ADVICE & TIPS, APPLIANCE GUIDES, HOBS (COOKTOPS), TECHNICAL

What Is A Hob Separator Plate? (And Do You Need One?)

Did you just buy a new induction hob for your kitchen renovation? Awesome! Now, did the salesperson ask if you need a hob separator plate, too? Is it something that is important? Will your hob work without one?

In this post, I’ll explain what a hob separator plate is, its advantages and whether you really need one. As well as answer some other popular questions about the topic.

Let’s get into it!

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What Is A Hob Separator Plate?

A hob separator plate is a piece of sheet metal installed on the underside of your hob. It provides a protective barrier between the hob cabinet and the underside of the hob.

It separates your cabinet storage space from the cooktop. This means there is no risk that you can touch the hob from below when using the cabinet or drawer. As some hobs may have sharp metal elements on their underside or there may be exposed wiring. It also acts as a protective layer to prevent anything in the drawer from getting too hot when the hob is in use.

The plate will be cut to the size of the supporting cabinet and screwed into place underneath leaving a small ventilation gap between the underside of the hob and the plate. It is hidden from sight.

You may find hob separator plates sold as heat shields or hob protection plates at your local DIY or appliance store.

Advantages Of A Hob Separator Plate

Here are a few advantages of installing a hob separator plate:

Stops Items From Getting Caught Underneath

Any drawer installed below an electric hob will be open on its top. If your cooking unit has an open bottom, it is possible that knives, forks, or other long utensils will get shuffled around and catch on a loose wire or jagged metal pieces sticking down from the hob. By adding the separator plate, you prevent all that mayhem.

Protects You From Burns And Shocks

While your cooktop is designed to be safe for everyday use, if you don’t have a hob separator plate, it may be possible to come into contact with a hot element. The plate also protects you from touching or moving any wires, which can prevent a shock. This is especially important if you have toddlers that like to open cabinets and inspect the contents.

More Room To Store Dry Goods

Did you stop storing dry goods under your hob, even though it has a giant cabinet with drawers and dividers? Heat is often a problem when you work with a ceramic hob. The constant exposure to high heat will damage tinned foods and even your boxes of dry pasta. Just think how much more storage space you could actually use if that heat wasn’t an issue.

A Finishing Touch To Kitchen Design From Past Decades

Separator plates are a must when working with older gas and electric hobs as the units were never designed for quick installation. Today’s cooktops are built with your family’s safety in mind, so more of the wiring, heating elements and connections are enclosed behind access panels.

Do You Need A Hob Separator Plate?

No, not always. Since most modern hobs are sold as enclosed units and have heat shielding, it may not be required for you to add a hob separator plate to your kitchen design. In most cases these days you won’t need one. Still, you should always consult the hob installation instructions as to whether a separator plate is required.

However, if you are retrofitting an old cooktop to remodelled cabinets, it may be a smart upgrade. Regulations only stipulate that there are no exposed wires or heating elements inside cabinets or drawers. You, your contractor, and the local inspector will make the final determination.

Can You Have Drawers Under An Induction Hob?

Yes! It is one of the most attractive parts of opting for induction cooking. The hob may get warm underneath, but not too terribly hot. The top drawer can be used for cooking utensils, lids, or other common cooking supplies. It is not recommended that you store paper towels directly beneath the hob.

Induction hob above drawers with hob separator plate

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Can You Put Cutlery Under An Induction Hob?

Yes. If you are worried that your induction hob will turn on with too many metal utensils stored beneath it, don’t be.

The cooktop only gets hot when your compatible cooking pot is placed directly on top of the element. As soon as you move the pot even a centimetre away, the power cuts out. That is why you can even store stainless steel cutlery under an induction hob.

Do You Need A Separator Plate Between An Induction Hob And Oven?

No. Since both the hob and the lower built-in oven will be sealed behind finished cabinetry, there is no need to add the separator plate. Both units are designed to work around heat and electricity. Any loose wires on the bottom of the hob will be fully protected by the oven installation.

Induction hob above oven

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Final Thoughts…

There you have it! Everything you need to know about hob separator plates.

Chances are that you won’t need to install a hob separator plate, especially if you’re having a newer hob fitted. However, it’s always wise to check the hob’s installation information, and if in doubt have one installed. Other than a small cost there’s no real downside to having one.

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Author

Michael from Kitchinsider.com

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.