We all want to do our bit for the environment and save money on our energy bills, but which hobs will help us achieve this? This guide will help you decide between gas, induction and electric cooking.
The Most Energy Efficient Hobs
If your current hob is really old, it’s safe to say a new one will be more energy efficient. Hobs aren’t given EU energy ratings like other appliances, so other than that it can be difficult to know where to start.
A number of different factors matter when you’re considering it all. The gas or electricity usage (BTU/h or KW/h) and how long it takes to heat something show how efficient a hob is – that is how much energy it uses in relation to how much it wastes (on heat loss through the zone, pan supports and air, for example). Running costs are how expensive the fuel is in relation to the energy usage. To make matters even more complicated, manufacturers usually won’t list all, if any, of these factors. It’s a good idea to generalise the different benefits of gas and electricity power.
Gas vs Electric
One litre of food will always need the same amount of energy to heat it. A simple rule is that induction hobs are by far the most efficient at this transfer of energy. A magnetic field induces heat directly from your pan, rather than passing it through the cooking surface. This means more of the energy is used to heat your food, and the average energy consumption per use remains extremely low compared to other hobs.
Other electric models, such as solid plate andceramic designs, tend to have the second lowest energy consumption rate, while gas has the highest. But when you take into account a ceramic hob can take 11 minutes to boil two litres of water and a gas one 9 minutes, things get complicated. This is why most people refer to gas as second most efficient to induction.
A simple rule is that induction hobs are by far the most efficient at this transfer of energy.
The cost per kWh is significantly higher for electricity, so gas hobs nearly always offer the lowest annual running costs of all three types – sometimes by £20 a year or more. Induction is always the second cheapest to run, and other electric hobs third.
Basically, if you’re looking to do your bit for the planet by minimising energy wastage, induction is the way forward. If you’re looking for low running costs, and you have a mains supply, gas is your best bet.
Tips and Tricks
Whichever hob type you choose, there are a few tips and tricks which can save even more energy when cooking.
- Always put lids on your pans to keep the heat in.
- When boiling, only use just enough water to cover the food.
- Choose the right size pan for the burner or zone. For electric hobs, flat bottomed pans maximise the surface in contact with the heat.
- Choose the right pan size for the amount of food.
- Turn the heat down to a simmer as soon as the pan starts boiling.
- Use a multi level steamer to cook multiple vegetables on one ring.
Use a multi level steamer to cook multiple vegetables on one ring.
- Consider which pans you’re using. While copper heats up quickly, heavy bottomed cast iron pans will take longer to heat up but retain it more. It all depends on what you’re cooking.
- Keep solid plates clean, or energy will be wasted on heating burnt bits of foods.
- Use any built-in timers and minute minders to prevent wasting energy overcooking your food.