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Home & garden.

26 August 2021

How to buy the best freestanding cooker

Searching for a new gas or electric cooker? We reveal what you should look for and how much to spend to get the best freestanding cooker
JD
Jane Darling
Used_again_browsing new ovens 413939

Freestanding cookers that slot into a space in your kitchen can be a cost-effective cooking solution, as they wrap up an oven, grill and hob in one product. 

A good one will have plenty of space, cook quickly and evenly, and be easy to use and clean. Pick a dud and you could be left with badly cooked food and a hob that takes ages to heat up your food. 

Head to our best freestanding cookers to find out which model you should buy. 

Video: how to buy the best freestanding cooker

Watch our video to get the lowdown on how to choose a new cooker that's right for you. 

Buying the best cooker for you

Our interactive tool will walk you through the features you need to consider when buying a freestanding cooker, to help you decide which ones are essential and which you can live without. 

Freestanding cooker types: gas, electric or dual-fuel

Unless you have a strong preference for gas or electric, it makes sense to stick with the fuel type you already have to avoid the extra expense that changing fuels usually entails. 

While gas is cheaper to cook with, cooking costs have a relatively small impact on most people's household energy bills.

There are a couple of different combinations of fuel type and technology. You can have all-gas, all-electric or a dual-fuel cooker; the latter has an electric oven and gas hob. With all-electric models you also have the choice of either a ceramic or induction hob. 

Electric cookers

These have an electric oven and electric ceramic hob. Most have true fan or fan-assisted ovens, which should help to spread heat evenly around the oven cavity.

There are occasions when conventional heat – top and bottom heat without a fan – is an advantage, and if you get a cooker with a double oven, you'll usually get one conventional oven and one with a fan.

Electric induction cookers

These have an electric oven and electric induction hob. Induction hobs heat food quickly, and the hob zones themselves don’t get hot during cooking, which makes them more efficient. But you’ll need iron-based pans, such as stainless steel, which can be an extra expense. 

Gas cookers

All-gas cookers are the cheapest to cook with, and gas hobs are usually more responsive than electric ceramic hobs. However, oven cooking results are often less uniform than electric.

Dual-fuel cookers

These have a gas hob and an electric oven. This provides the best of both worlds for some people, with an easy-to-control gas hob, and an electric oven that heats evenly. 

Gas and dual-fuel cookers will need to be installed by a Gas Safe-registered engineer. 

If you aren't sure what you want yet, find out more about the differences with our guide to gas cookers vs electric cookers.

How much do I need to pay for a freestanding cooker?

All-gas cookers are typically the cheapest and most basic option (provided you already have access to gas), and start at around £200. Electric cookers with a ceramic hob and dual-fuel cookers will cost a little more, with cheaper models available from about £250. 

If you're keen to have an induction hob on your freestanding cooker, you should expect to pay at least £500. Some can cost up to £1,000. If you're looking in this price bracket, you may want to consider buying a double built-in oven and induction hob separately.

The cheapest cookers usually have just one oven, plus a storage drawer. But if you're willing to pay a little more you will get more features and more stylish designs.

However, paying more doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a decent cooker. We've found pricey models that fail to impress as well as some cheap-and-cheerful options. 

Looking for the perfect cookware for your cooker? Read our expert guide on the best non-stick frying pans.

Is a gas cooker or electric cooker cheaper to run?

Gas cookers are the cheapest to run as well as to buy, and can cost as little as £14 a year to run. 

Electric cookers have higher running costs – we came across one recently that ate up fuel and would work out at just under £90 a year – but generally you'd expect to pay around half this for standard family use.

Find a good cooker that is also cost effective to run by using our cooker reviews to compare models.

Are freestanding cookers energy efficient?

Gas cookers are cheaper to run than electric cookers because gas costs less than electricity, rather than any superior efficiency credentials.

In fact, electric cookers use energy more efficiently than gas cookers, especially if you go for one with an induction hob. An induction hob heats only the metal of the pans, so no heat is lost from the zone directly into the air.

Also, while electricity has the potential to come from renewable sources, this is not the case for gas.

Best freestanding cooker features to look for

  • Timer If you're looking at cheaper models, it's worth checking if you can trade up to a model with a timer, as this can be handy for keeping track of cooking times.
  • Controls Touch controls offer a sleeker look and can be easier to clean. They may also have handy options such as a child lock.
  • Automatic gas ignition These are more convenient to use than a separate ignition button as you don't need both hands.
  • Catalytic self-cleaning Catalytic liners absorb fat spills and splashes, then break them down and burn them off during high-temperature cooking.
  • Flame supervision devices (FSD) This is a safety feature that will shut off the supply of gas should a burner fail to ignite or get blown out. 
  • Multi-function oven This allows you to cook with more than one heat source at time – such as the grill and fan together – which is great for cooking through thick cuts of meat or fish.
  • Programmable ovens These turn the cooker on, time your cooking and will turn the cooker off when the food is done.
  • Pyrolytic self-cleaning program The oven heats to around 500°C and incinerates oven spillages that may have solidified on the oven walls. All you need to do afterwards is sweep away the ash. 
  • Thermostat indicator On electric cookers, there is usually a light that turns off when the oven reaches the desired temperature.

See our expert round-up of the top five best freestanding cookers.

What is the standard size of a freestanding cooker?

Most freestanding cookers are 60cm wide, but if you're squeezed for space, you can also find 50cm and 55cm-wide models. 

All are roughly the same height (80cm) and depth (60-65cm) to fit a standard kitchen and line up with your worktops. 

How is the oven capacity measured?

Manufacturers state capacity in litres, but this includes space you can't actually use for cooking, such as the area under the lowest shelf.

We only measure the space you can actually use to cook with. You'll find the figure for each cooker we've tested in the specifications tab on our cooker reviews

Our tests show that the average usable oven capacity of a cooker's main oven is 43 litres, but there is quite a large range in volumes: the smallest main oven we've tested has a volume of just 38 litres, while the largest is a roomy 58 litres, giving you nearly a third more space to cook with.

It's worth checking inside the oven to see how many oven racks are supplied, and how many shelf positions you have to play with – as this affects how much you can fit in too.

How much does it cost to install a cooker? 

If you opt for the same fuel, prices start from around £75.

  • John Lewis – offers a cooker installation service for between £75 and £100. It charges you another £20 to dispose of your old one responsibly. 
  • Currys – prices are between £75 and £100 for installation and from £15 for removal and recycling. 

If you'd prefer to give your business to a local trader endorsed by us, then go to Which? Trusted Traders to find companies who may be able to offer you a cheaper deal.