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CDA Buying Advice – Hobs

Gas, electric and ceramic buying guides

Electric hob buying guide

Electric hobs cover a range of styles and models that include the traditional solid plate styles, ceramic designs as well as the latest in induction technology. From the way that the coils are powered by electricity, this style of hob will not be as responsive as gas when it comes to temperature control, however the zones will heat up quickly and be easy to clean after use.

There is also the added benefit of residual heat indicators that glow red after the hob has been used, alerting the cook that the cooking zones are still hot and not safe to touch.

With electric hobs, there is the option of purchasing a model with one or more dual zones that operate in two size options, allowing you to use different pan shapes and sizes on the hob. This has both the effect of saving money by using only a small cooking zone when you are using a small pan or accommodating large pans for batch cooking or special occasions.

It is worth noting that electric hobs also come with a range of safety features, starting with residual heat indicators, heat & time limiters and extending right up to intelligent overflow protection and small object detection on the most advanced models.

Solid plate hob

The solid plate electric hob is not the quickest off the mark, however it is affordable, easy to clean and allows the cook to multitask as it cooks steadily. Always make sure that you use flat bottomed pans with this model to allow the heat to transfer as effectively as possible.

Ceramic hob

Opting for a ceramic model is a good option for those wanting to avoid exposed flames in the kitchen. There are also additional safety features like ‘child locks’ and ‘residual heat indicators’ that add to the safety of this cooking style. Undoubtedly, a ceramic hob is the easiest style to keep clean (along with induction) and the smooth surface allows maximum heat transference for rapid heat up times. This type of hob is available in either a rotary control knob or touch control style.

Induction hob

Induction hobs offer the speed of gas with the practical safety of ceramic. Super-fast, easy to clean and energy efficient, they offer the best of both worlds. The main consideration when purchasing an induction hob is the pans that you use. You have to ensure that they are magnetic (test the bases with a fridge magnet) in order for the technology to work.

Health and safety: Pacemakers

Due to the electromagnetic field created by an induction hob, pacemaker wearers should keep a distance of at least 60cm or 2ft from the appliance as it may interfere with your settings.

Gas hob buying guide

As well as being the most commonly found hob in homes around the UK, gas hobs are also the clear choice for professionals. The combination of instant heat, precise temperature adjustment and a sturdy cooking surface make them a staple in many of our homes.

With gas, you are able to see the flame and so there is little chance of you accidentally placing something directly onto the heat source unless you mean to. In addition, if there are any problems with a pan boiling over or something burning, the heat can be turned off immediately without the need to remove the pan from the hob completely.

Gas hobs are not considered the most energy efficient type of cooking appliance when compared with their electric counterparts. However, due to the controllability of the flame, you are able to adjust the power to suit the pan size you are using and thereby waste less energy.

Although gas hobs do not benefit from the easy clean glass surface of a ceramic or induction model, the pan supports are easy removed for cleaning and the enamel supports are even dish-washable.

Gas hob

Gas hobs are affordable, practical and easy to use with quick heat up and cool down times. Some users may find them a little fiddly to clean when removing pan supports, burner caps etc. but this should not put you off if you are looking for a professional finish to your kitchen. Take into account the size of pans that you regularly use as this will have an impact on the burner sizes that you opt for. Many of our models now offer an extra-large wok burner for maximum power output.

Efficiency

Without doubt, the induction hob is by far the most efficient. Using induction technology it only uses the energy required to heat up the pan and not the whole zone. With correctly adjusted flame sizes, the gas hob is next on the list of efficient hob types. However, used incorrectly with a full power flame blasting heat around the edges of the pan will waste a lot of energy and hot air. Ceramics are next on the efficiency scale with power used to heat up the whole zone. Finally, the solid plate hob with thick cooking plates to heat up is the least energy efficient.

Installation

To install an electric hob, please always use a qualified electrician to ensure that it connected up properly and is completely safe to use.

Similarly, with gas hobs we recommend your appliance is only installed by a registered Gas Safe fitter.

Speed

Undoubtedly the induction hob is the fastest to bring a pan to the boil, with gas a close second. The ceramic and then solid plate hobs are the slowest to heat up and least responsive to cool down when things boil over. The temperature on an induction hob can be adjusted almost as quickly as on a gas hob to reduce a boil to a simmer but gas is certainly the fastest to cool down overall.