Kitchen hobs – or cooktops as they are sometimes known – are an integral part of any modern kitchen. They’re widely accepted, relatively simple and modern consumers are given a fantastic choice. We’ll be covering all of them in this kitchen hob buying guide, providing you with all the necessary information for you to make the best choice for you and your home.
One of the most common assumptions about kitchen hobs is that they have to sit above an oven. It’s important to realize early on, that they don’t. Kitchen hobs are usually designed to slot into a predetermined, 60cm gap with an overlap resting proudly on the surrounding kitchen top.
The main choice for buyers looking for a new cooktop is between gas and electric power. We’ll cover this a little later in the buying guide.
Buying Basics for a Kitchen Hob
There are numerous independent models of kitchen hobs available, giving you full flexibility when incorporating a new kitchen hob into your kitchen.
There are very few exceptions to the common dimensions of kitchen hobs: they’re mostly 60cm wide, and almost all them consist of 4 burners (heating zones).
Exceptions could include sizes ranging up to 90cm, and occasionally a fifth burner, but these would usually be purchased for use specialist kitchens.
Of the popular four burners, it’s normal for them to include one large hob, two medium and one simmer. There is a growing demand for fish burners and works, so expect to see some variations and bolt-ons to accommodate these needs.
Ideal Domino Hob
Of the variants, the most popular are the domino hobs, which are essentially a one or two burner section that can be placed adjacent to an existing cooktop, or domino hob, giving you a convenient extension to your cooktops.
Domino hobs are available in a wide variety of heating styles, including grill, ceramic, induction and gas.
If space is at a premium, consider a small boiling ring as an alternative. These portable hobs are a great way to add some additional hob space to your kitchen hob, and due to their size, they’re suitable for studio flat style accommodations.
Cheap Gas Cooktops
Choosing the right cooktop is an important part of buying a kitchen hob, which is why it’s important to know the difference between the different heat sources on offer when shopping for a new one.
Buying the wrong type of hob for your current cooking pans can damage the hob, as well as the cookware.
Gas hobs are popular among British consumers for a number of reasons; not least they’re cheaper to run than the electric counterparts. The flames are clearly visible, giving users a clear indication of heat levels, with instant response to the simple controls.
Gas hobs are usually operated by a simple combination of a gas valve, and an ignition and are the standard in professional kitchens.
Quality Ceramic Hobs
The easy-to-clean, electric-powered ceramic hobs are ideal for cast iron cookware and are a popular and cost-effective kitchen hob. They work by incorporating a smooth plate over the electrically powered heating element, which distributes heat evenly and conducts heat directly into the base of the pan.
Ceramic Hobs are easy to clean due to there not being any nooks on the smooth top for dirt to escape into, and are generally well-liked, especially for low-temperature cooking.
Induction Kitchen Hobs
On first appearances, induction hobs look very similar to electric ceramic hobs. They have a smooth cooktop and sleek, modern appearance, which often incorporates touch screen technology.
The major difference is the requirement of special cooking pans. The bases of the pans themselves need to contain ferrous iron, which works in conjunction with the technology. You cannot use aluminum or copper cookware with an induction cooktop.
Typically, induction hobs are heated by halogen and are considered the premium style of kitchen hob. They’re also among the safest and most economical hobs to run, as heat transference is targeted towards the cookware itself, as opposed to the hob as a whole.
Buying the right sort of kitchen hob is a matter of choice for your cooking style and budget. Take time to test out the different styles of cooktops, consider your major needs and look for a cooktop with a quality guarantee.
Also, consider your current collection of cookware, will it need replacing? Do you have curious children? What’s your budget? Each of the kitchen hobs we’ve mentioned come with a certain degree of giving and take, but it’s important to realize one thing; none of them will make you a better cook!