Looking for the best induction hob? Brave soul: induction hobs are a scary concept, as they cook with magnets rather than direct heat. Even so, it's a concept that people have got behind. Induction hobs have revolutionised home cooking in the last 10 years, signalling the death knell of old-style electric, and eating into the dominance of gas. As gas prices rise it'll increasingly struggle to compete with the energy efficiency of the best induction hobs. They're so damn easy to clean, too.
But where do you start when there are so many models of induction cooktop to choose from? Easy, you start right here because we’ve done all the homework for you and selected a stack of great induction models that don’t cost an arm and a leg…
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Induction hobs: what you need to know
The induction cooktop is becoming commonplace now, yet still feels like the stuff of sci-fi. Unlike ceramic or gas hobs that heat the entire plate, induction hobs heat only the base of the pan and its contents. What’s more, they’re so efficient they can usually boil water quicker than a kettle and are said to be 50% faster than gas.
So how do they work? That’ll be our old underrated friend magnetism.
Even when the hob is on it remains cool to the touch, yet as soon as you place a saucepan on it, a whopping amount of heat is generated and before you know it you’ve whipped up a four-course banquet.
You can even put a tea towel between the hob and the pan and it won’t catch fire, not that I’d advise doing that. And because the whole hob is completely smooth, any spillages like boiled milk and slimy pasta water are very easily cleaned with a simple flick of a kitchen wipe.
There is a slight down side to this: the absence of knobs makes cleaning easier but control of temperature settings slightly harder. A knob really is the ultimate temperature changing device, and no touchable strip can measure up.
However there is a small but fairly significant caveat that should be considered before jumping on the induction bandwagon: induction only works with ferrous metals like steel and cast iron and chances are at least some of your current cookware is of the wrong variety.
It’s easy to check: place a magnet to the base of each pot and pan. If it sticks you’re in luck; if not you’ll need to fork out on some new cooking gear.
The majority of induction hobs are swathed in a beautiful looking slab of ceramic glass. Be mindful that this surface is quite easily scratched by rough-bottomed cast iron cookware so position your Le Creuset casserole dish with care or stick to steel pans with smooth bottoms.
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Now here’s the really important bit
Some induction hobs draw up to 7.4kw of power and that means having a separate ring main fitted if your current setup is, like many older kitchens, just a standard 13 amp cooker plug.
Boy, did I find that out the hard way.
If you also have an electric oven on the same ring, you may in fact need an even higher rated cable.
Bear this in mind because it’s the single most important consideration when purchasing any electrical cooking appliance.
I’d advise employing the services of an electrician beforehand just to be sure you won’t be purchasing a product that needs a whole new ring main installed at great cost (upwards of £500).
Right, you’ve read the pros and cons of induction. So what the devil are you waiting for?
The best induction hobs, in order
Aside from the attractive price and excellent set of features, this Germanic induction hob hogs the #1 spot for one reason in particular: it’s one of only a handful of induction models that can be plugged straight into a standard UK plug. For those with slightly dated kitchens and only a 13 Amp plug in the vicinity, that’s music to the ears.
Energy consumption is just 3 kilowatts as opposed to 4.7kw for the other models on this page and that equates to lower electricity bills, too. What’s not to like? The Bosch comes with four induction zones embedded in a decently alluring slab of black ceramic glass. Rather handily, the two cooking zones on the left can be combined into one long zone for oblong casseroles and other large cookware.
A bridge function like this won’t be used everyday but it’s always good to know you have the option should the need arise.
The Bosch also has useful functions such as PowerBoost, which provides up to 50% more power in a thrice, automatic pan size recognition sensors in each zone and a touch-sensitive control panel that's a breeze to use. If you’re in the market for a reasonably-priced, well specified, German-branded model that will plug straight into your existing 13 amp socket then stop right here.
Miele KM7575FR uses its incredible power – 11kW of it – with great responsibility thanks to its intuitive touch controls. The power is spread over not four, not five but six cooking zones. All with boost and the intimidating-sounding 'TwinBooster' settings, which concentrates the power of two adjacent zones into just one.
Thanks to its massive and useful cooking area, this Miele is particularly good for larger families, or proper foodies who like to entertain and/or show off. It's easy to use, too. Just place your pans, turn on the hob and the zones with pans in turn on, and auto-detect the size of the pan to apply heat via induction safely and efficiently.
Keep warm and 'Stop & Go' functions let you leave food on the zones without it continuing to cook, but also without going cold. There are also individual timers for every zone. It's enough to make any keen chef start salivating – as well as their guests, of course. Clearly the Bosch above and NEFF below are just a wee bit more affordable but if you fancy splashing out, this is the current gold standard for induction cooking.
Like the Tefal Everyday reviewed below, this is another portable, single-zone, worktop model to have alongside an existing hob, whether it’s gas or induction. It’s also the perfect fix for Rayburn and Arga owners who tend to leave their cookers off to save on the huge electricity, gas and wood bills these behemoths generate. And, of course, if you live in a small studio flat or lodging, having something like this means you can now rustle up a proper meal for once instead of toast and pre-packed microwaved mush.
The Smart Touch plugs into the nearest available socket, measures 39cm x 31cm (about two-thirds the depth of an average kitchen worktop) and will easily accommodate induction-ready pots and pans with bases up to 27cm in diameter. It comes with six pre-set cooking modes (slow cook, pan fry, stir fry, simmer, boil and keep warm), ten temperature settings from 70˚C to 240˚C and a handy timer function. To change a mode, simply keep tapping the button until the relevant icon lights up. And if using the slow cook, pan fry or stir fry modes, you can adjust the power/temperature using the handy circular touch-sensitive dial.
The Smart Touch boiled 500ml of water faster than the kettle and at more than twice the speed of the gas hob. The touch interface, too, was easy enough to get a handle on without even a sniff of the manual. Granted, it isn’t as small or as portable as the similarly-styled Tefal but, at just 4cm in height, it’s a much more elegant option for permanent or temporary placement.
If you only have a 13-amp plug socket to hand and no special cooker-specific ring mains knocking about, consider installing this keenly-priced, four-zone model from every high-end property developer’s favourite cooking appliance manufacturer.
The Neff’s ceramic top is comprised of two 180mm zones (up to 3kW), a 145mm medium-sized zone (up to 2.2kW) and a small 210mm zone (also up to 3kW). However, with all four hobs running at once, some zones don’t heat as evenly or as quickly because of the unit’s relatively low 3kW power rating. Mind, this is pretty much the norm with most plug-and-play models and the best way round it is to either stir the food a little more to distribute the heat or don’t use so many zones at once. We should also add that it doesn’t come with a bridge function so you can’t link two zones together.
The Neff’s TouchControl interface is very easy to use and includes a boost setting and the obligatory timer. Users rate this hob extremely highly and praise it for its incredible speed at boiling stuff and generally making the task of cooking a hell of a lot more pleasurable. Even cleaning it is almost a joy.
This excellent portable, single-zone model is a perfect low-cost introduction to induction cooking, an ideal extra hob, a great choice for bedsits and studios, and you can take it in the caravan or even use it in a tent if there’s power nearby. Simply plug it into the nearest 13-amp socket and fry away.
The Tefal is equipped with a tough ceramic surface and measures just 27cm in width, making it suitable for steel-bottomed pots and pans up to 25cm in diameter. Its five pre-set modes – boil water, stir fry, deep fry, stew and heat milk – are a doddle to use and if you need to adjust the temperature, simply tap either the plus or minus icons. It also comes with a manual mode with nine power levels, from 450W to 2,100W.
This writer was frankly blown away by how well it works – it trounced the kettle in the water-boiling contest and worked brilliantly well at frying stuff. At this price, it’s a no brainer.
Americans like big and that’s what this induction cooktop is – BIG. Like 36 inches across BIG. Or in Euro-lingo, 91cm BIG.
The Frigidaire is equipped with five ‘autosizing’ zones, from 2,600 and 3,200 watts to an impressive 3,800 watts for large frying pans and casseroles. There is no bridge function (two or more zones linked together for extra large kitchenware) but given the ample size of the large centre zone, that shouldn’t be much of an issue.
As is the case with many induction cooktops, the touch control panel sits under a layer of glass and is comprised of five sliders for temperature selection and a very simple timer function.
Walmart users rave about this model, citing its rocket-ship speed at boiling water (‘two quarts of water boiling in 3 mins’) and True Temp Melt & Hold function, which gently melts chocolate and other delicate ingredients without boiling them over.
If you have a large family and, more to the point, a colossal swathe of worktop just crying out for an induction cooktop that really hauls ass, then mosey on over to the Walmart site ASAP.
Not all of us have the space for those sizeable six zone induction hobs, so a rock-solid compromise comes in the shape of this, the Miele KM7201FR. Despite its lower zone status the Miele is, as you’d expect, more than capable of covering cooking needs in slightly more snug kitchen surroundings. It’s got the beef to get the job done, particularly thanks to the Twin Boost functionality.
Cleverly, Twin Boost amalgamates the power output from two zones into one, which effectively means that you can get a full pan up to boiling point in no time. We think it’s great if you’re cooking with a larger wok for example, where that intense heat is really needed. Equally, however, it’s handy for just bringing said pan of water to the boil quick sharpish.
Another practical bonus with this Miele is the Stop and Go functionality. If you're busy in the kitchen then one button push sets the zones down to 1, which is good for ensuring you don't scorch your dinner. It’s equally as useful for a practical simmer that’ll keep that prized main course warm while you tuck into your starter. Additional control of power comes via a generous 9 different levels.
Another highpoint with the Miele KM7201FR is that it boasts a very easy to clean design that can be given a once over with little in the way of effort. This is compounded by the stainless steel rim, which adds a contrasting flourish. Meanwhile, the glass cooking area itself just needs a wipe from time to time. A timer and child safety lock round it all out nicely, while the LED display is good on the eyes and indicates the heat settings you’ve got on for each of the zones.
As is the case with most, if not all induction hobs, you’ll find that you get best results by keeping the ingredients of your pans moving. Heat distribution can be a little patchy and, although it’s not a gripe per se, the Miele does occasionally fall foul of this induction downside. That’s a minor gripe however, as this four zone hob ticks most of the boxes, especially when it comes to ease of use and the quality of build.
The John Lewis JLBIIH806 induction hob straddles that perfect middle ground where four heating zones aren't enough and six is just too much. So this appliance gets off to a great start, as the worktop area is spacious enough for most, of not all your pots and pans. But, it’s not a behemoth either. In fact, the designers have done a very nice job on creating this appliance, with wipe clean surfaces and, really, nowhere for grime to call home.
Features and functionality score highly too, with the JLBIIH806 boasting touch controls that are dead easy to use. There are practical touches on offer, with the hob having the ability to really give it the beans when you first power up and then ease of the heat once the zone gets to the desired heat. Similarly, the hob can be paused if you need to stop cooking for any reason, while the automatic shut off is a cool safety feature.
You’ll also be pleased to learn that there’s a child lock as well as residual heat indicators to remove any worry about scorched fingertips. There are other smart touches too, like the sensor that can detect if you’ve inadvertently left an unwanted object on the hob, such as a knife or other random item of cutlery.
All in all then this is a fast to heat, easy to use and very well made hob that impresses us on many levels.
The Bosch PUE611BF1B induction appliance is one of the hardiest hobs out there having been around for a while now without the threat of being pushed asunder by newer models. The styling certainly still looks very cool, but the hob is also great at getting on with the task in hand, as in heating up your pots and pans very rapidly.
The Bosch PUE611BF1B features TouchSelect controls, which means that selecting the right mode to suit your cooking task is straightforward. Induction hobs are also frequently praised for their speed and energy efficiency and this is where this model really excels.
However, you’ll need to check that it’s warmed food all the way through as induction hobs can struggle to do this effectively. The Bosch PUE611BF1B is no exception. There’s a decent trade-off with this appliance though in that it can be plugged into a regular wall socket, so there’s no faffing around when it comes to installation. That’s a definite bonus.
Bosch invariably packs in some neat tricks too and the PUE611BF1B hob is therefore quite nicely spruced up by a selection of practical controls. Its PowerBoost function is perhaps the area that we like best, simply because it allows you to bring things to the boil that little bit quicker. When mealtimes are stressful then features like this can help to take the sting out of a laboured spagbol or similar.
Elsewhere, the extensive range of settings includes 17 heating options, there’s a child lock and the whole thing boasts nowhere for food spillages to hide as it’s got a super smooth wipe-clean surface. The four heating areas are able to cope with all being on the go at the same time, probably because the 60cm wide cooking surface is sensibly proportioned.
Given the amount of cooking power (7.35Kw) and useful tech it offers, this flagship AEG is outstanding value and well worth considering if you need something more versatile. It’s a great looker, too.
Some professional chefs aren’t fans of induction hobs and much prefer the freedom of a gas flame. One of their biggest gripes is that they can’t sauté (ie shake) the ingredients just above the heat on an induction hob as they can on a gas hob because the induction zone instantly switches off as soon as the pan loses contact.
Well AEG may well have solved that issue to some degree because this high-end model has something called PowerSlide. It’s basically one long rectangular zone on the left hand side that can be programmed to operate at three different temperatures. This allows the user to slide the pan quickly from one zone to the other theoretically emulating the gas sautéeing technique. It’s also a dead handy feature if you simply want to lower or raise the temperature of the ingredients quickly and efficiently.
As if the cooking zones on this model aren’t already big enough to accommodate most large pans, you can also take advantage of AEG’s FlexiBridge system and combine four segments together to create one mega zone for making giant stews or perhaps even a paella.
AEG’s Direktouch control meanwhile ensures accurate fuss-free temperature adjustments for any individual zone.