11 hobs out of the 30 recently tested have impressed us enough with their cooking skills to become Best Buys.
We sent gas, electric and induction hobs from 18 brands including AEG, Bosch, Hotpoint, Indesit, Miele, Neff and Zanussi to our lab and put them through our challenging new testing regime.
You don’t want to return to the kitchen to find your dinner welded to the base of the saucepan because the lowest hob setting wasn’t quite gentle enough for simmering. Fortunately we’ve found models that you can rely on to keep your dinner bubbling away gently.
But we’ve also found hobs that aren’t responsive enough to handle delicate cooking jobs, and are slow to heat up or fiddly to clean.
If you’re after a hob that will make cooking a breeze, pick from our list of Best Buy hobs.
Cheap induction hobs
Electric induction hobs heat only the pan, rather than the hob itself, so they tend to be more energy efficient. Traditionally they have been more expensive than standard electric hobs, costing around £400. Plus, you’ll need to invest in iron-based pans for them to work properly.
But prices are coming down. We’ve just tested three budget induction models that all come in at less than £250*. The Indesit VID 641 BC (£230), Beko HII 64400 AT (£240) and Hotpoint CIA640C (£249) are all basic, 60cm-wide black four-zone hobs. Like most induction hobs, they are completely flat with touch controls, which should make cleaning hassle-free.
But how do induction hobs compare to gas or electric models when it comes to cooking? To find out if they do a good job of heating quickly – and can handle a gentle simmer – read our hob reviews.
Cheap gas and electric hobs
If induction is too high a price-tag – or you simply aren’t sure you want to embrace induction cooking just yet – there are plenty of gas or electric hob options out there for those on a budget.
Coming in at less than £100 is a four-burner gas model, the B&Q own-brand Cooke & Lewis CLGH3ASS hob (£97). Or, if you find yourself wandering the aisles of Swedish store Ikea, you might be tempted by the low-priced, retro-style Ikea Livslaga 602.780.90 for just £130.
Similarly budget, but running on electric, is the New World NWCR614 (£140).
These hobs may lack fancy features, but sometimes simplicity can be an asset. Check our hob reviews to find out if a cheap hob will do the job.
Which? hob reviews
A good hob should be able to heat up the contents of a pan quickly, so you can get your dinner done faster. We’ve found models that can heat a litre-and-a-half of water from tap temperature to almost boiling in less than four minutes, while some slower hobs can take three times as long.
But speed isn’t everything. We leave a pan of baked beans on the hob’s lowest setting for 15 minutes to see if it will keep the beans just-warm or if you’ll return to a hardened, dried up mess.
We also take infra-red images of the temperature across a cooking zone and make pancakes to rate how evenly each hob distributes heat. So you know that, whatever culinary jobs await you, a Best Buy hob won’t let you down.
*Prices correct as of 26 August 2016.