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Some people want a hob as a centrepiece for the kitchen and others just want something that can heat food up and isn't too hard to clean. Whatever you're wanting this guide is here to explain what to look for in a hob so that you can make an informed decision on which one is right for you.

Range Cooker Buying Guide

Your hob is at the business end of your kitchen. It's where you boil pans of potatoes, sear steaks in a frying pan, or mix spices for curries. All hobs basically do the same thing however some will have special features to help enhance your cooking.

This guide has been split into a series of questions and useful sections that we recommend you consider when looking at buying a hob. You can read through the whole thing or take a section at a time. We would recommend reading the whole guide to help you reached an informed buying decision.

Hob Lifestyle

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  • Highlight Zones glow red so you know when a zone is hot
  • Residual Heat Indicators on induction hobs display, a warning message letting you know at a glance that the hob is still hot.
  • Flame safety device cuts off the gas on gas hobs if the flame is accidentally extinguished.

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  • Rapid burner or heat zone – a more powerful burner or heat zone designed for larger pans. Good for large, flat bottomed pans and for heating water quickly. Just like the economy burner these are very common.
  • Wok burner – a gas burner that uses multiple rings of flame and is specially designed for curved bottom pans. When used with a flat bottomed pan this acts as a rapid burner but when used with a wok it recreates the effect of a traditional wok oven. Great for stir-fries.
  • Fish kettle burners - two oval shaped, gas burners that can be used together to heat long pans like fish kettles. This function can also be useful for warming a large casserole but depending on the shape of the dish a wok burner or rapid heatzone can be better.
  • Dual zone - a regular sized heat zone on an electric oven that can be extended to take large or oval pans. Excellent for warming a casserole and suitable for fish kettles.

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There are two types of hob available, Gas or Electric. Electric hobs can be either solid plate, ceramic or induction.

  • Gas Hobs are very responsive and popular with chefs but are difficult to clean and require a gas connection.
  • Solid Plate Hobs are easy to clean, and the cheapest type of hob available. However this comes at the cost of control, solid plates heat up slower than a gas burner and if you need to adjust the temperature (such as lowering the heat) it can take longer to naturally cool to the right temperature.
  • Ceramic Hobs are easier to clean and can be cheaper to run, they don't require a gas connection. They are more responsive than Solid Plate Hobs, but still not quite as responsive as Gas
  • Induction Hobs are great if you want the responsiveness of gas and the convenience of ceramic. Although these are less expensive to run they are the most expensive to buy. They also require special pans that have magnetic bases to work so please bare this in mind when choosing Induction Hobs.
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