Electric Hob Advice
We explain what each type of electric hob is and the pros and cons of them
There are a few options that that you either have or will have had in the past when it comes to choosing what sort of electric built in hob that you choose or what type of cooking hobs that you will have on a cooker or range cooker. Here we will explain what those are along with some things you probably should know about them.
As with many of the heating elements used on hobs and cookers most people will be familiar with this type of hotplate. Essentially these are the more modern take on the old radiant rings with a simple element under a solid metal plate that encases the element itself.
This is heating by direct transfer of the heat to whatever sits on the cooking zone.
This type of element used to be slow to heat up and retained a lot of heat after you switched them off, they also tend to transfer a fair bit of heat into the hob top as well which is normal on this type of hob design.
These days they are better, they regulate better than before and the replacement cost of them has dropped massively since they became the choice for almost all budget built in electric hobs, cookers and we’ve even seen them on the odd range cooker.
They are robust and pretty reliable for the most part along with cheap to replace but standard ceramic and more so induction heating zones hold several key advantages over this type of element making them look, well a little prehistoric really.
Keeping these clean and looking like new is almost impossible. The chrome ring trim around the element will discolour on every one, normally after only the first use or so.
They also should really be seasoned in much the same manner that you would season a new pot, a little oil on them, heat them, wipe off, repeat a few times and that coating protects the black metal cooking surface from rusting and pitting. If you don’t do that you will need to try to restore them using Collo Cleaner or replace them and start again. The upside is, as we said, they’re not expensive to replace and can be found in our store.
The ceramic hob you buy today is not really any different to the original ceramic hobs back in the 70’s.
There is an open element that sits in a special housing under a ceramic glass surface. The heat from that element rises through the ceramic glass and whatever sits above it heat up so again this is direct transfer really as the glass will get hot.
These react faster than solid plates and are arguable faster than the old radiant rings but nowhere even close to the speed and efficiency of either gas or induction, not even at the races by comparison.
So better sure and, in terms of a more “budget” option on an electric built in hob or cooker, probably the best you will get as a compromise as cleaning is very easy unless you let stuff burn onto the ceramic glass. If you do that, clean it as quickly as you can with a special cleaning kit for ceramic hobs. Popular and cheap options for cleaning your hob are the EasyDo Hob Care Kit and lots of people just use the EasyDo Powder Cleanser as, they work and are cheap.
Other than that, don’t let anything drop on the hob top as it will get smashed!
Don’t spill hot sugar on them or anything with that in it such as jam, it acts like acid on the hob top.
Replacement elements range from reasonable to stupid expensive and bespoke for a particular model.
Induction is a completely new thing to the domestic hob and cooker market and, it’s very good indeed, will probably end up replacing gas as the cooking method of choice but there are limitations and things you should know about induction.
The first thing is that if you are looking to buy and induction hob, make sure that the ventilation is adequate as if not you will fry your lovely new induction hob. This is utterly vital on any new installation, we cannot stress this enough as the guys in the field see them burnt out all the time just because the oven below is too close or some other ventilation is blocked or restricted.
For most induction cooking there will usually be a fan so, it’s not silent and even if there is no fan, you still get a low muted hum from them.
You don’t see any glowing of any kind, just the glass plate.
Next is that it’s not direct heat transfer that does all the work here.
Skipping the boring technical stuff, what happens is that the induction plates below the ceramic surface heat the actual pot or pan on the surface using a magnetic field hence, you need pots and pans with an iron content in them. Meaning that there’s only any heat transferred to the surface of the ceramic hob from the pan down the way and since heat rises, that’s not a lot.
This makes induction safer in general terms.
They are faster and more controllable than any other top of heating element here, by a country mile on both counts and, they are hugely more energy efficient as well.
Downsides are, they’re more expensive in the first place and currently the electro-magnetic elements are not cheap, nor are the electronic controllers usually. And, if either of the main components go obsolete then you’re pretty much stuffed if they’re bespoke to that model or manufacturer.
Elements and controllers for most others so long as they are standard affairs don’t have this problem.
You also shouldn’t be near a strong magnetic field if you have a pacemaker or some other electrical implant, it can end badly.
However even with the downsides mentioned induction is hugely impressive to use and does have a number of key advantages over what has gone before.
You can find a full article on gas hobs versus induction here that has more detail on induction cooking.
These are now, outside the USA and a few other regions, largely obsolete in terms of new cookers as they were rarely ever seen on built in hobs in the UK. The reason you don’t really see these on built in hobs here is that due to the smaller size requirements in Europe cleaning is an issue as it’d be really hard to get a hob you could lift up to clean underneath the elements. With more space in other regions for larger hobs this is or can be possible.
Most people will recognise these as they’ve either owned a cooker with these types of hob elements in the past or you probably know someone that has or had a cooker with these on it. Often referred to as ringplate elements.
In effect it’s just an extremely simple heating element that you sit pots and pans on and they heat directly into those. If you put them on at full blast they will “glow”.
The problem with these are that they are not exactly efficient energy wise nor are they considered pretty. As we mentioned above, you also need to be able to lift up the hob to clean underneath them really and that’s not really possible on modern hob and cooker designs so using these is really not feasible.
Other than a few niche applications these are now all but defunct now.
You can see the only real options available on this type of hob element can be seen in our store with the good news being that, whilst not technically advanced in any way, they are cheap.
All the rage in the late 80’s and early 90’s and often billed as cooking with light.
Halogen heating zones are or were said to be faster, more efficient and so on than traditional ringplate or ceramic hob heating elements.
They never really caught on or lasted more than a few years before slowly being phased out. Now most halogen heating zones are obsolete, some you can replace with standard ceramic heating zones but not many.
We can’t see these returning and are really only of historical note now.
Even if you se one and are thinking on buying second hand our advice is to avoid these. They were never that great (our opinion) and are pretty much obsolete now.