KITTING out your kitchen with the best ceramic hob means you’ll have a world of culinary options at your fingertips.
They can be used to whip up a huge array of meals and treats – from something as simple as heating up soup to making a stir-fry, cooking a juicy steak or letting a chilli bubble away – you certainly won’t go hungry with a ceramic hob in your kitchen arsenal.
But what makes them so great, and what do you need to know before buying one?
We’ve broken it down for you so you can make an informed decision.
How Do Ceramic Hobs Work?
Ceramic hobs work by heating up an element, like that in a kettle, underneath a glass surface.
The heat is transferred through the glass and to the pan that sits on it.
The element glows red as it heats up, so you can see when it’s safe to touch and when it’s not.
Gas vs Induction vs Electric
While it’s true that gas offers more precise heat control, that’s about where the pros for gas end.
Ceramic hobs are electric, so if your home isn’t fed by mains gas, you’ll need an electric hob.
And because there’s no gas involved, there’s no chance of dangerous leaks. They’re made of a flat piece of glass plate, which makes them so much easier to clean than gas hobs with their fiddly burners and metal pan stands.
This is especially true of frameless designs with touch controls as there are no nooks and crannies for food to get stuck in if spilled.
Ceramic hobs also hold their own against induction models too.
They’re usually a lot cheaper than induction types and don’t require special pans that conduct heat – so buying a ceramic hob means you don’t have to invest in a whole new (expensive) set of pans as well.
Ceramic hobs come in various sizes, from single designs with just one burner (or zone as it’s usually referred to), to larger ones that have five zones.
The burners on the larger models are of varying sizes to accommodate both small and large pans.
Some of the burners have an inner zone within the main ring that can be operated separately, to save energy when cooking with smaller pans or expand for larger pans and woks.
Pretty much all ceramic hobs are square or rectangular and most are black, although it is possible to find white-glass ones if you’d like a hob that fits in seamlessly with a white worktop.
You’ll find some that are frameless, where the edges of the glass surface are smoothed down instead of being fitted with a surround; those with surrounds usually have them made from stainless-steel.
Go for frameless if you want a sleek, unfussy look opt for a framed one if you prefer a neater, ‘finished’ style.
Finally, the controls will either be symbols on the glass frame that are operated by touch control, or knobs that you turn to adjust the heat, as you would on a gas hob.
Touch-control hobs are easier to clean and look more streamlined, while most people feel that knobs are easier to operate.
Right, now you’re up to speed, let’s take a look at six of the finest models on the market…
1. Cooke & Lewis CLCER30 2 burner
- Cooke & Lewis CLCER30 2 Burner Black Ceramic Hob, £64, B&Q – buy here
If you don’t cook all that much, have a small kitchen or want to add more hob space to your existing setup, go for a two-burner design.
And at less than £65, it’s one of the cheapest we’ve found.
2. Matmassig Glass Ceramic Hob in Black
- Matmassig Glass Ceramic Hob in Black, £195, Ikea – buy here
If you’re still a bit unsure about which ceramic hob to buy, this all-rounder is a good bet.
With four burners (two big, two small), smart touch controls and a sleek frameless design, it’s the perfect entry-level model – and it’s less than £200.
3. Matmassig Glass Ceramic Hob in Black
- Beko HIC64102 60cm Built-in Ceramic Hob, £209.99, Very – buy here
Like the Ikea hob but with knobs rather than touch controls.
Choose this design if you’d like to have a bit more control over the heat output or dislike touch controls.
4. Zanussi ZEV6646XBA
- Zanussi ZEV6646XBA Built In Ceramic Hob in Black, £239, John Lewis – buy here
A four-burner design with one ring that has dual zones, this is a great option if you cook specific dishes that require bigger pans, such as woks or large stock pots.
It is also framed, which is your go-to design if you prefer to have clear, defined lines between your worktop and hob
5. Rangemaster RMB75HPECGL 5 Zone
- Rangemaster RMB75HPECGL 5 Zone Ceramic Hob in Black, £289.99, Argos – buy here
If you’re one of those people who has several pans on the go at once and likes to cook fairly complex dishes, you’ll need as many burners as you can get.
This five-ring design has one multi-zone burner for versatility and is great value at under £300.
6. Bosch PKE652CA1E Electric Ceramic Hob
- Bosch PKE652CA1E Electric Ceramic Hob in White, £459, John Lewis – buy here
Remember that rarer white hob we mentioned? We’ve found one.
It has four burners, knob controls and is frameless for a sleek look. While it’s a little more expensive than the others we’ve found, it’s undoubtedly the easiest on the eye and one for the style-conscious.
Enjoyed our round-up of the best ceramic hobs? Don't forget to look at the best non-stick pans when you're ready to cook.
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