktop space is particularly limited in your kitchen, I would first look at built-in induction or gas hobs as they are a great space saving option.
Worktop space is precious. You don't want a big chunky freestanding cooker making the kitchen feel more cramped. Built in hobs sit on top of your worktop with a built-in oven incorporated beneath within your cabinets, and they give the illusion of a longer worktop space. Induction hobs (electric) usually lie relatively flush with your worktop making it super easy to clean - I have one in my old kitchen and adored it apart from the time I left a plastic bottle of salt on a hot ring by accident, oopsy! - and when not in use it can act as an extended space for mixing bowls and weighing scales when you're baking.
Built in hobs are great for a modern, stylish look in your kitchen however, if like me you want something a bit more homely and farmhouse chic, I would go for a built-in gas hob, somewhere you can style up a stove kettle and give it a country vibe. My Range Cooker sell a great variety of built in cookers in different sizes including this tiny 2 hob induction cooker, perfect for a tiny space studio apartment or b & b / bedsit.
Got a chimney breast taking up valuable kitchen space? Choose a freestanding cooker
This was the exact predicament we had with plans for our new kitchen. Ideally, you want a no-alcove, no-chimney breast box room for a kitchen, so your units and appliances can slide in a dream, but with period homes you'll more often than not have throwbacks you need to be creative with.
Chimney breasts are actually perfect homes for cookers where you often see builders smashing through - sorry, don't know the correct term ;) - and sitting a big double range cooker within it, with a concealed extractor hood and lights sitting into the chimney, out of sight. Some kitchen renovators even build stud chimney breasts in their box kitchens to give the room character and to hide unsightly cooker hoods.
Range cookers come in an array of widths, 90cm, 100cm, 110cm and so on up to about 150cm, which size you choose will depend on the width of your chimney breast. We plan to also utilise the wall above our chimney breast to put a rather sweet corbel shelf so I can style it up with crockery, a clock and some flowers.
Gas, electric or dual fuel? What's it to be?
In my opinion, there's no straight answer to this as it depends on how you like to cook, and the energy you have available to you at your home i.e if you're living in a house without gas connection then electric is your only option. I can only share my personal experience of cooking and what I prefer.
I currently [pre-renovation] use a completely electric freestanding hob and oven. The house didn't have gas supply until we moved in and plumbed it in so we have been stuck with a tiny cooker to use - not complaining, at least we have one. I've found that having an electric oven is great for heating up fast, but the hob takes ages to get to the temperature you want it and it is extremely difficult to control. Dual fuel is definitely the option for me and Neil as it means we can have the best of both worlds. A gas hob which we can get good control on, and an electric oven which heats up pretty quickly.
If you're undecided about what is right for you, think about the food you like to cook and what would optimise the meals you do and your experience doing it. Anything that makes life easy I'm all for, but needs are different for everyone.
Want a cooker that's a little more on the stylish side? Look at Lofra
When I first started looking for cookers for our new kitchen I was showing Neil the ones I liked and I quickly realised that instead of reading reviews and understanding what we needed from a cooker, I was choosing something based on it's appearance. "What will go with the rest of the kitchen?" I kept thinking. I'm so glad I have Neil to reign me in and say "hang on, is that even a cooker?" haha.
It's not completely unimportant if you're the type that likes to keep appearance in mind when you're shopping for a new appliance, but understanding what you need from a cooker is number 1 priority. I came across a new Italian brand called Lofra whose range cookers are like works of art, seriously. Take a look. What would stop me from buying one is probably that our budget is so tight, but the designs are so pinterest-worthy it's incredible.
I always think, if you can find what you need, and it's beautiful too, bonus points for you but don't be afraid to compromise a little.
What cooker have we chosen and why?
So after just one evening looking around the internet for which cooker to buy (didn't take us that long considering it took me 4 months to find curtains for our living room!) we've opted for the Rangemaster Kitchener 90 in stainless steel from My Range Cooker which arrived a few days ago. It's what's known as "dual fuel" where the hob is gas powered and the oven is electric. It's a winner in my eyes as it means we can have full control with the gas hob to simmer and boil, and we can enjoy a speedy heating oven for my baking. What I love about Rangemaster is how they never go out of style and have amazing reviews online. They're also pretty affordable as high end double ovens go. We're particularly excited about having 5 rings to cook on, and a whole array of ovens underneath. It really will make Christmas day and dinner parties a breeze.
I also wanted to note how fantastic delivery is when I ordered with my Range Master from My Range Cooker. I was worried that - like so many other delivery companies dropping off heavy goods - the delivery men would leave the cooker by the front door and expect me to carry it into the house when Neil was at work and nobody around to help me, but no such thing. Two delivery men asked where I wanted it to go and took it right to the back of the house ready to be stored for it's fitting later this summer.
Overall we're really happy with our order and can't wait to start cooking on it. Look out on my Instagram for renovation updates towards the end of July when it begins, and of course I'll be sharing lots on here too :)
I hope this guide has helped you xx
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Full disclosure: I approached My Range Cooker to collaborate with me on this post. Neil and I knew we wanted a Rangemaster Kitchener 90 for the new kitchen and My Range Cooker were happy to discount the cooker for us in exchange for telling my readers about their offering. They are a great brand and I'm thankful to them for supporting my finances/blog. As always I would never feature brands I didn't trust.