Range Cooker or Built-in Oven? (here’s how to choose)

Every cook needs a kitchen, and every kitchen needs an oven. Which type of oven depends on personal choice, available space and budget. In this article we’re talking about range cookers and built-in ovens, and ask the questions: what’s the difference? And which should you choose?

The reality is there are no winners or losers between the two, it all depends on your choice. However we’ve put this guide together to help you come to the right decision for you. Let’s start with a description of both so we’re all on the same page.

What Is A Range Cooker?

Range cookers are designed with large families or cooking meals that entail cooking different foods at different temperatures. They typically have two good sized ovens, a grill and five burners on the hob. Many have even more space than this including an extra compartment that can be used as an oven, a warm shelf to keep foods warm or as a storage space for pots and pans.

Plus larger models can have up to seven burners on the hob and a griddle plate which gives a healthy alternative to frying food. Range cookers are also freestanding which allows them to be sited anywhere from in between cupboards to completely stand alone units. They are also available in a selection of colours to fit into any decor. 

As they are freestanding, they can also be taken with you if you decide to move house and reinstalled into your new kitchen. They generally come in three standard widths ranging from 90cm to 110cm all with a standard depth of 60cm.

What Features Do Range Cookers Have?

To make your decision easier, let’s look at some of the features available on a range cooker:-

  • An average of 50% more oven space compared to a built-in oven
  • Multiple compartments which allow you to cook different dishes simultaneously at different temperatures
  • A choice of hob sizes 
  • A stand alone appliance which can be sited almost anywhere
  • Easy self-clean ovens (on some models)
  • Choice of fuel (gas. Electric or dual fuel)

What Is A Built-In Oven?

Built-in ovens are exactly that, an oven that is built-in to one of your kitchen cupboards. They are usually fitted at eye level for convenience and designed to be integrated into a worktop or cabinet. They consist of a single oven with no second oven or hob and can only be sited within the cupboard space that’s been allocated for it.

Built-in ovens are not free standing so become a part of a fitted kitchen, cannot easily be taken with you if you move, and offer far less in the way of cooking space than a range cooker. However, there are double built-in ovens available and built-in ovens blend into your fitted kitchen plus if space is an issue in your kitchen, a built-in oven will not stick out at all.

What Features Do Built-In Ovens Have?

Let’s have a quick look at some of the features available on a built-in oven;

  • Choice of position
  • Eye level 
  • Blends in with kitchen units
  • Takes up no extra floor space
Cooking

Other Factors To Consider

To help you to make a fully informed choice, let’s look at other factors that often feature in questions concerning range cookers or built-in ovens.

Energy Efficiency

With any appliance that uses power, we need to look at its energy efficiency and running cost. In all honesty using just one single oven on a range cooker will use no more fuel or be less energy efficient than using a built-in oven. Of course if you were to use two ovens on the range as well as the hob at the same time this will use more power than a single built-in oven but that’s to be expected and you’ll probably have a separate hob built into your kitchen and possibly a microwave etc…

So the bottom line is – There’s no difference in energy efficiency on a like for like basis between a built-in oven or a range cooker.

Cooking Options

When it comes to cooking options, built-in ovens are pretty one dimensional, all you can do is use the single oven. The hob will be a separate entity somewhere else in the kitchen (Usually on a worktop). 

Whereas the range cooker often has at least two ovens, a separate grill compartment, a hob, even a griddle. And as they’re all in one place it’s easy for  a busy cook to control everything at once. 

Oven Cleaning

Built-in ovens are usually situated at eye level which makes them easy to clean. With that said, many range cookers have easy to clean ceramic surfaces and some even have self cleaning functions.

Oven Size

Range cookers have far more oven space than built-in ovens, typically 50% more space. So if you are a prolific cook or enjoy entertaining large numbers of people, and you have the space, a range will probably be your best choice.

Repairs and Replacements

If something were to go wrong with a built-in oven it would probably have to be removed from the cabinet which could entail dismantling the cabinet. Whereas the range cooker is freestanding and is therefore way easier to access.

Price

When it comes to the cost, a built-in oven will be less expensive to purchase than a range cooker. But don’t forget to include into the costs the price of a separate hob and the relevant cabinets into the overall cost.

In Summary

To summarise the differences between a built-in oven and a range cooker – basically, one is just an oven that is integrated into the kitchen cabinets. While the other is a freestanding multi-functional cooking apparatus.

A Built-In Oven

  • Often has more advanced cooking programs
  • Can be installed at the height that suits you (eye level)
  • Blends into your fitted kitchen
  • Takes up no floor space

A Range Cooker

  • A stand alone appliance
  • Upwards of 50% more oven space
  • Multifunctional (grill, hob, griddle, storage)
  • A wide range of colours and designs
  • The focal point of the kitchen

Frequently Asked Questions

What is better: a range or a built-in oven?

To answer what is better: a range or a built-in oven, a range is a stand alone multifunctional appliance that contains at least two ovens, a separate grill, hob and often a griddle. Whereas a built-in oven is integrated into the cabinets of the kitchen but has just one function and one oven. Built-in ovens can be situated at eye level for added convenience when cooking but a separate hob and grill will need to be placed somewhere within the kitchen cabinets as well. Integrated kitchen appliances save space whereas a range cooker will take up considerable floor space.

Is a range cooker a good idea?

A range cooker is a good idea if you are a prolific cook or like to entertain large numbers of people and you have enough space in your kitchen to accommodate one.

What is more energy efficient: a range cooker or a built-in oven?

Used on a like for like basis, there is no difference in the energy efficiency of a range cooker or a built-in oven. Obviously if you are using other parts of the range, they will use more energy but just using one oven on a range cooker uses the same amount of energy as using a built-in oven.

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