When I ask my clients what type of hob they would like, I often get a question in return – what are the different types of hob? Generally, the answer boils down to two option, namely gas and induction. There are, however, a few other options on the market.
In this post, I’m going to look at all the different types of hob available and give you the big picture. I’ll also explore the pros and cons of each type.
I won’t be covering free-standing cookers, such as an Aga or electric solid plate cookers, though these are also options. I’m talking about separate hobs fitted into your countertop.
So, after reading this, you will know what your options are and which type of hob is right for you and your cooking needs.
What Are The Different Types of Hob For Your Kitchen?
A ceramic hob has a heating element underneath a smooth, toughened glass top. This heating element is powered by electricity. Once you set the temperature or power you would like to cook at, the element heats up until it has reached this setting. The heat produced then transfers through your pots and pans to heat up or cook your food.
Ceramic hobs are becoming increasingly outdated as they are outstripped by modern technology. The time it takes to heat or change the temperature on the element is much longer than gas or induction.
This means they remain warm for long after you are finished cooking. It is also far more difficult to set precise temperatures.
Unlike induction, you do not need special (magnetic) pans in order to cook on a ceramic hob.
- Cheap to buy
- Sleek design
- Easy to clean
- No special pans needed
- Slow to heat and cool down
- Risk of you or your family sustaining burns
- Not very precise temperature control
- Uses quite a lot of energy compared with gas or Induction
An induction hob is a type of cooktop that uses electromagnetism rather than gas or an electric heating element to heat up and cook food.
Similar to ceramic, induction hobs are smooth and flat and can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The shape, size and variety of cooking features available will depend on the make and model of the induction hob.
Underneath each zone of the induction hob is a tightly wound copper coil. When the hob is switched on, the electricity will flow through this coil, creating a high frequency alternating magnetic field.
This electromagnetic field will create a reaction between the induction zone on the hob and the bottom of the pan. In order for this reaction to occur, induction hobs require special pans that have a magnetic metal base.
When a pan is placed on the hob, the electromagnetic field flows into the pan and generates a current inside of it. It is this current inside the pan that generates heat. The heat generated in the pan then transfers to the food or liquid for cooking or heating.
Depending on the power setting chosen, a higher or lower current of electricity passes through the pan, controlling the amount of heat generated. This process is extremely fast and very controllable.
As well as being precise, induction hobs can also change temperatures quickly, making cooking adjustments a breeze.
The method of heating also means that the hob itself remains relatively cool, making it more family-friendly. The only heat outside of the pan is the small amount of residual warmth contained within the glass.
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The Best 4-Zone Induction Hobs To Cook Up A Storm
- Energy efficient
- Easy to clean
- Modern and stylish
- Quick to heat up and change the cooking temperature
- Boost function great for boiling
- Safe to touch (only heats what is in contact with the pan)
- Lots of extra features like flexible cooking zones, timers and child safety locks
- Ideal if the house isn’t on mains gas supply
- Usually more expensive than gas or ceramic
- No open flame for charring
- You may need to invest in new pans that have a magnetic base
- Can be louder than other hobs – creates a humming noise
- Won’t be able to cook if the power goes out
For more information on induction hobs read Pros and Cons of Induction Hobs
Cooking on gas is probably what most people are used to. These hobs have been around for a long time and are often quoted as being the chef’s choice as you get instant heat and flame cooking ability.
There is not much to explain when it comes to gas hobs. Gas comes up through the burner rings, which is then ignited by a lighter spark operated through the knob. This is that familiar clicking noise you hear when turning on a gas hob.
Cooking with gas hobs is quick, controllable and you don’t need to worry about having any particular pots and pans for it to work. It’s also easy to change temperatures for adjustments while cooking.
You may, however, develop what I call the gas-o-lean, where you end up bending down to one side and tilting your head to check how powerful the flame is every time you change the heat settings.
This open flame can also be a safety hazard, especially if you forget to turn off the hob. You only need to lay a tea towel too close to the lit hob once to realise that, if you’re a bit absent-minded, this is likely not the option for you.
- Instant heat
- Quick and controllable to change the heat setting
- Can work if the power goes out
- Open flame for charring
- Often cheaper to buy than induction
- Difficult to clean
- Requires gas connection
- Safety worries, including an open flame and no automatic switch-off
Domino hobs are smaller single or double cooking zone hobs that you can add together to create a unique cooker setup. They are sometimes referred to as a modular hob system and get their name from their distinctive ‘domino’ shape.
For instance, you may have a four-zone induction hob but want a single gas wok burner as well. This is where you could add a domino hob that is just a single gas wok burner, giving you the best of both worlds.
Alternatively, you could have a selection of domino hobs placed together to make up one big hob, adjusted perfectly to suit your needs. This creates a bit of a pick and mix hob.
If you want the domino hobs to be next to one another, you will likely require joining strips that you can purchase alongside the domino elements.
The types of domino hobs most commonly available are:
- Wok burner
- Flexibility to create a mixed type hob
- Unique look and feel, ideally suited to your needs
- Sleek look
- Can be more expensive buying separate domino hobs
- Often have fewer features
- Possibly more complicated set-up (gas and electric)
Venting hobs take a ceramic or induction hob and place a downdraft extractor in the centre of the hob itself. This is instead of adding a separate extractor or cooker hood behind or above the unit.
The extractor in the hob sucks in any grease or steam created from cooking and pulls it down into the centre of the hob and away from your kitchen space.
Inside this central extractor are metal grease filters that help catch grease from going through the ventilation system. These hobs also have a small water and condensation collection unit to keep things clean.
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The Best Induction Hobs With Integrated Extractor
- Sleek and compact (two appliances in one)
- Has a definite cool factor to it (I try to remain objective, but they are quite cool)
- Freedom to place anywhere in the kitchen (including on an island)
- A limited range available currently
- Takes up some cabinet space underneath
- Four cooking zones only
- Price – can seem expensive, but take into consideration you are buying two appliances
For more information on venting hobs read Is a Venting Hob the Best Option for a Kitchen Island?
As you can see, there is a little bit more choice than just the classic gas or ceramic hob. And this list isn’t exhaustive – within each type of hob I have talked about, there is a large range of makes, models, sizes and styles to pick from.
When deciding what type of hob to buy for your kitchen, think about your cooking style, family life, and what type of food you cook. Then think about what hob would suit that best.
For example, do you like to get creative with grill marks and charred veg? Then you might like a gas hob. Do you have cheeky little ones who might place a finger or hand out of line from time to time? Then induction could be the one for you.
Also, think about the design and look of your kitchen and what type of hob would compliment the style. For example, you want an ultra sleek modern kitchen, then a slim, clean looking induction hob will most likely match the style best.
If you’re thinking of putting your hob on an island, then you should definitely have a read of my post Is a Venting Hob the Best Option for a Kitchen Island?
If you are considering an induction hob for your kitchen (especially if you have never used one before) then have a read of my post Pros and Cons of Induction Hobs and check out The Best 4-Zone Induction Hobs To Cook Up A Storm.