As designers of bespoke kitchens for private country houses we have seen our fair share of Agas over the last twenty five years. We have specified and installed all Aga types for our clients over this time and many of the Artichoke team have one at home, cooking in and on them daily. As we have no commercial affiliation with Aga it seemed sensible for us to undertake an electric aga review as a way to help clients understand how the kitchen appliance has changed with the advent of the newer electric models.
Many of Artichoke’s clients are very familiar with Aga cooking. Many had an Aga in their kitchen at home growing up (usually oil fired) and those who did are familiar with the core differences between Aga cooking and more conventional cooking in ovens or on hobs.
The biggest single change to the Aga in recent years has been the introduction of the electric powered heat source, and it is this area this review focuses on.
Electric Aga Review – Aga Heat Source
Oil and gas fired Agas operate by using a naked flame to heat a centrally located fire-brick which then distributes heat to the surrounding ovens and hot plates, as well as heating the Aga’s robust cast iron frame. One of the major advantages of the electric Aga is that there is no naked flame heat source heating the core. In the case of the Total Control Aga and the Dual Control Aga, the centrally located fire brick is heated by an electric element which needs much less servicing. It is thus cleaner, substantially reducing the number of times the Aga needs to be serviced. As a comparison, an oil fired Aga needs servicing twice a year, a gas fired Aga once a year, and an electric Aga once every 2.5 years.
Amazingly, all of this heat is generated from a standard 13 amp supply.
Interestingly, a chat with our contacts at Aga Cirencester suggests that Aga themselves recommend considering gas over electric if there is a natural gas supply to your house, so it is well worth considering this option.
Electric Aga Review – Aga Flueing
Because there are no fossil fuels being burned in the electric Aga there is no need for complex flue systems to be installed to distribute dangerous fumes away from the home or above ridge height. The only flue required is a smaller one needed to extract cooking smells away from the ovens. These flues are much smaller in diameter and can exit the building in more convenient ways; a major advantage from both a construction and location point of view. Because the electric Aga does not need flueing in the traditional sense, the appliance is easier to install and more flexible to position, making kitchen design easier. This also makes it easier to install in urban locations where flueing is often more complex (particularly in apartment blocks). The relatively new electric Aga City 60 has been designed for these environments.
Electric Aga Review – Aga Controls
The idea of having controls on an Aga will be an alien concept to many people, but without a naked burning flame that needs relighting (often a tricky task with oil fired and even gas fired Agas), the electric Aga can be turned on and off at the flick of a switch. Each individual oven and hotplate can also be turned on and off independently, which makes it excellent for seasonal cooking or for properties only inhabited occasionally (such as at weekends).
The Auto function also allows you to pre-set the time the ovens come on automatically, which can be useful if you are working during the day and only use the ovens in the evening for instance. This feature does not work for the Aga hotplates.
The additional control provided by electricity allows ovens to be operated at cooler temperatures (or less hot!), meaning Aga have been able to add an additional oven type to their 5 oven model. The slow cooking oven is excellent for cooking stock, pulled pork or shoulder or leg of lamb, steamed puddings, casseroles and stocks.
Electric Aga Review Conclusion
All Agas, regardless of how they are powered, offer benefits such as wonderful constant radiant heat source, being great to bake with, keeping food moist and so on. However the electric Aga has additional benefits over its fossil fuelled counterparts which make it a highly attractive option.
In short, it was inevitable that Aga would move with the times and introduce an electric powered Aga, and in fairness they have had one out for some time, although we feel this is the first time they have cracked it. Apart from minor grumblings about the quality of the cast iron not being the same as the original Agas (which may or may not be true!), we have heard nothing but good things about the electric Aga from clients we have specified and installed them for.
To discuss our experiences with the electric Aga or any points made in the above electric Aga review, feel free to contact us.