How to choose the best hob for your kitchen
Delicious dinner parties, romantic dining for two, an evening meal for the family…
One thing these social events all have in common is the business end of the kitchen – the need for an oven and hob.
While you can do without an oven for regular cooking, if your hob fails, your culinary creations become quite difficult to make.
Hobs for every need
While all hobs have the same function – to heat things up – there are a number of different types available: ceramic, induction, electric, gas, and modular. Choosing the right one for your needs can make a dramatic impact on your overall lifestyle – enabling you to perhaps save time cleaning, cook more efficiently, or cook specialist foods better.
Ceramic hobs are electric with a smooth, easy-to-clean surface. They look sleek and stylish and are quick to heat up and retain heat, meaning your cooked vegetables stay hot after the hob is turned down. Unfortunately though, ceramic hobs aren’t as easily controlled as a gas or induction hob, and the smooth, sleek design means that pans and woks need a flat base.
Best for: Style-led buyers who want a good-looking product at a reasonable price and don’t want to spend time cleaning the appliance after use.
With an induction hob, the metal pan completes a circuit giving fast heat and prompt switch off and cooling once the pan is removed. This means they are quicker than other types of hobs and cheaper to run too because they only use the precise amount of energy you need. The safety features run throughout the design as induction hobs only heat the pan – meaning you can touch the adjacent surface without burning yourself. As always, this type of hob isn’t for everyone. It only works with certain pans – so you may have to invest in a new set along with your purchase. Induction jobs are also generally more expensive and noisy than other hobs.
Best for: Family homes with young children due to their safety features and for cooks who require speed and energy efficiency.
The traditional electric hob can be found in many older homes and while they’re not as attractive as some of the newer types of hobs, they are cheap to buy. Old style electric-coil hobs are hard to find these days but are still manufactured by some brands. They are slow to heat up and cool down, and not that energy efficient – but saying that, they do the job.
Best for: Those on a budget
Gas hobs are one of the easiest types to control and they give instant heat – making them a favourite amongst professional cooks. They’re easy to use and can come in a range of sizes. Many also feature speciality burners too – like wok burners – giving precision with oriental cuisine. They work with pans made from any material and are energy efficient, making them an excellent all-rounder. The major downside is that they are probably one of the hardest hobs to clean, but if this is a real issue you could always consider a gas on glass hob.
Best for: Cooks who want a responsive hob that allows them to cook a variety of dishes well.
Chic and totally bespoke, these slim individual hobs offer a keen chef a choice of cooking options including gas, ceramic, induction, barbecue grills and more. The design of your modular hob is completely up to you and your cooking requirements. Of course, these hobs come with a hefty price tag and aren’t always suitable for smaller kitchens due the space required.