Gas Hob Features
When buying any appliance, a little research goes a long way. With gas hobs there are a huge choice of features on offer, not least how you’re actually going to run them. We’ll explain everything from the vitals like LPG conversion, to safety features and aesthetics.
Read on to learn more.
Gas Hob Features
Mains or LPG Gas?
While mains gas makes easy buying for a gas hob, four million households in the UK don’t have a supply. Fortunately, many models can be converted to run on LPG gas. That means with the help of a conversion kit (available from the manufacturer) you’ll be able to install a gas hob in any home. By changing the nozzles to account for the higher pressure, the hob can run off those red cylinders of propane gas which you can keep outdoors. An installer who is Gas Safe registered will be able to sort this out for you – simply check your hob is LPG convertible first.
With the help of a conversion kit, you’ll be able to install a gas hob in any home.
Gas burners aren’t all the same. Most hobs offer an assortment of types, so you can cook efficiently with large and small pans. The number of each burner, and their arrangement, varies between different models.
Read more in our Hob Sizes section.
You’ll find at least one economy burner on most hobs. They’ll be less powerful than the other burners, and will probably be smaller too. That makes them energy efficient and handy for tasks like maintaining a steady simmer or gently warming a sauce without accidentally boiling it.
Semi Rapid/Rapid Burners
Semi rapid burners provide medium power, while rapid ones offer high heat levels. If you want to boil a pan of pasta, this is where you’ll do it. Their outputs will be measured in British thermal units per hour, or BTU/h.
If you want to compare hobs to find the most powerful, look for higher numbers in the hob’s technical details. While an economy burner might be 3000 or 5000 BTU/h, the most powerful burners can be as high as 10,000 BTU/h.
You’ll need a mix of low to high if you want your hob to handle a range of cooking tasks.
Larger, top-of-the-range hobs may have a wok burner or two. They offer maximum power output, perhaps as high as 12,000 BTU/h. The flames will spread widely, so wok burners are only really suitable for woks and your biggest pans. They offer the ability to stir fry or sear meat at very high temperatures.
You’ll need a mix of low to high power if you want your hob to handle a range of cooking tasks.
While some people are cautious of using gas as a cooking fuel, modern safety features mean there’s no need to be worried.
Flame Failure Device
Most gas hobs these days are fitted with a flame failure device. This stops the gas going into the burner if the flame is extinguished. Pan of water boiled over while you’re not looking? Not a problem – the gas will stop flowing to the burner, so it definitely won’t fill the room.
Some gas hobs have automatic ignition, which means the burner ignites when you turn the knob.
Others have mains or battery powered ignition, where you click a button to light the flame. You very rarely need to light the hob with a match or kitchen lighter these days.
Gas is a much more controllable heat source, so you won’t be restricted to specific heat intervals. Choose either traditional rotary dials or touch controls.
Simple to use and easy to grip, a control dial is a traditional choice. You may need to push it in and hold it down for a second to ignite the burner, but then you can simply turn the knob to increase or decrease the size of the flame.
This design makes it difficult to accidentally knock it and switch the gas on.
If you’re a fan of gadgets, touch controls will be right up your street. They might be a little more complicated, but once you’ve got the hang of them, they offer a few advantages. The sleek surface looks great and is easy to clean, while child lock modes can secure the whole hob. Touch controls are much more common on electric hobs, but they are available on a few gas-on-glass hobs, where the controls are embedded into the glass.
Manufacturers position the controls in one of two areas; to the front or the side of the burners. If you have young children who can just about stretch to reach front controls, a side position can be a sensible option as they’re set slightly further back. If not, it’s just a matter of what you feel most comfortable with.
Unlike electric hobs, all gas hobs have pan supports to hold your cookware over the flame. They tend to be removable for cleaning, and are available in different types. Premium cast iron pan supports make the hob a little more expensive, but they’re heavy duty and really resilient to wear and tear. It’s important you don’t put them in the dishwasher, however, as it can cause them to rust.
Alternatively, enamelled pan supports (often with matching burner caps) can withstand a cycle in the dishwasher. They don’t look too different to cast iron versions, but they’re often available on cheaper hobs. The enamel can become brittle and chip over time, since the enamel coating is exposed to so much heat during use.
Stainless steel pan supports are harder to find. Often used to match a stainless steel hob surface, they are prone to tarnishing from the heat. Black versions are a great solution to this problem. Pan supports with rubber feet prevent the hob from getting scratched by the metal. They’re particularly useful with cast iron supports since they’re so heavy and can scratch the surface otherwise.
Unlike electric hobs, all gas hobs have pan supports to
hold your cookware over the flame.
Your new hob will add a real feature to your worktops, so you’ll need to choose one you like the look of.
Stainless steel adds an industrial look, while brushed stainless steel creates a more muted, matte effect. Steel and brushed steel create a similar impression, only in a darker shade of silver. All are hardwearing, stylish and add a luxurious feel.
A ceramic glass surface is sleek, stylish and easy to clean. Spillages wipe away easily because glass is harder for food to stick to. At the highest end of the market you’ll find frameless glass designs, which lie flush alongside your worktop. This creates an uninterrupted look for the finest detail of quality.
Less modern in design, an enamel finish is available on cheap entry models and retro models. If glass or exposed metal isn’t to your taste, you can choose a white, cream or black enamel design. These colours ensure the hob blends in rather than standing out.
If glass or exposed metal isn’t to your taste, you can choose a white, cream or black enamel design.