Whether you fancy yourself as the next MasterChef or simply enjoy cooking for family and friends, a good quality hob is a must. You’ll find plenty on offer, from high spec, technologically advanced designs to more affordable, yet highly functional models – and thinking about what you cook and how you like to cook should help identify the functions and features you need.
When it comes to size, hobs with four, or even five, cooking zones will usually fit a standard 60cm base unit. And don’t forget to budget for professional installation by a Gas Safe installer or registered electrician before buying your new hob.
Which hob is best?
We have broken down the top selling points for the five most popular hobs on the market right now, including classic gas hobs and increasingly popular ceramic hobs, to help you decide which hob is best for your kitchen.
If you’re planning on renovating your kitchen entirely, then be sure to check out how to give your kitchen a brand new look on a budget and our buyer’s guides to the best electric ovens and best washing machines in the UK too!
Best induction hobs in the UK
Best ceramic hob: Beko HIC64102 58cm Ceramic Hob, black
Best for easy cleaning
Electric ceramic hobs offer a smooth, easy-clean surface, as heating elements are hidden beneath a tough ceramic glass surface, while marked cooking zones indicate the size and position of the heat source.
These hobs tend to heat up quite quickly, so if you’re not used to electric it can take a little practise to get used to the controls. They also take a while to cool down – because of this, safety features such as heat indicators are a must, especially if you have young children.
For added flexibility, look out for dual zones, that offer a second cooking zone inside a larger ring for small pans, and choose touch-operated designs, over dials, for an ultra-sleek finish.
Best gas hob: NEFF N50 T26BB59N0 58cm Gas Hob, stainless steel
Best for serious cooks
Gas hobs provide effective, immediate heat and are incredibly easy to control, so it’s no surprise they’re the go-to hob for pro kitchens. They are, of course, only available to those with a gas supply.
Most hobs offer a range of burners, including cost-effective economy burners and time-saving, high-speed burners, but do look out for flame failure devices for added safety.
Those who don’t fancy cleaning all those griddles and grates should also check out gas on glass hobs, as these feature burners mounted on ceramic glass and, although more expensive, offer a sleek, easier-to-clean finish.
Best induction hob: AEG IKB64401FB 60cm Induction Hob, black
AEG IKB64401FB 60cm Induction Hob, black, £319, John Lewis & Partners
Best for eco-conscious cooking
The clear winner in the eco stakes, super stylish induction hobs work by creating a magnetic field between hob and pan to ensure there’s no wasted heat during cooking.
This may require investment in a set of suitable pans, but this is a small price to pay, as these low-maintenance, highly responsive hobs heat up quickly and cool down rapidly, making them an easy-to-use and safe option in busy family kitchens.
Choosing a hob with flexi or bridging zones also allows you to merge two zones and accommodate larger pans. Touch-sensitive controls, automatic functions and even smart screens, all make life easier.
Best extractor hob: GoodHome Bamia GHIHEF77 Induction Hob and Extractor
Best for open-plan kitchens
The latest vented or extractor hobs may not be the cheapest option, but combining two appliances in one does have its advantages – especially on an island, where a bulky overhead extractor may not be suitable.
You’ll find these efficient, built-in, downward extractors on induction hobs, and they can be fitted in any space thanks to the option of both ducted and recirculating models. There’s also no need to worry about debris ending up in the extractor, as a removable safety tray collects spillages. However, do be prepared to sacrifice space in the cabinet below for the motor.
Best electric hob: Zanussi 58cm Electric Hob
Best for a strict budget
If you’re looking for a basic, cost-effective option then a traditional electric plate hob may be for you. Enamel and stainless steel designs are limited to four solid heating plates, but these reliable workhorses are relatively cheap to run.
You will, however, find that this style of hob is quite slow to heat up and cool down, so don’t expect it to be super responsive when cooking. Heating plates that feature a central red spot will also provide more power than equivalent size standard plates, while residual heat indicator lights will let you know when they are in use or still hot from cooking.
Feature Paula Woods
This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in HomeStyle magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?