Kitchen Hob Buying Guide
Choosing the right kitchen hob is no mean feat. For starters, you’ve got to decide which fuel type is best for you – gas or electric? Then there are a whole range of other things to think about like the type, size, and features of your new hob. Our kitchen hob buying guide walks you through all of the things you need to consider.
- What is a hob?
- Gas or electric hob - which is best?
- Hob types
- Choosing the right material
- Picking your colour
- Choosing your size
- How to measure for a new hob
- Features to consider
- Kitchen hob brands
- Buying the right accessories
- Kitchen hob FAQs
What is a hob?
A hob is one of the key cooking appliances in your kitchen that sits on top of your counter. There are two main fuel types to choose from: gas and electric (more on these below).
When choosing a hob, the type, material, burners and size are all features you should think carefully about.
Gas or electric hob – which is best?
As you decide which kitchen hob to buy, one of the first questions you’re faced with is which fuel type to go for – gas or electric? The fuel type you choose will affect the kind of cooking experience you have, so consider your needs carefully and check out our advice below.
Electric hobs are designed to make cooking a more enjoyable experience, whether you’re a beginner or a culinary pro. As you won’t be using a naked flame to cook with an electric hob, they’re also considered to be a safe option (particularly for families with young kids).
Often fitted in modern kitchens, many electric hobs feature sleek glass designs and innovative technology such as sensors, timers and touch controls. There are several different types of electric hob to choose from, including ceramic, induction, and solid plate hobs - read on to learn more about these.
Gas kitchen hobs offer instant access to heat with prompt flames. Generally speaking, gas is cheaper than electricity, so this fuel type often costs less to run. You’ll also get more control over the level of heat with a gas hob, allowing you to increase or decrease the temperature instantly as you cook.
Gas hobs are perfect for any keen cook – and with so many different styles available, this fuel type will suit all kitchens. We stock gas-powered kitchen hobs with a range of helpful features such as instant ignition, integrated safety valves and close control over the flame strength and heat distribution. Both natural gas (the standard type) and LPG hobs are available.
Once you’ve picked your fuel of choice, the next step is to consider which style of hob you’d like to go for. Here, we’ve outlined the main features and benefits of each different type.
Ceramic hobs are a popular choice. Powered by electricity, they’re quicker to heat up than solid plate hobs but generally slower than gas or induction hobs. As they work with all types of cookware, there isn’t the additional cost of specialised pots and pans. The smooth ceramic glass surface gives them a stylish modern feel, and makes cleaning a hassle-free wipe job.
Induction hobs are generally faster to heat up and control when cooking than other electric hobs. They are more energy efficient than traditional gas or electric models, meaning you’re likely to save on your electric bill. Stylish and powerful, these kitchen hobs use electromagnets to heat up the base of the pan once it has been detected on the hob. As a result, induction hobs require saucepans containing iron like cast iron pans and stainless steel sets.
Solid plate hobs
Solid plate hobs are durable and easy to use. In this design, an electrically powered heating element sits beneath the plates, transferring heat to your pan above so you can cook. Although this type of hob isn’t the quickest to heat up and cool down after use, the slow release of increased heat can give your food a delicious even cook.
Gas hobs are a popular choice in professional kitchens. With instant heat, accurate control and a traditional look, they offer a quick and reliable way of cooking that won’t be affected by power outages. Some people prefer gas hobs because they’re often cheaper to purchase and use. You can have the best of both worlds by using the combination of a gas hob and an electric oven.
LPG hobs (or liquid petroleum gas hobs) have a higher heating value than your standard gas hobs. This means it’ll take less time for your pan to heat up than with other fuel types. LPG also has a higher pressure than natural gas, which makes it more efficient and saves you money on fuel. Carbon dioxide emissions are lower, so LPG hobs are a more environmentally friendly option if you’re looking to cook with gas.
Domino hobs might be small but they’re mighty. They’re mainly used for smaller kitchens and island units where you don’t need much hob space. As domino hobs can be ceramic, gas, solid plate or induction, they also enable you to mix and match different hob types so you can create a bespoke cooking area that fits your preferences.
Choosing the right material
A good hob complements the look of your kitchen and the needs of the cook. The material you choose doesn’t just affect the decor, it can also impact your cooking experience. Below, we’ve explained the features of each material to help you decide.
Ceramic gives your kitchen hob a high-end finish and its smooth surface makes it easy to clean. Most hobs that are described as ceramic will be powered by electricity rather than gas – and technically speaking, this material is actually a ceramic glass.
The heating system sits underneath a tough ceramic glass surface. The heating zones on the surface glow red when switched on. Even when the hob is off, a light on the control panel tells you when the surface is still hot.
Glass hobs bring a sleek and contemporary style to a kitchen. This type of finish is ideal for busy kitchens and busy cooks, as it’s the easiest to clean. Glass also offers great heat distribution, helping you to cook meals evenly.
Unlike ceramic, glass is found on a wide range of different hob types, including induction, LPG and gas (often referred to as ‘gas-on-glass hobs’). Gas-on-glass hobs offer all of the benefits of traditional gas cooking with a modern look, as showcased by the Smeg Classic PV395LCN 5 Burner Gas Hob below.
Stainless steel hobs are the perfect choice for both traditional and modern kitchens, with a range of different styles available. Hobs made from this material are usually powered by gas, making them the best choice for heating your pans quickly and allowing close control over your cooking temperature.
Whilst stainless steel may be more difficult to clean than glass, it is also more durable and will usually last for a long time. Hobs made from this type of material are often cheaper than their glass counterparts, but high-end stainless steel hobs are available if you’re looking for something more impressive.
Picking your colour
When considering which colour of hob to go for, there are two main things to think about: how the colour will impact the look of your kitchen and how easy it will be to clean. Below, we’ve discussed some of the benefits of different colours to help you choose:
Black: Black kitchen hobs are the perfect choice for an elegant, modern-looking kitchen design. Black pairs well with many other colours, making it easy to match with the rest of your decor. At the same time, this colour also makes cleaning a breeze. Check out our extensive range of black kitchen hobs.
White: If you’re looking to create a clean, chic look, you could consider a white hob. Whilst white is less common than other colours, it helps to create the impression of a larger kitchen. Some people also consider white to be a calming colour choice. Take a look at our range of white kitchen hobs.
Stainless steel: A classic choice, stainless steel hobs are often used in high-end restaurant kitchens. This finish is a great option if you’re looking for something durable that will stand the test of time. Explore our stainless steel kitchen hobs.
More colours: Looking for something more daring? You’ll also find other colour palettes at Marks Electrical like silver and cream.
Choosing your size
Once you’ve chosen a style and colour for your new kitchen hob, the next thing to consider is which size to go for. Firstly, think about how many burners you’ll need, which will depend on your cooking style and how many people you’re preparing food for.
However many burners you’d like your hob to have, our selection has got you covered. Click on the numbered buttons below to see an extensive range of hobs with that many cooking zones:
As well as the number of burners, you’ll need to check that the new hob will fit into your kitchen space. For this, you’ll need to look at the dimensions of the appliance and measure up for your new hob (more on this below).
60cm is the standard width for most hobs – and this size is suitable for most kitchens. That said, you’ll also find wider hobs ranging from 70cm up to around 90cm in width if you need more cooking space.
How to measure for a new hob
To measure for your new hob, follow the steps outlined below:
- Check the width of the hob.
- Measure the width of the space where you plan to position the hob, checking that there will be at least 6cm of room to spare on either side.
- Measure the width of your kitchen extractor fan – this will need to be at least as wide as the hob to provide enough ventilation.
- Check the depth of the hob.
- Measure the depth of your kitchen worktop where you plan to position the hob, ensuring that there’s enough space to fit it in with room to spare at the front and back.
- Check the height of the hob.
- Ensure that there will be around 75cm between the hot zone of the hob and your cooker hood. The distance should not be much more or less than 75cm for safety purposes and to allow for the right amount of ventilation.
- If you have an oven underneath, check that there will be at least 15mm of space between the top of your oven and the hob to allow air to move through the cavity.
Features to consider
Now you know which type and size of hob you’d like to buy, have a think about the special features you might want your appliance to have. Here, we’ve explained some of the additional conveniences that hobs can offer you, from unique burners to venting systems and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Some gas hobs come with special burners. Most now come with auto-ignition burners, which light the flame automatically as you press in and turn the knob. Some gas hobs also come with wok burners – these larger burners provide space to cook with big pans such as woks, and are often found on 5 burner gas hobs.
Venting hobs remove the need for an extractor hood. These hobs come with an extractor fan built into the unit, making them perfect for kitchen islands and other spaces where you don’t want to have a cooker hood on show. The ventilation can either work by filtering and recirculating air or taking it outside via a duct.
Some high-end induction hobs come with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity (you might hear these referred to as ‘smart hobs’). This feature enables them to connect with a compatible cooker hood so that the fan automatically changes setting in response to the hob.
Many modern gas and electric hobs come with safety features to help keep you and your family safe. Common safety measures include:
- Child lock features (mainly found on electric hobs). These stop your young ones from accidentally turning the hob on when you’re not around.
- Flame failure safety devices for gas hobs, which instantly cut off the gas supply if your flame blows out to stop the room filling with gas. This safety feature is a legal requirement when installing a new hob in a flat.
Kitchen hob brands
As with most kitchen appliances, there are plenty of different brands to choose from when you’re looking to buy a hob. We stock the following makes and more:
Buying the right accessories
Once you’ve decided which kitchen hob to buy, you might want to think about some accessories to go with it. For example, if you opt for an induction hob, then you’ll need to buy some induction pans that are compatible with this type of hob. For ceramic and stainless steel hobs, you may also want to get some specialised hob cleaner.
Kitchen Hob FAQs
Below, we’ve provided answers to some of the questions that customers often ask when buying a kitchen hob. Don’t worry if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for here – just get in touch.
How do I clean an induction or electric hob?
First, make sure your hob is cooled down and switched off. Then, use soapy water or cleaning spray and a non-scratch sponge to clean the dirt away. After, gently wipe the excess water away with a microfibre cloth.
What pans can be used on an induction hob?
Induction hobs use electromagnets to heat up the base of a pan. You need to use induction-friendly cookware made from metals that contain iron like stainless steel and cast iron. Look for an ‘induction’ label or the coiled symbol when buying pans.
Does a gas hob need an electric supply?
Yes, a gas hob will need an electric supply to ignite the flames.
What type of electrical connection will my hob have?
Some hobs are hardwired whilst others simply plug in. The appropriate type of electrical connection is indicated on all of our product pages.