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I'm used to cooking on a gas hob (and using an electric oven), whilst my boyfriend is used to an electric hob and oven. Therefore when we decided to get a new kitchen I wanted a gas hob and he wanted electric. He argued that it might be difficult to get a gas supply into the kitchen. In hindsight it probably wouldn't have been...but that's beside the point now!
Having found electric hobs to be absolutely useless (my boyfriend's dad's takes AGES to bring water to the boil) we compromised on an induction hob. I had heard mostly good things about induction hobs, and thought it would be quite exciting getting all now pans to match our all new kitchen.
We chose the Hotpoint CIO644DDZ mainly because we were attracted by the boosters on each of the 4 rings (and also the fact that the rings varied in size). Having had Hotpoint appliances in the past we were optimistic about it.
We bought it online from Appliances Direct for the fantastic price of £329 - it can currently be found online for £479 (but often it costs a lot more).
---Installing the Hob---
Obviously there is installation information in the instruction manual. This was a relatively straightforward procedure for my boyfriend, but he is a qualified electrician. If you're not an electrician, then I would suggest that you get one to fit it. The hob is clamped onto the work surface from underneath, and although it was a ltitle bit fiddly, it was nowhere near as difficult or stressful as fitting the new kitchen sink!
I told my boyfriend that I was writing a review, and asked him what I needed to include when talking about installation. He said that this hob takes a lot of power, so needs a circuit breaker just for it (previously we had a circuit breaker which covered the hob and oven which was an all in one thing). He also said to make sure that you have the right thickness cables. Finally he said that although we did install a heat shield underneath the hob, he didn't think it was absolutely necessary.
Right, that's that out of the way - now onto the important bit - what it looks like and cooking on it!
---What it looks like and power etc---
The induction hob is a shiny black colour (made of beveled glass), with a strip of stainless steel at the front. I personally feel like the induction hob takes up less space than a gas hob would since it blends in with the work surfaces. I know you're not meant to put things on it...but it does end up sometimes being used as additional temporary workspace.
The hob has touch controls, with individual temperature buttons from 0 to 9, and a button (with a diagram showing which ring) plus a booster button for each ring. There is also a timer control, power button and lock button. I say buttons, but as already mentioned, they're really touch controls not buttons!
The cooking zones are as follows (I is the single induction cooking zone, B is with the booster):
Back Left - I 1400 - B 2000
Back Right - I 2200 - B 3000
Front Left - I 2200 - B 3000
Front Right - I 1400 - B 2000
Total Power - 7200 (W) - note, that maximum power is limited whole booster is activated. As you can see from the power levels (and possibly dooyoo's picture), the back right and front left rings are bigger than the other two (they have a double ring so you can easily see), so I tend to use these for big things like curries and steaming veg, while I'll use the smaller ones for boiling a serving of pasta for one. Each ring says on it "Induction" and "Booster", and "Hotpoint" is written in the centre of the hob.
It's a very nice looking hob. When using it, the numbers on the digital display (and booster etc) show in red, so it is very clear, and easy to see at a glance which ring is on which setting. After use, an "H" shows to remind you that the hob is still hot, and later on a smaller "h" before disappearing completely.
---Using the Hob---
Having only really used gas hobs I approached our new induction hob with some trepidation. I'm really not very technically minded, and I worried that I might find it all a bit confusing. However, 6 months on and it's like I've been using it forever.
First things first, if it doesn't work when you press the 'On' button, make sure it's switched on at the wall! My boyfriend sometimes turns it off which confuses me a bit. Once you're pressed the on button (well, it's a touch sensor really rather than a button) you're ready to go.
Each ring has 9 power levels, plus a boost function. Inside the instruction manual there is a guide for which setting to have it on for cooking certain things which could be useful for new users (for instance 2-4 for stews, and 5-6 for slow thickening) - I found that we've just worked this out ourselves though as we go along. Each power level does have a maximum operating time - level 1 is 9 hours, level 9 is 1 hour (and the rest are in between). After this the cooking zone will automatically turn off. Personally I think 3 hours is about the maximum I've had something on (a stew) but I trust that it works.
To cook simply choose which setting you want and put the pan on the hob (or put the pan on first). Until the pan is on the hob then nothing will happen (the indicator light will flash if there's no pan, a pan that's too small, or a non-induction pan). Induction hobs are good like this because they're not wasting power unless a pan is actually on them (it stops as soon as you remove a pan too)...it also means that you're unlikely to burn yourself on the rings.
Induction hobs (well, the pans on them anyway) do heat up really quickly - perhaps ever so slightly slower than gas, but it is comparable. This Hotpoint induction hob is certainly impressive, and actually beat the kettle when we had a little race! The booster certainly makes a difference.
I do struggle sometimes with pasta, and getting that balance between not over boiling, and simmering enough to cook! This is further complicated with whether I decide to use the pan lids or not (I usually do in order to save energy). Usually I have to keep a close eye on pasta at all times. This is a bit strange really, as I don't usually have any problems with rice or potatoes.
It's fantastic though, as even when the pan does over boil, it isn't a huge problem. Small amounts can just be wiped up then and there (without even turning it off - not something you could do with gas). If a large spillage occurs, then it automatically turns itself off - clever hob!
The hob has a timer which is a nice feature (and it's simple to use), although not something which we use a great deal as with most things we'll be checking to see when they're done. However, it can be useful if you have a specific amount of time you want something to be simmering for.
To change the heat setting whilst cooking then make sure you have the right cooking zone selected before choosing which power level. This can get a bit difficult for me when cooking 2 or more things at once, especially when something is about to boil over (I'm thinking making white sauce in particular) - but it's all about getting used to it. We usually only use one or two pans at a time, but this hob works well too when using all four rings which is particularly the case if doing a Sunday roast - looking forward to use it for Christmas this year!
The fact that only pans suitable for induction hobs work on the induction hob is simply a fact. It's not a warning since it's not dangerous to put other pans on it - they simply won't work! Pans which work on induction hobs include enameled steel, iron, stainless steel (depending on the alloy) and some aluminum pans with a ferromagnetic base.
When the hob was up and running it was time to test out our current pans to see if we had anything which we could cook with. My boyfriend's wok works, and my large soup pan works, but that was it.
We bought a decent set of pans from Wilkinsons, and a VERY cheap set of little pans from Ikea (£6). We have since bought an additional frying pan, and have a roasting dish which can be put on the hob (to make gravy in after the meat has cooked).
I suppose that the fact that an induction hob potentially means new pans need purchasing might be a downside for some people, but we saw it as a positive thing.
One of the best things about an induction hob over gas is how easy it is to keep clean - just a damp sponge does the trick. It cleans up really easily and looks as good as new - hopefully this will continue (it is still early days).
After frying chicken there was grease everywhere, so it was good having something that was easy to clean. The thing I dislike about my gas hob is when bits of food get struck in various places - this doesn't happen with an induction hob as you just wipe it clean. Obviously it is easy to wipe a normal electric hob too...however, not so easy/safe when it's red hot!
There is further cleaning advice in the instruction manual.
Hopefully I've covered the important aspects of the Hotpoint CIO644DDZ induction hob, but there's just a few more little points to make:
Noise during use - there are various different noises you might hear when using the induction hob. For instance a whistling noise when a pan is empty. Usefully, all of these noises are explained in the instruction manual!
Control Panel Lock - useful especially if you have children.
There is a buzzer which warns you if something is on the control panel (such as a pan) for longer than 10 seconds, if something has been spilt on the control panel, or if a button has been pressed for too long. This is a useful warning system especially since I'm often oblivious to such things.
There is a warning for people with pacemakers (as with all induction hobs), so bear this in mind before purchasing.
It comes with a 12 months Parts and Labour Guarantee, and a 5 Year Parts Guarantee is available.
For once, the instruction manual is actually pretty useful (as I think I've indicated throughout this review), so I'd certainly recommend reading through it before starting to use your hob.
Although I do still think that gas is slightly easier to control, I am very happy with our induction hob and think that it is certainly the future. It's a LOT safer than gas too. There were at least 3 occasions where my ex husband left a gas ring lit after cooking (even overnight) and I nearly had a heart attack on each occasion. The best thing is that you're MUCH less likely to burn yourself when using an induction hob. Plus as well there's the ease of cleaning it, which is absolutely essential since we want to keep our nice new kitchen looking nice and new!
I know that there are a lot of induction hobs on the market, but I'd certainly recommend this Hotpoint CIO644DDZ due to the different powered rings and the boosters. I hope that it lasts us a good long time as it's been a good 7 months so far. Really I can't find any faults with this at all.
5 out of 5 stars from me and my boyfriend!
Enjoy clean lines, great functionality and precision temperature control with the Hotpoint CIO644DDZ ceramic induction hob / Choose from 9 power levels over four zones for complete versatility whilst cooking, and let the beveled glass edged and stainless steel front profile add a touch of class to your culinary ventures! Hotpoint's Touch Control hob gives you smooth, easy-to-clean lines while letting you set the temperature effortlessly / Once you have set it, you can lock the control panel to ensure your food remains cooking as you please, while also providing peace of mind / This induction hob is intelligent too / if a large spillage occurs, it automatically switches off / Touch control induction hob 9 power levels Automatic pan detection Bevelled Glass Edges with Stainless Steel Front Profile Note: Only use pans suitable for induction hobs / These include: enamelled steel, iron, stainless steel (depending on the alloy) and some aluminium pans with a ferromagnetic base / Glass and copper bases are unsuitable / Short name: Hotpoint CIO644DDZ