Our tests show big differences between the best and the worst hobs. The best help you perfect your favourite meals time and again, but the worst will thwart your culinary efforts.
You can pick up a gas hob for less than £100 and an induction hob for around £200. But whether you stick to budget options or splash out on a pricey model, you could still be risking burnt porridge. Our tests have found that hobs at both ends of the price spectrum can be guilty of not simmering gently enough or frying with patchy hotspots.
Our lab tests check hobs on these and a range of other measures. We’ve recently tested 15 hobs of all types, from big brands including AEG, Bosch, Hotpoint, Neff and Zanussi.
One of the new hobs flunked our tests, so we’ve made it a Don’t Buy. Another did so well that it’s now the best hob we’ve ever tested.
Read on to find out what makes for a great hob, or head straight to our page on the best hobs to see which ones we recommend.
Why are some hobs so bad at frying?
In order to fry evenly, a hob must be able to spread heat uniformly across the base of a pan. If you’re frying something that stays still as it cooks, such as a pancake, then telltale signs of an uneven hob are concentric rings or patches of burnt or undercooked batter.
The infrared images above, taken in our lab, show that gas hobs (pictured left) typically excel at spreading heat evenly as the flames lick all over the base of a pan.
Ceramic electric (pictured right) and induction hobs often show marked temperature variation across the surface.
If you know you want a gas hob, head straight to our gas hob reviews.
Which hobs are best at simmering?
About 50% of Which? members love cooking on gas, and with good reason.
Gas hobs are usually better than traditional electric ceramic hobs at maintaining a gentle, low temperature, which you need for keeping stews on a low simmer for an hour or two.
In recent years, though, it’s been induction hobs that have really impressed in our simmering tests. You can set them so low that they’re barely on at all, meaning you can gently warm or slow-cook dishes at lower temperatures than a gas flame would allow.
If you’ve decided to go for induction, we’ve got lots of induction hob reviews for you to browse.
How to buy the best hob
Frying and simmering prowess are just two qualities you need from your hob. Other features to look out for include:
- Speed Induction hobs routinely outperform gas and electric ceramic hobs in terms of speed. The fastest induction model we’ve tested can heat up a big panful of cold water to a rolling boil in just three and a half minutes. You’ll often wait three times as long on a gas or electric ceramic hob.
- How easy it is to use Common hob bugbears include fiddly dials that are hard to read and unresponsive touch controls.
- Ease of cleaning Cleaning gas hobs is tricker than electric ones. You’ll need to take apart and scrub around heavy pan supports and burners, while flat, glass electric hobs can be cleaned with a quick wipe.
Hobs on test
Here’s a full list of the latest hobs we’ve tested. Click on the links to go straight to each review, or head to our full set of hob reviews to see the whole collection.
- Four-zone hob with wok ring: AEG HKB64NB540, £419
- Simple, budget offering: Zanussi ZGH62414WA, £155
- Five-zone, stainless steel hob: Neff T29DA69N0, £570
- Traditional four-zone hob: Neff T26BB46N0, £225
- Black four-zone hob: Bosch PNP6B6B80, £360
Electric induction hobs
- Very spacious four-zone hob: AEG IKB84401FB, £579
- Wide hob with two bridging zones: AEG IKE74451XB, £719
- Standard width, with two bridging zones: AEG IKE64450FB, £529
- Wider-than-average four-zone hob, one bridging zone: AEG IKE84441FB, £574
- 80cm hob with two standard zones, and one extending one: AEG IKE84471FB, £859
- Low-cost induction: Ikea Matmassig (induction), £255
- Four zones in an innovative configuration: Zanussi ZIL8470CB, £429
Electric ceramic hobs
- Traditional four-zone hob with dials: Bosch PKE611CA1E, £219
- Spacious and inexpensive: Indesit Aria RI860 C, £140
- Touch controls: Hotpoint HR 651 CH, £160
Prices correct as of 15 April 2019.