How to buy the best hob

Hobs

How to buy the best hob

by Jane Darling

Unsure which hob to buy? Use the hobs expertise at Which? to guide you to the model that will suit you and your kitchen best.

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What size of hob do I need?

Hobs come in all shapes and sizes, from single and two-ring burners, through more standard four-ring gas and electric hobs, to range-sized five-burner hobs with wok burners.

If you already know the kind of hob you're looking for, go straight to our hob reviews.

Four-burner hobs

Most ceramic, gas, gas-on-glass and induction hobs are about 60cm wide. Hobs that are slightly wider should still fit a standard 60cm gap as they’re designed to overlap the worktop. The size of hobs depends on the size of the burners or hob rings, which will vary from hob to hob.

Five-burner hobs

Larger hobs have five burners, including a central wok burner. The wok burner is a high-powered gas burner used for stir frying or rapid boiling. Five-ring hobs are up to about 75cm wide. Having five burners doesn't mean that you'll be able to fit five pots and pans comfortably on the hob, but the extra hob ring does give you more space than a four-ring hob.

One- two- and three-ring hobs

If you have a flexible space in your kitchen, you won't have to be limited by traditional-sized hobs. One-ring hobs, two-ring hobs and three-ring hobs are all available to buy, and can be built into a counter top.

Wok burners are larger and more powerful than standard burners

How deep are hobs?

If you have a four or five-ring hob it will be about 51cm or 52cm deep. This means that all hobs will fit on to standard-sized kitchen counters.

How much do I need to pay for a hob?

Gas hob: from less than £100 for an own-brand hob from a high-street store to over £1,000 for a top-of-the-range hob.

Gas-on-glass hob: from under £200 for an own-brand hob from a high-street store to £1,200 for a top-of-the-range hob.

Ceramic hob: from less than £150 for an own-brand hob from a high-street store to over £1,000 for a top-of-the-range hob.

Induction hob: from £200 for an own-brand hob from a high-street store to £3,000 for a top-of-the-range hob.

Solid plate hob: from £90 for an own-brand hob from a high-street store to £200 for a top-of-the-range hob.

What hob features do I need?

Wok burners: some hobs feature a large high-powered gas wok burner for stir-fry cooking. Wok burners can be a larger fourth burner or an extra burner in the middle of the hob that provides intense, rapid heat. Work burners heat up more quickly than standard gas burners and are easy to control.

Dual zones on hobs: on electric hobs, a dual zone allows you to operate an inner zone within the main ring so you can save energy when cooking with smaller pans.

Pans for induction hobs: induction hobs require ferrous pans (pans which contain iron). Certain stainless steel pans will be fine, but others do not work. As a general rule, if a magnet sticks to your pots and pans, they'll work on an induction hob.

Hob child-safety locks: most induction hobs have safety locks to stop the controls from being operated by inquisitive children. Some ceramic hobs have them too.

Hob power boost: all the induction hobs we've tested have a power boost that heats up cooking zones more quickly, saving around a third of the normal heating up time. This sort of rapid intense heat is good for stir frying or searing meat.

Induction hob timers: many induction hobs have a timer that can be used for programming zones to switch off automatically when you want them to stop cooking. You won’t find timers on gas hobs.

Do I need to get my hob professionally installed?

Once you've purchased your hob, you'll need to get it installed by a professional.

For gas hobs, you’ll need a gas-safe registered engineer.

To get an electric hob fitted, hire an electrician to do the work for you. This is usually something that the shop will be able to arrange for you, so make sure you ask what they provide in terms of installation when you make your purchase.

If you need to hire a professional, visit Which? Trusted Traders to find local fitters endorsed by Which?

If you haven't yet decided if you want a gas hob or electric hob, then go to how to buy the best hob: gas or electric - an overview.

Or go straight to our very best hobs in hobs Best Buys.