Choosing between an induction hob vs gas hob can be such a hard decision. After all, for a very long time, the choice of hob was simple: You had electric hobs, which were slow to heat up, slow to adjust and slow to cool down, and you had gas ones. Gas ones were faster, more controllable and more fun, and they were a lot cheaper to run, too. But things are more complicated now, thanks to induction hobs. Induction cooking uses high-tech hobs to deliver many of the benefits of gas with the convenience and easy cleaning of electric ceramic hobs.
There are still some key differences. They have different installation and running costs, they cook in different ways and you might need to throw out your wok and invest in some of the best induction pans. Let’s discover the benefits, the downsides and decide which option is best for you.
- How do induction cookers work?
- Best portable induction hobs
- How to pick the best induction stove for you
Induction hob vs gas hob: Cost and running costs
If you’re thinking in purely financial terms, there’s no contest here. Gas hobs are much cheaper to buy and run – you can get a good-quality gas hob for less than £200 compared with £400-plus for induction, and the ultra-low price of gas means it’ll cost roughly half as much or less for annual running costs than the induction hob will.
There are other costs to consider, though. If you’re switching to an induction cooker, you may need to rewire the kitchen (unless you go for one of the best portable induction hobs instead) – induction hobs often require more power than standard electric hobs – and if you’re switching to gas, you may need to have a new gas supply installed. But assuming you’ve already got the necessary electrical or gas supply in your home, there’s no question that gas is cheaper to buy and to use.
Induction hob vs gas hob: Do you need new pans?
A gas hob will work with all of your existing pots and pans, including your best non-stick pans, so you don’t need to worry about replacing anything. That’s not necessarily the case with an induction hob. For that, you need magnetic cookware, and that rules out copper, glass and aluminium pots and pans unless they have an induction-friendly plate on the bottom – if they don’t have one, they won’t heat up.
If you’re unsure what a pot or pan is made of, grab a fridge magnet and put it at the bottom of the pan. If the magnet sticks, the pan should be OK on an induction hob.
Induction hob vs gas hob: What are the key benefits?
Gas hobs are brilliant – and not just because they’re cheap. They’re much faster and more controllable than traditional electric hobs and they’re particularly good for the fun stuff, such as stir frying and searing steak.
Induction hobs are good for the high-temperature stuff, too, but they can also excel at really low-temperature cooking – if you’ve struggled to turn a burner low enough to gently simmer a sauce, you’ll know how frustrating that can be. Induction hobs are much better for that kind of heating.
Induction hobs can be safer and more convenient, too. An induction burner left on by accident doesn’t get hot and doesn’t fill the air with gas, and because the hob itself doesn’t heat up, it’s less likely to suffer from burnt-on food, so it’s much easier to clean.
Induction hob vs gas hob: What are the key downsides?
Induction hobs cost more to buy and run (and, sometimes, to install), and their glass surfaces are easily scratched and can be smashed. You may have to replace some of your favourite cookware – for example, round-bottomed woks – and a lot of the cheapest cookware isn’t compatible.
On a purely practical level, gas hobs can be a real pain to clean, especially in the areas immediately around the burners, and on a big-picture level they may be cheap to run, but they have a heftier environmental footprint. You can sign up with a green energy provider to run an induction hob on renewable energy, but you can’t do the same with a gas one.
Induction hob vs gas hob: Verdict
This is a tough one – and we know it’s tough because we’ve owned, and cooked hundreds of meals on, both kinds of hob. Financially, gas makes more sense. Practically and environmentally, we think induction has the edge.
Induction is faster, safer and it’s easy to get induction-friendly cookware, which wasn’t necessarily the case even a few years ago.
Assuming money isn’t a huge issue, you haven’t spent years collecting copper cookware and you don’t need to shell out for a kitchen rewire, we’d recommend induction. We like the extra control it offers, especially for low-temperature cooking, and the wipe-clean surface is a major plus. Both kinds of hob are really great for any kind of cooking, but we think induction is slightly better.
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