Help and advice

Which hob is best for me?

It doesn't seem so long ago your only choice when buying a new hob was gas or electric. And often that decision was made for you by whether or not you had a gas line. However, now there are multiple options forcing you to consider not only the choice between gas and electric, but size, shape, style and finish. It's enough to give anyone a headache before they even start, so here is your definitive guide to choosing the right type of hob for your home.

Gas hobs
Gas hobs are famous for their speed and ease of use, making them the top choice for professional cooks and restaurant kitchens. There is a reason the saying goes 'now we're cooking with gas' rather than electricity! However, they do rely on professional installation by a Gas Safe registered engineer, which can add time and expense. Cleaning can also be an issue, as the pan supports are a magnet for crumbs, grease and grime and must be removed to properly wipe the surface down.

Pros: Easy to use, quick to heat up and cool down.
Cons: Professional installation, tricky to clean.

Ceramic
These hobs are becoming increasingly popular as people seek out clean lines in their kitchens. The touch glass surface has heating elements underneath, directing the heat towards the pan on top. They are easy to clean as they are usually touch controlled, meaning you don't have to tackle fishing crumbs and food spills out from underneath knobs or dials. They come with a variety of heating elements, but all take longer to heat than gas. All also come with residual heat warning lights so that it is obvious when the glass has cooled down enough to touch.

Pros: Sleek and stylish, easy to clean
Cons: Can be slow to heat up and cool down

Induction
A type of ceramic hob, induction needs its own category due to the totally different way it heats pans. Although induction hobs have all the style and easy-to-clean appeal of ceramic, they heat using a magnetic field so that only the pan is heated, rather than the hob itself. This innovative method is the only one that really gives gas a run for its money in terms of responsiveness. Plus, as it is the pan that gets hot, induction hobs can be a safe alternative if they are accidently turned on by pets or children. Due to the residual heat from the pan, these hobs also come with a heat light to indicate when the glass is too hot to touch. They are more efficient as they only use the exact energy required.

Pros: Beautiful streamline design and as responsive as gas
Cons: You'll need to invest in saucepans with ferrous iron content to make them magnetic

Electric plate
This is usually the hob that comes to mind when people say 'electric hob'. It has a four sealed electric plates that provide excellent heat distribution and, because of this, are very cost-effective to run. Similarly, because the plates are sealed into a metal hob, they are usually very easy to clean. However, they do have a very slow response time, taking a good few minutes to heat up and the same again to cool down – meaning taking something from boiling to simmering can require using a different ring altogether. However, this impact on usability is reflected in the price, making these the cheapest hobs you can buy.

Pros: Inexpensive, cost-effective, easy to clean
Cons: Poor response and speed


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