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Hobs buying guide

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Introduction

Cooking hobs are a necessary appliance for any kitchen. You might be able to live without an oven, but without a cooking hob, it would be difficult to cook even the most basic meals. From a traditional gas hob or electric hob to the latest induction hob, the technologies are continually evolving. Everyone has different cooking needs and a different budget, and today there is a cooking hob available to meet all those needs.

For centuries, people cooked over fires. In Europe, people generally cooked over open wood fires. In the Middle Ages, waist-high hearths first appeared, which meant cooks no longer had to kneel to tend to the cooking, and cooking was mainly done in cauldrons hung over the fire. Open fire cooking was dangerous and inefficient, and improvements were eventually made to contain the fire in a fire box, which also led to the use of flat pans instead of cauldrons. Gas cooking hobs have been available since the 1820s, but they did not become popular until the 1880s.

Today’s modern cooking hobs offer more choices than ever. Some popular choices include an induction hob, gas hob, hob and oven, electric hob, or ceramic hob. Top brands include the Bosch gas hob, a Neff ceramic hob, a Siemens hob, Smeg hob, and many more. Price Inspector brings you the best models and the cheapest prices.

When you are choosing between stoves, Price Inspector is here to help. Our buying guide will answer your questions, and we comparison shop the UK stores to find the best price. If you’re looking for a cheap cooking hob, we can help you buy the right appliance at the right price.

Things to consider before buying

Some of the items to consider when buying a cooking hob include power source, energy efficiency, performance, safety, and ease of use

  • Energy efficiency: induction hobs are the most energy efficient cooking hob.
  • Consider the type of cooking you do. If you cook a lot of red meat, an induction hob or halogen hob will be the best choice. For mostly slow-cooked dishes such as stews, choose gas or ceramic-glass.
  • If you do a wide variety of cooking styles, an alternative would be a domino hob. These let you combine different heating methods, such as gas, induction, wok, grill-stone, or even deep-fat fryers.
  • If you’re buying an electric hob, make sure it has a lighted indicator alert for waste heat. This will let you know when your cooking hob is still hot after it’s shut off. This is an important safety feature, letting you know that the surface is greater than 60 degrees centigrade, which helps prevent accidental burns.
  • Another good safety feature to look for is a hob that locates the knobs on the front panel. This makes cooking easier and safer, as you won’t have to reach across the hot pans and hob surface to adjust the temperature controls.
  • Especially if you choose a hob that offers touch-sensitive controls, look for child safety features and ones that prevent overflows. When liquid touches the detector, the hob automatically shuts off. With child safety features, you can lock the controls so children can’t accidentally turn them on.
  • Some induction cooking hobs will detect when a small kitchen utensil is being used, such as a knife, fork, or spoon. This will prevent the burner from creating an electromagnetic field, so it won’t heat up when you didn’t intend.
  • The type and size of the pan supports is another consideration. It’s easier to clean separate pan supports, but all-in-one designs will give you better balance for your pots and pans.

Types of Cooking Hobs

  • Electric hobs are easy to install, just requiring a single socket. Electric hobs are usually made of cast iron, making them very durable. They’re also very easy to use; there’s no need to light a fire; just turn the knob to get started. The disadvantage of electric hobs is that they don’t offer very many programs, such as security features that would prevent overflowing pans or overheating.
  • Duel fuel cooking hobs combine two cooking methods, and they can be gas and electric, gas and induction, or ceramic and induction. 
  •  Gas cooking hobs offer better heating control than with electric hobs, and they respond better to temperature changes. The size of the flame also gives you a quick visual indication of the cooking temperature. Gas hobs are a very safe cooking method, as they have automatic shut-off features in the event the flame goes out. Some will even relight the flames automatically.
  • Ceramic-glass cooking hobs, whether an induction hob or ceramic hob, are very quick and easy to clean. They offer better heating technology than an electric hob. Ceramic hobs come in two forms: a radiant hob that has glass ceramic panels or a powerful halogen hob that uses infrared lighting. These halogen hobs heat up rapidly, which makes them ideal for browning meat or quickly boiling water.
  • Ceramic-glass hobs offer a safe, practical cooking option. They do not require constant supervision as with a gas hob. They offer many safety features, such as heat indicators or automatic shut-off controls. Some will even shut off if an overflow is sensed.
  • Induction hobs are safe, economical, and powerful. An induction hob may appear to be the same as a ceramic-glass hob, but it uses a different heating technology. With induction hobs, an electromagnetic field generates the heat, and it’s actually the pan that heats up, not the hob. If you remove the pan, the hob gets cold; replace the pan, and it automatically heats up again. Induction hobs do require a certain type of pan, such as cast iron or steel, to create the electromagnetic field.
  • Induction hobs are very versatile, especially at lower temperatures, and they offer precise heating control. Because the hob doesn’t heat up, you can quickly switch temperatures. They also offer a booster function, which lets you boil 3 litres of water in as little as 3 minutes. Induction hobs are also very energy efficient, using 50 per cent less energy than a gas hob and about a third less than ceramic-glass cooking hobs.

 Popular Brands

There are numerous high quality brands of cooking hobs. Some of the most popular brands include:

  • Aeg continues to be one of the top-rated appliances in the UK, offering German engineering and quality to provide years of quality service. They are one of the more expensive options, but their products are worth the extra expense if you can afford it.
  • Smeg has been internationally recognised for manufacturing high quality appliances, making them one of the top appliance brands in the UK. They are well-known for their high-quality stainless steel appliances.
  • Neff is another top manufacturer of kitchen appliances in Europe. They have been providing high-quality appliances in the UK for more than 30 years and in Germany for more than 125 years. Their appliances have the reputation for brilliant looks and function.
  • Electrolux is owned by Aeg, and they have the reputation of providing the same quality as Aeg but in for a lower price point.
  • Baumatic is a family owned and operated appliance manufacturing company, operating in more than 46 countries. They have received international recognition for their attention to detail, high-end materials, and cutting-edge technology. Their appliances are designed to work well and last for years.
  • Fagor offers a range of brands that covers all budgets, with the widest range of appliances. Their primary focuses are on innovation and environmental sustainability. Their goals are to reduce the water and electricity consumed by their products, as well as using more recyclable materials.
  • Zanussi has been making stoves since 1920, building the first wood burning stove that had a cast iron hotplate. Another innovation was that they introduced Europe’s first gas cooker in 1951. They are now part of the Electrolux family, but they have continued their spirit of innovation.
  • Indesit is the UK’s largest manufacturer of kitchen appliances, with its Cannon, Hotpoint, Indesit, and Creda brands.

Popular models include:

  •  Baumatic B68SS: 70cm built-in gas hob with 5 burners. Offers heavy cast iron pan supports, front control operation, and automatic electronic ignition. 
  •  Baumatic B40: 60cm gas hob with 3 burners.
  • Neff T2766N1: Gas hob with 5 burners, front controls, flame failure, central wok support.
  • Bosch PCL755MEU Stainless steel gas hob with 5 burners, automatic ignition, and front controls.
  • Bosch PCD615FEU: Stainless steel 56cm built-in gas hob with 4 burners.
  • Neff T2746N1: 70cm gas hob with 4 burners. Features 2-piece cast iron pan supports, flame failure, electronic ignition, front controls.
  • Bosch PCD655MEU: Stainless steel gas hob with 4 burners, automatic ignition, and front controls.
Buying Guide to Hobs
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