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Choosing a Cooktop / Hob 
and the recommended cookware for each type.

from www.cookwareessentials.co.uk

The decision to purchase a new cooking top is not a small one. Whether you are a first time home buyer or just replacing your thirty year old hob, there are some things to consider before making such a large purchase. I will discuss the different types of cooktops available as well as the suitable cookware that can be used with each. 

Portable Gas or Electric Plates:

These are an excellent choice for people with very little space to accommodate a full unit, students, young professionals or people who need additional cookers are the most common consumers. They are generally quite simple in their functionality. They tend to have a simple on/off switch and occasionally an option for heat levels. I would recommend that you get one with a light heat sensor so you know when the item is cool to touch, especially if you have many people working in the kitchen or children in the house. This is a low maintenance cooker which is portable too!

Recommended Cookware

You can use most materials on the electric and gas plates including aluminium, stainless steel, cast iron, copper, hard anodized, multi ply, and ceramic. 

copper pans

Solid Plate Cooktops / Hobs:

Electric solid plate cooktops are slowly being replaced by what is said to be its more efficient electric counterpart, the ceramic or glass top. The metal plate is said to give off more heat then its newer more advanced counterpart. You will however find newer models that are more efficient then ever before. Not as efficient as the ceramic or glass tops but a close runner up. So, if you are attached to your solid plate cooktop rest assured you can find yourself a fairly energy efficient unit. These units are easy to clean and are generally pretty basic and easy to use. These are perfect for people who cook but tend to do very basic cooking. 

Recommended Cookware: Solid plates can handle any kind of cookware material including aluminium, stainless steel, cast iron, copper, hard anodized, multi ply, and ceramic.  set of saucepans

Ceramic or Glass Cooktops / Hobs:

Ceramic hobs have become quite popular in the last 15 years or so and are often the choice for new home owners and new construction. They are easy to clean, easy to operate and are usually pretty functional. They are electric and are known to be energy efficient. The rings on the burners help to prevent heat waste. These are best for people who want a unit with lot of functional options, warming, hot to touch, quick heat up, numerous heat levels, etc. They also have a nice modern look which tends to compliment newer kitchens. The down fall is if you happen to drop something on this top if it is heavy enough it will smash, chip or scratch. This is probably your biggest risk and somewhat unlikely, but if it does happen the top would need replacing. 

Recommended cookware

You can use all materials for this type of hob. I would warn you that since they are known to heat up quickly and therefore heat up the cookware quickly I would be very careful using ceramic cookware on this hob as it could crack it. 

stainless steel pans

Induction Cooktop / Hob

Induction cooking is becoming more and more popular these days. It is also the “green” option, using magnetic characteristics in the cookware to create heat. It is electric and does require some electricity but it is very minimal. Put simply or as simply as possible, an electric current from the magnetic material in certain cookware generates heat when placed on an induction cooktop. The cooktop is equipped with that same magnetic material. Minimal electricity and no gas is needed, just the reaction of the magnetic elements doing most of the work***. The down side to the induction top is that most people will have to replace all their cookware to be compatible with this unit as not all cookware will work. 

Recommended Cookware

It is a bit more difficult to choose cookware for induction ovens. You should carefully look for items marked induction compatible when purchasing cookware. Not all cookware will work with an induction hob due to its unique nature.

Most stainless steel, cast iron, and multi-ply cookware will work. You will find that more and more cookware manufacturers are making their cookware to be induction compatible so it has become a bit easier. 

cast iron saucepans

Gas Cooktops / Hobs:

The gas cooking top is a very well known way of cooking and has been around for year and years, dating back to the late 1800’s. Many chefs still swear by it. With the price of gas these days, this isn’t always the best option in terms of savings. I happen to opt for the electric top as the risk of catching something on fire due to the open flame frightens me. If the electricity was to go out, you would still have a means to cook which is a benefit! The gas tops provides quick heat up and cool down, some people will say they cook better then any other cooker. I’ll let you decide.

Recommended cookware

The Gas top can accommodate most materials, aluminium, stainless steel, cast iron, copper, and hard anodized.

set of pans

Whether you are looking for simple functionality, a sleek look or energy savings you are sure to find what you are looking for. Don’t like any of your options, wait awhile and there will be some new crazy invention! If your torn then stick to what you know and love, chances are if you love your old gas stove you will love your new one too!

*** A visitor has contacted me as follows:-

Please revise your section about induction cookers. The method you gave about how they work and the electricity they consume is false and misleading on many of the points. The assertion that "Minimal electricity and no gas is needed, just the reaction of the magnetic elements doing most of the work." is plainly false. Significant energy is needed to induce an electric current.



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