“ Brand: Hotpoint / Energy Source: Electric / Cooktop Type: Fixed „
When my parents redid their kitchen a few years ago, my mum decided to get a separate hob and oven so that she could have the oven higher up and avoid bending down to use it. She chose this hob because it looks good, she prefers electric hobs, has always found Hotpoint products to be reliable, and she thought it would be easy to clean.
It's got four different sized rings, or rather, 'cooking zones', that correspond with standard pan sizes, and if you want to use a larger pan, like a wok, the fact that it is completely flat makes it very easy to have multiple rings on under the one pan. There are nine power levels for each cooking zone. Like all electric hobs it needs electric power to operate, unlike a gas hob it is completely useless during power cuts, and you can't use it to light candles!
When the hob was installed I was really excited. I still introduce it to people as the 'touch hob', as in 'touch screen', and I honestly still can't get over the fact that we have a touch hob! It's just so space age! Yes, I think I have been nominated for nerd/geek of the year. The hob is operated by gently pressing your fingers over the control markings on one side of the unit. It doesn't take a lot of pressure, however the on/off switch can sometimes be a little bit temperamental. There are four little white rings - one for each cooking zone, the on/off switch, the child lock (also very useful during parties if you want to put things on top of the hob without accidentally switching it on), and a plus/minus switch for getting the cooking zone to the right temperature. To use the hob, all you have to do is press the on-off switch, then select the cooking zone by pressing the appropriate mini-ring and press the plus and/or minus until you get it to the setting you want. To turn a cooking zone off you just press the appropriate mini-ring, and then the minus until the number next to the mini-ring is 0. If you want to turn all the cooking zones off at once, you can just press the on/off switch. If a cooking zone is hot, its mini-ring will glow, so you know not to touch it.
This hob is extremely easy to clean, all it requires is a regular wipe and a bit of elbow grease if something drips out of a pan and dries/burns onto the surface. The surface is made of glass, however, so you do need to treat it delicately to avoid scratching it or worse.
The fact that the hob is so delicate is the one thing that puts me off getting a similar model for my own home (when I have one that's not rented). One excruciating afternoon I chipped one of the corners off this hob. I was cleaning up after my lunch, holding a Pyrex jug in one hand, when I slipped a little and knocked the jug on something. There was a small noise like something smashing, but the jug was fine. It took me ten minutes to realise, from the colour of the tiny pieces of glass that had bounced to the other side of the floor, that I'd chipped the hob. I was absolutely horrified, my mum's kitchen is her pride and joy. I have apologised many times and I still feel really bad for chipping her beautiful touch hob. So, that said, I think I would choose a model that is built into the worktop, rather than slightly raised above it, so there are no exposed corners for Big Ms Clumsy here to smash. You can actually get this model with a stainless steel 'frame', but it doesn't look as nice.
Beyond the delicacy and the on/off switch needing a little patience sometimes - it doesn't ever not work, it can just be a little slow - I think this hob is pretty much perfect. It cooks great and it looks great (until somebody slips with a Pyrex jug).
A quick look online has shown me that the prices for this hob can vary quite dramatically. At some stores the price is over a hundred pounds less than at others, so shop around if you would like to buy it. I would also suggest you visit a store where you can see it or similar models, because it is an aesthetic object as well as a functional one.
Electronic Hob / Short name: Hotpoint E6005