Since the early 1930’s Agas have been a feature of many kitchens across the UK, with their classic styling, versatile functionality and overall presence – often placing them high on any kitchen-lovers wishlist. They work wonderfully for smaller families or even giant ones like ours. Whilst Nathan and I do not have an AGA ourselves (we love our newly acquired range cooker) we have over the years learnt and seen the benefits of an AGA via using the one at his mums house. You see, when we all gather at Naths mums house for family weekends.holidays and celebrations, there are quite easily 20+ people to cater for! From huge pans of soup, to a full on Christmas dinner, we are always thankful for the trusty AGA that takes pride of place in the kitchen, making it possible to keep warm and cook everything we need to feed the (almost) 5,000!
Whether you’re in the market for your first Aga, or like us you’ve had the pleasure of using one before, we wanted to break down the key areas to consider before taking on a new Aga, and whether it’s right for you and your kitchen!
Let’s Begin – What is an Aga?
An Aga is a versatile cast iron cooker. Unlike ovens which you may be used to in a standard kitchen, Agas often have multiple different cooking levels, individual ovens and cooking options. Whilst many can be built to order and their configurations can vary widely, each Aga typically includes at least one roasting oven, at least one simmering oven and one or two hotplates.
The key difference between an Aga and many other cookers are the way they deal with heat. Their cast iron composition makes them fantastic at retaining and radiating heat throughout its many different components. This ‘radiant’ heat transfer, means food can be cooked for far longer without the dry heating which is common in other cookers – meaning your food maintains moisture and tenderness.
As energy and kitchen trends have evolved and changed over the decades, Agas can now be purchased in many different combinations as well as different fuel methods including Gas, Oil and Electric. Now approaching 100 years old, Agas have become an iconic staple of the British kitchen, with their classic design now extended to incorporate up to 15 different colour styles.
Temperatures inside an Aga vary, but as a rough guide you’ll find around 250°C in the roasting oven, 190°C in the baking oven, 140°C in the simmering oven and 85°C in the warming oven. Traditional Agas operated on a fixed heat with a thermostatic control inside the Aga maintaining consistent temperatures. Nowadays, temperature control in an Aga is more available but is still unlikely to give the flexibility associated with the types of convection or fan ovens you may currently be used to.
Getting Ready – Is An Aga Right For You?
It’s fair to say that Agas are a sought after part of many kitchens up and down the country, but there’s a few key reasons you won’t find an Aga in every home.
Firstly, the size. Agas are complex works of engineering and even in their smallest configurations, won’t fit inside every kitchen. Many Agas are made to measure and require a fair amount of space in a kitchen for them to be installed and operate effectively. If you’re thinking about getting an Aga, make sure you have the kitchen for one and do some research into the size options available – make sure the components you need will all fit inside your home.
Secondly, the weight. Given that they are made of pure cast iron, Agas aren’t the lightest of appliance and often need specialist removals and installation teams to get them into place. Depending on the configuration, an Aga can weight above and beyond 450Kg so you need to ensure your kitchen can take that weight. There’s also a big consideration when installing, as many Agas do not come completely apart, and therefore the logistics of getting one installed into a kitchen often derail your Aga project before it has even begun. If you think you may move house in the near future, it may be worth holding off until you know your new kitchen can take an Aga (and can keep it long term).
Finally the running costs. Traditionally Agas were designed to be on and full heated 24/7 to aid in round the clock cooking but also as a way of heating the home. With modern changes in Aga designs, this isn’t strictly the case now but all Agas do have significantly higher running costs than a traditional oven due to that radiant heating method. Aga themselves openly publish a full breakdown of typical running times and costs, giving an idea of the kWh rates they consume. Make sure you do a full cost forecast to ensure you can afford the ongoing costs of an Aga, taking into consideration the different fueling options to get an Aga that works for you!
I’m Ready – How Do I Buy An Aga?
With Agas being so specialist, there aren’t many places to pick one up either brand new or reconditioned. In terms of price, it’s all dependent on configuration, with the smallest beginning brand new around £5,900 and the largest getting up towards £13,000.*
Reconditioned Agas are a great way to go if you are on a slightly smaller budget, with good price savings to be had against some of the brand new prices, but remember to factor in additional costs with reconditioned models; such as renovation, transportation and installation. It’s always best to do your research and only engage with professional Aga and Range Cooker specialists to ensure the best end result for you and your kitchen.
Agas are a staple part of a British kitchen design and nearly 100 years on are still widely sought after across the country. If you’re in the market to pick one up, ensure you do your research as installing, transporting and running an Aga is a completely different challenge to a standard cooker. Once you find the Aga that’s right for you, reconditioned models may be a great way to stay on budget giving you the brand new Aga experience at a fraction of the price.
Good luck with all of your Aga endeavours!
* – Prices correct at the time of writing – October 2018.
Media Source – http://www.agaliving.com
*This is a sponsored collaborative post