Are Agas any good?

(42 Posts)
porncocktail Sun 01-Jan-12 17:07:59

Always fancied one and now we're moving I could consider it. But they're pricy shock. Any experienced owners that can advise?

TarquinGyrfalcon Sun 01-Jan-12 17:30:55

I've got an Esse and I love it (it's very similar to an AGA, but cheaper) in the past I have had an AGA

It is a dream to cook on once you get used to it During the holidays we had visitors and they hated using it as they weren't used to the differences.

Pros
Kitchen is always lovely and warm
Once you are used to it they are brilliant to cook on
Easy to make lovely stew type foods in advance and just leave in the low oven
Baking is fantastic (apart from scones)
Sunday roast is a pleasure to cook
Food doesn't dry out

Cons
The cost of running it - ours is oil fired, we also use oil for our heating and water and the bill is about £200 per month. I'm not sure what percentage of that is the cooker

You need quality cookware which can be an expensive investment

We also have the companion Esse Electric Module (AGA do them as well) An electric cooker that sits next to your range cooker in the same colour and style.

The electric cooker isn't necessary but I do find it useful for things that need a quick high temp (eg stir frys or scones) and it has a grill.

If you do get one you need to be prepared to change your cooking sytle - for example a lot of saucepan cooking is started on the top but finished on the floor of the oven - this prevents heat loss.
I bought a book which explained the main principles of AGA cooking and for the first 12 months it was my cooking Bible

oksonowwhat Sun 01-Jan-12 21:31:41

I have had two. When i moved into an old house there was already one there but it was on its last legs so after a while we ordered a new onesmile

It was a solid fuel one and ran all the radiators aswell.

It was a joy to have but i have to say if you get a coal fired one i really feel these are for people who are in most of the day and not out at work/busy. They need to be brought up to the right temperature for cooking on and this isn't instant so it does need abit of thought.

I was at home most of the time and used to have it ready to cook on in the evening and during the day would maybe cook a stew in the low oven for the next day. Great for porridge and fabulous for leaving food keeping warm. My kitchen was always toasty but it didn't always keep all the radiators quite warm enough.

It was rather dirty as my exdh used to empty it and refill each morning and used to deposit dust/soot over most of the kitchen surfaces which used to drive me mad!

I had the AGA book too and loved itsmile I haven't got one anymore but if i did i'm not sure if i would go for solid fuel again as just don't have the time to fuss over it anymore!!

springboksaplenty Sun 01-Jan-12 21:37:47

Um my parents had One and my dh who so wanted one hated it. He loves cooking and tried really hard to get into the style of cooking that it requires but just couldn't. And the cost was astronomical shock

TarquinGyrfalcon Sun 01-Jan-12 21:44:53

oksonowwhat - our Aga was solid fuel and the Esse we have now is oi fired. I always felt as if we had to structure our day around the solid fuel one - it was like having a pet that you had to get home and feed. Oil fired is much easier and cleaner.

porncocktail Sun 01-Jan-12 21:54:15

That's my worry spring, I love the idea of an Aga but have never used one. Pretty damn expensive mistake!

MoreBeta Sun 01-Jan-12 22:00:00

Parents have an oil fired one. They say the really good thing is that they still work if all the electric goes off. The oil just drips in without being pumped and so keeps the kitchen warm.

My mother also likes it for cooking and baking and hardly ever uses her electric oven.

Moodykat Sun 01-Jan-12 22:00:31

Is your kitchen big enough to spend most of your time in? My dad has one, and my Aunty, and my grandmother, and my sister. And we spend most of our time in the kitchen at all those houses!
Wish I could have one too! They are the real heart of the home!

MoreBeta Sun 01-Jan-12 22:03:54

That is true about the 'heart of the home'. My parents alos spend most of their time in their big old farmhouse kitchen.

Unless you have a big kitchen you mostly live in then I would say they dont really 'fit' in a modern home.

Wish we had one in our big old draughty kitchen - which is where we mostly live.

baubleybobbityhat Sun 01-Jan-12 22:08:36

From what everyone has posted on here they sound like a monumental pita and I can't begin to see the attraction!

How hot would your kitchen be in the summer?

Oeufman Sun 01-Jan-12 22:10:20

We have a 4 oven 50 year old converted oil AGA. I llluuuuuvvvvvv her! Our kitchen revolves around her and she really is the heart of the home.

I do all my cooking (except baking when I use a microwave combioven) on her, iron/dry the clothes, warm pjs and many other things on her. She also warms our water. Our animals all snuggle up infront of the AGA and it is the place to lean whilst drinking a cup of tea. It is expensive in fuel - but used to its full potential it can I feel be justified..

porncocktail Sun 01-Jan-12 22:10:28

This is all speculative really, as I'm thinking of the big old kitchen we will make in the big old house we haven't yet bought! But the plan would be to make a kitchen where everyone spent most of their time, cooking, homework, chatting etc.

drifts off into rustic fantasy

Oeufman Sun 01-Jan-12 22:12:37

Sounds like our mad kitchen - complete with 4 DC, 2 dogs, 5 cats, 1 rabbit and a totally demented parrot who spends its time calling the names of the other animals!

porncocktail Sun 01-Jan-12 22:14:37

Sounds fun! DH would kill me if I introduced any more animals, though I hope for chickens one day.

MoreBeta Sun 01-Jan-12 22:42:50

They take several days to warm up when they first get going but it is teh constant source of ambient heat that I like. If you need an extra blast of heat you just lift the lids on top and in summer you just turn them down a bit.

I think if I had one I would get one that was big enough to run a couple of radiators of it to keep a bathroom warm and maybe my bedroom. Its the security of knowing that you alway shave a heat source that will work come what may that really attracts me.

Moodykat Sun 01-Jan-12 22:44:09

Oh, the drying clothes thing is another reason I wish I had one! My parents, well just dad now, have a drying rack hanging from the ceiling and it's awesome. (Aga lust hitting again!)

Moodykat Sun 01-Jan-12 22:45:02

Have I spelt awesome wrong? It looks wrong. <wrings hands>.

porncocktail Sun 01-Jan-12 22:53:05

Awesome spelt correctly! <pats Moodie's hand reassuringly>

Moodykat Sun 01-Jan-12 23:19:02

Phew! Just thought of more: warming plates in bottom oven. Keeping kettle at front between hot plates so it takes 2 minutes to boil. Toast on an Aga is the best toast there is. and this ones a bit grim but as a child I used to take ticks off the dogs and chuck them on the hotplate. hmm It was very satisfying when they popped!

Moodykat Sun 01-Jan-12 23:19:46

I mean 2 seconds. Bugger this, I'm going to bed!grin

TarquinGyrfalcon Sun 01-Jan-12 23:46:49

Another vote for drying clothes - also you never ever have to iron. I just fold anything ironabe and stack it on the lid of the hotplate and it self irons.

We turn ours right down in the summer (assuming it is warm) and use the barbecue instead

PrimroseCocktail Mon 02-Jan-12 15:13:13

Just looking at Rayburns too. The house we're looking at needs central heating and so this could be a good solution, maybe?

Catsmamma Mon 02-Jan-12 15:21:47

We have an oil stanley range! We all love him! Mine is an old one but still soldiering on, if i ever win the lottery I would definitely have a more up to date model

You do have to revamp your cooking style. Officially there are temp marking on the controls, but the oven pleases itself really, so you have to go by the door thermostat which shows Cool/Hot/Very Hot, and use the rack position to regulate....this can be challenging on a warm summers day when you want 220c for your roasties and Stanley will only let you have almost Hot. ....but you can't be cross really

Oil is also hellish expensive atm which is a bugger!

Minimammoth Mon 02-Jan-12 15:28:32

We also have an Esse. It runs our heating and water and is oil fired. Cooking on it is good, once you get to know it. Ours is 12 yrs old and not very adjustable. We turn it off at night and in summer, and it soon heats up once lit.
It's great for ironing too.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 02-Jan-12 15:28:45

I have a gas aga and no other cooker and I do love it but when we re-do our kitchen will be getting an additional oven as well.

Pretty much agree with all the pro's and cons listed already.

They aren't cheap to run and need regular servicing - annually for gas and every 6 months for oil.

Have you looked at the new agas which are more of a combination oven but are £££.

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