A range cooker is one of the first things that springs to mind when many of us picture our ideal kitchen. If you are hoping to create a real ‘heart of the home’ kitchen in your property, read on for some key points to bear in mind when shopping for the range of your dreams.

Although we may equate a range cooker with a traditional country kitchen set-up, they now incorporate all manner of cutting edge technology, making them suitable for even the most fervent foodie.

Available space should be your first consideration. Range cookers are larger than a standard stove; however, this space can be well worth setting aside when you consider that you could get up to eight burners - a real plus point if hob cooking is your thing.

An expansive cooking space is a real treat - but only if you are going to get the most out of it. A range cooker is a real investment. Bearing this in mind, consider (realistically!) how much you will use your range. If you have a large family or entertain on a regular basis, a range will kill two birds with one stone by offering all the space you could ask for in terms of catering for the hordes and creating a wonderful centrepiece in your kitchen.

Style is a very important factor when shopping around for a range cooker and is a very large part of their appeal. Whether you are looking to create the cosy ambiance that a traditional Aga brings or are looking for something more contemporary and cutting edge, you will be spoilt for choice. Remember that you should be able to take your range with you if you decide to move, so bear this fact in mind when you are shopping around.

Many electric ranges incorporate a fan designed to distribute the heat equally. In a gas model, the top shelf will generally be the hottest and the temperate will decrease as you go down. This sort of ‘zoned’ heat is well suited to cooking whole meals, where each individual dish needs to be cooked at a different temperature.

If you choose a gas range, you will need to find a registered gas safe engineer to install it. Duel fuel ranges - a gas hob combined with an electric oven - are also very popular, or you could consider one of the newer models that come complete with an induction hob.