Your Guide To Finding The Right Hob
Compared to simpler household appliances that we tend to know more about, such as washing machines and fridge freezers, the differences between hobs is less clear to the average consumer. Thankfully, there’s no need to worry – that’s why we’re to help with a guide to help you find the right hob for your kitchen.
Before you even start looking at the various options out there, it’s important to think about placement of your hob. While we often think that a hob needs to be placed directly above an oven, that’s not necessarily the case at all. Instead, this should be largely determined by the type of hob that you buy. For example, if you want a gas hob, then you’ll need to have gas supply to the hob.
This can be very expensive if your gas supply doesn’t extend to your allocated area, especially if you want your hob on an island. In fact, some newer builds don’t even have access to gas mains supply. So these are just a few considerations that can affect your buying decision before you even begin to look at buying a new hob.
When it comes to dimensions, hobs tend to be about 60cm wide and tend to consist of four burners. However, you may see five or six burners, and hobs that are up to 90cm wide.
In regards to measurements, it’s important to remember that the gap within the worktop should be smaller than the hob itself. This is because the edges of hobs are supposed to overlap this gap.
The burner configuration on hobs commonly dictates that there is one burner that is larger, two medium sized ones and a smaller one for simmering. However, you can also have different types of burners together – known as dual-fuel hobs – such as some gas hobs, and even a pair of electric ‘domino’ hobs.
With our initial thoughts out of the way, it’s time to dig into the positives and negatives of each type of hob available on the UK market today.
Gas is favoured because of its speed, control and the tangible distribution of heat. Many modern gas hobs don’t have a separate ignition button, and you merely have to turn the knob and press it in to distribute the gas and ignite it. While the burner parts can be taken apart to keep them clean, it can be difficult to keep them looking good if you’re not a dedicated cleaner. For the sake of variety for cooking different dishes, you can buy hobs with different types of burners. Always keep in mind that gas appliances require installation by Gas Safe registered engineers, which makes installation more expensive than other forms of hobs.
For those who want gas but aren’t into cleaning so much, then a glass surface gas hob may be best for you. The ceramic glass makes it easy to wipe stains and spillages off the hob. With that being said, it doesn’t change how difficult it can be to clean the burners, and it will show up fingertips and grease more easily. These options aren’t as quick to heat as electric ceramic glass hobs, but it does have the control of a regular gas hob.
Heated via spiral copper coils that sit underneath the glass surface, inductions hubs transfer the heat energy directly to the above pan. The coil won’t activate until there is an iron magnetic pan placed onto the surface. As soon as the pan is removed, the hob begins to cool at a rather rapid pace. This process makes these hobs easy-to-use, very responsive, simple to clean, highly energy efficient and good at reducing the possibility of burns. With that being said, they do require your pans to be magnetic (or it won’t work), which means you may have to replace your pre-existing pans. Additionally, they may interfere with pacemakers due to emitting an electromagnetic field that can interfere with such vital devices.
These surfaces are rather easy-to-clean and are built using hardy ceramic glass surfaces. Instead of having outward burners, the heating zones are indicated by silhouettes of varying sizes. The surface doesn’t overheat due to the installation of safety devices, which can be properly fitted by an electric hob specialist such as Repair Aid. Despite being incredibly fast to heat when compared to its gas counterpart, the heat distribution at the bottom of a pan doesn’t tend to be as good.
Electric plate and coil
One of the cheapest types of hob to buy, they are incredibly inefficient with energy. So despite the initial costs being so low, you’re soon slowly paying back your savings in your energy bills. Heat is notoriously difficult to control due to the heating element being under a metal plate, which is slow to rise and fall in temperature.
Features to Expect
There are a number of features that you should expect when buying the above types of hobs. This does differ between different fuels, so here’s a good guide by category:
- Auto-ignition sparks the gas supply when the dial is pushed in and turned
- Flame failure protection ensures that if the flame suddenly goes out, either it will automatically restart the burner or stop the gas supply from running
- Overspill protection ensures that when liquid is boiling over a pan, it will be detected and the power will be turned off
- Auto timeout switches off the heat switches if they have been left unused for a certain period of time
- Hot hob lights will switch on so that you know when a hob ring is still too hot to touch
- Automatic heat reduction will heat the ring up to the highest setting, before reducing the boil down to a simmer after an allocated amount of time
With these things in mind, you’re now better placed than ever to buy the right hob for your property.