Kitchen Hobs - A complete buying guide

Your kitchen hob is one of the most essential pieces of equipment in the home. From preparing impressive dishes when entertaining to whipping up delicious breakfasts on Sunday mornings, you’re likely to use your hob very regularly.

That’s why it is so essential to think carefully about your requirements before you purchase a new one. Whether you are a keen home chef or want something accessible and easy to use, there are a wide variety of hob types to choose from. Each offers numerous benefits and functionalities, some of which are better suited to certain lifestyles than others.

To help demystify the hob selection process, we’ve created this guide to help you choose the perfect hob that fits seamlessly with your kitchen design and culinary requirements.

Where to position your hob

Where you put your hob is completely up to you and your kitchen design, although you may be limited to a certain area if you go for a gas hob. Many people choose to place their kitchen hob directly above their oven for ease of use.

However, you may want to get creative with your placement. For example, if you have a built-in oven, you may need to place your hob on the adjacent countertop. Alternatively, you could make a feature of your kitchen hob by locating it on an island.

Remember that you might want to add a cooker hood too, which may influence where you fit your appliance.

Choosing your hob type

Dunham Rose Bowl & Charcoals

Induction hobs

Induction hobs are a superior choice for those looking for high specification technology in their kitchens. Instead of providing heat by thermal conduction, these hobs heat your pans with electrical conduction. Essentially, your pans become the heat source through the process of electromagnetic induction.

There are numerous benefits to induction hobs. They’re thought to be markedly more efficient than traditional gas or electric models, meaning you’re likely to save on your energy bills. Furthermore, the best induction hobs tend to be more responsive than other electric hobs, giving you faster and more controllable heat when cooking.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that you may need to invest in new cookware if you choose an induction model; not all pans will conduct heat in the right way.

Gas hob

Gas hobs

Many professional chefs prefer to cook on gas flames, and gas hobs remain popular in the home too. They offer instant heat and superior temperature control, ensuring your recipes are cooked to perfection every time. Gas hobs can be preferable in terms of efficiency too, as they are often cheaper to purchase and use.

If you are considering a gas hob for your kitchen, you may be concerned about how easy your hob will be to clean. Fortunately, the fiddly cleaning reputation of these hobs can be a thing of the past. Look for gas on glass hobs for a sleek design and easy-to-clean surface.

Don’t forget that you can have the best of both worlds for your overall cooking system too. Many cooks use the combination of gas hob, electric oven in their kitchen space.

Tatton White, hob

Electric hobs

Often also known as ceramic hobs or halogen hobs, electric hobs are a mainstay in kitchens across the world. Featuring a sleek glass surface design, these are particularly well suited to modern kitchens.

While some report that electric hobs can be somewhat less responsive than gas or induction models, they often feature innovative technologies to make cooking a pleasure. From touch controls, timers and sensors, they can be a premium choice for keen cooks.

Sealed plate.jpg

Sealed plate hobs

While significantly less popular than other hob types, a sealed plate hob may be right for you if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option. With this type of hob, the heating element is covered by a metal plate, which transfers heat to your pan when cooking.

Remember though, while sealed plate hobs tend to be the cheapest to buy, they can be expensive to run. They also take a while to heat up and cool down, which limits their energy efficiency and may impact on safety.

Considering your hob material

The hob type you choose and the material it’s made from often go hand-in-hand. It can also have an impact on the overall design and ambience of your space. Whether you have a contemporary or traditional kitchen, there are a wide variety of hob materials to choose from to suit the aesthetics of your décor.

Glass

Whether you choose an induction or a gas on glass hob, there’s no doubt that glass hobs bring sleek style and contemporary elegance to every kitchen. They’re usually the easiest to clean too, making them the ideal choice for busy kitchens.

Ceramic

Ceramic hobs give your appliance a high-end finish, not dissimilar to the glass hobs mentioned above. The main difference between glass and ceramic is the type of heating your hob provides. Ceramic hobs tend to be traditional electric varieties, while glass hobs may be induction or gas.

Stainless steel

Well suited to both traditional and modern spaces, stainless steel hobs are an exquisite choice. You will usually find this material paired with gas hobs; the silver looks particularly striking as a backdrop to cast iron pan supports.

Choosing the perfect hob size

In addition to hob type and material, the size of your hob is another important consideration. When planning which hob to invest in, this is a good time to think about your cooking routines and appliance requirements. It’s also important to bear in mind the space you have available for your hob, particularly if you are not intending to do a full kitchen renovation.

Appliance size and width

60cm is the standard width for hobs, and this size should fit in most kitchens. If you’re looking for something slightly larger, it’s sometimes possible to fit a 70cm hob into a standard space too. For plenty of cooking space, there are hobs available between 70cm and 90cm.

From 60cm gas hobs to 90 cm induction hobs, you’ll find different widths for most types of fuel source. However, be sure to measure before you invest.

Number of burners

As well as the width of your hob, the number of burners or cooking zones is another key consideration. For both induction and gas hobs, four burners tend to be the standard. However, you can find two-burner models out there if you are limited in space (these are sometimes known as domino hobs).

Larger models typically have between five and six burners, which offer plenty of flexibility when preparing meals. If gas is your fuel source, you can find five-burner gas hobs and six-burner gas hobs on the market.

There is plenty of choice for other hob types too. Whether you’re looking for a five-ring induction hob or a larger model, you’re sure to find the perfect match for your kitchen. Some electric models also have a bridge zone function, which allows you to transform two smaller cooking zones into a single large one. This can be a great option for large pots or griddle pans.

Considering additional technical specifications

The functionality of your kitchen hob is paramount. Efficiency, ease-of-use and precision are no doubt at the top of your priority list. The best induction hobs, gas models and ceramic appliances offer all of this as standard, but you may want additional features to make cooking even more pleasurable.

Depending on the model you choose, there are a variety of additional technical specifications that you may wish to consider. These can include:

  • Wok cooking zones
  • Fish kettle or casserole zones
  • Timers and sensors
  • Flexible cooking zones
  • Power boost functions
  • Keep warm settings
  • Virtual flame technology
  • In-built air venting

Whether you choose an electric, induction or gas hob, it’s worth thinking about the extra functions or technology you want from your hob before purchase. That way, you can ensure that your new appliance suits you and your lifestyle to perfection.

Thinking about safety

If you have little ones in the family, safety will no doubt be an important consideration when buying your new hob. The good news is that most modern hob models have plenty of inbuilt safety features to give you peace of mind.

Gas hobs safety features

Many gas hobs have child lock features to ensure younger members of the family can’t turn on the cooker without guidance. All gas hobs also feature flame safety technology, which means the gas supply will be cut off should the flame go out.

Induction hobs safety features

Induction hobs are often considered as the safest way to cook. This is because, once the pan is removed, there is virtually no residual heat. They also feature residual heat indicators, which will clearly highlight which areas of your hob have been recently used.

Remember that induction hobs can be dangerous for those fitted with a pacemaker or similar medical device. It will be worth talking to your doctor if you or your family members have a device like this fitted.

Ceramic hobs safety features

Unlike induction hobs, ceramic hobs retain a lot more heat after use. However, residual heat indicators will ensure you know exactly which area of your cooker is still too hot to touch. Many models also come with child lock features, which may be beneficial if you have children in the home.

Whether you love to rifle through your recipe books or your culinary skills are limited to whipping up a quick evening meal, the right kitchen hob can make all the difference to your cooking routine. From powerful gas to innovative induction, there are plenty of state-of-the-art models to choose from – whatever your cooking style.

Choose from sleek glass, easy-to-clean ceramic or gleaming stainless steel to complement the aesthetics of your space to perfection.

Inspired? Discover our exquisite collection of hobs today.