The best range cookers 2018

Gas or induction hob, electric oven, all in one enormous package. It's the kitchen centrepiece that any would-be master chef craves…

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Range cookers are the SUVs of the cooking world. They're a sizeable hob and a semi-pro oven, in one peer-group-pleasing package.

If you're looking for a new one but haven’t a clue where to begin, you can stop right here because we’ve done our homework. And our cakework. 

What is the best range cooker?

After much deliberation – washed down with an icy Hook Island Red – we’ve settled on these eight excellent models. They all perform with gusto but the frontrunner has to be the exquisite looking Rangemaster Elise 110, hotly followed by the small yet amply equipped and highly regarded John Lewis JLFSMC613

How to buy a range cooker

The term ‘range cooker’ refers to the combination of a hob (or 'stovetop' if you're American) and an oven in a single kitchen appliance. They are, to all intents and purposes, the classic style of cooker and have been in existence since the 1850s.

Range cookers come in a variety of widths, from 60cm (often referred to as a mini range or, if you're sniffy about these things, 'a cooker') up to a kitchen devouring 2.2 metres. 

The smallest range cookers might have just two ovens (one on top of the other), a grill and a four-burner gas hob or similar sized electric induction hob while the largest will have up to four ovens, a grill, two warming or storage drawers and as many as seven gas burners or induction zones.

Fitting a range cooker is relatively easy since all you need is a space between the kitchen cabinets and either a gas or electricity supply or, in the case of dual fuel cookers, both.

However, when it comes to the electrics, it’s absolutely essential that the cooker is given its own separate ring main and that it’s capable of withstanding the cooker’s electrical load; as much as 13.5 kilowatts if you’re going for all electric. Boy did I find that out the hard way.

Range cookers are available in three main configurations: all gas, all electric and dual fuel. Duel fuel is usually the preferred choice since it offers the best of both worlds: an electric oven and an efficient gas hob. 

Besides, a range cooker simply looks more traditional with gas hobs fitted. Many home chefs love their gas ovens but the general consensus is that electric fan ovens are more efficient at cooking food evenly and the dryer heat they emit produces better visual results. That’s why you won’t see a gas oven here.

When it comes to choosing an all-electric range cooker you have two main hob choices: ceramic and induction. I advise against ceramic hobs since the system is so much slower and more energy intensive than either gas or induction.

If you wish to embrace the very latest trend in cooking technology, go for an induction hob. This high-tech magnetic system is ultra fast to heat and is as instantly controllable as gas. 

Induction hobs are a doddle to clean and safe as houses since the cooker top remains lukewarm to the touch even after removing a hot pan. The drawback is that you may need to change a lot of your pots and pans to ones made from magnetic ferrous metals.

The best range cookers, in order

Rangemaster Elise 110

1. Rangemaster Elise 110

Best range cooker

Specifications
Type: Dual fuel
Width: 110cm
Ovens: 2 (both fanned)
Grill: Yes
Hob: 6 gas burners
Storage drawer: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Stunning looker+Cracking set of cooking options+Fantastic door-mounted roaster+Six burners
Reasons to avoid
-Pricy for the size

Available in seven gorgeous hues, the stunning 110cm Elise is superbly built and attired in a swathe of gorgeous enamel with brushed chrome trim and the best looking control knobs since the boiler room of the Titanic.

It’s exceptionally well equipped, too, and comes with two 73-litre ovens, a separate grill with easy-glide rack and a storage drawer. Both ovens are fan-assisted but the left one also provides up to seven different cooking functions and an incredibly useful roast rack attached to the swing-out door. This rack makes checking a roast a lot easier than having to slide out the entire roasting tray and dropping it all over your feet. 

The right hand oven is equipped with three racks – more than enough acreage for 36 cup cakes or a squadron of mini Yorkshires. Catalytic linings in both ovens make cleaning pretty effortless, too.

Let’s take a trip to the top shall we? Blimey, six gas burners, two of them wok friendly – quick, grab the noodles. 

The Elise has been thoughtfully designed to include only the cavities and functions you are most likely to use. Even the storage drawer’s a handy addition – a perfect space for all your roasting and bakery tins. 

Rangemaster is one of the hotter brands in the kingdom of cooking and this writer has no hesitation in urging you to slap this stunning model straight at the top of your shopping list. An all-electric version with induction hob is also available, priced just shy of £2.5K.

John Lewis JLFSMC613

2. John Lewis JLFSMC613

Best affordable range cooker

Specifications
Type: Dual fuel
Width: 60cm
Ovens: 2 (one fanned)
Grill: Yes
Hob: 4 gas burners
Storage drawer: No
Reasons to buy
+Excellent main oven+Intuitive controls+Glass hob cover
Reasons to avoid
-Only four burners-Power rating is quite high

This John Lewis-branded mini rangecooker is a Which? Best Buy winner and deservedly so. It’s the same width as all white appliances (washing machines, dishwashers etc), so all you need is a 60cm gap between the cabinets, a gas connection for the hob and a 5.3Kw electricity ring main for the ovens and grill.

And speaking of ovens, this understated looking but versatile model comes with two. Reaching below, there’s a swing-out door leading to a 79-litre fan-assisted electric oven big enough for two medium chickens and some trimmings. Above that there’s a smaller conventional 34-litre oven that also serves as a grill. 

Both ovens have very accurate temperature readings – better, indeed, than many competitors – and that’s a major plus if you do a lot of baking. They are also fast to heat up – certainly quicker than Smeg’s equivalent model.

Up top there are four very responsive gas burners and good quality cast iron pan holders. The fold-down glass lid is a nice touch, too, since it gives the whole package a clean look and also serves as extra worktop space when the hob isn’t being used.

If you’re looking to replace your existing 60cm dual-fuel cooker and require a model that trumps it in most disciplines then get your skates on and head down to your nearest John Lewis branch.

Stoves Sterling 1000Ei

3. Stoves Sterling 1000Ei

Best modernist range cooker

Specifications
Type: All electric
Width: 100cm
Ovens: 2 (one fanned)
Grill: Yes
Hob: 5-zone induction **Storage/warming drawer** Yes
Reasons to buy
+Clean design+Two decent ovens+Induction hob
Reasons to avoid
-No bridge facility on hob

If you’re after an induction hob but don’t fancy the thought of having a built-in oven and hob combo (the route many choose to go), consider this silvery modernist brute from British cooker creator Stoves.

The Sterling measures 100cm across. On the oven side of things it has a large capacity grill, two 62-litre ovens (one fanned and with a defrost function) and a low-power, warming-cum-storage drawer.

The hob is one large swathe of shiny, easy-to-clean ceramic glass housing five induction zones. Features include a touch slide control panel, power boost, a pause function and timer but, sadly, no bridge function for joining two zones together for large casseroles and fish kettles. Bad times.

Induction hobs look a little out of place on most range cookers but this model gets away with it by dint of its minimalist design. Well worth a gander.

Traditionalists will be pleased to note that it also comes in black.

RANGEMASTER PROFESSIONAL DELUXE 90 INDUCTION

4. RANGEMASTER PROFESSIONAL DELUXE 90 INDUCTION

Best for style and safety features

Specifications
Type: All electric
Width: 90cm
Ovens: 2 (both fanned)
Grill: Yes
Hob: 5-zone induction (gas available instead)
Storage/warming drawer: No
Reasons to buy
+Two quick-heating fan ovens+Five-zone induction hob+Excellent safety features+Available in three sizes
Reasons to avoid
-Pricy

If you’re sold on the Rangemaster brand but prefer a model with a more contemporary aesthetic than the classic Elise reviewed above, then give the highly praised Professional Deluxe a gander. This natty nosh knocker-upper is available in three sizes: 110cm, 100cm and 90cm, all with a gas hob on top. Alternatively, you could forsake gas and go for an induction hob instead, but only with the 90 and 110cm models.

For the sake of variety, we’re highlighting the 90cm induction hob model here, which is a perfect size for an average posh kitchen. The Professional Deluxe’s i5 induction hob has five zones that can be linked up to some degree, allowing for a variety of different pot sizes and shapes. SpillGuard technology, meanwhile, keeps spills confined for easy cleaning. However, it’s the oven department that impresses most.

Like the marginally more expensive Elise, this one also features a Handyrack that attaches to the inside of the main 73-litre cavity door. This simple but clever innovation allows you to baste the roast without burning your arm off. The taller, slimmer 67-litre oven to its right is a perfect place for the roasties and other veg, or perhaps the lemon meringue pie. Both ovens are fan assisted and, according to the blurb, are exceedingly quick to reach cooking temperature. They’re also equipped with catalytic linings for easier cleaning. The grill, meanwhile, comes with telescopic runners and a stop mechanism that prevents pulling the hot grill pan out too far and dropping it on your feet.

If you’re a clumsy cook looking for a classy rangecooker with a raft of excellent of safety features, you’ve come to the right place my friend. 

Belling Cookcentre Deluxe 90DFT

5. Belling Cookcentre Deluxe 90DFT

Best 90cm range cooker

Specifications
Type: Dual fuel
Width: 90cm
Ovens: 3 (one fanned)
Grill: Yes
Hob: 5 gas burners
Storage drawer: No
Reasons to buy
+Brilliant full-length oven+Five burners
Reasons to avoid
-Understandably cluttered-Cheap knobs

This dual-fuel Belling comes with an interesting oven combination that makes full use of the unit’s 90cm width and 93cm height.

Let’s take a little tour: top left we have a small conventional oven-cum-grill; bottom left is a 62-litre multifunction oven with a defrost feature; and on the right is the model’s piece de resistance, a large, full-length 91-litre fan-assisted oven with 25 shelf positions. 

That’s enough real estate for two large chickens and a tray of roasted veg while the left oven sorts out the lemon meringue pie. 

The hob, meanwhile, is comprised of five burners including one designed specifically for wokking, though the jury’s out on the quality of the shiny plastic control knobs.

Granted, this model is a bit cluttered in appearance but they’ve configured it to near perfection and at a great price. If you can’t stand cooking with gas, there’s also an induction option.

Smeg TR103IBL Victoria

6. Smeg TR103IBL Victoria

Blackest. Ever. Range cooker

Specifications
Type: Electric
Width: 100cm
Ovens: 2
Grill: 1
Hob: 5 zone induction
Storage drawer: No
Reasons to buy
+Very very black+Large, adaptable spaces+Does come in non-black options
Reasons to avoid
-Fan is loud-A bit of a dust magnet

If you’re looking for a traditional looking range cooker with the latest cooking smarts, look no further than the all-electric Smeg TR103IBL. The over-sized retro knobs may look more Aga than Buck Rodgers, but they actually control a high-tech induction hob, which is easy to clean and offers a turbo mode for boiling water in the amount of time it takes you to say, 'boil some water'.

Going down below you’ll find three large cavities; a grill, main oven, and side oven. The grill features a highly useful grillpan on castors, while the side one has a rack for warming plates, making use of that extra height.

STEEL CUCINE GENESI 100

7. STEEL CUCINE GENESI 100

Best for those who really want to splash their cash

Specifications
Type: Electric
Width: 100cm
Ovens: 3 (one fanned)
Grill: Yes
Hob: four options
Storage/warming drawer: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Elegant Italian design+Three ovens+Range of hob options
Reasons to avoid
-Extraordinarily expensive

Got five grand knocking about? How about slotting this stately Italian beauty between your Jack Trench cabinets? Bologna-based Steel Cucine started out producing range cookers for restaurants so it stands to reason the company’s artisans know a thing or two about the subject. 

This 100cm model is available in a variety of colours and four hob configurations: three gas and one induction. The G10FFF-4M gas hob is arguably the most useful since it comes with three normal burners, a wok burner and a ‘mega’ wok burner. But one shouldn’t sniff at the frytop option either, which includes a griddle plate along with two standard burners and a wok burner.

Right, that’s the hob out the way, let’s take a peek at the oven section. This one has three at 70, 39 and 34 litres apiece. However, only the 70-litre cavity is fanned while the other two have heating elements that can be configured in a number of ways. They both serve as grills, too.

The whole shebang comes with a range of shelves and telescopic rails, even a pizza stone and a wok support. Now all you have to do is chat to a bank manager… if you can find one.