TYPES OF HOB
With so many different hobs available, it can be difficult to know where to start. We offer a simple explanation of the main types, plus their advantages and disadvantages, so you can focus your search on finding exactly what you need.
SEPARATE HOB OR A COOKER
The first decision to make is whether you need a separate hob, or a cooker with a hob included.
Separate built-in hobs and ovens can create a neater appearance in your kitchen. They’re integrated with your units and worktops for a high-quality finish.
If you have a standard-size 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 looking for a built-in hob, it’s crucial to know which type you need as soon as possible. It isn’t as simple as deciding between gas and electric – with gas, you can find both regular and gas-on-glass, and with electric, there are ceramic, induction, and electric solid plate styles available.
A gas hob uses burners with visible flames, characterised by metal pan supports on top. This is a traditional choice still popular today, and tends to be the first choice for chefs in professional kitchens.
• Instant, powerful heat – ideal for quick recipes like stir fries
• Complete flexibility and control – 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
• Often have a range of burner sizes
• Most now have mains or automatic ignition, rather than battery
• All gas hobs have a flame failure safety device – if the flame goes out, the gas supply is automatically cut off
• Requires a gas supply, so isn’t suitable for all homes
• Can be difficult to clean due to the burners and pan supports – try enamel options to make this easier, or cast-iron supports if you want to focus on having a good pan base
• Less efficient than induction models
• Some consider their designs less stylish
GAS ON GLASS
Gas on glass hobs are essentially the same as regular gas models, but the burners are mounted on a sleek glass surface instead of metal. This makes them more stylish and easier to clean, while still having all the advantages of gas power.
Gas on glass hobs are more stylish and easier to clean.
The phrase ‘ceramic hob’ refers to its sleek, ceramic glass finish. This means that technically, gas on glass and induction models 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 pans.
Halogen is the closest you’ll get to a gas cooking experience while using electricity – it provides constant heat levels with maximum control.
Technically, gas on glass and induction hobs are also ceramic hobs.
• Sleek finish for a premium feel
• Frameless designs provide fluidity between your hob and worktops
• Easy to clean – spillages wipe off the smooth surface easily, and you don’t have to worry about scratches due to the lack of pan supports to clean around (with the exception of gas-powered ceramic)
• Works with all types of pans
• Different-sized cooking zones are available
• Simple to use, with rotary dials or touch control
• Modern models may have extra safety features like residual heat indicators or child locks
• Often more expensive than electric solid plate or gas hobs
• With standard radiant elements, heat isn’t evenly distributed 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 and gas)
Ceramic hobs are suitable for all types of pans.
Induction hobs are unique in the way that 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 and respond
• Efficient – no energy is wasted heating the cooking surface, and it reaches a lower peak temperature of around 40 degrees
• Stylish designs are available, including touch controls
• Safer cooking – they produce only a little residual heat, with the surface staying cool and the burners automatically turning off when cookware is removed, which also avoids burnt-on food
• Precise temperature control means you can take on advanced cooking techniques more easily
• The smooth surface makes them easy to clean
• Modern models come with a range of features like control panel locking and boost modes
• Restrictions on 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 that attracts a magnet
• Can be more expensive than other types of hob
• May not be suitable for people with pacemakers, due to the electromagnets
ELECTRIC SOLID PLATE
A traditional, electric solid plate hob uses sealed metal plates to heat your pans. You’ll need to use cookware with a flat base for an even heat distribution. In the past, electric hobs used large heated coils, but now it’s more common to find round metal plates.
• Tend to be cheaper than other hobs
• Simple, traditional design which is easy to use
• Difficult to scratch or damage
• Especially suited to cast iron cookware
• Provide good heat distribution across the saucepan base, so they’re cost-effective to run
• Heat can be difficult to control
• Not as stylish as other types of hob
• Awkward to clean, since food can get trapped around the edges of the plates
• Most expensive type to run, as the metal plates are slow to heat and cool
Electric solid plate hobs tend to be cheaper than other hobs.
Domino hobs are so called due to their oblong, domino-like shape. They tend to have two cooking zones, although you can find some with a single zone. They’re an ideal space-saving solution for kitchenettes, and can be combined with a standard hob for extra cooking space. Domino hobs are available in gas, ceramic, induction, and solid plate designs.
• A great space-saver for rooms with limited workspace
• Specialist designs can be used alongside a regular hob for extra cooking flexibility – a wok burner or barbecue grill, for example
• Two or three domino hobs can be combined to create a flexible cooking hub, 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 cost more than a standard four burner hob
A domino hob is a great space-saver for rooms with limited workspace.