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Cheap Gas Cookers
I don’t do much cooking and I don’t much like spending money, so when I decided to get myself a cooker after 6 years without one I went for the cheapest option. I didn’t think about any other criteria. After all any cooker after having no cooker at all was surely going to be a big improvement.
However, I somewhat regret my hasty choice now, so thought by writing this I might perhaps help you avoid making your choice of cheap gas cooker based purely on price alone without considering other factors.
Glen by Belling
The cooker which I brought and have ended up somewhat cursing (but which, being reluctant to make further outlay, I continue to use!) is a Glen by Belling.
What is Good about it?
The gas hobs and the gas oven cook food perfectly well, so other considerations aside; it hasn’t been a total disaster. I can make porridge, omlettes, bake a cake and steam broccoli – even do all four at once! (That’s about the limit of my cooking prowess).
The price was good too. It was the cheapest of all the cookers I looked at - approximately £170 3 or 4 years ago.
What is Bad about it?
- The grill is in the oven i.e. not separate. I didn’t think this would be annoying but it really is. I thought it would be fine, because I almost never want to grill and bake at the same time. However the annoying thing is what do you do with the grill tray when you are using the oven? You can’t leave it in the oven, you have to find a space for it in the kitchen. I haven’t got a space for it so it gets in the way!
- The pan supports over the grill are angled such that if I put an empty saucepan on them it often falls off. I am a bit clumsy, but I never had this happen with other cookers
- The grill is the worst grill ever. It is next to impossible to get an evenly browned piece of toast for example. ½ can be crispy whilst the other half is still bread. You can about get round this by judicious turning of your bread/toast, but the results are never great. I wouldn’t trust it to grill bacon.
- The glass door is world class difficult to clean - maybe I just haven't found the right cleaning product yet and I'm sure I don't make the effort to try often enough - but still.
- The automatic ignition broke after just over a year of use. I dare say I could probably pay money for someone to come round and fix it (but I’m sure you can guess my feelings about that). This isn’t a problem on the hob – because you turn the gas on, light your match and then depress the hob gas button with one hand and your other hand can handle the lit match.
It’s a whole lot harder lighting the oven. The oven gas burners are under a metal tray which I could take out completely for lighting, but then would have to get back in place whilst the gas is lit and I’d be sure to singe myself. So here is what I have to do
- Turn the oven knob to on
- Light the match and hold it in my left hand
- Lift up the metal oven base tray with my right hand
- Depress the oven knob with my other hand
- What other hand? You’ve spotted the flaw, I only have two hands and one has the match, the other has the tray. Therefore I have to depress the oven knob with my forehead.
- Light the oven, keep the knob depressed with forehead for a few seconds (otherwise the gas goes out) blow out match and put the tray down.
- Rub the dent out of my forehead.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Cheap Gas Cooker
Grill - The very cheapest cookers have their grill in the oven - you know my feelings about this. Is it something you would happily put up with? (You are allowed to think I'm being a bit of a stroppy mare about this point!) You probably won't be allowed to test the grill out with a piece of toast in the cooker showroom, so read reviews and see what people have to say about the grill quality.
In built ignition - before you buy find out how much this costs to fix if it stops working (after the guarantee runs out) and how easy is it to light the oven manually. If the ignition breaks are you prepared to put up with a dented forehead?
Oven size - The very cheapest cookers have a smaller oven size - they may not cope with a massive turkey for example. Think about how big the biggest thing you plan to cook is. I only cook small things, so this wasn't an issue for me.
Hob - You might want to try balancing an empty saucepan on the hob before you buy your cooker. If it over balances and falls off, maybe choose another model.
Overall cooker size - you may have a very specific space in which you need to fit your new gas cooker, so remember to measure the space's width, depth and height before you make your choice.
Cleaning - before purchasing you might want to find out what products are specifically recommended for cleaning your possible new cooker.