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Choosing cookers, ovens, hobs and microwaves

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers is the UK’s leading expert in user-centred research involving disabled and older consumers. We’re an independent charity with over 50 years’ experience of specialist research. Our information is unbiased and we hope it will help you choose the right option to meet your needs. We don't sell products. Please search online by product name to find suppliers.

Choosing cookers, ovens, hobs and microwaves

Choosing the right cooking appliance for your needs can be difficult for anyone - especially so if you are blind or partially sighted or are looking for easy to use features.

image of cooker


  1. Introduction (this page)cover image - cookers,ovens, hobs and microwaves
  2. Types of cooking appliances
  3. What would make cooking easier for you?
  4. Design features worth looking for
  5. Design features to avoid
  6. Design features checklist
  7. Where and how to buy cooking appliances
  8. Lighting, devices and kitchen accessories
  9. Design advice and installation of appliances
  10. Useful resources

Download a pdf copy: Choosing cookers, ovens, hobs and microwaves (PDF).

For an audio cd or braille copy of the guide, contact:

Thomas Pocklington Trust (audio and braille guides)

020 8090 9268

Read the press release: How  easy are cookers, hobs, ovens and microwaves to use?
Not always easy enough, says a new step-by-step shopping guide


The range and scope of cookers, ovens, hobs and microwaves on sale is diverse and often confusing.

First of all, decide:

  • what type of fuel to use (gas or electric)
  • whether you want a separate hob and oven or a free standing cooker
  • if a combined microwave and oven will be the right choice for you
  • what your current are and what your future needs in the kitchen will be.

Use this shopping guide to:

  • translate your needs and home situation into features to look out for
  • get advice on how to approach retailers
  • get a step-by-step through the decisions to make to find the best cooking appliance for your needs.

NOTE: It’s often the case that information you get later on will change your mind about earlier decisions.

Our research involved:

  • Two focus groups with design sessions involving 18 participants with sight loss. Our design sessions ended by asking the question “If you could design a desert island cooker and microwave, what would they look like?”
  • Expert consultation with occupational therapists, housing and facilities managers and a kitchen design consultant for disabled people.
  • We visited a total of nine stores with three people with sight loss, to see if we could find products with the features we were looking for.
  • Our participants were aged between 22 and 89. Five had no useful sight and thirteen were partially sighted.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to the participants of our focus groups and store visits, our expert consultants and thanks to Thomas Pocklington Trust for funding the research.

Last updated: January 2019

Introduction | Types of cooking appliances