The efficiency of the cooking area depends upon the efficiency of the hob or cooktop that you use. Wondering whether a hob or a cooktop is right for you? These handy tips will help you make an informed decision!
In India, the term ‘cooktop’ is generically used for a portable cooking range-the ones that have been traditionally used and are still quite popular. They are predominantly made of stainless steel and have 4 short stands that rest on the granite countertop.
Hobs are in-built cooktops that are fitted into a cavity in the countertop.
Installation of Your Hob
To fix a hob, it is essential to cut out a part of the countertop as per the size of the hob. You must decide which model of hob you wish to opt for before the kitchen countertop is laid so that the size of the cut-out is perfect for the hob you choose. That way you can ensure that the hob would be in place soon after your kitchen is ready, and you can start cooking right away.
Cook-tops being portable, there is no hassle of installation. You can get the cooktop home, connect it to a fuel connection and start cooking!
Built-in hobs lend a seamless look to the kitchen and are a great way to amp up the style quotient for your modular kitchen. The gas pipes and electrical wires are concealed well.
If traditional stainless steel is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think cook-tops, then think again. Some of the new-age cook-tops are sleek and go well with modern kitchen interiors. Some of them have control knobs on the sides, which make it look quite modular.
Size of Hob/Optimal Number of Burner Coils
Traditional cook-tops usually have 2 burners, while hobs usually have more than 2 burners. Commonly used hob sizes are 60 cm (2 feet) wide and 75 cm (2.5 feet) wide, even though larger sized ones of 90 cm and 120 cm are also available.
Pay attention to the hob size versus the number of burners. A smaller hob size would result in burners being too close to one another, and you’d be able to use only up to 2 burners at a time.
Cooking Time and Fuel Efficiency
Most built-in hobs have European standard burners, and flame intensity is quite low compared to Indian cooktops. This results in increased cooking time.
Greater flame intensity results in reduced cooking time for Indian cook-tops. Consequently, their fuel efficiency is greater than that of in-built hobs.
Ease of Cleaning
Cook-tops are easy to clean. They are fitted with a spill dish, which collects spilled food and can easily be lifted out and cleaned under running water. You can also lift the entire unit up and wipe off any spillage from the countertop. The burner plates and rings are easily removable too and can be efficiently cleaned.
In-built hobs, on the other hand, are fixed to the counter-top with the help of screws. They can be cleaned occasionally. A professional cleaning may be necessary in some cases. By signing up for regular maintenance, you can get your hob serviced by the manufacturers, who will ensure that it’s always in top-notch condition!
Ease of Repair and Replacement
As with most things in-built, repair and replacement of in-built hobs is complex. Again, if you wish to replace your hob and install a new one unless you opt for the same size, the countertop cut out will have to be redone and the fitting could prove to be more difficult.
Dependence on Electricity
Your hob could be fitted with gas burners, or it could have electric hot plates. Most built-in hobs also come with an auto-ignition feature, which might require them to be connected to electricity in order to work. These in-built hobs are dependent on electricity for functioning. This may turn out to be a hassle in places where there are frequent power cuts.
The hob shown below has a versatile combination of gas burners and hot plates, which could be used for different styles of cooking.
Hobs and Cooktops Prices
In-built hobs are far more expensive than traditional cooktops.
If you are working on a tight budget, you could plan your kitchen in such a way that the hob can be fitted later on, when you are more flexible with your budget. The cut-out in the countertop can always be made at a later date, but you should plan the electrical points ahead of time as that would be very difficult to add on later.
Some in-built hobs have additional knobs where you can set the cooking time and also set alarms so that food does not overcook or burn.
There are hobs that are fitted with multi-flame or auxiliary burners with different flame intensities, saving fuel and allowing for more even cooking.
Your hob could also have a Flame Failure Device, which is a sensor that cuts off the gas supply as soon as the flame goes off due to a spill.
Care and maintenance of your hob
While cleaning a gas cooktop is not very difficult as the whole unit can be moved around easily, your hob is fixed and needs to be cleaned with care. Here’s how you can keep your hob looking as good as new!
- Whether your hob is made of stainless steel or glass, care should be taken to ensure that you do not scratch the surface while cleaning it. Use only a microfiber cloth or a soft sponge to wipe down, not a steel scrubber or hard scouring pad.
- In case of any food spills, wipe the surface with a wet cloth immediately so that it does not dry on the surface. Make sure that any liquid spills on the burners are mopped up at once, otherwise, the burner may stop working for a while.
- Once your cooking for the day is done, wipe down with an organic cleaner or soap solution. Rinse and wipe till all the soap suds have gone, and finally use a soft, dry microfiber cloth to bring out the shine on the surface. Do not allow the water on the surface to dry up on its own as it will leave spots that are unsightly.
- At least once in a couple of months, call the hob service person home to remove the entire unit and clean the underside. They will reassemble all the parts after cleaning and make sure that everything is in good shape.
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