If you think checking out a kitchen showroom is all about the cabinetry, then think again. It’s also a chance to get up close and personal with appliances to see how they look in certain schemes and get advice from designers on what models might suit you best and how the latest technology might help you cook like a Masterchef finalist.
A central part of many kitchen designs these days is the built-in hob but the technology and appearance of what’s on offer has changed so much in recent years, the choice can be a little overwhelming and there can be a tendency to buy what you know. The latest hobs are so easy to use and control, but you only really find this out by putting them to the test.
Clever cooks are choosing either gas, currently the favourite of all hob choices, or the relatively new kid on the block, induction. Both offer incredible style and precision controllability, and the latest models are packed with functions that will help to make cooking a joy.
GOING FOR GAS
Gas hobs come in a variety of burner formations, sizes and materials. Most commonly as four burners on a 60cm stainless steel base, gas hob manufacturers have taken on board the latest fashions for sleek designs and now they also come on glass bases with light weight enamel supports, making them easier than ever to keep clean. Sizes vary more than ever, too, with many shapes and sizes available, from single gas-on-glass wok burner domino hobs, to linear five-zone models flush set into the worktop, the choices are almost limitless.
These days, energy-saving is often at the top of our wish-list, not least because it can help to save money as well as being better for the environment. Some gas hobs, including models from Smeg, now include an optimal burner, where the flame runs vertically rather than horizontally and only spreads to the edge of the pan, which significantly reduces the energy it uses by around 10%.
For those of us with children safety functions are equally important – particularly if you’re placing your hob on an island where guests and children might also sit. Most good gas models will have automatic re-ignition should the flame go out and cut-out if pans are left to boil over.
INSPIRED BY INDUCTION
Induction, though, is chomping at the heels of gas and for those wanting an uber sleek style aesthetic they’re the premier choice. Easy to clean, the initial high price that came with an induction hob is falling fast so that they are a much more affordable option for any home. In terms of features, flexibility, size and capacity are key. Available in many different widths, from the standard 60cm to more than 90cm, induction hobs usually have four or five zones of varying sizes to accommodate different pans and are packed with programmes to facilitate even the most basic of cooks. Look for boost functions, child locks, automatic cut-outs if pans boil over and keep-warm modes. There are even models that can work out when a pan is reaching boiling point and will automatically reduce and maintain the temperature to ensure the pan doesn’t boil over or overcook the food. Their slim profiles make them perfect for placing on islands, as does the fact that it’s the pan that heats rather than the hob itself (although there is some residual heat, so it’s always best to touch with caution) making them a safer choice for families with small children.
For those who can’t decide, there are some hobs available that combine the best of both – usually placing a single powerful gas wok burner alongside several induction zones on one smooth glass base. If you want to mix it up even more then domino hobs – single 30cm wide units such as those from Gaggenau or Miele or range-style cooktops from companies such as Wolf – also allow for mixing and matching. Placing several together in a run will help you build a bespoke cooking top. Or you can install one 60cm hob in a power of your choice and then add to your cooking repertoire by placing a griddle, teppanyaki plate or barbecue beside it. Perfect for when the British summer dampens barbecue season!
Each of our showrooms display a selection of the latest appliances and our designers receive regular product training so they are perfectly placed to advise you about the best option for your requirements. Find your closest Harvey Jones showroom here, or call 0800 389 6938 to speak with a designer.