Cookers & Hobs
There are a wide range of cookers and hobs available to fit kitchens of all sizes and styles. Cookers can be in upright, under work top or in a 'range' style. The come in three sizes to fit standard units and gaps, 60cm, 90cm and 120cm.
Colour choices generally seem to be limited to stainless-steel finish or white but, some appliances are also available in brown and black.
This picture shows our current kitchen with two 60cm wide Neff cookers used to provide a large volume of cooking space, with good flexibility in usage too. This combination was chosen to provide a separate grill (also an oven) and two separate main ovens that fit under the work surface.
When fitting cookers under the work top, you need to be very careful about measurements and clearances. Some require a gap above them or modification of the units to fit. The depth of hob above them and the space behind them (especially gas pipes and electricity sockets/outlets) can also be an issue. If you install a larger oven or two ovens in a side by side arrangement as shown above, you need to be sure the electricity supply is capable of the load. A second 45A cooker circuit was required for this installation.
The main decision to be made with a hob is the choice of heat source. Gas is considered the most controllable but modern electronics mean that ceramic and induction hobs are improving.
Our current gas hob which is 90cm wide and features five burners.
Cooker hoods come in two basic designs, recirculating or extracting. The former simply filters the air through a charcoal activated filter and then passes it back into the kitchen. The latter uses a fan to suck the air in and expel it to the outside.
The cooker hood needs to be as wide or wider than the hob. Energy efficiency is not a huge issue as they are on for a relatively short period of time. More important is the noise level in operation.
Most cooker hoods have built-in lighting to illuminate the hob. It's worth checking whether these are spot lights or specialist bulbs because the latter will make it difficult to replace them with LED or low energy bulbs which will generate more light and less heat.
Our current kitchen cooker hood, which is 90cm wide. This is extracts to a vent on the outside wall.
Cooker hoods that extract to the outside will need a vent and associated vent cover. These come in a variety of materials, colours, shapes and sizes. Things to watch out for are that they are suitably rain proof, wind proof (they can often clatter in the wind) and have a flap to prevent cold air entering your kitchen. All of them generally have a mesh screen to prevent insects entering your kitchen.
We have struggled to find high quality vents made from stainless-steel. Plastic seems to be the main material used to produce these.
Generally, splash backs are tiled, metal or glass. Glass ones are available with a wide range of finishes and colours and can be custom cut to accommodate power outlets and isolation switches.
It is also possible to get other cooking appliances that can be built-in to work surfaces. Integrated griddles and deep fat fryers are examples.
It makes a lot of sense so have all of the isolation switches and fuses grouped in one place which is easy and convenient to reach. This is safer and also makes a kitchen much less cluttered with switches and fuse boxes.