Range Cooker vs Built-In Ovens – A Helpful Guide
There are a lot of decisions to make during a kitchen renovation, but one I come across all the time with my clients is choosing between a range cooker or built-in ovens. How do you know which is right for your needs?
While both have their merits, there are numerous reasons why a homeowner might choose one option over another. By knowing the differences between the two, you can make a solid decision that’s right for your needs.
In this guide, I’ll discuss the differences between range cookers and built-in ovens and give you the pros and cons of each.
Ready to learn more? Let’s go!
What Is A Range Cooker?
Range cookers are arguably a more traditional choice (although they look great in modern kitchens too). They are freestanding appliances, rather than being built into a kitchen cabinet and work well as a striking focal point in the room.
While there are many different styles available, range cookers generally include one to three ovens, several hob burners, a grill and a warming/storage drawer, all in one appliance.
They are available in a few fuel type options for the ovens and hob. All electric, all gas or mixed fuel. So you can find the perfect combination that suits you and the fuel you have available in your kitchen.
What Sizes Do Range Cookers Come In?
The most common range cooker sizes are 90cm, 100cm and 110cm. However, you can get range cookers as wide as 220cm. But you’ll need a seriously big kitchen to fit one of those! You can also get small or ‘mini’ range cookers 60cm wide. However, these are usually referred to as cookers, not ‘range’ cookers.
They also come in many different colour options and styles, allowing you to choose subtle and sophisticated or bold and modern, depending on personal preference.
If you love making meals for large groups or you have a big family, a range cooker could be the best option for your kitchen.
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Advantages Of Range Cookers
- Considerably larger capacity than built-in ovens with extra space for cooking and storage.
- Offers more features (in one appliance) such as a hob, grill and warming/storage drawer.
- Can cook different dishes at the same time at different temperatures. (If the model has two or more ovens)
- Freestanding range cookers act as a beautiful centrepiece for your kitchen.
- Great for people who do a lot of cooking or have large families.
- There are many different colour and style options to choose from.
Disadvantages Of Range Cookers
- For people who don’t cook often, range cookers have more than they really need.
- They’re bulky and take up a lot of space in a kitchen.
- Break up a clean, seamless look.
- Most do not have all the latest technology features. (WIFI, touchscreen, auto cooking functions, etc…)
- They’re installed as a freestanding unit on the floor, which means bending and stooping to place/view food inside the oven
- Needs a dedicated separate power supply.
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What Are Built-In Ovens?
Built-in ovens (as the name suggests ) are built directly into a kitchen cabinet to help save space and give a streamlined look.
There are multiple types of built-in ovens, including single ovens, double ovens, compact/combination ovens as well as warming drawers. (Okay, warming drawers aren’t technically an oven. But they are still part of the built-in family and you can cook in them!)
A key benefit of built-in ovens is the ability to install multiple ovens next to (or on top of) one another with a sleek appearance. You can also mix the type of built-in oven to give you more features. The most common combination I see today is a single oven alongside a compact oven with microwave function and a warming drawer.
Although not as varied as range cookers, built-in ovens also come in a variety of style options. However, compared to range cookers, they are a lot sleeker and some have many more modern ‘techy’ features. Such as WIFI, touchscreen controls and auto-cooking functions.
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Advantages Of Built-In Ovens
- Offers technological advantages, such as multifunction cooking, Wi-Fi connectivity and touchscreen control.
- Different types are available. Such as steam ovens and ovens with microwave function.
- They can be installed at any height, making them ideal for anyone that may have problems bending and stooping during cooking.
- Sleek and streamlined visual appeal for homes with modern decor.
- Ideal for smaller kitchens where space is at a premium.
- May not need a dedicated separate power supply.
Disadvantages Of Built-In Ovens
- Need to buy multiple built-in ovens/warming drawer to achieve the same capacity as a range cooker.
- Need to purchase a separate hob.
- Some may consider them a little boring looking.
What To Consider When Deciding Between A Range Cooker And Built-In Ovens
Still having trouble making a decision? Here are a few more things to consider and questions to ask yourself when deciding between a range cooker and built-in ovens.
Probably the biggest consideration to make is the physical size of each appliance. Do you have enough room in your kitchen to comfortably fit a range cooker while still leaving enough space for all your other appliances as well as enough countertop space?
You may be in love with a big range cooker and desperately want one in your kitchen. But if having one is to the detriment of good functional kitchen design, workflow and practical countertop space. Your day-to-day experience using the space will drive you mad and you should probably reconsider and look at built-in ovens.
Whilst there is an option for any budget these days, price is still a consideration. It may seem that range cookers are far more expensive but you have to factor in you are getting a few appliances in one.
And while a single oven and small hob will likely be cheaper than a range cooker, that’s not an equal comparison. Think about what you really need and weigh up the cost as equally as you can.
This one is purely aesthetic. Do you prefer the sleek and integrated look of built-in ovens? Or are you in love with a beautifully big range cooker as a fantastic focal point for the room?
Whilst built-in ovens do look (slightly) different you will have far more choice of colours and style variations with a range cooker. Just look at some of the striking colour options Bertazzoni offer!
Features and Functions
Range cookers can feature multiple ovens, a grill, and some even have a warming/storage drawer. Whereas you would need to buy multiple separate built-in appliances to get the same amount of features.
However, most modern built-in ovens offer special cooking functions, such as multifunction cooking, self-cleaning capabilities, touch screen controls, Wi-Fi connectivity, and more. While some range cookers may have some of these functions you’re far more likely to have these in built-in appliances.
Think about what features and functions you need to help decide which is the best choice for you and your cooking.
Energy and Connections
Both range cookers and built-in ovens are pretty equal when it comes to energy ratings. But it is always good to check out the ‘A’ rating and running costs for the specific appliance you’re considering.
However, a more practical consideration is to check if you have the correct wiring (and/or gas supply) in place. If not, you may need new supplies installed in your kitchen.
A range cooker will likely need a larger dedicated electrical supply as it will be over 3kW. Whereas some single ovens are under 3kW and can simply be plugged into a 13amp socket.
If you’re unsure, check with an electrician before you buy anything.
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While there’s ultimately no wrong choice, deciding between a range cooker and built-in ovens isn’t always easy.
Really the only practical consideration is if you have enough room for a range cooker. Once you decide whether you have the space to accommodate a range cooker, then it’s important to look at your needs (and wants!).
If you love the look and focal point in your kitchen, have a large family and want that all in one cooking zone, it might be better to choose a range cooker.
Those with limited space and who prefer a modern design with added technology and multiple function options would likely benefit from built-in ovens.
No matter what you go for, I hope this guide has helped make the decision that little bit easier.
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.