In the most part ceramic and induction hobs can look almost exactly the same. So why are induction hobs so much more expensive? In this guide we explain the difference between ceramic and induction to help you decide which one’s for you.
First off let’s talk about their similarities – they both offer that same streamlined, glass look. This smooth surface makes it really easy to clean and you don’t have any pan supports to try and scrub – a job no one enjoys doing! If you have children, many ceramic and induction hobs come with a number of safety features such as hot indicators to show when a zone is still hot to the touch, and locks which stop the hob from being operational until the right combination of buttons are pressed. Both ceramic and induction hobs often need a specific supply configured with the correct cables and breakers so we would always recommend installation by a professional electrician.
Ceramic hobs are a great choice for people who have a strict budget. They are often a lot cheaper than their induction equivalents and come in a vast number of styles and sizes to suit any kitchen. Ceramic hobs are quicker to heat up than an electric hot plate, but are often quite a bit slower than a gas or induction hob. If you are energy conscious, ceramic hobs are normally not the best choice as the entire cooking zone is heated. This means that a lot of energy can escape from around the sides of the pan, plus the zones can remain hot for quite a while after you have turned off the heat.
At CookersAndOvens we don’t hide the fact that we absolutely love induction hobs! They are easy to clean and can give your worktops an uninterrupted, streamlined look but with the same power and control as a gas hob. Induction technology is completely different to ceramic. Induction hobs use magnetism to heat the pan, not the hob. This means that heat permeates the food incredibly fast and can even boil water faster than a kettle! Because induction heats the pan only, it is very energy efficient as well as being a very safe option, as it minimises the risk of burns during and after cooking. We recently demonstrated this in our showroom by cutting a frying pan in half and attempting to fry an egg. The side of the egg in the pan started to cook quickly, but the other side of the egg on the hob remained completely raw! See the experiment in action in the video below.
A lot of people can be put off induction hobs because they have heard that you need to buy special, expensive pans. Induction hobs only work with ferrous metal, but you may be surprised to know that your current pan set may actually already be suitable. A quick test is to see if a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan. If it does, then your pans should be suitable with an induction hob. Nevertheless, induction pan sets have very much come down in price, and are often not too much more expensive than a regular set. Induction hobs often require a specific power supply to the kitchen and need to be connected to a suitable 6mm cable with a 32-amp breaker, or a 10mm cable with a 45 amp breaker (providing the isolator switch, which turns the power on and off to the cooker, does not incorporate a 13 amp socket).
Zoneless induction hobs (also referred to as FlexInduction or flexi induction) are one of the most popular items we sell on the website. They are incredibly versatile and allow the use of a number of accessories for cooking every cuisine imaginable! Instead of having a number of designated zones, you can place your induction saucepans, teppan yakis, griddles and even kettles anywhere on the surface of the hob. This provides you with ultimate flexibility as the hob automatically detects the pan on the surface and heats the individual induction coils as appropriate. This means you no longer have to juggle your pots and pans and can place any sized pan absolutely anywhere on the hob. Neff have made a great video below showcasing their FlexInduction hob range which demonstrates the versatility of a zoneless hob.
Quality induction hobs often come with fantastic temperature controls which means that you can change and tweak the level of heat very delicately and in small increments just as you would be able to with a gas hob. Some induction hobs also come with a removable magnetic dial to create an uncluttered look and to make using the hob incredibly easy to use – you simply point towards the zone you want to use and twist to select the heat intensity. If the doorbell or phone rings whilst you are busy cooking on the hob there is no need to turn each zone off just removing the control dial instantly kills each zone. Don’t worry if you lose the dial – these hobs can still be activated manually if needed!
While induction hobs are generally more expensive than their ceramic equivalents, you can often make this back in the energy and time saved over its lifetime. This being said, they have come down in price significantly since the technology was first introduced into the market. Small, two zone domino induction hobs can start from as little as £200-£300 with this price increasing to £800-1000 for a large, quality, zoneless induction hob.
So, the big question, which one should you choose? The answers comes in whether your budget or performance of the hob is most important to you. If enjoy cooking and use the hob a lot then it’s probably worth spending a bit more to get the better performing product. However, if you’re on a tight budget and just need an electric hob to do the job, then a ceramic hob is a great choice.