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GUIDE TO BUYING A COOKER: ELECTRIC AND GAS

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This is a guide to some of the key issues to consider when buying a cooker. A cooker is an essential appliance in the home. A cooker keeps your food warm. You can also boil, fry, bake, and roast/grill with a cooker. Modern cookers have features that put stress off cooking.

Here a few issues to consider before you buy a cooker. Hope you find it useful.

what fuel/energy source is available


A cooker requires energy to cook your food. Before you buy a cooker, you must ensure that the cooker can be energised by locally available energy sources. Some options available include Electric, Gas, Kerosene, Coal, and firewood.

However, if you live in a city or in a developed country like the US, UK, or Canada, your only option is most likely to be only gas, electricity and may be kerosene. Gas and Electricity are the cheapest sources of energy for your cooking. Hence, gas and electric cooker is highly recommended if these fuels are locally available at the right price.

Some gas cookers come with electric cooker. Combo cookers (electric & gas cooker combined) are recommended if budget allows. For example in Nigeria or in other countries with unreliable electricity supply, buying an electric only cooker might mean starvation.

Before you buy a gas cooker, you need a gas connection in your home. If you live in a country where cooking gas is distributed via pressurised cylinders, you need one of such gas cylinders.

If you do not have access to electricity, or, gas supply or you are buying one to use in such a place (say for cooking in the village), you should then consider coal or kerosene stoves/cookers. These stoves are on the average cheaper than gas and electric cookers but their fuel cost is usually higher.

Electric/gas cookers also cook faster and better. Gas cookers cook faster than electric cookers, but electric cookers are more economical.

what cooking capacity


Once you have decided the fuel/energy source best suitable for your location, you should then consider the capacity you need. The capacity of cooker you buy depends on the family size.
combo gas/electric cookers
Here are some suggestions for combo gas/electric cookers:
For a family of two to four a cooker with two/three gas burners and one/two electric heaters will be adequate.
Families with more than four can go for the four-gas burner and one/two electric cookers. Since cookers are not bought very often, you should not just look at the current size of the family when buying but also consider future growth.
Gas only cooker
If you decide to go for gas only cooker, a four-burner gas cooker is okay from households of two. For mass cooking with large pots, you need gas burners with burners large enough to handle the extra large pot.

other options


sealed plate or ceramic plate
There are two types of electric heaters (hobs) available. The solid (sealed) plate is more popular because they are cheaper but cook slow. Their elements are not visible.

Ceramic plate hobs are more responsive (fast) than sealed hobs. These hobs have more control options than sealed plate hobs. Ceramic hobs are recommended if they are available and budget allows. The electric element in a ceramic plate hob is visible.

Freestanding or built-in
Freestanding cookers are more popular. They are great if you have limited space. They are also easy to move around.

If space is not an issue, you can buy a built-in cooker. Built-in cookers require special installation.

oven, grill & turnspit
If you are an all round cook or you have one in your household you should go for a cooker with oven and grill. These are most common in gas and electric cookers. There are different configurations of oven/grill available in the market today.

The single oven/grill have oven and grilled combined. You can either use it as an oven or a grill at a time, but cannot bake and grill at a time. If you want to be able to grill and bake at the same time, you should go for a twin cavity oven/grill.

The twin cavity oven/grill have separate oven and grill with the grill on top. They are by far the most popular and are recommended.

The double oven models come with two ovens and a grill, giving more options. These options however come at a price. One oven is separate while the other is combined with the grill.

Ovens may be powered with gas or electricity. Some have fans to aid uniform circulation of heat, making cooking faster.

Auto timer
Set the duration of the duration of baking. Some ovens come with minute minders that will remind you every minute once the preset time elapses.

catalytic liners
This is a self-cleaning feature.

Auto ignition
No need for matches, simply turn knob to ignite the gas hob.

double oven glass
Reduce kitchen heat.

Cylinder compartment
If you live in a city, where gas is distributed via pressurised gas cylinders, you will need a gas cylinder, which will occupy space. A cooker with cylinder compartment saves space and improves safety. However, means your oven will be small.

Flame failure
Prevent gas fires.

Power requirement
Electric cookers require larger current than most home appliances and hence will require a dedicated which with appropriate fuse. Voltage rating should also be in conformity with local regulations.

Brands
Popular brands include General Electric (GE), Electrolux, Hotpoint, Whirlpool, Bosch, Tricity, Siemens, Belling, Omaha, and so on.

what price
Once you are clear with the features you want you should now go for market survey to find out how much it will cost. Price depends on cooker features. The price of a dual cavity cooker in Nigeria may range from N42,000 to up to N250,000 depending on features.

A good gas cooker without an oven may sell for as low 6,500 Naira. Kerosene stoves start at N949.99.

Cooker financing
You must not buy your cooker cash down, you can ask for purchase finance from your bank. Cooker financing will enable you take home a brand new cooker with a down payment of between 10% and 40%. The balance is paid off over a period 12 to 24 months.

Product financing provides you with a flexible, hassle free financing of your appliances. If you are credit-worthy this is a good option, but remember you will pay interest.

important notes
Once you are sure of what you want to buy and you have a good idea on price, you can then visit an authorised dealer shop to make your purchase. You may buy from any of the same shops you did your market survey preferably the one with the best deal.

However, wherever you buy make sure it is from an authorised dealer shop. An authorised dealer deals directly with the manufacturer, and will offer you warranty on the cooker. The warranty often involves repair or outright replacement of cooker if it develops any fault during the tenor of the warranty. The fault must not be as a result of your carelessness or abuse. The warranty is often limited so clarify what the warranty includes and excludes (warranty terms and conditions).

Authorised dealers offer excellent sales, and after sales services. They also offer cooker financing.



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