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 much 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. 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
Conventional oil and gas fired Agas have a naked flame that 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 an electric Aga is that there is no naked flame. Both the Total Control and Dual Control Aga use an electric element to heat the fire brick instead – amazingly, all of the heat is generated from a standard 13 amp supply. This is much cleaner and substantially reduces the number of times the Aga needs to be serviced. To make a comparison, oil fired Aga’s needs servicing twice a year, a gas fired one once a year, and an electric Aga once every 2.5 years.
Interestingly, our contacts at Aga Cirencester have suggested that it is worth considering gas over electric if there is a natural gas supply to your house as it can be cheaper, although recent volatility in energy prices, particularly gas, may well have turned this on its head.
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.
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 City 60 has been designed specifically for these environments.
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An oil fired Aga installed in an Artichoke designed kitchen in Dorset.
Electric Aga Review – Aga Controls
Having controls on an Aga will be an alien concept to many people. Without a naked flame that needs relighting (a tricky task with 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 Conclusion
The wonderful constant heat source and delicious moist food, are benefits of all Agas, regardless of how they are powered. The additional benefits of an Electric Aga over its fossil fuelled counterparts make it a highly attractive option.
- Greatly reduced number of service calls
- Reduced cost of servicing
- Greener option that its fossil fuel burning counterparts
- 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
In short, it was inevitable that Aga would move with the times and introduce an electric powered Aga. While they have had one out for some time, we feel this is the first time they have 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.
Please call Andrew or Ben on 01934 745270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to discuss our experience with the Aga Total Control electric range. Alternatively you can request a copy of our brochure here.