The best 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. In short, they are a best oven and a best hob in one unit. You can't get more 'best' than that!
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, to find this range of the best range cookers you can buy.
What is the best range cooker?
After much deliberation – washed down with an icy Hook Island Red – we’ve settled on these 10 excellent models. They all perform with gusto but the frontrunner if cost isn't an issue has to be the exquisite looking Rangemaster Elise 110. However, for both great value and function, the Belling Farmhouse 100G Gas Range Cooker nabs the one spot, hotly followed by the small yet amply equipped and highly regarded John Lewis JLFSMC621 Double Dual Fuel Cooker and the 90cm Smeg CG92PX9.
How to buy a range cooker
The term ‘range cooker’ refers to the combination of a hob (or 'stovetop' or simply 'range' 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 ranges 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 quite as many gas ovens here.
When it comes to choosing an all-electric range 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
Don’t even think about entertaining the Belling Farmhouse 100G Gas Range Cooker if you live in a tiny home. This appliance is pretty big, with width that stretches to 100cm. The space is used to good effect though as the beefy Belling goes gas all the way by offering up 7 burners in the hob area, one of which is a very capable 4kW wok burner. These offer plenty of versatility and are great for anyone with pots and pans of all shapes and sizes.
Meanwhile, the twin oven arrangement is also gas powered, with the larger one offering up 64 litres of cooking space. The other has 49 litres, and the combination seems very nicely balanced to us. Belling has built in an electric grill too, which while it does the job is perhaps the least impressive feature here.
If you’re not keen on the black finish, although we think it looks the best, there’s a cream model or even silver as an alternative. Whatever colour you choose the range cooker still comes with an acceptable A energy rating. Plus we like the way Belling has designed the thermostat to make fine-tuning settings a doddle. That also helps save on your fuel bills.
The layout of the dials along the front and the red LED display flourish looks kinda cool we think. Meanwhile, another plus point is the plentiful and flexible nature of the oven shelving. Getting the best from the range cooker does require patience mind, but it’s great at heating up swiftly.
We’re also keen on the enamel used on the interior surfaces, which appears to be great at fending off food residues, spillages and general gunk that accumulates when you’ve been cooking for a while. The Belling Farmhouse 100G packs in some decent storage too, so you get to pack away bulky trays and the like when they’re not needed.
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.
This John Lewis-branded mini range (or cooker as it is more commonly known) is the same width as all white appliances, 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.
The understated looking but versatile JLFSMC621 comes with two ovens. Reaching below, there’s a swing-out door leading to a 77-litre fan-assisted electric oven big enough for two medium chickens and some trimmings. Above that there’s a smaller conventional 39-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 pretty fast to heat up.
The four gas burners (including a 3,000w wok burner) are topped with good quality cast iron pan holders, while the fold-down glass lid gives the whole package a clean look while also serving 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.
The Smeg CG92PX9 90cm Dual Fuel Range Cooker really looks like it means business. This sizeable appliance features lots of stainless steel, which while adding a touch of the ‘culinary pro’ to your kitchen can also be cleaned easily. However, it’s the beefy specification that makes this particular Smeg one to aim for.
The appliance comes with a great selection of options for cooking any kind of meal and it’s also substantial enough to cater for even the largest of families. Up on top, the hob features 5 gas burners, one of which is large enough for wok duties and suchlike. And, because the Smeg boasts ample dimensions the hob area can house all of your pots and pans, including those whoppers that are plain old useless on lesser models. They’ll feel suitably stable too.
Below that you get two ovens, with the main one being substantial enough to take on a Christmas dinner or two. This is supplemented by a second smaller oven, which comes in very handy if you’re eating on your own. Or are just planning on cutting down. It’s small, but in a useful way, plus there’s a grill inside here as well as in the larger side. The range has also been designed and engineered to assist you every step of the way, including the way the oven fan stops when you open the door and telling you the correct temperature has been reached with an amiable beep.
Smeg has also thought carefully about overall useability, with the doors for example, not getting hot thanks to their double-glazed design. Similarly, the collection of controls along the front of the unit proves wonderfully ergonomic. They have a positive, precise functionality about them that suggests quality and practicality.
Meanwhile, down at the bottom there’s some storage that makes the perfect home for those annoying accessories like baking trays that somehow don’t seem to fit snugly anywhere else. Add on pyrolytic self-cleaning and an A/A energy efficiency rating and you have a fine machine. You will need a professional to install it however.
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.
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.
Electrically-powered heat storage range cookers like the famous Swedish Aga brand are widely considered to produce meals that are more succulent than that of their conventional counterparts.
The upside to heat storage models is that they’re constructed from solid cast iron which retains heat on a magnificent scale. Furthermore, since they remain on a trickle charge even when not being used, you can start cooking pretty much immediately at any time. Heat storage cookers also emanate about 600 watts of heat into the room, keeping it warm and cosy in wintertime. The downside of course is that they consume more electricity (though not as much as you’d think) and all that heat they radiate is no friend on a hot summer’s day. They are also phenomenally heavy (from 250 to around 400kgs).
Compared to Aga, British brand Everhot is a relative newcomer in this arena (it was founded in 1995) but its range cookers are among the most attractive on the market. They are also available in 20 attractive colours and a myriad of sizes, from the standard 60cm ‘cooker’ dimension all the way through to a monolithic 1.5-metres of triple-oven stateliness.
For simplicity – and cost – we’ll concentrate on the small 60cm model which is lighter (250kg) and just the right size to slide between the kitchen cabinets of most kitchens. Amazingly, it only requires a standard 13amp socket to function though, being of the smaller variety, its control panel is mounted externally.
Five and a half grand (yes, this beast isn’t cheap) buys you two large ovens with full-size grill (W395 × D490 × H 290mm and W395 × D 470 × H 290) and cast iron boiling and simmering plates. The top oven has a maximum temperature of 250˚C and the bottom one 180˚C.
As this is an always-on cooker, your leccy bills will be higher than the norm but thankfully it also features an Eco mode which keeps the cooker ticking over on a trickle charge when not in use (Everhot estimates a running cost of about £10.20 per week). When you need to use it, simply select the required oven or hob on the control panel and it’ll be up to full heat in a few minutes.
Always-on cookers like this cost an arm and a leg to buy and their sheer weight means they’re not practical options for some kitchens. However, they do cook food brilliantly well, are simple to use and they look absolutely stunning in the right kitchen setting.
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 58-litre multifunction oven with a defrost feature; and on the right is the model’s piece de resistance, a large, full-height 64-litre fan-assisted oven with numerous shelf positions.
That’s enough meal 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.
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.
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 G10SF-5FI 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 fry-top 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.
This ravishing Italian looker measures just 90cm (36 inches) in width so it’s a good size for both small and palatial kitchens. Available in eight cool colours, the Portofino comes with one truly massive fan oven with a net capacity of 115 litres (4.5 cu. ft) – big enough to fit the biggest turkey you can find, together with all the trimmings. The hob’s a cracker, too, and comes with six gas burners nestling beneath a mantle of black cast iron for holding pots and pans in place.
The top half of the oven is used for closed-door grilling and there’s also a stumpy storage door tucked away at the bottom for baking trays, etc. The oven door itself is of the soft-close variety which means you don’t need to be concerned about the door slamming shut while both your hands are full of hot roasting pan.
Smeg produces some of the most aesthetically pleasing ranges on the market and they really don’t get much better than this handsome brute. Smeg is widely available in both the UK and US though its model numbers differ in each territory. The model reviewed here is for the UK market so if you’re in the US, look for the Portofino CPF36UG which comes with five burners instead of six – and no, we don’t know why either.