Advice about buying ovens, hobs, cooker hoods, dishwashers, fridges, freezers and wine coolers for your annexe kitchen.
- Slot-in cookers combine the oven and hob together. They’re easy to install and can be taken with you if you move. Before you buy, measure up the space to see whether you need a 55cm, 60cm, 90cm, 100cm, 110cm or larger size
- Think about whether you need one oven or two. Is a grill a must and what about extras such as telescopic shelving and self-cleaning functions?
- To be sure of safety, use a registered tradesperson to install the appliance.
- Integrated designs tend to be more technologically advanced than freestanding, with a variety of functions such as automatic programmes, steam injection, multifunction cooking and sensor food probes
- They can be placed at eye level and teamed with matching appliances
- Pyrolytic cleaning is worth spending a little extra on, as it burns grease and fat deposits into a fine ash that can simply be wiped away
- For families with young children, look for child locks, retractable controls, cool-touch doors and a mark-resistant stainless-steel finish
- Gas hobs are easy to control with instant, responsive heat. Look for different kW burners for flexible cooking and removable, dishwasher-safe pan supports
- Induction cooking is energy efficient and safe for families with young children, as it’s the pan that heats up when it comes into contact with the hob’s surface
- Ceramic hobs have electric zones hidden beneath the surface. Smooth and easy to clean, they’re ideal for an inexpensive update but the heat distribution isn’t as good as it is with gas or induction.
Cool cooker hoods
- Extractors remove steam and odours. To work out the extraction rate for the size of your room, measure the space in cubic metres (width x breadth x height), then times this figure by 10 to give the change of air per hour needed
- Ducted models take steam and odours outside while recirculated designs absorb, filter and clean them before returning the fresh air to the room. Ducting should be as short and straight as possible for efficient extraction
- Hoods need to be at least the same width as the hob; for induction cooking, a hood wider than the hob is recommended
- A freestanding design is easier to repair or replace if anything goes wrong and you can take it with you if you move. Integrated models are designed to be concealed from view behind a cabinet door
- Think about what functions will benefit your household the most – a variety of programmes and temperatures, an eco setting, delay start, sensor cycles, self-cleaning filters, adjustable racks and glass care
- To save on water, check how many litres the dishwasher uses. Eco settings and half-load options are also worth looking out for
- Check the energy rating to keep running costs as low as possible. An A+++ rating is the most efficient while A++ and A+ are still economical
- Where space allows, an American-style side-by-side design offers stacks of storage for fresh and frozen food
- A two-door model with a 50:50 split takes up less space but can still store enough food for all the family. If you need extra freezer space, consider a chest freezer in a garage or utility room
- Frost-free tends to come as standard but always check and look for added extras such as antibacterial coatings, holiday mode, adjustable shelves and low-energy LED lighting
- Check the capacity, which is measured in litres, to see how much usable space a fridge offers. Ice-makers and drinks dispensers take up valuable storage space so consider whether you really need them
- A silver finish is a less expensive alternative to stainless steel, while mark-resistant coatings are great for families with young children
- It’s best to allow a gap of around 25mm at the top, back and sides of the appliance so always measure up the space available and check the dimensions of your new model carefully before you buy
- Think about how many bottles you need to store. Most capacities are for Bordeaux-size bottles so if you prefer larger bottled drinks, fewer will fit in
- White and red wine should be stored at different temperatures, so if you have both, choose a dual-zone cabinet with independently controlled temperatures. Otherwise a single-zone model will work well
- A UV-tempered glass door will prevent the sun’s rays from harming the wine while pullout shelving is easy to access
- Check the noise level and energy rating too, for a quiet model with low running costs