Buying guide: Ovens, cooktops and freestanding cookers (upright ranges)

We explain how to buy a new oven for your kitchen

Image Credit: agit on stock.xchng (http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=457757)

Image Credit: agit on stock.xchng (http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=457757)

Shopping Checklist: Ovens, Cooktops and Freestanding Cookers

• Cooker Type

Decide whether you want: a (i) freestanding cooker/upright range; (ii) hob/cooktop and wall oven; or (iii) hob/cooktop and underbench oven.

• Gas, electric or dual fuel: Determine which type of fuel you will use based on what you have available and your personal cooking preference. Remember that most gas cookers can be connected to either natural gas or LPG, but you will probably need a conversion kit professionally installed for LPG.

• External Size: Are you planning on cooking for a team, or looking for a compact apartment unit? If you are replacing an existing cooker check the dimensions carefully to avoid potentially expensive kitchen renovation. Also note the amount of space around the cooktop you are required to leave.

• Metal, ceramic or induction hob: If you have decided on electricity for your hob, decide on the type of hotplate.

• Oven capacity and dimensions: Look at capacity and dimensions to narrow your selection of ovens.

• Self-cleaning: Decide whether the additional cost of a self-cleaning oven is justified.

• Door glazing: More layers of glass usually mean the door stays cooler to the touch. Two layers are standard, but three and four layers of glass are also available on some models.

• Hotplate / burner spacing: Are they adequately spaced to allow you to have all the pots and pans you need at the same time on the stove? Can you use the other hotplates / burners if you are using the wok burner?

• Special hotplates / burners: Do you want special burners or hotplates such as fish burners, teppanyaki plates, a BBQ grill, simmer plates or a deep fryer?

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