A hob is a very important appliance – explore all your options before buying your next one. You want one that will look right in your kitchen, heat up your food efficiently, and give you the flexibility to easily control heat intensity.
There are loads of different types and designs out there – make sure you get one that offers all the features you need (child lock, booster zones, timers etc.) for a competitive price. Opt for appliance brands that are known for their quality and longevity, and always shop around before committing to a purchase.
As the latest technology becomes more affordable, it’s now possible to get an amazing professional cooking experience for less. Consider whether you might be better off paying slightly more your appliance now in order to get a better model that will last you longer. As with any appliance – protect your hob and increase its lifetime with regular cleaning and maintenance.
What Size Are Standard Hobs?
These appliances generally hover around the 60 cm width mark, but they can go up to 90 cm too. If you aren’t fitting a new kitchen, then you will need to take into account the dedicated space which already exists.
Also think about depth, as some are thicker than others. If you want the look to be completely streamlined, a thin induction hob will be more appropriate than a gas or electric.
Number Of Burners
Four burners or cooking zones is the norm, but some models have up to eight. A popular addition for many gas models is an extra large wok burner, usually situated in the centre of the space, which is perfect if you often make stir fries and other dedicated cuisines.
In order to save space, many ceramic and induction models offer flexible dual rings to accommodate more zone sizes in a smaller space. You can choose to either have two zones join up for an extra wide cooking space, or sometimes have complete freedom over the size using a slider or buttons.
You are pretty flexible over which type of pan you use on your hob, except if you choose an induction. For this, you need pots and pans with a magnetised base. This is because heat is transferred to the bases as opposed to the pan using the heat of the hob. They are often made from stainless steel, enamelled steel or cast iron, so aluminium, copper or ceramic isn’t appropriate.
They are often not as expensive as you may think, and the price has certainly dropped over the past few years as they become more popular. Many good-quality pans are now automatically appropriate due to the stronger materials they use. Always check your current pans before you buy new ones, simply by placing a magnet at the base. If it sticks, you’re good to go.
Do think about whether an induction hob is appropriate in this case – if you regularly use a crock pot or ceramic pan, then you may be best with another type of hob.
Are There Any Other Considerations?
The space between your hob and extractor fan/cooker hood must be 650mm (for electric) or 750mm (for gas). You should also place a hob at least 600mm (around 2ft) away from your sink for maximum safety. Try to keep the hob away from any doors which may be opened and cause people to lean near them, such as the kitchen entry door or fridge doors, and always try to keep some space free either side in case you quickly have to remove a pan. This should be about 200mm (8in), which will also allow any pan handles to be positioned safely away from the rings.
If you’re choosing gas, place it away from a window as any draughts can extinguish flames. It is also dangerour to lean over any hob to open a window.
Getting A Good Deal
Some appliance retailers offer combo deals when you buy an oven and a hob at the same time, but it’s also possible to find good deals on tops alone. Generally it’s a good idea to read a few reviews and shop around – favour brands that are known for their good quality and avoid anything that has too many negative reviews.
It’s probably better to invest a little bit more money in order to get a better quality appliance that will last longer and be more energy efficient. Remember – your hob is one of your hardest working appliances.