There are good things and bad things about both, consider these points before buying a new hob or cooker
When you think about buying a new hob, your choice of cooker depends on the fuel type that you can use or you just think that a ceramic hob would be good you would be well advised to do a little research first before you buy.
Ceramic hobs have some great plus points but, equally they also have some downsides as well. Here’s a short summary of the good and the bad of a ceramic hob in general, even an induction:
- Good ceramic hobs can look fantastic
- Easy to clean
- Can be virtually flush with the worktop
- Most now have touch controls
- Many have timers to stop cooking, even by zone
- No special requirements for installation other than a suitable supply
- Can be smashed by falling objects!
- Can be scored or scratched by sliding pans over the glass
- Hot sugar or syrup type fluids spilt on them acts like acid and will eat through the glass
- Not as controllable as gas (see notes on induction below)
- Can be very expensive to repair
- While easy to clean, special cleaners are strongly recommended
- Most efficient when correct pan sizes are used for each zone (recommended)
Whilst this is not a complete list it does highlight that, as with most things, there are pros and there are cons in ceramic hobs as much as there is in most any type of hob. Many people just like them and prefer a ceramic or electric hob over a gas one and, largely, this is a personal choice.
That said, a good many people seem to choose ceramic as they think that it will be easier to keep and little effort or certainly no special effort is required to maintain them and in some measure that is true, but it isn’t the whole story.
Rise Of Ceramic Hobs
In the past ceramic hobs were slow, clunky things that really were not very good. Sure, they did the job but for anyone seriously interested in cooking they really didn’t cut it so the default choices a couple of decades ago was to have the old spiral ring type cookers or a gas hob top.
As built in appliances became more prevalent with the rise of the fully fitted kitchen ceramic hobs became more and more popular. Especially so as the alternative if gas wasn’t an option, was the solid plate hobs which are slow to heat and also slow to cool off as well.
But as ceramic became more and more popular the prices started to drop as volumes rose and the popularity of the ceramic hob seemed to explode through the 1990’s and beyond. due to this the cooking experience on ceramic hobs has improved dramatically, especially so on the more advanced and naturally expensive hobs.
Whilst this was happening the first domestic induction hobs started to appear and, despite claims by some manufacturers that they invented the technology, it actually dates back to patents registered in the USA from the early 1900’s. The first commercially available induction cooker we can find was sold through Westinghouse in the 1970’s for domestic use.
Domestic Induction Hobs & Cookers
Induction hobs, on the face of it if you believe the marketing hype at least, seem perfect, the controllability of gas, lower power use, safety by using electromagnetic fields, it sounds perfect. But still it might not be for you.
This is because, just like ceramic hobs, other than the safety gain as the hob itself stays cool and the far better controllability, induction cookers and hobs suffer from all the same issues as a standard ceramic and, in the case of servicing, more.
Induction units usually have only three or four components of any real note, the glass hob top itself, the cooking zones and the electronics and the number depends on the configuration of those parts. They are almost without exception far from cheap to replace if they fail.
Induction hobs also need good ventilation, if you do not follow the installation instructions and have a good supply of air, they will fail.
You also must use the correct pots and pans or it won’t work and never have tin foil on the hob or it will damage the hob.
The neat trick that a lot of people do to demonstrate the safety of induction hobs, which is a big plus, is to put ice cubes on the hob and, on top of those, boils a pan of water. It does work and it is, probably by a considerable margin, the safest type of cooking surface or hob you can buy.
So yes, induction is good and has it’s advantages but, it is not perhaps suitable for everyone.
Keeping Ceramic Hobs Clean
Ceramic hobs use a special type of ceramic glass, hence the name of ceramic hobs, that is very expensive to produce and almost all seem to be supplied by either Schott or Ceran Ceramics, people often ask us for spare parts for these brands but all they make is the glass itself, not the hob. But, this is why ceramic hobs are often much more expensive than a metal hob.
Whilst this type of glass is strong it does require some care in cleaning to prevent any damage and they can still be broken. We would strongly advise against storage above a hob for this reason as, the most common cause of one being smashed is a object such as a can or storage jar being dropped on it from above.
In fact, impact damage is the only known reason for a ceramic hob to break.
They are also susceptible to scratching as the glass cannot be made scratch resistant so, care has to be taken in how they are cleaned as well as not sliding pans over the surface.
To try to prevent that as much as possible the use of a soft cloth and special ceramic hob cleaner is strongly recommended that not only acts as a cleaning agent but also leaves a very thin protective coat on the cooking surface that helps prevent scratching.
Tough or burnt on residues should be removed with a ceramic hob scraper designed for this purpose.
Should You Buy A Ceramic Hob
That really is a question that only the user can answer but, if you are used to a gas hob we would recommend that you try one out first if at all possible as it is a completely different experience.
Induction cooking is different again and, whilst they might all ultimately do the same thing there are quirks not only between the different types but, even between brands and models.