I was pretty excited when I was choosing the hob. After all, the hob is one of the most important kitchen equipment in the kitchen.
There are three main hobs to choose from: induction, ceramic and gas hob.
Most of us in Malaysia grew up with a (portable) gas hob similar to the above pic.
Gas has always been the traditional way to cook. My mother swears by gas cooking. There is a Chinese cooking technique- ‘wok hei’. It means the ‘breath of wok’ and is used to cook stirfries using high heat in a wok which then imparts a smoky flavour in the food.
In some countries, gas is supplied through pipes into the house but in Malaysia we use LPG gas cylinder. One would require a space to store 2 LPG gas cylinders- one underneath the stove to cook and another one as a spare.
It is not suitable for those on supplemental oxygen therapy as there could be a fire risk.
The ceramic hob has an electric coil underneath the glass surface.
It can be confusing as both gas hob and induction hob use ceramic glass surface but the term ‘ceramic hob’ can be explained as a ‘ceramic electric non-induction hob’.
This could be a good replacement for those who previously used electric coil or electric plate hob.
The induction hob has an electromagnet coil underneath the glass surface and emits a magnetic field. It is a relatively new technology here. It keeps the kitchen cool by heating up the cookware directly instead of the hob first.
Induction hobs are generally smaller which helps to save countertop space. The induction hob also produces a slightly buzzing sound which is normal.
It is not suitable for those who have a pacemaker since it emits a magnetic field. British Heart Foundation has advised for those with pacemakers to stay away from it with distance of at least 2 feet.
Comparison chart below: Gas Vs Ceramic Vs Induction Hob
|Source of energy||Gas |
|Base cabinet space||☆||☆☆||☆☆|
|Price to run||☆☆||☆||☆/☆☆*|
|Speed of heating||☆☆||☆||☆☆☆|
|Price of hob||☆||☆☆||☆☆|
|Ease of cleaning||☆||☆||☆☆|
|Surface top options||Ceramic Glass*****/ Tempered Glass*****/ Stainless steel||Ceramic Glass*****||Ceramic Glass*****|
|Indication it is on||Flame||Glows red||None******|
|Cookware||All cookware||Flatbase cookware||Flatbase and close to the size|
Cast iron & some stainless steel
|Medical caution||Not for those on supplement oxygen therapy||–||Not for those with pacemaker|
* Gas is cheaper to run than electricity however induction is energy efficient so one could argue against that
** As the air around induction hob is not heated, there will be condensation from cooking
*** All electric equipments have a shelf life and hobs do not have a standard size. It would be really inconvenient to replace a hob.
**** Gas cooking emits combustion material including carbon monoxide and would require appropriate ventilation for it.
***** Glass is susceptible to scratches when cookware is dragged across surface and cracks when dropping it
****** Some models has LED at the hob.
- I have used an electric burner hob for 5 years in Glasgow and it took a while to heat up and heat control was poor. Any of the three hobs chosen would feel like an upgrade to me.
- Cookware- Cookware is usually most people’s concern when transitioning to induction hob. I have a portable induction cooktop for steamboat (fondue) during the cold winter months in Glasgow. The pots that I shipped back with me are all induction friendly. I would suggest bringing a magnet along when buying induction friendly cookware. It would be a bonus if it is both induction and oven friendly.
- Wok hei? Wok?- I can still buy a wok but it will be not the traditional rounded base type. Wok hei is possible with an induction hob but not as easy using a gas hob.
- Ceramic glass surface- No wok tosses. Base of pots and pans might scratch the glass surface which can be remedied by putting a kitchen towel, thin silicone layer or newspaper.
- Shelf life- I will need to replace it with a similar brand and model when it spoils or change my countertop.
- Condensation issue- It can be rectified with a suitable hood and I’m cooking in a tropical climate so it should be fine.
Have you decided?
- If you are still undecided, go with the most common one- gas hob. And if the main cook in the family is your mother/ mother in law/ helper, the gas hob might be the better choice.
- If you are thinking of making the transition to induction, try using a portable induction cooker (cost about RM250 in Malaysia) first before taking the leapt.
- If you are not keen on gas hobs and have a variety of cookware that is not induction compatible, a ceramic hob would be the choice.