Solid Plate vs Ceramic Hob – Pros, Cons & Differences Explained
Solid plate and ceramic hobs (cooktops) have both been around for decades. And while induction and gas are the more popular type of hob these days, solid plate and ceramic can still be a good option for those that want an easy to use, budget-friendly stovetop.
In this post, I’ll explain what solid plate and ceramic hobs are, the differences between them, their pros and cons as well as answer some popular questions about the topic.
Let’s get into it!
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What Is A Solid Plate Hob (Cooktop)?
A solid plate hob (sometimes called a sealed electric plate hob) has electric heating coils for each ring (or cooking zone) enclosed in a sealed metal plate. The plates sit on top of the hob so that your pots sit just above the surface of the hob.
The metal plates on a solid plate hob are designed to transfer heat to your pots while preventing any food from splashing down into the electric coil. Compared to the old electric hobs, the top is easier to clean as the heating element is sealed to prevent crumbs and food from getting into the electric guts of the appliance.
Cooking on a solid plate hob is not as fast as using a gas or induction hob as the electric coil must heat up, and then the plate warms up. Finally, heat is transferred to your pot or pan to cook your food. At the same time, it is the most affordable hob to own and operate.
Most homes spend around £55 per year to cook on their solid plate hob. If you need a new hob for your flat, a solid plate version can cost between £100 and £200. You will spend another £100 to have it installed.
There is no flame needed for a solid plate hob, which helps prevent you from setting that tea towel aflame. They are also fairly easy to repair. If you have a plate go bad, your repair person can usually just unplug the bad plate and put in a new one or simply replace a faulty coil.
- Easy to Use: Turn the knob and start cooking.
- Affordable to Purchase: Reliable solid plate hobs are priced so every home and flat can have one.
- Easy Maintenance: Replacing a bad coil is quick and priced so that you can keep your appliance.
- Dependable and Safe: Generally the same design has been in use for a century. No open flames, and works just about every time.
- Dated Appearance: Solid plate hobs look like they belong in an older and outdated kitchen.
- Slow To Respond: Slow to heat up, slow to cool down and slow to change temperature. Also difficult to select precise temperature control settings.
- Uneven Hob Top: You must place your pot precisely on the plate or it can tip and spill.
- Harder to Clean: While the sealed plate style protects the burners from food, there are nooks and crannies on the hob that collect grease and dirt.
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What Is A Ceramic Hob (Cooktop)?
A ceramic hob is another type of electric hob. Instead of four or five circular plates on the top, like a solid plate hob. A large ceramic glass plate covers the entire hob surface. The electric heating elements (coils) are mounted beneath the ceramic glass at each cooking zone. You can see them glow red as they heat up.
The ceramic glass absorbs and retains heat better than the solid plate design. You will use slightly less energy to cook on a ceramic hob saving an average of £5 to £10 a year.
Ceramic costs more than a solid plate. You can find one for about £200. Splurge with prices up to £600. Installation costs will be the same. Repair costs can be significantly higher as you will likely have to remove the ceramic plate in order to service faulty burners.
Because there are no plates or pan supports, cleaning your ceramic-top hob is quick and easy. Use some washing-up liquid and a soft cloth to wipe up after every meal. Even cooked-on food will come up without leaving a stain behind. Clean up is much easier than a solid plate or gas hob. There are no fiddly bits to clean around.
Because the ceramic glass keeps heat much longer than a solid plate, you will need to remove your pan from the burner as soon as the dish is finished. Otherwise, the pan will stay hot enough to keep cooking for up to 10 more minutes.
Most of these units include a hot plate warning light, but it is easy to forget you just turned off the hob. Plastic tableware and utensils will instantly melt when placed on a hot hob. So watch out!
The ceramic hob is often associated with contemporary kitchen designs as they offer touch controls and give the space a sleek, clean and smooth design.
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- Sleek modern design: The completely flat surface adds to the contemporary vibe of your updated kitchen.
- Easy to clean: Use a clean cloth to wipe up spills after cooking and you are done.
- More energy efficient: The ceramic glass surface holds heat better than a solid plate so you use less electricity to cook your food. (Not as good as an induction hob though)
- More expensive to buy: Units cost twice as much as a budget-friendly solid plate hob. Energy savings will take up to 20 years to earn back the extra expense.
- Slow to Cool: Not only is it slow to cool down after using it, but with the flat hob surface, it is easy to forget to check if the top is hot before putting down plastic utensils or jars that can melt.
- Longer to Heat: It takes some effort to adjust your cooking style to allow for longer times for the pan to heat up. Also, you need to instantly remove food from the hot plate to stop it from burning.
- Computer Controls can be Expensive to Repair: Ceramic hobs use a control board to detect temperatures and turn the electric coil on and off as needed. While replacing a board is easy, it is more costly to fix than replacing a coil on a solid plate hob.
What is the difference between a ceramic hob and a solid plate hob?
A ceramic hob features a large flat ceramic glass plate that covers the entire surface of the hob. The coils are indicated by a ring etched into the glass top. A solid plate hob uses individual heat-transferring metal plates to cover the heating coils. The surface of the solid plate hob is not completely flat.
Ceramic is a modern upgrade, is more expensive to purchase, and is slightly more energy efficient. Both work perfectly well to prepare your family’s meals.
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What is a sealed plate hob?
A sealed plate hob is the same as a solid plate hob.
Both indicate that the hob coil is enclosed in a heat-conducting plate, which makes clean-up easier than old open-coil designs.
Which types of pans should I use on a solid plate hob?
You can use any type of cookware on your solid plate hob.
It is not an induction hob, which does require special pots and pans as it uses an electric magnetic field. From aluminium to stainless steel to copper and non-stick, it’s all good. Just avoid using plastic. They melt.
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Are solid plate hobs any good?
The technology behind solid plate hobs has been used for residential homes for nearly 100 years. They are a simple and safer upgrade from the old exposed coil hobs. They are very durable and often quite affordable to repair, should you need to.
However, they are slow to heat up and adjust temperatures. They are not very energy efficient and look a little outdated in today’s modern home. With the rise in popularity of induction hobs and the subsequent competitive pricing of them. I think solid plate hobs will be a thing of the past very soon.
There you have it! Solid plate vs ceramic hob (cooktop). Their pros, cons, differences and everything you need to know.
Simple to use and cheap to buy. Solid plate hobs may be a good choice if you’re looking for an easy, affordable option. Spend a little more and you can upgrade to a ceramic hob. Still very affordable but much easier to clean and incorporate into a modern home with its more stylish design.
Both are great budget options. However, if you’re looking for an electric hob, I’d personally always pick induction!
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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.