When I was planning our kitchen design, I spent hours researching different types of hobs. The most important question - induction or gas? I read page after page of online forum threads full of folk debating the respective merits. Gas is for professional cooks! All serious cooks are using induction these days! You must get gas or your hob won't work in a power cut! Your pans won't work on induction! And so on and so forth.
Eventually, after much consideration, we decided on a Neff flex-induction hob (the 90cm T54T95N2, to be precise). And we absolutely love it and will never go back to gas. Here's why:
It boils a pan of water in under a minute. Seriously, it does.
It's really safe to use because the only part that gets hot is the base of the pan. You can literally pick up a frying pan full of sizzling fried eggs, and put your hand directly onto the hob underneath. Magic. Don't get me wrong, it's warm, but it's not burning hot.
The hob is a single, smooth surface which makes it super easy to clean. If anything gets spilled during cooking, you just lift the pan up, wipe underneath, and then cook right on cooking.
For the same reason, it also doubles as work surface when not being used as a hob. And it's made from glass so it's super shiny and pretty.
The kids can help to cook far more safely with induction because there are no flames or burning hot rings. "I do it!" says two-year old Elodie. I wouldn't have let her anywhere near our old gas job, but there's no problem having her sit next to the pan on the induction hob and giving it a stir. Obviously some folks may prefer to keep kids well away from the cooking area in general, but I'd rather teach them how to do things safely from an early age.
It comes with a cool twiddly magnetic dial which you can remove when not in use and stick on a shelf to make sure that no one can accidentally switch the hob on.
The different settings are very sensitive - on the highest setting it will boil water in under a minute, but on the lowest you can make hollandaise sauce without it curdling. And the heat reduction or increase is instant - the hob is incredibly responsive.
Our particular model comes with five separate 'rings' including a big one in the middle for our large 30cm pans - and the two on each side can be combined together to cook even larger dishes (I guess a fish kettle? We don't do much kettling of fish round here but it's nice to have the option!).
I decided to put the hob under the window. When I cook I usually move from right to left. So I wash the veg in the sink, transfer to the prep area on the right, then transfer to the hob, and then take off the hob and plate up. So having the hob on the peninsula looking out onto the main family space wouldn't have given any space on the right of the hob to allow for this. I also wanted to be able to look out of the window while cooking. And I wanted to keep the entire peninsula free and clear (the kids love dancing on it so that was a good decision in hindsight!).
Normally hobs don't go under the window. One reason for this is because most kitchens usually have one exterior wall, which is traditionally used for the window and the sink, as the latter needs to have the waste going straight out the wall. We have three exterior walls in our kitchen so this wasn't a constraint. The other major problem is the extractor fan - how do you install it so it doesn't block the window? We solved this with a flat ceiling extractor fan (a downdraft extractor would work too). Our builders checked with the building regulations folk at the local Council and the dude scratched his head and said "well I don't know why you'd want to do that, but it's fine with me". (I think gas hobs are a different matter as the flame could theoretically blow in the draught from the window and set fire to the blind or curtains.)
I asked the audience on Instagram if they preferred gas or induction, and the overwhelming majority voted in favour of the latter, albeit with a couple of outliers who prefer to do it the hard way and boil a kettle of water to cook pasta, or who like the look of a big traditional range stove,
If you have any questions about induction in general or our Neff model in particular, then please comment below.