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27 Jan 2022

Five things to know before you switch to an induction hob

Induction hobs are popular choice for those installing a new kitchen, but are they really any better than electric or gas hobs?
Using an induction hob

Induction hobs claim to offer the best of both gas and electric, combining the responsive heating of gas hobs with the easy cleaning of electric.

They've taken domestic and professional kitchens by storm and are an increasing favourite with chefs and home cooks alike.

If you're thinking of making the switch, we've highlighted five characteristics of induction hobs that you should know about before you decide.

Our hob reviews can help you choose an induction, electric ceramic, gas or gas on glass hob.

1. Cooking speeds take some getting used to

The best induction hobs have responsive touchscreen controls and are a breeze to clean. But speed is the main area where induction hobs cut through the competition from gas and traditional electric ceramic hobs. If you're used to cooking on gas, cooking speeds can take some getting used to.

The chart below shows how quickly the fastest hob we've tested from each category boils a pan of water.

Hob speeds compared

The time taken to boil a large pan of water in minutes, based on the hobs Which? tested in 2021.

Gas hob 9.69 minutes

Electric ceramic hob 7.47 minutes

Induction hob 4.81 mins

Hob speeds compared

The quickest induction hob we've tested takes just over three minutes to boil a big pan of water - as fast as some kettles - compared with the fastest gas model which took nearly nine minutes. Induction wins hands-down.

Torn between gas and induction? Our induction hob and gas hob advice guides could help.

2. You have to use induction-compatible pots and pans

You don't necessarily need special 'induction' pans - but you will need pans that are made of, or contain, iron.

When you power up an induction hob, metal coils under the hob's glass surface create a magnetic field. This interacts with the iron in a pan's base. An electric current is generated that transfers energy into the pan, creating heat.

Some or all of the pans you already own might work, but it's best to check them before you buy a new induction hob. If a fridge magnet sticks firmly to the base, that's a good sign.

If not, it's easy to find induction-ready pans these days, though you may need to build the cost of new pans into your hob budget.

Need new cookware? Read advice on the best non-stick frying pans, best griddle pans and best saucepans.

3. Look for bridge zones to give you cooking flexibility

Gone are the days of four standard-sized cooking zones on every hob.

Some induction hobs have joined-up cooking zones. These can create extended cooking areas that manufacturers call flexi, link or bridge zones. They let you cook using larger pots or dishes, which would normally extend beyond a standard heating zone, a griddle pan or fish kettle, for example.

To give you an idea, here's a couple of flexi-zone hobs we've tested.

Left: Stoves H2H BHIT601 - this offers two large bridge zones Right: Belling IHL602 - with a single link zone on the right

Need help choosing? Read how to buy the best hob before you go shopping.

4. Induction hobs can affect pacemakers

Most common household electrical appliances are not a problem for pacemaker users, but the British Heart Foundation advises that you should keep a distance of at least 60cm from an induction hob while it is on as the electromagnetic field can interfere with pacemaker settings.

It says that most people should be able to use an induction hob if they follow this precaution. That said, if you're buying a new hob or cooker, it might be easier to pick one that's not an induction model.

Read more about pacemakers in our induction hob buying guide.

5. Spending more will get you handy extras

You can pick up a Which? Best Buy induction hob for less than £250, but if you fancy pushing the boat out, look out for these features:

  • Hob to hood wireless communication Your cooker hood detects what is being produced from the hob below and adjusts its fan speed accordingly.
  • Integrated extractorAn extractor fan is built into the hob itself, meaning you won't need a hood.
  • Gas and induction in one If you can't imagine saying goodbye to gas, some induction hobs also include a gas burner.
  • Induction wok zone This is where the hob has a curved indentation to accommodate a wok.

On a budget? Gas hobs tend to be cheaper, so see our gas hob reviews.

Which? hob reviews

The best hobs we've tested score an impressive 91%; the worst get just 59%. Don't risk this kitchen essential letting you down - head to our hob reviews to read detailed, unbiased verdicts on more than 160 hobs.

We've just tested induction hobs from well-known brands such as AEG, Hoover and Hotpoint.

Prices correct at the time of writing. Prices and availability may change.

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