Hob On Kitchen Island – Pros, Cons & Everything You Need To Know
Should I have the hob on the kitchen island? Or maybe the sink? Or nothing at all? – These are definitely some of the more popular questions I get asked as a kitchen designer. In fact, I feel like I have this conversation with every client who wants to have a kitchen island as part of their design.
And, with so many things kitchen design, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. It’s completely personal and depends on your style preference and the way you want to cook and use your kitchen. There are always pros and cons to every choice.
So, this post is focusing on having a hob on a kitchen island. The pros, cons and everything you need to know and think about. So you’ll know if it’s the right choice for you and your kitchen design.
Let’s get into it!
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Can You Put A Hob On A Kitchen Island?
Yes! You can absolutely put a hob on a kitchen island. It is becoming an increasingly popular option to do so as the trend for kitchen islands increases as well as the technology and options available for hobs and island cooker hoods. However, there are a few considerations and some forward planning you will need to think about when designing a hob on a kitchen island.
Why Would You Want To Have The Hob On A Kitchen Island?
We know we can have our hob on a kitchen island but why would we want to do that? I’ve outlined some of the main reasons you might want to consider putting your hob on a kitchen island.
Having the hob on the kitchen island can help to create the perfect working triangle or kitchen zone.
You may have come across these terms before and you can read more about them in my Best Kitchen Layouts post but basically, it’s all about optimising the functionality of your kitchen layout.
The working triangle is tieing together your sink, hob and fridge. Having them all within an easy pivot and step or two of each other, rather than in a long line or on other sides of the kitchen to one another. Having the hob in the kitchen island opposite or near your sink is a great way to achieve this working triangle, which makes day-to-day use of the kitchen much more optimised and functional.
When You Don’t Have Base Cabinets On An Outside Wall
You may want to consider putting your hob on the island if your design doesn’t include any base cabinets that are located against an outside wall. Having base cabinets to install your hob into that are on an outside wall means that vented extraction will be possible and much easy to install. You can simply have a cooker hood overhead and have it vent straight out the wall to the outside. This is often the most effective setup.
However, if you can’t fit your hob into cabinets on an outside wall your cooker hood extraction method may become more complicated and as such it may make no difference where the hob is located. Opening up the option to place it on the kitchen island.
Having a hob on the kitchen island creates a fantastic social hub and cooking experience. If you have the hob on the island you can look out into the room while you are standing cooking. It could be that you have seating at the kitchen island and you can chat with your guests while you’re frying up a delicious meal.
Maybe you have a kitchen/dining/living layout and you can chat or keep an eye on the kids while they’re sitting at the dining table or on the sofa. Being able to face the room while cooking is a much more social experience. Whereas if you have your hob on a run of cabinets against the wall, you will have your back to the room while you cook.
When You Don’t Have Enough Countertop Space Against The Wall
One of the most popular kitchen island layouts I come across is a straight single wall of cabinets with the island in front of them. You could also describe it as an open galley kitchen.
The mistake I see people make here is that they try to fit everything on that single run of cabinets against the wall in an attempt to keep the island clear. However, unless you have a very long run of worktop on the wall this will most likely lead to a poor layout.
Fitting a hob as well as a sink on the same run requires a good amount of space. They will need to be set in from the ends of the run, for safety or regulations (you shouldn’t have a hob up against a tall cabinet, especially if it’s gas). And they will need separation from each other, again for safety but also provide you with some useable countertop space for prep or for small appliances to live, such as your toaster, kettle and blender.
So when you don’t have enough space for both, moving the hob to the kitchen island makes a lot of sense from a layout point of view. It creates the separation needed and gives you lots of nice larger open areas of countertop space so nothing feels cramped. The alternative would be to place the sink on the island but this comes with its own set of cons, most notably chopping up the floor to lay the water supply and waste.
Lastly, but by no means least. Having the hob on the island can really help with the aesthetics of your kitchen design.
A classic design principle (and one I can get a little obsessed with) is the idea of symmetry. While perfect symmetry might not be achievable in every kitchen, paying attention to the overall balance of your kitchen design is very important.
Going back to my very popular single run and island layout example. Having the hob on the island separate from the sink means that there is only one item in either of the worktops. This means that you can centre the sink in the run of cabinets against the wall and build out from either side of it to create a beautifully symmetrical design.
Similarly, with the hob on the island, this can be centred and the island can be built around it to create symmetry and balance.
Having both the sink and hob on the same run (or island) can feel cluttered and unbalanced sometimes, losing that focal point and wow factor to a kitchen.
Things To Consider When Having The Hob On A Kitchen Island
Now that we’ve gone over some of the reasons why you might want the hob on a kitchen island, there are a few practical things to consider.
Probably the biggest consideration or obstacle to overcome is what type of cooker hood/extraction are you going to have. There are four main options when it comes to island cooker hoods. Island chimney hoods, ceiling hoods, downdraft extractors and hobs with built-in extractors (venting hobs).
Each has its pros, cons and installation challenges. Your decision will be affected depending on the type of kitchen, construction of the room and the design and look you want to achieve. If you want more detailed information about each option, check out my post Kitchen Island Cooker Hoods – Everything You Need To Know.
Power Or Gas Supply
If you are having a hob on the kitchen island it will need to have power (or gas) supplied to it. This means getting the necessary supply in place early on in the renovation process and could mean chopping up the floor to lay the supply. Most induction hobs require a larger dedicated cable to be installed in order to run it. So this could mean more electrical work than you thought.
Regardless of what type of supply you need for your hob, it is always a good idea to have power on your kitchen island. You may need power for other large appliances on the island such as wine coolers or dishwashers. Also, I always recommend getting some power sockets installed on the island somewhere so you can charge your phone, work on your laptop or plug in small appliances such as mixers and toasters. Get some power on your island, you won’t regret it!
Sufficient Space Around The Hob
When having your hob on the kitchen island you’ll want to make sure you have sufficient space on either side of the hob. You don’t want a small kitchen island barely wide enough to fit the hob. You’ll want space on either side of it for panhandles to face out. As well as give enough countertop space so that they don’t drop straight off the hob or spit your pasta source out onto the floor. It’s also nice to have space to put pans down on either side and not have to move around the kitchen. Even some space to do your food prep by the hob.
Not leaving sufficient space on either side of the hob can be dangerous, especially with gas hobs, as you may not have enough separation between the flame and people walking past.
You’ll also want to consider having enough space at the back of the hob. Again, so that there is room for pans and any splashes don’t land on the floor. It is also important to allow some extra space behind the hob if you are having seating on your kitchen island. You don’t want your guests to sit on top of the hob and not have any countertop space to place their drinks or plates. Also from a safety point of view, you don’t want anyone (especially kids) too close to any hot pans.
Advantages Of Having A Hob On A Kitchen Island
- More social cooking experience
- Creates a great ‘working triangle’ and can provide a more functional layout
- Can help to achieve a more symmetrical and overall aesthetically pleasing layout
Disadvantages Of Having A Hob On A Kitchen Island
- Cooker hood choice needs more consideration and planning
- Need to get power/gas supply into the centre of the room – can be difficult/costly
- Can be an eyesore if you’re a messy cook
- Requires a larger island size to fit a hob and still be practical – Not practical for small islands
How Big Should A Kitchen Island Be With A Hob?
Ideally, at least 1.8m wide. This will allow for a 60cm hob, and two 60cm cabinets on either side to help create sufficient space. Three 600mm cabinets make up the 1.8m. Nice and symmetrical. This could be less at around 1.2m with two 300mm cabinets on either side of the hob but I wouldn’t go any smaller than that. And of course, it could be larger with a bigger 5-zone hob and more space around it.
I’d also recommend that the island is deeper than a single 600mm cabinet depth. Ideally at least 900mm deep and up to 1200mm. This gives some space behind the hob for any splashes from cooking to land on the worktop rather than the floor. This also helps to create more separation if you are having seating on the island behind the hob.
Saying all of this, these are ideal dimensions. If you have more room, great, expand these sizes to suit. However, if you don’t have room for an island this size, you still might be able to make it work for you. Just think carefully about what is going into the island and how you intend to use it. And remember, sometimes it’s just not meant to be.
A poorly designed island will drive you mad!
There you have it. The pros, cons and everything you need to know and think about when considering having a hob on a kitchen island.
Everybody’s kitchen is slightly different, and the way we use them and our workflow within them are also unique to us. While there are definitely good design principles to try and follow, ultimately the right layout is the one that works best for you.
So, are you team hob, sink or nothing at all?
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.