Hobs Buying Guide | Gas, Electric, Induction

A guide to buying an electric, gas or domino hob

Hobs are built-in appliances that sit on top of the kitchen work surface and allow you to employ many different cooking practices from frying to boiling - and the fancy ones can do all sorts of multi-cultural cuisine! Hobs can be sold as part of a cooker (see our Cooker Buying Guide) or simply on their own and can free up space in existing kitchens depending on the layout and design you’ve already got.

Gas or Electric?

As with other cooking appliances, it’s always important to check what type of fuel your home has access to, but hobs are available in either gas or electric. Whether you choose a gas or electric hob, there are still many variations for each so it’s a good idea to consider the options available before buying.

Gas Hobs

Not all homes have access to gas but if you do, you won’t be able to install the gas hob yourself – make sure that a Gas Safe Registered engineer does the job (costs between £40 and £100 upwards, depending on the work required). One of the great benefits of a gas hob is that they are very easy to manage; the flame is visible and more controllable, giving instant heat that is well distributed across the cookware. Also, gas is cheaper to run than electric so you’ll definitely notice the difference to your bank balance! Some gas hobs can be quite tricky to clean though, so it may be worth checking out gas-on-glass hobs; the gas burners and cast-iron supports are set on a sheet of ceramic glass which has far fewer recesses and often just needs a quick wipe-down to get rid of otherwise persistent grime.

Electric Hobs

If you can’t access a gas supply, then don’t worry - electric solid plate hobs are actually the cheapest hob options out there to buy and can be used with any cookware you choose. Plus, you’ve got the choice of electric ceramic hobswhich, whilst looking stunningly smart, are also built with safety in mind; they light up when they’re hot and power down when cool enough to touch. Also, because these hobs are so discrete, make sure yours is fitted with a child lock so that little hands can’t accidently switch it on! Most electric ceramic hobs come equipped with a touch-sensitive control bar as well but some are still available with traditional dials.

Induction Hobs

Equally, if there isn’t a gas supply to your home but you still want a similar cooking performance, then it might be worth investing in an electric induction hob. On an induction hob, there is a heating element below the ceramic glass which forms a magnetic field with the bottom of the pan itself. In this energy-efficient method of cooking only the pan is heated, leaving the surface around it cool enough to touch and ensuring that you won’t waste lots of electricity.

Hob Size

The UK standard hob size is 60cm in width x 50cm in depth which will usually give you 4 burners or heat zones. The four zones are usually configured so that there is one large heat zone, two medium zones and finally one smaller simmer zone but there are many more options available for the more adventurous. Standard gas hobs range up to 90cm in width and gas-on-glass hobs up to 100cm wide which provides scope to include up to 6 burners instead of just 4.

Domino Hobs

If you’re looking for even more versatility in your kitchen, or perhaps for a hob to accompany an existing cooker, then it’s a good idea to take a look at domino hobs. The moniker comes from their thin, rectangular appearance (like dominos!) and they tend to be more compact (roughly 30cm wide) but can provide either a versatile alternative to traditional cooking methods or a welcome supplement. At Appliance World, we carry a variety of options for the domino hob, such as wok burners, ceramic grills, deep fat fryers and BBQ grills and provided you’ve got the means to power them, you can mix and match so that yours will rival a commercial kitchen!

Designs

Manufacturers take great steps to ensure that their ovens are sleek and stylish and whether it’s a striking metal finish you’re after (generally titanium, aluminium or stainless steel) or a discrete, matt black look, you’re sure to find the right oven to complement your kitchen.

Energy Efficiency

Finally, if you want to do your bit for the environment or just save money, then it’s important to choose a hob with a good energy efficiency rating. The scale is from A+++ to G, with A+++ being the most energy efficient and G being the least efficient. Any electrical kitchen appliances (not gas) bought in the EU will feature this rating and whilst a hob with a rating of A+++ might not be hotter than one with a G rating, it would consume less energy to achieve the same result – looking after the planet and your wallet!