Electric, Gas, or Dual? Understanding the Cooker Choices in Ireland
Choosing a new cooker essentially comes down to your preferences, lifestyle and practical considerations.
When replacing an old cooker or buying one for your new home, consider first how you like to cook. Different cookers offer different cooking options such as specialised hobs, multiple ovens and the heating methods of gas vs electric cookers. If you like to cook quickly, then look for cooker options that heat up quickly and cook evenly. Or, if you prefer to take your time to create culinary masterpieces, look for a cooker that offers you more control. Also, take into consideration who and how many people you plan to cook for. If you regularly cook for a large group, more hobs could make cooking easier for example.
Importantly, before buying a cooker look at your available kitchen space, budget and preferred, or available, cooker fuel. The average cooker size has a 50-60 cm width and a 90 cm height range - though there are larger cookers available. The average cooker size range customarily sits between the €400 - €900 price range in Ireland. Though they offer different pros and cons, gas and electric cookers tend to be around the same price range. Whereas bigger cookers with double ovens and more hobs are at the higher end of this scale and beyond.
Electric Cookers - Pros And Cons
Electrical kitchen cookers and appliances became popular throughout Ireland in the 1950’s thanks to architect Eleanor Butler. Butler was commissioned to design a kitchen that combined the benefits of electricity with the much-loved traditional kitchen. Her design resulted in more than two hundred thousand Irish households welcoming electric cookers into their homes.
Now, as back then, electric cookers are popular thanks to the convenience they offer. Electric cookers are easy to use, easy to clean and safe. As with all things, electric cookers do have pros and cons, which we have summarised below.
- Electric cookers are easy to fit - just plug it in and you’re ready to go.
- The efficient heat use of an electric cooker means very little heat escapes from the hob, oven or grill.
- Unlike other cooker types, with an electric cooker, you won’t feel the kitchen becoming unbearably hot as you cook.
- Fan-assisted electric ovens have a consistent cooking heat throughout the oven.
- Electric cookers heat and cook food evenly.
- You have the option of choosing induction hobs which heat and cool quicker than standard hobs.
- There are no open flames.
- Easy clean ceramic hob surface.
- Electric cookers can’t be used in a power cut.
- They are slightly more expensive to run than a gas cooker.
- You have less control over the heat levels.
- Electric ovens have a drier heat than gas ovens meaning that food can dry out whilst cooking.
Electric Cooker Features
Finishes - Electric cookers come in a range of finishes to suit any kitchen - choose from classic white, black, cream or Inox.
Double cookers - Most electric cookers are double cookers but there are also single oven models.
Hobs - The hobs of an electric cooker are beneath a single sleek ceramic surface that allows you to heat each hob accordingly. Some models have induction hobs which are activated when used with special pans with magnetic bases. The heat then transfers directly to the pan for a more efficient use of heat.
Gas Cookers - Pros And Cons
Gas ovens are the preferred choice of professional cooks and chefs. When it comes to households they are loved by some and loathed by others, again it all comes down to preference.
Gas ovens are hotter at the top than at the bottom unless they have a fan. For some people, the uneven temperature of a gas oven is preferred as it suits their cooking style. In contrast, others prefer the consistent heat of an electric oven.
Like electric cookers, gas cookers also have their pros and cons, such as:
- Gas cooker hobs heat quickly so you can start cooking straight away.
- The heat level of the cooking elements is easy to control. For example, with gas hobs, the heat adjusts immediately when the flame power increases or decreases.
- Gas cookers will still work if there is an electricity power cut.
- Gas cookers are marginally cheaper to run than electric cookers.
- You will need a registered gas fitter to install your gas cooker which adds additional time and cost. Ireland has introduced a policy making it illegal for anyone other than a registered gas fitter to provide any gas work.
- Not everyone is comfortable with an open flame in their home.
- The oven heat distribution of a conventional gas oven can be uneven making cooking less predictable.
- Tricky to clean around the raised hobs.
- Gas cooker ovens heat slower than electric ovens unless fan assisted.
Gas Cooker Features
Hobs - Gas cooker hobs have four raised burners covered with an iron grill-like stand for cooking with pans. The top of gas cookers usually has a shallow sunken area where the burners are displayed. This sunken area keeps the burner level with the top of the cooker body. Some gas cookers have an added hinged hob cover that helps keep the hob top clean between use.
Double ovens - As with electric cookers, gas cookers are available as double cooker / double oven models.
Catalytic liners - An added bonus of many newer gas cooker models is the addition of self-cleaning properties. This includes catalytic liners, a type of oven liner that breaks down organic components (fat, crumbs etc) and absorbs the residue. Ovens with catalytic liners therefore need much less cleaning.
Dual Fuel Cooker Pros And Cons
You could say that dual fuel cookers offer the best of both worlds by using both gas and electricity. With most dual fuel cooker models, gas is used for the hob and electricity for the ovens and grill. This means you get the instant hob heat of gas cooking and the consistent oven temperature of electric cooking. A typical dual fuel cooker will have one grill and two ovens and up to seven burners (hobs). Dual cookers are ideal if you cook for a large family or group or regularly batch cook your favourite meals. They are also the preferred cookers for small restaurants and cafes.
The majority of dual fuel cookers are double the width of standard gas and electric cookers. In short, they are the modern version of the classic range cookers which have been much loved for hundreds of years. The added girth of dual fuel cookers means they will make a strikingly stylish addition to your kitchen and home.
- Ideal for efficient cooking for large groups, special events and batch cooking.
- Dual fuel ovens either come with additional storage space or a warming drawer for plates built-in.
- One of the seven burners is usually a wok burner which produces a strong cooking heat quickly. Wok burners can be used for many dishes as well as stir-fries and for searing meats.
- From a style perspective, dual fuel ovens become a centrepiece for all kitchens.
- Some models come with special liners to make cleaning easier.
- As with gas cookers, you will need a registered gas fitter to install your dual fuel cooker.
- You will need a wider space than for a standard size cooker.
Dual Fuel Cooker Features
Multiple oven types - Not only do dual fuel cookers have two ovens but they have two different types of ovens. Models may vary, but as standard, the usual practice is to have one conventional oven and one fan assisted oven. Having the choice of the two oven types gives you more flexibility when cooking.
Cooking timer - With so many hobs, ovens and grills to keep track of, handy built-in timers will help you stay organised.
Additional hobs - Having seven hobs means you can have dishes simmering, sauteing and stir frying all at the same time.
A Quick Guide To Oven Types
- Conventional ovens
Conventional ovens have one or two heating elements and can be gas or electric. Gas conventional ovens usually have one heating element and electric ones have an element at the top and at the bottom. The temperature of a conventional oven will vary at different levels.
- Convection ovens
Convection ovens have similar heating elements to a conventional oven and can be gas or electric. The difference between a conventional and a convection oven is the latter has the addition of a fan. The purpose of the fan is to circulate the heat around the oven for an even cooking temperature.
- Fan assisted
Fan assisted is another name for a convection oven.
- Double Ovens / Double Cookers
The majority of modern electric cookers are double cookers which means they have more cooking space. Instead of one large oven, double cookers have a grill and oven.
Shop Cookers At Irwins Megastore
Our experienced kitchen appliance experts are on hand to help you choose the best cooker type for your home. With our huge range of gas, electric and dual fuel cookers, you are bound to find your perfect choice at Irwins Megastore. You will only find the cooker brands you can trust online at irwinsmegastore.ie and instore at our Cork and Waterford stores. Right now, our cooker range includes Cookerpoint, Hotpoint, Zanussi, Leisure, Indesit and more. When it comes to home cooking, we have everything you need.