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.
Watch our video to get the lowdown on how to choose a new cooker that's right 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'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.
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.
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.
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.
Manufacturers state capacity in litres, but this includes space you can't actually use for cooking, such as the area under the lowest shelf.
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.
If you opt for the same fuel, prices start from around £75.