The best gas hobs (or gas cooktops if you're American) can still take on induction hobs, despite the latter being all the rage right now, and powered by science and magic. In fact, gas is still the most popular way to heat stuff up, although probably not if we're talking only hobs sold in the last five years. Gas hobs are relatively cheap to buy and run, and can be used for all the cooking techniques people know and love. It's no wonder they've been cooking up a storm since the mid 1800s!
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What is the best gas hob?
In reality of course, all these hobs will whip up meals fantastically well. Most of them are a faff to clean, mind, but we can't do much about that.
We took our own experience of gas cooking, and then researched the opinions of owners and professional reviewers to bring you this six-strong tranche of built-in gas champs.
Our top three spots go to the handsome all-black Neff T26CS49S0, the budget-priced John Lewis & Partners JLBIGH754 and the elegant black-clad, five-burner Bosch Serie 6 PPS9A6B90.
How to buy the best gas hob for you
Although it’s not as energy efficient as induction, top chefs still swear by gas because the heat a gas burner emits is instantaneous and easily adjusted. It also allows them to shuffle the pan when sautéeing or stir frying (induction hobs stop heating the moment the pan loses contact with the magnetic plate). You can also be much rougher with a gas hob. Yes the cast iron pan holders can wreak havoc on a pan’s base but at least you can slam a pot onto the hob and generally be less cautious than if using a rather more delicate induction alternative.
When it comes to sourcing a model, first consider how many burners you require. Most of us get by very easily with the standard four-burner configuration. These units invariable measure around 60cm in width and go well with built-in ovens of the same dimensions. But if you’re an avid cook or have a large family of mouths to feed, you might want to up the ante and opt for a five, or even six, burner model instead.
Remember that all these hobs need to be installed by a carpenter and a qualified gas technician. This shouldn’t be an issue if you already have an existing built-in hob of the same dimensions but it could be quite costly to install if you’re moving over from, say, an all-in-one cooker or range system. In this instance the carpenter will need to route a hole through your worktop to site the hob and you’ll obviously require a gas outlet near the installation area.
Given that a gas burner is essentially a circular valve that opens and closes with the aid of a knob, there’s not a massive difference between models; they all perform the simple task of igniting on command, burning at full blast or performing a gentle simmer.
However, some burners have a higher heat output than others and are therefore quicker at bringing water to the boil. Ideally, choose a model that has a more substantial kilowatt specification.
Since the gas burner system is so simple and devoid of any moving or electronic parts, save for the flame igniter, chances are it’ll last a lifetime and very rarely break down. Even if one burner goes awry there are still three or more at your disposal. If that happens with an induction or ceramic hob, chances are the whole unit is dead.
So, plenty of reasons, then, to either stick with the gas system you already have and treat yourself to a newer, better model or jump ship from induction or ceramic and embrace the arguably more practical joys of cookin’ with gas. As British Gas so rightly said throughout the 1980s in its terrible adverts, "cook-cook-cook-cookability" is indeed, "the beauty of gas".
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The best gas hobs, in order
This stunning Neff gas hob draws you in with its starkly intense blackness and air of industrial ruggedness. That's thanks to cast-iron pan supports and a swathe of shiny black tempered glass. Even the stylish knobs match and who doesn’t like a matching hob knob?
Speaking of knobs, these ones come with clearly defined numbers that can be adjusted one step at a time for both consistency and accuracy. They’re automatic, too: just turn the dial and the relevant burner instantly ignites.
In terms of cooking space, you get one large 3kW high-speed burner on the right rear, two standard 1.75kW burners on the left rear and left front, plus a small 1kW simmer or economy burner on the front right. Plenty of options, in other words, for most cooking eventualities.
Gas hobs are usually difficult to clean but this one’s easier than most: simply lift off all four cast iron pan holders and wipe the glass clean. It must be said, however, that because the glass is completely flat, some larger spills could feasibly drip over the sides and onto the counter top and floor. It therefore goes without saying that this is one hob that is best not left unattended when boiling vegetables and pasta.
Given Neff’s excellent performance record in the cookware arena – its ovens and hobs are de rigeur with developers of high-end properties – you can safely expect this smart looker to provide many years of reliable frying, boiling, simmering and sautéing, all at a very decent price.
If you have over 90cm of space on your worktop then this excellent model will suffice very nicely indeed. It comes with an excellent range of burners for every conceivable sitch.
For under 700 quid you get two 1.75kW burners for everyday use, a 1kW one for simmering or gently boiling milk and a 3kW high-speed burner for frying stuff.
As if that weren’t enough, over to the left is a massive 4kW double-flamed burner for rapid frying, sautéing and great deal of wondrous wokery.
This attractive, five-burner hob looks rather similar to the Neff above, and little wonder: both brands are part of the same kitchen mega-conglomerate that also owns Siemens and Gaggenau.
As a result, the Bosch has the same, wonderfully tactile 'FlameSelect' nine-position control knobs as the Neff.
The large slab of black tempered glass beneath adds extra pizzazz to an already extremely well endowed hob, which not only looks the part but performs well too.
This model isn’t going to win any design awards and the build quality is, well, cheap, but it does what it’s supposed to do, with hardly any impact on the wallet. In fact, it could well be the cheapest hob in the land.
If you’re on an extremely tight budget (with the emphasis on tight), consider this cheap but cheery four-burner option, which comes with a fairly powerful 2.9kW front burner, two very decent 2kW heating zones and a small 1kW burner for simmering and other delicate duties.
Unlike most gas models, this one’s control knobs are on the right hand side, which is more aesthetically pleasing. However, this could present a singeing scenario if the front right burner’s on while you reach over the flame or hot pan it to adjust the back one. Ouch.
The vast majority of users seem happy with their purchase though there are reports of the flame taking longer than average to ignite. On the plus side, it’s pretty easy to clean and, of course, it comes with a flame failure device like all modern gas hobs. It’s available in edgy black or hygienic white.
Exclusively for our American friends, a high-ranking 30-inch five-burner model designed and engineered in USA. The chunky high cast iron pot holders on this popular cooktop give it a pro-kitchen look and it sports some impressive features, too.
For starters it can be used with either natural gas or LPG (both sets of nozzles are included) and it can even function without an electricity supply, which makes it suitable for use in large RVs.
The Empava’s main wok-style burner punches out an impressive 12,000-BTU (3.5kW in British speak) which is par for the course for a cooktop at this price band. The other four burners measure in at 10,000, 6,500, and 4,000-BTU respectively. The cooktop’s easy-to-clean heat resistant stainless-steel surface, meanwhile, should remain tarnish free for years of family cooking.
If you’re after a highly-rated US-branded cooktop that delivers in spades, then this might just be the model for you, dude. For those with more stomachs to fill, an even larger 36-inch version is also available.
Siemens IQ-500 EP9A6SB90 five-burner hob is perfect for anyone who spends a lot of quality time in the kitchen cooking anything and everything. This beautifully designed and built appliance has oodles of space for all manner of pots and pans, including a super wok burner that’s brilliant for stir-fry recipes and pan-fried treats.
Having lots of space on the hob top means you can use a giant wok and big pans without fear of pushing one or the other off the heat. The way Siemens has designed the IQ-500 means that it can almost be used as a regular four-burner setup, but you’ve got the added extra of the wok burner that can do it’s own thing to one side. If you like juggling lots of dishes on-the-go then this baby will work a like a dream.
You get a lot for your money with the Siemens IQ-500 EP9A6SB90. It’s really well built and, as a bonus, cleaning it proves to be a cinch too. With the automatic ignition, lots of instant heat and a stress-free user experience this is a fine bit of kit. It’ll also look hugely impressive in any kind of kitchen, just as long as you’ve got the worktop space to house it that is.
The Bosch Serie 6 PCH6A5B90 is a real hit and for numerous reasons. For starters, it’s not too big and bulky. Unlike some of the other five burner models in our guide, the Bosch comes with a more sensible four. And, because of that it takes up less space, which is a boon if your kitchen is on the small side.
The stainless steel finish, however, is as cool and contemporary as they come. This is complemented by the black cast iron pan supports, which all gets topped off with four chunky dials along the leading edge of the hob. The design is minimal, functional and a dream to use. It’s also mercifully easy to keep clean, and that’s another major bonus with any hob.
Cooking on the Bosch Serie 6 PCH6A5B90 is a versatile experience, with the wok burner being a real hit with us. Bosch has also built in lots of variable flame control, which means cooking with this hob is precise and dependable. No vague or fiddly controls to deal with here thanks very much. In fact, each dial offers no less than nine different flame settings. It’s all really impressive.
This handsome model features a powerful triple-crown new generation 4kW burner with ample space for a large wok, three medium-sized 1.9kW burners and a smaller 1kW burner for boiling and simmering – enough meal estate, in other words, to start a small brasserie.
Users rate this hob’s simplicity and versatility, especially when it comes to producing stir fries. Key features include an LED control panel that tells you which burners are lit – handy if a burner is obscured by a pot or pan – and a warning system that detects if a flame has been left burning for an over extended period of time. It also features sturdy cast-iron pan supports designed to handle any size of cookware, including large, oblong casseroles.
Given the flat rimless design of the gorgeous black-clad cooking surface, we’d advise keeping major spillages at bay lest they emigrate towards the control panel and the worktop.
This new entry from the Italian house of Smeg is easily the most powerful model here, although it is also a smidge pricier.
Where the majority of wok or high-speed burners (the most powerful ring on any hob) kick out around 3kW of the scorching stuff, this beauty’s top-specced burner is more like a commercial kitchen, at 4.20kW. This means it’ll flash fry a steak, boil water or whip up a stir fry in record time.
The remaining four rings are two 1.70kW standard burners, a 2.60kW high-speed one and two smaller 1.10kW burners for simmering duties.
At 75mm, the Dolce Stil Novo’s surface is a bit cramped but it comes swathed in black Eclipse glass with stainless steel trim that gives it a high-quality premium look. However, the jury’s out on how easy it is to clean up after a major spill. Presumably you get your staff to do it.
The five typically Smeggish control knobs are situated quite close to the front burners, so it’s best to avoid using a frying pan on them or the transferred heat from the pan could make them hotter than Hades itself, to the disadvantage of your digits.
The Miele KM2010 gas hob has a great combination of good looks and rock-solid practicality. Central to this is the stainless steel finish, which is nicely complimented by black enamelled pot rests. The latter benefit from a special coating called PerfectClean, meaning they should be easier to keep looking original. However, the stainless steel Miele has used here does require some elbow grease to keep looking top notch.
Onto the usability then and you’ve got four rings to choose from, with different sizes that are well-suited to a variety of cooking tasks. What we like about these is the way you can precisely control them with a chunky and highly positive action coming from the knobs. In that respect the whole hob is really easy to control using just one hand too, which is always a boon if you’re the sort of person who likes to multi-task in the kitchen.
For safety, there’s a GasStop function, which means that if the flame is inadvertently put out the gas will stop flowing. Unsurprisingly you also get electronic ignition, which endorses that one-handed operation angle and once it’s up and running the Miele KM2010 delivers a nice even spread of heat from its simmer, rapid and twin standard burners.
It’s surprising how fast you can run out of options with a traditional four-burner gas hob, which is why the Neff T27DS59N0 makes a lot of sense if you’re after more flexibility in the kitchen. Neff has designed this stainless steel hob to be as accommodating as possible and one of the most obvious areas is in the work area over the burners.
The Neff T27DS59N0 also looks great with a classic combination of stainless steel and black cast iron pan supports. As is the case with most hobs though, you will need to stay on top of cleaning duties to avoid these becoming blemished over time. It seems there still isn’t a material that can fend of the worst cookery spillages and the Neff T27DS59N0 is similarly vulnerable.
However, if you’re a clean-as-you-go type then that’s hardly a worry. Besides that you’ll be rewarded with other highlights like the impressive controls that sit along the leading edge of the hob. There’s automatic ignition and the burners themselves can be controlled with pinpoint precision thanks to Neff’s FlameSelect.
If you’re very particular about how your burner is heating those pans then the 9 step settings in each dial will keep you happy for hours. Better still, that central hob is fantastic for getting the most from a wok, so if you’re into stir-fry’s and the like then you’ll be in seventh heaven.