* Prices may differ from that shown
I recently decided to replace my electric hob and my main priority whilst looking for a new one was to have integrated controls. The dials on my old hob were so close together it made cleaning between them very difficult, so I vowed I would only buy one that had no dials.
The next item on my wish list was a double ring. I will try and explain what a double ring is in case you are not familiar with what this feature does. Basically, it is one ring that can heat up to two different diameters. The smaller inner ring can be used if you are heating only a small pan/pot. However, if you need to cook using a bigger pot, you can heat up the inner ring as well as the larger outer ring. The majority of hobs usually have two small and two large rings but as I usually only need small rings when cooking. It is therefore handy to have a ring that can be used for different sized pans.
Once I knew what I was looking for in terms of features, I set off to the shops to find the perfect hob that met all my requirements. Unfortunately I found this was easier said than done. Although there was plenty of choice with integrated controls, I only found one with a double ring, namely a Hotpoint CRA641. I liked the look of this one and promptly came home and ordered it online much cheaper than in the shops. It cost £232, including delivery, from www.whitebox.co.uk and I was really pleased with the service from this company. (See separate review).
Each ring has its own heat indicator and cooking zone selector. To switch a ring on you first have to press the On/Off button and then the cooking zone selector for the ring you wish to use. Each ring has a heat range from 1 to 9; 1 being the lowest heat and 9 being the highest. To change the amount of heat to each ring, you press the + button when you wish to increase the heat or - (minus) button when you wish to reduce it. If the hob is not being used and you have children in the house, you can press the control panel lock button and then the rings cannot be turned on accidentally. This feature is also handy when you are cleaning the hob. There is an indicator light on the lock button so that you know when it is turned on. To turn it off you just need to press down on the button for a few seconds and the light will go off.
The appliance has a safety switch which automatically switches the rings off after they have been in operation for a certain amount of time at a particular power level. For instance if you have a ring set at power level 1 (lowest setting) it will switch itself off after 9 hours of use. However if a ring is set at power level 9 (highest setting) it will switch off after only 1 hour of continuous use. You may think this will cause you problems if you are cooking but it really doesn't. There aren't many things you would cook on the rings for hours on end.
Another safety feature I like is the built in buzzer. If you place an object for more than 10 seconds, on top of the control panel (which is located along the front edge of the hob), a buzzer will sound. It will also go off if you spill anything onto the control panel. It will continue to sound until you remove whatever is causing the problem. If you don't remove the cause of the problem the buzzer will keep sounding and the hob will switch itself off. You soon learn not to sit things on the control panel so don't think the buzzer is continually going off, as it isn't. When you switch a ring off after use, it initially displays the letter "H" (for hot), however once it has cooled down a bit it displays "h" (small letter). This lets you know that although it is cooler it is not cold and shouldn't be touched.
Although I haven't owned my Hotpoint hob for very long, I cannot find fault with anything and am really pleased with my choice. I would highly recommend it.
Colour : Black
Width 59 cms
Both sleek and stylish in design the CRA641DC Ceramic Hob from Hotpoint would look the part in any kitchen / The hob has a traditional 4 burner layout including 1 Dual zone 1 Large 1 Medium and 1 small cooking zone which gives you fantastic flexibility when using different size pans / The Hotpoint CRA641DC Ceramic Hob is easy to use and comes with 9 variable power level touch controls / There are also some great safety features too including a child safety lock and 4 residual heat indicators which not only notify you the cooking zones are on but also when the hob is safe to touch for cleaning purposes. / Electronic Hob /