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5 May 2021

Five things to know before you buy a freestanding cooker

Cost-effective and space-saving, freestanding cookers have their advantages. But before you buy one, make sure you have the full picture.
Man cooking using a freestanding cooker

Most people choose to have a separate oven and hob in their kitchen. But there are advantages to going for a cooker.

A simple freestanding cooker is the cheapest route to having an oven, grill and hob. They can be simpler to shift if you redesign your kitchen. And, if you move house, they are easier to take with you.

But there are various aspects worth thinking about before you decide to buy one. Read on to learn about five things to consider before buying a cooker.

For more detailed buying advice, head to how to buy the best freestanding cooker.

1. Cookers are cheaper than buying a separate oven and hob, but aren't as good

Which? tests regularly find that the oven and hob on a cooker don't match the quality of stand-alone ovens and hobs.

A cooker is, after all, trying to be a Jack of all trades - which can lead to it being a master of none.

Budget options for freestanding cookers start at less than £200, but we've found you generally need to spend several hundred more to get a good one. The price starts to look less attractive when you consider that our cheapest Best Buy oven and hob together come to £379.

To go straight for the most impressive cookers, head to Best Buy freestanding cooker reviews.

2. If you have gas but want to go electric, installation could be expensive

Switching from a gas cooker or oven to electric may require expensive work. You'll need to have an electric line installed and the gas line capped. In this instance, a gas cooker may be the cheapest option.

While there are few built-in gas ovens around, there are many more gas cookers to choose from. A further plus is that your fuel bills will be lower, as gas is cheaper, though it may be the less environmentally-friendly option.

A further possibility - if you love a gas hob but want an electric oven - is to go for a dual-fuel cooker.

Head to gas cookers vs electric cookers to find out more.

3. Cooker ovens are smaller than built-in single ovens

How many ovens do you need? Many freestanding cookers have two, with the upper one doubling as a grill compartment. But neither oven will be as big as a single built-in oven.

If you regularly have a lot on the go at once, you could consider upgrading to a range cooker. These give you more hob space - up to seven cooking zones on the larger ones - and a couple of decent-sized ovens.

The ovens come in various shapes and sizes (see above), including models with one extremely large oven.

You can't miss a range cooker in a kitchen, so if you decide to go for one, make sure you get a style you love the look of - whether modern stainless steel, or a traditional, country-style model.

4. Cookers rarely have fancy features like pyrolytic cleaning

We find that cookers have fewer high-end features, as manufacturers focus their high-tech efforts on ovens and hobs.

A feature of fancier ovens, pyrolytic cleaning uses a high-temperature program to incinerate burnt-on cooking grime from the oven's innards. If you want your cooker's ovens to be self-cleaning, you can expect to splash out more.

And if you're a tech fan, longing to control your oven from your mobile, then a cooker's not for you. 'Smart ovens' are hitting the mainstream, but the same can't be said for cookers yet.

Learn oven lingo by heading to our freestanding cooker jargon buster.

5. If you want induction, you'll need to splash out

There are lots of decent built-in induction hobs around, some as cheap as £200 to £250. Add on a basic oven and you can walk away with change out of £400 (minus installation costs).

But cookers with induction hobs tend to be pricier. The John Lewis JLFSIC620 is a good example. It has a lot going for it, with spacious ovens and catalytic liners (that help keep the oven walls clean), but will set you back more than £900.

Find a good freestanding cooker brand with our guide to which freestanding cooker brand to buy.

Our latest cooker reviews

Here are a selection of cookers that have recently been through rigorous Which? tests.

Freestanding cookers

Range cookers

Prices correct as of 29 April 2021