/ Home & Energy

Your cooker complaints – give your oven a scolding

Pie in oven

Which cooker niggles get you all hot and bothered? Here’s your chance to take the oven gloves off and share your cooker complaints with the Which? Convo community.

If you’re like me, you’ll use your cooker or oven everyday. Because of this, if there’s something annoying about the cooker you cook on, it’s going to get you boiling over with rage pretty quickly.

I love my oven even if it is a bit temperamental, and I’m loathe to spend money on a new one if I don’t have to. It’s about ten years old but it heats up quickly, it’s easy to use and I love the fact that it’s multi-function. In fact, I’ve got more cooking options available than I know what to do with.

But the grill isn’t great. It doesn’t seem powerful enough for the heat to spread all the way across the grill pan. I’ve learned to live with this by moving my food around to make sure it’s all cooked, making sure that the full-grill option is selected and, if necessary, using a higher shelf in the grill. I really don’t want to shell out £500 for a new oven until I absolutely have to.

Boiling over with cooker and oven problems

But some niggles might be a bit harder to live with than my iffy grill. If the markings around the temperature dials have worn off, you’ll be setting the oven from memory, and this is going to be hit and miss at best.

If it’s hard to slide the oven shelves in due to the way the door is designed, this is going to be a pain every time you cook. And if your oven doesn’t heat-up properly or overheats, cooking instructions and recipes won’t be worth the paper they’re written on.

If you have a problem with getting an accurate temperature, oven thermometers are available for about a fiver online and will help you live with temperature problems. They stand, or hang, inside the oven and will tell you how hot your oven is. You’ll never know exactly how accurate the thermometers are, but they will give you an indication about how hot or cold your oven is and you’ll be able to adjust your settings.

What’s less than perfect on your cooker and how have you learned to live with it? And tell us about the practical steps you’ve taken to keep your cooker cooking for longer.


I agree the electric grill on my Neff is a bit feeble as well. The ovens are fine but horrible to clean, part of one oven is “pyrolitically” lined but not the remainder of the oven and the other oven is plain vitreous enamel. Why can the ovens not be provided with more “pyrolitic” lining?

Also what has happened to gas ovens and gas grills? Was there some fundamental problem with them that I am not aware of such as in pre-natural gas days people were known to gas themselves in gas ovens? They seem to have almost disappeared.

Gas ovens cant be thermostatically controlled. Plus the idea of a fan over is to make sure all the heat is blown around to remove hot/cold spots (there’s a word for that that i cant remember). Even distribution. Obviously you cant have a fan blowing on a naked flame lest it be blown out and you blown up.

George says:
28 March 2013

actually there is no problem with thermostatic control of gas ovens. They modulate the flame height rather than on/off as electric ovens do. Quite a while ago I also saw a gas ‘fan’ oven. The fan did not blow over the flames but circulated the air inside the oven compartment.
I think the main reason for seeing few gas ovens is that for most kitchen ‘built in’ is the norm. It is difficult to do that with gas as it requires ventilation of the unit. Electric is much simpler.
If you go abroad (e.g. Netherlands) you will find many free standing gas cookers with gas ovens built in.

If gas ovens and hobs were invented today they would probably not be allowed because they are unflued. They also put a lot of moisture into the atmosphere unless used with an externally vented cooker hood.

OTOH the extra water vapour probably counters the dry air affect of central heating. Its possibly not too bad!

There’s 11 pages of comments about people’s problems with damp on another Conversation. In many cases, condensation is the culprit, probably because many of us are living in double-glazed houses with inadequate ventilation. Obviously it’s important to get a balance with moisture.

Simon says:
28 March 2013

My gripe is that the numbers have worn off the oven & hob!
It’s a stainless steel unit and the numbers/temperatures were printed (rather than etched) onto the steel rather than the knobs.
Any suggestions as to print the numbers back on again?
I have the instruction manual so I can see what they *should* say . . .

Letraset (if still available) protected with nail varnish will work well, providing that the knobs are thoroughly decreased.

That should read degreased, and obviously clear nail varnish is needed.

Simon says:
28 March 2013

Excellent suggestion – thank you!

Peter Wareham says:
23 May 2013

I had this problem with the numbers wearing off the knobs on our Electrolux cooker even though we had, as instructed, taken care not to use a domestic cleaner on them. I found replacement knobs on the Electrolux website and ordered a new set at a cost of £50! Electrolux sent me a questionnaire asking among other things if I was satisfied with the service. When I told them of my dissatisfaction they called me and I said I thought they should have been replaced free of charge as the original ones were obviously not fit for purpose as evidenced by the superior quality of the replacement ones. I got absolutely nowhere and I am not impressed by Electrolux. The rest of the cooker is of good quality, which at over £700 it should be, except that the knobs are at an angle of about 30 degrees from the hob meaning they are exposed to food being cooked.

I had the same issue. I bought new decals from ovenlettering uk.

Our cooker has great gas burners and gas oven, but the gas grill is pathetic. We miss not being able to grill our bangers and brown our welsh rarebits or pavlovas. We pop the bangers in the oven and use a blow torch for our rarebits, pavlovas and other foods that need grilling to brown them off.

Carol Gee says:
14 July 2013

I am in dispute with the company who sold me my gas cooker. If the grill doesn’t work it is not fit for purpose. Complain, complain and complain again until the manufactures stop using cheap nasty grills and put in a decent powerful grill that works. It is the only way.

Mads says:
28 March 2013

About my Gas Cooker, it’s a Cannon of reasonable age but for a long time now 2 jets do not always light. It is most annoying when in a hurry and need to use all the burners. I have cleaned them but they have a mind of their own for when they want to respond to the spark.
Any ideas to correct the problem will be appreciated.

Phil King says:
28 March 2013

– Our hob has dials that are poorly marked. I have to look closely to see the thin white line to check what setting each ring is on. It would be so much easier to see a thick white line against the brown of the knob body.
– The symbols which indicate which dial controls which of the four ring are not easy to follow. Even after 3 years I still use the wrong dial occasionally. Surely the dials could be laid out more intuitively or the symbols made clearer.
– We used to have a thermostatically controlled gas ring (brand name Thermoset I think). When we were last checking what was available to buy we couldn’t find this simple but effective feature on any of the available gas hobs. Why not?
– The gas grill we bought thirty years ago was really powerful. Modern grills (gas or electric) have only half the power.
– The gas oven and grill and the gas hob that we bought thirty years ago could all be run without electricity – really useful in a power cut. We had power cuts on Christmas Day 2011 & again in 2012 and had to postpone our meal until Boxing Day. Doh!
– Our last two ovens (one gas & one electric) have both had fans. This makes them really noisy and the noise continues for a long time after they are switched off. This is unacceptable when the dining room is part of the kitchen. Our gas oven 30 years ago was almost silent in operation.
– In short we were far more content with our 30 year old hob, grill, and oven than we are with more recent purchases.

Interacdiv says:
28 March 2013

Definitely that the grill doesn’t stay hot enough. I’m sure when I was a kid our grill used to stay on permanently when you set it to maximum. The 2nd oven/grill on my builtin over still goes on and off even on maximum setting. This tends to mean nothing happens for a long time and then suddenly things burn. All of the controls for both ovens are above the grill and these can get quite hot when the grill is on so I wonder if they’ve had to compromise on the grill output for fear of causing damage.

Conversely the issue we have with our gas hob is that the minimum output of the smallest ring isn’t low enough for things like simmering rice so you end up having to baby-sit things and lift the lid every now and again so they don’t boil over.

BangaloreBill says:
28 March 2013

A friends nice new Belling electric cooker with a jet black front panel, with faded small brown writings re the controls which cannot be seen in daylight never mind electric lights.
Why oh why don’t they write in clear white. Oh I see, it’s how its looks rather whether you can see the controls!

Paul says:
28 March 2013

You got it about right. Our Canon (gas) grill doesn’t grill much in the middle. If the clock on the cooker is off it won’t allow you to turn on the overn. The glass on the oven doors slides out to clean but there are tiny fiddly clips which hold it in and these fall out. Decent cleaning solution takes off the printing around the dials (don’t even go near it with a steam cleaner). Whoever designed it has never had to clean a cooker. Yes, you are right, shelves difficult to remove (and clean). Cooking a pizza in the oven the back bit gets blackened whist the front is half-cooked. I could go on but it would get boring.

Anthony says:
28 March 2013

I had a 1200 mm high gas double oven and grill built in, It self-ventilated, and had a battery spark. Apart from the interior light everything worked in a power cut.

A simple metal strip in the door latch broke. The manufacturer was no longer trading and I had to replace the whole oven. All available gas ovens are now 600 or 900mm high, with forced ventilation and so no ability to work in a power cut. If it hadn’t meant a major re-wiring to get enough power to the oven, I would have gone electric. Fortunately I still have a gas hob.

We are being warned that adequate electricity supply is at risk in the next few years. Is it some supposed “health and safety” rule that killed the gas only oven? I doubt it will prove safer if people end up cooking on camping stoves and the like in the dark!

David says:
28 March 2013

My gripe is with my gas hob with four burners. The controls are nearest the front edge which is good BUT the two medium size burners, which are the most used are at the back. As a wheelchair user, even though the hob unit has been lowered, it’s still very awkward to get pans on and off the back burners on the hob

Jonathan S says:
28 March 2013

I love our Mercury cooker, it’s simple and without gadgets, robust and industrial in scale; a classic example of function defining form.

It’s got gas rings and electric ovens, and my one niggle concerns the gas lighting system: when you use the central (5kw!) ring, the automatic ring-lighting system just keeps clicking on and on, unless you turn the electricty to the cooker off at the wall. I’ve no idea why it does it, and it’s intermittent, but it ain’t half irritating…. If you’re reading this Mercury, perhaps you can let me know how to fix it???

Sue says:
28 March 2013

I am not Mercury but the same fault arises sometimes with our example when the hob has been cleaned in its component parts then reassembled – not quite aligning the parts correctly.
“Solution”, if and when it happens, tap/realign all the burners into their correct positions and the “fault” with disappear. Happy cooking!

v holmes says:
28 March 2013

Is there anyone out there that has the same trouble as me. The fan in my oven seems to get blocked with grease and will not function until the oven is really hot, which is useless when I only want a cool oven temperature.
Also the knobs on my Hotpoint Double are smooth and if you have any grease on your fingers it is impossible to turn them.

Brian Hills says:
28 March 2013

I have a New Worled gas hob with five burners and the centre burner will not stay alight in spite of being changed three times in three years. Sometimes it will go out immediatly other times it will stay in for around one minuit and then go out. Any ideas would be appreciated.

My new house came with a Hotpoint double oven. The fan takes ages to get up to the very hot temperatures (200/220) and neither oven heats to the temperature set. This in accuracy may well be due to the settings marked on the dials. For example, the fan oven control shows 80, 120, 160 and 200 with a dot equidistant between each number for the interim settings. I have to hazard a guess between number and dot when setting for an odd-numbered temperature such as 170.

Paul McCredie says:
28 March 2013

We are very disappointed with our Cannon Chesterfield free standing gas cooker.

Sometimes the ignition continues to click for minutes after the oven flame has lit.

There is often a puddle of condensation on the floor just in front of the main oven door.

It’s very easy to knock the burner caps out of alignment or not put them on right in the first place.

We cannot use the automatic oven timer due to a loud continuouse buzzing noise that occurs before and after the cooking time.

It’s horrible. IF only we had had the energy to reject it when it was new.

The problem with the ignition continuing to click after the oven has lit is sometimes caused by setting the thermostat immediately to Mark 4 (or whatever). Instead, set it to Start, wait for the burner to light before turning the control to Mark 4. Also, you may need to clean the thermocouple. Wipe it clean and gently polish it with the finest grade burnishing paper. If that fails, it will need a new thermocouple. A few quid to buy but a fair bit to have it fitted.

Paul McCredie says:
29 March 2013

Terry thanks for your helpful information. The problem with the ignition has occurred from new, when I would expect the thermocouple to be clean. We did have a call out a service man under the guarantee. However, he was not much help. did manage to reduce the problem slightly by Nightingale the door catch which made the flame burn straighter.

I shall try you tip about the control setting at ignition.

Beefy two shoes says:
29 March 2013

I have a Beko DVC663 double oven, my biggest gripe is that the floor in front of the oven gets water on, this is the only cooker I have had that does this, does anyone have any answer to my problem? I do realise that it is one of the cheaper ranges of ovens

M W Clark says:
29 March 2013

I have a Neff B4470 main oven and a Neff 6784 Combi.

They are OK, quite good even, but perhaps not outstanding. My niggle is that the B4470 main oven designers have obviously never cleaned an oven in their lives.

It is pyrolytic and supposedly self cleaning. But you have to remove all the runners and racks in the B4470 as these cannot take the high temperatures involved in pyrolytic cleaning. These have to be hand cleaned. The racks concerned appear to have been very deliberately designed to be as difficult to clean as possible.

I think that the sales literature should have pointed out that the B4470 oven was not truly self-cleaning.

The Combi B6784 gets a lot closer to being self cleaning – as it uses integral rack liners which are part of the oven and therefore are cleaned by the pyrolytic process. I guess it may be a later design.

The ignition on the smallest ring on my Teka hob worked on 1st day & that was about it. I lived with it – easy enough to light with a match or from one of the others. Earlier this year, I finally bought a lighter. Lo & behold, a couple of weeks later whilst lighting adjacent burner ‘click, click, click…..’ for several minutes from small ring & now it works. I wonder if that was 4 years of ‘clicks’ catching up?

AHB says:
29 March 2013

My niggle is the smallest burner on my 5-burner Neff hob will not adjust down enough to simmer gently. Had to get around the problem with a hob diffuser which really should not be necessary. The ability to simmer gently should be a fundamental requirment for all the burners apart from the multi-ring central one.

I totally agree, I have the same problem fwith my 5 burner Neff hob. The heat release is far too high on all f them such that simmering is impossible. I too have resorted to a “diffuser” hardly an energy efficient solution in an age of steadily increasing gas prices.

I wonder if Neff can supply smaller brass jet orifices in the base of the burner? Presumably the jet diameter and the burner diffuser are sized as a unit for a particulr heat rate on natural gas.

David Canessa says:
29 March 2013

My oven is a free standing Stoves and it has been very disappointing. Initially it would not reach temperature and we complained. A technician came and spent more than an hour carrying out tests & checks. Afterwards he declared the oven satisfactory (and it was) but he was not prepared to admit to any fault. The most serious complaint is that the control knobs are too small, difficult to set and break very easily. All knobs, which are plastic !!! have been replaced at some time or other. The oven radiates an enormous amount of heat when on and has affected the adjacent cupboards. The hob is unsatisfactory because the pan racks are too close to the burners, which means the pans are too close to the flame and it is impossible to simmer on any burner. The person who designed this oven has never used an oven in their life.