Hobs buying guide
What’s a Hob?
A hob is the kitchen-top cooking area that’s usually part of a cooker, usually consisting of 4 different-sized rings or heating units.
Gas hobs produce flames that are easy to control, making them a popular choice. The average gas hob has one large rapid burner, two medium burners and a smaller simmer burner. They tend to be cheaper than electric hobs, starting from under £100 but climbing to £1,100 for top-of-the-range gas models. They’re also more energy efficient than the majority of electric hobs.Gas on Glass
Gas on glass hobs are easier to clean than gas hobs and consist of gas burners mounted on ceramic glass. Although they are more expensive than conventional gas hobs and don’t heat up as quickly as electric ceramic hobs, the heat produced by gas on glass hobs is more controllable.Electric Ceramic
Electric ceramic hobs heat up under smooth glass, making them easy to clean. They’re quick to heat but don’t distribute heat as quickly and evenly as gas hobs. They often come with touch-panel controls, with prices ranging from £90 right up to £1,800 for a fully equipped electric model.Electric Plate and Electric Coil
These traditional hobs are generally cheap but not as effective or energy efficient as other modern hobs. Electric plates and coils aren’t very common or popular, but are promoted heavily by ‘retro’ brands like Smeg.Electric Induction
Induction hobs use electromagnetics to solely heat the pan on top of the hob, decreasing cooking times and saving energy – even more than gas hobs. Starting at £500, they are more expensive than other electric hobs, and you need to buy add-ons like special iron pans.
This can be used to determine the hob’s temperature after it has been switched off, letting you know when it’s safe to clean.Timer
Timers on electric hobs allow you to programme them to heat to a certain temperature for a specific time, turning themselves off automatically when complete.Safety
Flow failure is a feature available on more expensive gas hobs. It automatically cuts off the gas supply when no heat is being generated. Flow Supervision Devices (FSDs) are similar, cutting off the gas flow if the flame fails to ignite or gets blown out. Induction hobs with interactive touch panels have child safety modes.Wok Burners
Some hobs, especially 5-burner hobs, come with a wok burner feature for strong, rapid heat. These heat up faster than average, and are ideal for cooking stir fries or dishes that require intense heat.
Size and Fit
Most hobs have 4 ring burners, designed to fit the standardised size of 60cm deep kitchen worktops, with a width of between 50 and 70cm. The most popular configuration is one large burner, two medium and a simmer burner. Large hobs, like the ones found on range cookers, can have up to eight burners and offer specialist burners for different cooking methods.