Range cookers: How we test range cookers
Which? tests the best selling range cookers from all the major brands and we also look for the latest launches and interesting models, particularly if they have innovative features or a ground-breaking design. We test gas, electric and dual-fuel range cookers including some with induction hobs.
What makes a Best Buy range cooker?
Check out our video to see why a Best Buy range cooker will make a real, practical difference to you.
Practical range cooker capacity test
We use large fake turkeys, chickens and roast beef joints on roasting trays, along with another tray of roast potatoes, to find out what you can actually fit inside your oven. For range cookers with double ovens we test both the main and top ovens.
Usable range cooker capacity tests
We only measure the space that you will actually be able to use inside a range cooker’s oven. We measure the internal width from side to side, and the depth from the inside of the door to the back of the oven. But we only measure the height from the top of the lowest shelf to 3cm from the top of the oven. We don’t include the space beneath the lowest shelf.
Range cooker heat distribution test
We use baking trays covered with 10mm-wide strips of shortbread to reveal just how effective the ovens on range cookers are at spreading heat right around the oven. The colour of the shortbread after cooking shows how evenly the oven distributes heat across each oven tray. The best ovens we’ve tested deliver heat evenly across the shortbread but the worst leave some areas unbrowned, and other parts burned.
Range cooker baking test
In each oven we bake a large sponge cake and measure how well and evenly the cake rises. We also record how evenly the cake is browned.
Range cooker pre-heating speed and accuracy test
We set each oven to heat to high and low temperatures, and we record how long they take to reach their target. Heat settings for conventional electric and gas ovens are 180°C and 200°C. For fan-assisted electric ovens, the settings are 150°C and 180°C. We also record how accurately they heat – Best Buys get very close to the set temperatures, but the least accurate ovens can overheat by more than 25°C.
We cover each grill pan in white crustless bread to see how well and how far and evenly the heat spreads. The best grills we’ve tested can effectively brown almost all of the grill pan. The worst will struggle to heat anything more than the area directly beneath the element, or around 30%.
We test how quickly the hobs can heat a pan of water from 15° to 90°. The quickest cookers will take around eight minutes, the slowest take four minutes longer.
We simulate roasting a whole chicken by heating 2kg of bricks in the main oven for 1hr 40min. Range cookers with electric conventional ovens are set to 200ºC, electric fan ovens are set to 170ºC and gas ovens at gas mark 6. We record the amount of energy each oven uses while cooking, and we turn this into a score based on the running costs for each model.
- Find the best range cooker for you with our range cooker reviews
- Watch our video to find out more about range cooker features
- Read our review to find the best oven cleaners for your range cooker
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