The pros and cons of an electric induction hob

If you’re buying a new kitchen, complete with brand new white goods and appliances, one of the questions you might ask yourself is: should I choose a gas hob or an electric induction cooker?

Gas cookers are what many of us know best and have been popular for generations. An early gas stove was shown at the World Fair in London as long ago as 1851, and they became a commercial success in the 1880s when a reliable gas supply was piped around the country. But are electric induction hobs about to steal their thunder?


What is an electric induction hob?

Induction cookers are a fairly recent arrival in our kitchens, although the technology behind them – electromagnetism – was discovered almost 200 years ago. Induction hobs create a magnetic field between the induction element and the pan, heating the pan only and not the entire surface. So, would one make the right cooker for your kitchen?


Advantages of electric induction hobs

  • Induction hobs are quicker to heat than conventional cookers
  • This makes them cheaper to run, as you only use the energy you need
  • Many induction hobs are as controllable as gas cookers, allowing you to turn them up and down just as easily
  • They are safe, with the stovetop being far cooler than a gas hob and therefore reducing the risk of accidents. Many have a cut out feature in case the pan gets too hot and they also automatically switch off the plate in use if the pan has been removed for a certain length of time
  • Although every cooker radiates some heat, an induction cooker emits less and so your kitchen will be cooler
  • They look smart and are easy to clean
  • Induction hobs are very thin, often the same depth as your kitchen work surface
  • They are ideal for homes that are not on the main gas supply


Disadvantages of electric induction hobs

  • gas-flameThe technology only works with magnetic pots and pans, meaning you might have to go to the expense of buying a special induction hob-friendly set. Having said that, some cast iron and some stainless steel pans will work – just do the magnet test!
  • Some induction hobs are susceptible to cracking if a heavy item is dropped on the top
  • If the chef in your family likes to char vegetables and other foods on an open flame, it’s not possible with an induction hob
  • It can take a bit of trial and error to learn how to cook some dishes – such as stir fry – on an induction stove
  • You can’t use your hob in the event of a power cut! There’s obviously a possibility a gas supply can cut out too, but the chances of this are rarer

When it comes to cost, induction hobs were certainly pricier than gas stoves a few years ago. But this is less the case as they become more popular and cost-effective to manufacture, and they are now a real alternative to ‘cooking on gas’!