The best hobs will quickly get your pasta water to the boil, but will also be able to maintain a slow and gentle simmer so that delicate sauces don't burn. They'll spread heat evenly too, so you don't need to keep shifting food around for even cooking.
How to choose between all those flat black squares though? That's where we come in. We've pulled together a selection of our best hobs, including the best induction, ceramic and gas models, so you can go to the shops armed with the knowledge you need to buy the best hob for your home.
Whether you're heating a big batch of soup, making bolognese or frying bacon, you don't want to have to constantly fiddle with the hob to ensure you're not left with undercooked, burnt or unevenly cooked food.
That's where Which? comes in. Our rigorous lab testing tells you which hobs to steer clear of and which ones are worth buying.
We time how long it takes each hob to heat large pans of water, to see which ones will keep you waiting. The worst hobs take more than twice as long as the best to heat up.
We also rate how well each hob simmers delicate dishes, such as rice pudding, and we use infra-red technology to assess how evenly each hob spreads heat across the base of a frying pan.
As well as our extensive lab tests, we ask hob owners to tell us how happy they are with their hobs, and to let us know about any faults they've had. Using this feedback, we can give each brand a unique reliability rating.
This year, we've compared 16 bestselling brands, including Belling, Bosch, Neff, Stoves, Whirlpool and Zanussi, so we can tell you which brands you can trust to work well for many years.
Find out how the big brands compare by heading to our advice on reliable hob brands.