Turning up the Heat: the Essential Guide to Hobs

Posted by capitalrepairs on May 27, 2014

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When it comes to domestic appliances, everyone's different – and that couldn't be truer when it comes to choosing a hob.

Selecting the right hob will depend on several factors, including the design of your kitchen, personal preference, and how you like to cook. 

Do you like the control and responsiveness of gas or the easier-to-clean induction hob? These are things you'll need to consider – so while you're pondering over this particular domestic appliance dilemma, let us guide you through the world of hobs to make the choice a little easier.  


Modular Hob

What is it?

A modular hob is a combination of slim individual hobs with a choice of cooking options, including ceramic and induction, gas burners, teppanyaki and barbeque grills, griddles and deep fat fryers.    

Pros

Modular hobs are more customisable and can be tailored to your specific needs, and can be pushed conveniently and neatly against each other to create your ideal hob.  

Cons

They're a bit exorbitant on the cash front and can take up more space than the average hob, depending on the extra components you opt for.  

Best suited to….

People who want to create their own unique and bespoke cooking centre. 

 

Gas Hobs

What is it?

Gas hobs are cast-iron burners mounted on a glass or stainless steel surface. They come in a range of sizes including four, five or six burner options, with some of them incorporating a wok burner too. 

Pros

Gas hobs are the cooking apparatus of choice for the professional cook, the cooking fixture du jour for the Jamies and the Gordons of the world.  They're quicker to heat up than a ceramic hob, easily controllable and more energy efficient. They also work with pans made from any material, and are just as responsive as an induction hob and less expensive. 

Cons

They require a mains gas supply. They also don't have the sleekness of induction and ceramic hobs, and the iron and enamel supports require a bit of elbow grease and scrubbing to clean. The residual heat also takes a long time to cool down.

Best suited to….

Cooks who need a responsive hob and people who regularly use non-standard pans such as griddles and woks. 

 

Electric Hobs

What is it?

A flat electric plate or element mounted on top the hob surface.  

Pros

Doesn't need a gas supply and is cheap to buy.  

Cons

Electric hobs are slow to heat up and cool down and aren't particularly energy efficient. They're also a more old-fashioned option and not as attractive as the more aesthetically contemporary, sleeker models.    

Best suited to…

People looking for an affordably priced, solid entry-level hob.

 

Ceramic Hobs

What is it?

A ceramic glass surface over individual zoned electric elements that provide radiant heat. 

Pros

Ceramic hobs look smart and sleek. They also heat up quickly and retain heat, meaning the food stays hot even when the hob is turned down. Ceramic hobs are also easy to clean, though you'll have to wait a while for the hob to cool. You can also cook on them using pans of any material.   

Cons

Ceramic hobs aren't as fast or easily controlled as induction or gas, and cheaper models can be les durable and can pit if splashed with hot substances or damaged by heavy pans. Woks and pans also need a flat base. 

Best suited to….

People who want a reasonably priced, sleek-looking hob and don't want to spend too much time cleaning it. 

 

Induction Hobs

What is it?

Induction hobs use a ceramic glass surface that heats through an electromagnetic field when a pan with a steel or cast iron (ferrous) base is placed on it.  

Pros

Induction hobs provide instant heat and are easy to control. The hob only heats when the pan is on the cooking zone, meaning it safe and energy efficient.  And because any unfortunate spills don't burn on the surface, it's easy to clean.  

Cons

Induction hobs only work with certain types of pan so you might have to invest a new set, plus they're more expensive than other hobs and only work with a flat-bottomed wok.   

Best suited to…

Cooks and people who like easy controllability and speed. It's also a very safe hob, meaning it's great for households with kids, and is very good on energy efficiency.    


Whichever hob you choose you're guaranteed to get many years of cooking pleasure – and if you encounter any problems or faults with it, Capital Repairs' highly-trained team of engineers are on hand to fix your gas hob or electric hob.

Image by: Shalom Tesciuba