Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Types of cooking appliances

COOKERS

Free standing

These have the oven and hob together in the one unit and can be: all electric, all gas or a combination of both (typically gas hob with electric oven). They come in two main sizes: slim and standard (500mm and 600mm). You can also buy a stand-alone range cooker which can have a width of 1200mm or more.

Separate hob and oven

image of separate hob and oven
Having the oven and hob sited separately is fast becoming the standard way of arranging kitchen appliances

This type of configuration is fast becoming the standard way of arranging a kitchen. It allows the oven to be sited at your chosen height in a cabinet.

 

Ovens

Single ovens

Single ovens are usually 600mm wide and can be placed at different heights.

Double Ovens

Double ovens have two cooking spaces and are taller than a single oven. Single ovens can be fitted under the work top in housing (‘built under’).

Both single and double ovens can be fitted higher into a housing unit at eyelevel (‘built in’).

HOBS

Hobs come in a standard width of 600mm but are also available from 300mm (domino hobs) through to 900mm.

Gas

A gas hob is often thought of as desirable because it can quickly change the level of applied heat. Most come with the pan supports fitted as a cast iron tray (or part tray) that sits on top of a recess. The other option (gas on glass) is to have the pan supports as separate items which sit proud on top of a glass ceramic top.

Image of built in double oven
Single and double ovens can be fitted into a housing unit and placed at work top level ("built in")

Electric

These come as either solid-plate electric hobs or ceramic hobs. The solid-plate hobs are the more traditional type with a raised circular metal heating plate. The ceramic hob has a coiled element underneath the glass top; some of the older models use a halogen bulb as the heat source.

Induction

This technology uses a magnetic field to heat pots and pans placed within the field. The benefits of the technology are that it only heats the pot or pan and not the top glass surface of the hob. It is also very responsive and more energy efficient than gas. A possible downside to induction hobs is they require pots and pans made from stainless steel or cast iron to be able to work. As a rule of thumb if a magnet sticks to the pan then it will work.

MICROWAVE OVENS

Standard

A standard microwave heats food through the use of radiation.

Combination

Combination have the standard microwave function as well as a fan assisted oven. Sometimes they also contain a grill.

Microwave cooking is

  • is quick and convenient
  • safe as it heats the food, not the container
  • energy efficient
  • healthy if done correctly as vitamins and minerals are preserved.

Downsides of microwaves include: a limited amount can be done at one time; pastries and pies don’t form crusts; enclosed foods such as eggs and sausages can explode.

See also our design features checklist - which you can print out and take to the shops

 

Last updated: January 2015


Introduction | Types of cooking appliances | What would make cooking easier for you