Types of Hob
With so many different hobs available, it can be difficult to know where to start. This guide offers a simple explanation of the main types of hob, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. That way, you’ll be able to focus your search on exactly what you need.
Separate Hob or a Cooker
The first decision to make is whether you need a separate hob, or whether you want a cooker with a hob too.
Separate built-in hobs and ovens can create a neater appearance in your kitchen. They’re integrated alongside your units and worktops, for a high spec finishing touch.
If you have a standard sized gap left by your old cooker, a freestanding cooker is an easier option. They can also be cheaper than buying two separate integrated appliances.
Separate built-in hobs and ovens can create a neater appearance in your kitchen.
Main Hob Types
If you’re definitely looking for a built-in hob, it’s crucial to know which type you need. It’s not as easy as just deciding between gas and electric – with gas, you have both regular and gas-on-glass, and with electric, there are ceramic, induction, and electric plate styles available.
The different models use different heating elements and offer a range of pros and cons. Some are only suitable for certain types of pots and pans.
A gas hob uses burners with visible flames, characterised by metal pan supports on top. They’re a traditional choice which is still popular today, and tend to be the first choice for chefs in professional kitchens.
Gas hobs give instant heat, are easy to use and can be used with any type of cookware.
- Instant, powerful heat
- Complete flexibility – no set temperature intervals
- Easy to use
- Can be used with any type of cookware
- Lower running costs than most electric powered hobs
- Cooking area cools down quickly after using
- Requires a gas supply, so not suitable for all homes
- Can be difficult to clean due to their burners and pan supports
- Less efficient than induction models
- Some consider their designs less stylish
Gas on Glass
Gas on glass hobs are the same as regular gas models, but the burners are mounted onto a sleek glass surface instead of a metal one. This makes them a more stylish and easier-to-clean alternative, while still having all the advantages of gas power.
The phrase ‘ceramic hob’ simply refers to its sleek ceramic glass finish. That means technically, gas on glass and induction hobs are also ceramic hobs. However, most of the time, if a product is advertised as a ‘ceramic hob’, it will be electric, and there are a number of different ways it could work.
Standard radiant elements simply heat the cooking surface by transferring heat from under the glass, while high-tech halogen hobs use a special form of red light to warm your pan.
Halogen is the closest you’ll get to a gas cooking experience while using electricity – it provides constant heat levels with maximum control.
- Sleek finish for a premium feel
- Frameless designs are available for an impression of fluidity between your worktops and hob
- Easy to clean – spillages wipe off the smooth surface easily, since there aren’t any pan supports to clean around (with the exception of gas powered ceramic)
- Often more expensive than electric plate or gas hobs
- With standard radiant elements heat isn’t very evenly distributed across the base of a pan and can be difficult to control
- The hot cooking surface can take a long time to heat up/cool down (with the exception of induction/gas)
That means technically, gas on glass and induction hobs are also ceramic hobs.
Induction hobs are unique in the way they heat your pans. They create a magnetic field between the induction element and the base of your cookware, heating your pan directly, rather than wasting energy heating the cooking surface. Aside from a little residual heat, the surface stays relatively cool.
- Really quick to heat up
- Efficient since no energy is wasted heating the cooking surface
- Stylish designs available
- Only produce a little residual heat, for a safer kitchen
Induction hobs are efficient, since no energy is wasted heating the cooking surface.
- Restricted to which pans you can use – cast iron or steel cookware is ideal, but aluminium or copper pans won’t work unless the base has an additional layer which a magnet will stick to
- Can be more expensive than other types of hob
An electric plate hob uses sealed metal plates to heat your pans. You’ll need to use cookware with a flat base to gain an even heat distribution. In the past, electric hobs used a big heated coil on each cooking zone, but now it’s much more common to find round metal plates.
- Tend to be cheaper than other hobs – models available at entry-level prices
- Simple design which is easy to use
- Resilient – difficult to scratch or damage
- Heat can be difficult to control since the solid metal plate can take a while to cool
- Not as stylish as a sleek glass surface
- They can be awkward to clean, since food can get trapped around the edges of the plates
Electric plate hobs tend to be cheaper than other hobs – models are available at entry-level prices.
Domino hobs are given their name due to their domino-like appearance. They tend to have just two cooking zones in an oblong shape, although you can find some with a single cooking zone. They are an ideal space-saving solution in kitchenettes, and can be combined with a standard hob for a little extra cooking space. Domino hobs are available in gas, ceramic, induction, or hot plate designs.
- A great space-saver in rooms with limited workspace
- Specialist designs can be used alongside a regular hob for extra cooking flexibility – a wok burner, for example
- Two or three domino hobs can be combined for a variety of cooking methods without taking up too much room
- Most households require more cooking space than a single domino hob can provide
- Relatively expensive considering their size – they can be the same price as a regular four burner hob
A great space-saver in rooms with limited workspace.