As designers of bespoke kitchens in private country houses, naturally we see our fair share of Agas. Over the past 25 years, Artichoke has specified and installed all types of Aga to clients, and many of the team even have one at home.
Although we have no commercial affiliation with Aga, we thought it would be sensible to write an electric Aga review, as the company no longer sells gas or oil fired models.
In this review we will look at how the Aga has changed and weigh up the pros and cons of the newer electric models.
Many of Artichoke’s clients are familiar with Agas and even had one in their kitchen growing up (usually oil fired). Those who did are familiar with the core differences between Aga cooking, and more conventional cooking in ovens and hobs.
The biggest change to Aga in recent years has been the introduction of an electric powered heat source.
Electric Aga Review – Aga Heat Source
Legacy conventional oil and gas fired Agas have a naked flame which heats a central fire brick. This fire brick then distributes heat throughout the surrounding ovens, hot plates and robust cast iron frame. One of the biggest advantages of the new electric Agas is that there is no naked flame. The newer Aga E and R Series run off 13amp and 32amp supplies, and they use an electric element to heat a central fire brick instead. This is much cleaner and substantially reduces the number of times the Aga needs to be serviced. To make a comparison, oil fired Agas needs servicing twice a year, a gas fired one once a year, and an electric Aga once every 2.5 years.
Electric Aga Review – Aga Flueing
Electric Aga’s have no need to install complex flue systems to remove dangerous fumes. The only flue required is a smaller one for extracting cooking smells away from the ovens. These smaller flues can exit the building in more convenient ways, giving the electric Aga a major advantage from both a construction and location point of view. The appliance is easier to install and more flexible to position within the design of a kitchen. It is also easier to install in urban locations, particularly apartment blocks, where flueing is often a lot more complex. The electric AGA eR3 Series 60 & 90 have been designed specifically for these environments.
An oil fired Aga installed in an bespoke kitchen design by Artichoke in Dorset.
Electric Aga Review – Aga Controls
Having controls on an Aga will be an alien concept to many people. Without a naked flame which needs relighting (a tricky task with legacy oil and gas fired Agas), the electric Aga can be turned on and off at the flick of a switch. Additionally, they are excellent for seasonal cooking or for properties only inhabited occasionally, as each individual oven and hotplate can be operated independently.
The Auto function allows you to automatically pre-set the time the ovens come on. This would be very useful for those who work during the day and only use the ovens in the evening for instance. Although, this feature does not work for the Aga hotplates.
The extra control provided by electricity means the ovens can operate at slightly cooler temperatures. As a result, Aga have been able to add an additional oven to their 5 oven model. The ‘slow cooking’ oven is excellent for cooking things like stock, steamed puddings, casseroles, or a leg of lamb.
Electric Aga Review – Environment
One reader has pointed out, quite rightly, that any claims about electric Agas being more environmentally friendly because they are not burning fossil fuels is misleadling. Electricity generated from fossil fuel is clearly not emission-free, particularly if generated from coal.
For a clearer environmental conscious, Aga users should choose electricity suppliers such as Good Energy, or else pressurise their electricity supplier to move over to renewables. The former is probably the better option.
Thank you Susan for writing in and pointing this out.
The wonderful constant heat source and delicious moist food, are benefits of all Agas, regardless of how they are powered. The additional benefits of the Electric Aga over its fossil fuelled counterparts now only available as used, make it a highly attractive option.
- Greatly reduced number of service calls
- Reduced cost of servicing
- Greener option than its fossil fuel burning counterparts (only when using a green electrical anergy provider)
- More flexible to position
- Additional slow cooking oven (5 door Aga only)
- Easier to control; operates like a conventional oven
- Always on (depending on how they are used), making them perfect for busy family homes
- More expensive to purchase (although Aga will argue that over time they are cheaper)
- Potential increased heat loss when compared to the oil fired Aga, and slower to get back up to heat
- Gas Aga’s are considered cheaper to run but they do not have the convenient benefits and product control of electric
- Can be just as bad for the environment unless a green source of energy is used
In short, it was inevitable that Aga would move with the times and introduce an electric powered Aga. While they have been out for some time, we feel they have now cracked it. Apart from minor grumblings about lower quality of the cast iron (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.
19 September: A reader of this post (Liz H) got in contact with us to add that she felt her electric Aga loses its heat more quickly than the oil fired Aga’s she has had before. She also suggested that the electric Aga she owns takes much longer to get back up to normal heat. This may be something to consider if your family does the majority of its cooking with an Aga. Given that Liz has always had Agas, her points are well worth listening to.
Please call Andrew on 01934 745270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to discuss our experience with the Aga electric range. Alternatively you can request a copy of our brochure here.