APPLIANCE GUIDES, HOBS (COOKTOPS)

Induction vs Gas – Which Is Best For Your Kitchen?

The question: which is best, an induction or gas hob (cooktop)? Is one I get asked almost daily as a kitchen designer.

It’s a seemingly simple question, but one that can completely divide people. It can even cause arguments in some households!

In this post, I’ll explain a little about each, compare them to one another and answer some common questions about induction and gas hobs.

Let’s get into it!

In a hurry? Here’s the key takeaway:

Induction offers modern efficiency and safety with faster heating times and easy cleaning, ideal for contemporary kitchens and families with safety concerns.

🔥 Gas provides traditional, tactile control with instant heat adjustment, preferred by culinary enthusiasts for specific cooking techniques.

Your choice should align with your cooking style, kitchen design preferences, and practical considerations like existing kitchen utilities.

Read on to learn more…

What Is An Induction Hob?

An induction hob (induction cooktop) is a type of cooktop that uses electromagnetism to heat up and cook food.

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.

How does it work?

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.

For this reaction to occur, induction hobs require special pans that have a magnetic metal base. Cast iron and stainless steel are typically the best for this.

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.

Induction hob in a modern kitchen
Kitchen with induction hob

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What Is A Gas Hob?

A gas hob, often known as a gas cooktop or gas stove, is a type of kitchen appliance used for cooking that employs natural gas, propane, butane, liquefied petroleum gas, or other flammable gas as a fuel source.

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.

How does it work?

Explaining how gas hobs work is much simpler than induction.

Gas comes up through the burner rings, which is then ignited by a lighter spark operated through the knob. This spark is that familiar clicking noise you hear when turning on a gas hob.

Cooking with gas hobs is quick and 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.

Gas hob on black glass
Kitchen with gas hob

Induction vs Gas Hobs

Here are some comparisons and considerations for choosing between an induction or gas hob.

Initial Costs

Induction Hobs:
When it comes to upfront costs, induction hobs tend to be pricier than their gas counterparts.

A quick look at NEFF’s current line-up shows their induction hobs ranging between £400 – £2900. While their gas hobs a re between £250 – £1250.

Also, unless you opt for a lower-powered 13 amp plug-and-play hob, you might face additional expenses for fitting, especially if your kitchen isn’t already equipped with the necessary heavy-duty wiring.

Induction hobs require a large, dedicated electrical line, and setting this up can be costly.

There’s also the hidden cost of kitchenware; if you’re making the switch to induction, you may need to invest in new pots and pans with magnetic properties to ensure compatibility with the hob’s electromagnetic technology.

Gas Hobs:
Gas hobs are generally more wallet-friendly at the outset.

However, if your home isn’t already gas-ready, installing a gas line can be a significant financial undertaking, potentially outweighing the initial savings on the hob itself.

On the plus side, there’s no need to purchase special cookware, as gas hobs accommodate a wide range of pot and pan types.

Running Costs

Induction Hobs:
Induction hobs will generally cost more to run than gas hobs.

This is despite being more energy-efficient than gas hobs and offering quicker cooking times that save energy and reduce carbon emissions.

Gas Hobs:
You see, electricity is typically more expensive than gas, and while induction is more energy efficient, it may cost more to run.

Gas cooking is often cheaper than induction despite being less efficient, simply because of the price of gas compared with electricity.

Even taking into account the fact that induction is quicker (by around 50%) you can typically expect gas to be cheaper to run. (Based on current prices)

The exception to this would be if you are creating your own electricity through solar or wind power and don’t have the costs involved from energy suppliers.

Wouldn’t that be nice! ☀️

Heat-Up Time and Cooking Efficiency

Induction Hobs:
Despite a slower initial response when you turn them on, induction hobs excel in rapidly heating food.

The technology behind these hobs allows for a concentrated and direct heat transfer, which is more efficient.

This means that, while it might take a moment for the hob to start heating, once it does, it outpaces gas hobs significantly.

In a Which? Test  The fastest induction hob took 4.81 minutes to boil a large saucepan of water from tap temperature to just short of boiling, whereas the quickest gas hob took 9.69 minutes to do the same thing.

Gas Hobs:
The primary advantage of a gas hob is the immediacy of its heat.

It’s hard to beat the speed with which a gas flame can turn from off to on, offering instant heat.

However, this quick start isn’t as fast at cooking your food since the flame tends to heat less evenly and can sometimes directly heat up the sides of your cookware rather than into the food.

Boiling water on an induction hob, quicker than a gas hob

Control and Temperature Adjustments

Induction Hobs:
Modern induction hobs provide an impressive level of control over cooking temperatures, thanks to their precise settings.

While they may require a few steps to activate and set up, these hobs allow you to select the exact temperature and maintain it consistently throughout the cooking process, with just a simple touch of a button or a slide of a finger.

Gas Hobs:
Gas hobs offer the tactile experience of adjusting the flame with a turn of the knob, providing instant changes in temperature.

They do, however, fall short of providing precise temperature control. It’s often a guessing game to achieve the desired heat level, sometimes requiring you to visually check the flame beneath the pan.

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Design and Cleanliness

Induction Hobs:
Induction hobs bring a sleek and modern aesthetic to the kitchen, with a minimalist design that makes cleaning effortless.

The flat, smooth surface without any protruding knobs or elements can be wiped down quickly, akin to cleaning a glass pane.

Gas Hobs:
Gas hobs present a more traditional look, fitting for classic kitchen designs.

Cleaning these units is more labour-intensive due to the pan supports and various removable parts that can trap food debris, making the process more cumbersome and time-consuming.

Cleaning a gas hob

Safety Considerations

Induction Hobs:
Safety is a standout feature of induction hobs.

They significantly reduce the risk of burns and fires since the cooking surface stays cool to the touch and only heats the cookware itself.

Induction hobs often come with a child lock feature, adding an extra layer of safety for families with young children.

If a pan is removed, the hob recognizes the absence and powers down, providing peace of mind.

Induction hobs have far more safety benefits than gas hobs.

Gas Hobs:
Gas hobs have their own safety measures, such as automatic shut-off valves to prevent gas leaks if the flame goes out.

Yet, the open flame does present a potential hazard, especially if flammable materials are left too close to the hob.

While gas hobs are equipped with safety features, the inherent risks of working with an open flame can’t be overlooked.

Indoor Air Quality

Induction Hobs: Induction hobs, do not burn fossil fuels and thus do not emit harmful gases into your kitchen.

This means they have a minimal impact on indoor air quality compared to gas hobs.

The lack of combustion in induction cooking eliminates the risk of exposure to carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, making it a safer option for those concerned about respiratory health or indoor air pollution.

Gas Hobs: Gas cooktops, on the other hand, can significantly affect indoor air quality.

When natural gas is burned, it releases various byproducts, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and formaldehyde, which are harmful to human health.

Nitrogen dioxide, in particular, can exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma and has been linked to an increased risk of respiratory infections.

The use of gas hobs requires good ventilation to minimize these health risks, but even with adequate ventilation, some exposure can still occur, especially in tightly sealed homes.

Which Is Best, Induction Or Gas?

As with most things, it really depends on your personal preference and particular kitchen setup.

If you are looking for a flame-licking, chef’s choice option that fits nicely into a traditional kitchen, then a gas hob may be perfect for you.

If you fancy a modern, sleek, easy-clean and child-friendly option that looks great next to your slick new appliances, then induction might be the way to go.

Either way, make sure to consider your budget and the feasibility of installing your dream hob before you go too far down the purchase process. Heartbreak has no place in your kitchen design!

As always, check with your kitchen designer if you have any questions. 👍

FAQs

Which Is More Environmentally Friendly, Induction Or Gas Hobs?

Induction hobs are often said to be more environmentally friendly than gas hobs.

As induction hobs run off of electricity, they can be powered by renewable energy sources. Gas hobs, on the other hand, rely on natural gas to power them, which is a fossil fuel.

The way induction hobs work also means that they are far more efficient at using as much of the heat generated as possible.

Which Hob Is Faster At Boiling Water, Induction Or Gas?

Induction hobs are faster at boiling water than gas hobs.

Controlled tests and studies have shown that induction cooking can be over 80-90% energy efficient (i.e. the percentage of energy that goes into heating the food), while gas cooking is typically around 40-55% efficient.

This higher efficiency with induction means that water can reach boiling point much faster.

Can You Get A Combined Induction And Gas Hob?

Yes, you can get hobs that combine both induction and gas into one appliance.

There are two options if you would like to have this in your kitchen.

The first is to buy a mixed fuel hob that combines the two into a single all-in-one appliance. Usually, it will have two or four induction zones and two gas burners or a single wok burner.

The other option is to have domino hobs. These are smaller modular hobs that you can use to create different hob types together in one zone. This allows you to mix and match the types you would like in your kitchen.

Which do chefs prefer – gas or induction hobs?

Traditionally, commercial kitchens favoured gas hobs, but I’m seeing a noticeable trend towards induction in recent years.

Ultimately, the choice between gas and induction hobs can come down to personal preference. Chefs trained on gas might prefer it due to familiarity, while those who prioritize speed and energy efficiency might opt for induction.

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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.