Induction hob buying guide
By Jane Darling
An induction hob is quicker and cheaper to run than other hobs but more expensive to buy. Is an induction hob right for you? Read on...
How an induction hob works
Induction hobs are an increasingly popular choice: no surprise as they are quick and efficient hobs for cooking.
The induction hob cooking method uses electromagnetism to create a magnetic field between the pan, which needs to have a high iron content, and a coil beneath the glass top. Electricity is passed through a copper coil magnet within the induction hob, creating electromagnetic energy. The energy passes through the cooktop directly to the iron-based pan, producing - or inducing - a current which in turn releases heat.
Induction hobs are a quick and efficient way of heating food
Induction hobs are quicker and cheaper to run than other hobs – though often more expensive to buy – because the heat is transferred directly to the pan rather than the whole cooking surface. This means you can touch the cooking surface without burning yourself - but do remember that heat will transfer from warm contents in the pan onto the hob surface, therefore warming it up.
If you already know the kind of hob you're looking for, go straight to our hobs reviews for full test results for more than 30 hobs.
Pacemakers and induction hobs
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) recommends – based on academic findings – that people with a pacemaker should get no closer than 60cm from an induction hob.
Induction hob pros and cons
• Energy efficient
• Modern and stylish
• Quick to heat up and cook
• Safe to touch
• Lots of extra features like flexible cooking zones, timers and child safety locks
• You may need to invest in new pans
• Can be louder than other hobs
• May not be suitable if you have a heart pacemaker
Induction hob pans
You'll need to use 'ferrous pans' - in other words, pans that contain iron - on an induction hob.
As a general rule of thumb, if a magnet sticks to your pots and pans, they will work on an induction hob.
Pans compatible with induction hobs are widely available in kitchenware stores. If your current pans won't work on an induction hob, bear in mind the extra expense of buying a new set.
Getting an induction hob installed
You’ll need to get an electrician to install your induction hob for you. Speak to the store you're buying the product from to see if an installation service is available as part of its delivery package. If you're getting your induction hob as part of a new fitted kitchen, check if it will be installed as part of the fitting service.
If you want to find a reliable electrician who is local to you, go to Which? Trusted Traders for recommendations.
Browse the hobs that came top of our test in our Best Buy hobs.