If you love your kitchen, choosing a new appliance should be fun and exciting – it’s like a new shiny toy that you get to play with every day. And with technology moving apace, every new kitchen appliance seems to be more attractive, intuitive and powerful than its predecessor.
Take hobs, for instance. It used to be a straightforward case of gas vs electric coil, but in recent years electric hobs have got sexy! Will you be seduced by the new induction technology, or will you stay faithful to gas? Let’s look at the pros and cons.
Induction hobs use electromagnetism to create a magnetic field between the saucepan and the hob; electricity passes through a copper coil magnet under the glass top directly to the pan. This makes the process of heating up very quick and convenient, and arguably as responsive as gas.
In terms of energy efficiency, induction hobs win hands down – 84% energy transfer compared to 40% for gas hobs, according to US Department of Energy figures. An induction hob only heats up the area that is in contact with the pan, meaning the rest of the surface is safe to touch.
However, induction hobs only take ‘ferrous pans’ which contain iron, which may mean having to invest in a whole new set of pans! Check to see if a magnet sticks to your saucepans, if so you should be OK on an induction hob.
Being essentially a glass surface, induction hobs are easy to clean with a damp cloth, as there are no awkward corners, nooks and crannies as there are on a gas appliance. Plus, don’t they look sleek and contemporary!
Add to that extra features such as child safety locks, timers and flexible cooking zones, and it’s hard to understand why anyone would not choose an induction hob.
Of course, if you’re changing from gas, there are installation issues to be considered. You will need a full cooker circuit (7.5kW) to be put in by an electrician before your new hob can be fitted. Also, induction hobs can be expensive compared to gas, so do your research and ask your kitchen supplier/fitter for advice.
Ultimately, gas is still more controllable (though induction isn’t far behind) and if you’ve always used gas and have no issue with the visual appeal of a gas hob, you may see no reason to change technologies. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, they say. Then again, nothing ventured, nothing gained. The decision is yours.