It’s fair to say that induction hobs come with a slight stigma. The early iterations had a reputation for being fickle when it came to temperature control, which has unfortunately followed them over the years, and some hard and fast foodies believe cooking with fire is the only real way to cook. However, these hobs have come impressively far, with many induction hob users celebrating them for being incredibly easy to control, quick to heat up and touting impressive energy-efficient credentials.
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What is an induction hob?
An induction hob is a flat, glass-topped plate that uses heat created by magnetism to warm pots and pans, rather than direct heat (gas hobs) or heated plates (electric hobs).
Beneath the glass surface of induction hobs sit coils that an alternating electrical current runs through. When an induction compatible pan (magnetised pan) is placed onto the surface of the hob, a magnetic field is created between the coils and the pan, causing an electrical current to run through it. This electrical current is then converted into heat to cook whatever is in the pan.
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A quick way to check whether your pan is induction compatible is to place a magnet on the underside. If the magnet sticks then it’ll work on induction, if it does not, then it won’t.
Best portable induction hobs at a glance
- Best budget portable induction hob: electriQ single Zone Portable Induction Hob, £34.97
- Best lightweight portable induction hob for taking on trips: Vango Sizzle Single Induction Hob, £58.68
- Best double portable induction hob: Amz Chef Double Induction Hob, £129.99
- Best portable induction hob for fast results: VonShef Double Induction Hob, £109.99
Best portable induction hobs 2022
electriQ Single Zone Portable Induction Hob
Best budget portable induction hob
Star rating: 4.5/5
- Clear display panel
- Useful timer
- Intuitive controls
- Good compact size
- Temperature dial may seem confusing to begin with
Cost during test: 4.31p for 10 minutes
Sporting a slimline, compact body, this electriQ single zone portable induction hob is a fantastic choice if you’re after something budget-friendly that won’t take up too much space.
The display panel is clear and well lit, and the controls are generally intuitive. We found the temperature dial a little confusing to begin with as this model doesn’t use the traditional 1-10 scale for heat levels. Rather, you can choose between the wattage or temperature (60-240C in 20C increments). Although initially a little confusing, we felt this would be ideal for deep-frying or sous vide cooking, as it would ensure an even and consistent heat.
It was quick to bring a litre of water to boil, taking just three and a half minutes to do so. On our boiling-over test, the milk did not boil over thanks to the quick responsiveness of the hob. Despite its high wattage, this induction hob costs just 4.31p to run for 10 minutes, making it the cheapest induction hob to run on this list.
Vango Sizzle Single Induction Hob
Best lightweight portable induction hob for taking on trips
Star rating: 4.5/5
- Cheap to run
- Easy to store – comes with a bag
- Looks attractive
- Reacts well to temperature changes
- Beeps if the pan is incompatible
- Intuitive controls
- Not good for larger pans
- Quite noisy
- Takes a long time to boil
Cost during test: 4.42p for 10 minutes
This small portable induction hob is the perfect grab-and-go size for camping, glamping or even packing your kids off to uni with. It even comes with a handy storage bag to hang it up and keep it free from scratches and scuffs.
Taking a leisurely 7 minutes 30 seconds to boil a litre of water, this induction hob was the slowest of all the models on this list. However, it was very responsive to changes in temperature, saving a pan of milk from boiling over just in time. Plus, this model delivers even and consistent heat; we found there were no inconsistent hot spots.
This induction hob is small, so is not suitable for cooking large portions with large pans. There’s little space either side of the hob ring, so we’d suggest only using a pan 20cm wide or under. The controls are intuitive and react quickly to touch. It’s also very sturdy on the countertop and comes with a lengthy 2.5-metre plug cord.
Amzchef Double Induction Hob
Best double portable induction hob
Star rating: 4/5
- Easy to use
- Intuitive touchscreen controls
- Looks great on the countertop
- Ample space for a variety of pan sizes
- Less efficient to run
- Mostly non-recyclable packaging
- Less responsive to temperature changes that others tested
Wattage: Right hob 1800W, left hob 1000W
Cost during test: Right hob 9.21p, left hob 4.96p for 10 minutes
Earning the award for best double portable induction hob, this ultra attractive induction hob is a sleek addition to the kitchen. It’s also slim and lightweight, making it easy to store when not in use. The touchscreen controls sit flush to the surface and are very responsive to touch, and the smooth surface is very easy to clean.
Boasting plenty of space around each hob ring, this induction hob allows you to move pans around with ease. This hob was neither fast nor slow when it came to heating a litre of water: it took five minutes to do so. We also found it provided even and consistent heat as evidenced by the gentle browning of our caramel.
Reactiveness was this model’s downfall, as unfortunately milk boiled over on our test as it takes around 2 seconds to react to changes in temperature. But by that time it was too late and we were left with a significant puddle to clean up. Thankfully however, the hob rings do not get hot enough to burn the milk on, so clean up was a doddle.
VonShef Double Induction Hob
Best portable induction hob for fast results
Star rating: 4/5
- Very quick to boil
- Rings are large enough for a variety of pan sizes
- Looks attractive
- Good safety features
- Great value
- Expensive to run
- Large footprint
- Less reactive to reductions in temperature
Cost during test: 8.84p for 10 minutes
If you’re after an induction hob that delivers rapid results, this VonShef model is the speediest on the list. It took just 2 minutes 20 seconds to boil a litre of water; an impressive time that rivals the humble kettle.
Like the model above, the glass top is smooth and has clear, touchscreen controls. The majority of the controls are intuitive, other than the timer, which took a couple of attempts to master.
The fan, that sits on the underside on the bottom left, is very noisy, and when using the higher temperatures, it whirrs even louder.
We were left disappointed by the poor reaction to temperature changes, which meant milk boiled over on our test. We also found the sugar melted faster than we expected on our caramel test, which is brilliant for confident cooks, but the majority would appreciate a more controlled cook, particularly when dealing with sugar.
Ceramic hob versus induction hob
- Energy-efficient option
- Responsive to changes in temperature
- Safe to use – surface doesn’t stay hot
- Easy to clean
- Can be expensive
- Not suitable for all pans
- Glass surface is prone to scratches
- Cheaper to buy than induction
- Easy to clean (though you have to wait for it to cool down)
- Can be used with any cookware
- Slow to heat up
- Retains heat, so slow to respond to changes in temperature
- Not as safe as induction as the surface stays hot after use
- Glass surface prone to scratches
Are induction hobs energy efficient?
The short answer is, yes. Induction hobs are more energy efficient than their gas and electric counterparts. If you think about how induction hobs actually work, it’s easy to see why. Where pans on gas hobs sit on top of cast iron racks or rings there’s a considerable portion of space where unused heat is expelled into the surroundings, whereas on an induction hob, the entire base of the pan has contact with the hob top, so all of the electric current that’s used to produce the heat goes into the pan. And further to this, once the pan is removed, the heat is no longer produced. For context, a study by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy found with induction hobs “up to 90% of the energy consumed is transferred to the food, compared to about 74% for traditional electric systems and 40% for gas.”
Induction hobs are also considerably faster than other hob types. Take boiling a litre of water, for example: of the induction hobs we tested, the fastest took just 2 minutes 20 seconds to come to a boil compared to 13 minutes 15 seconds on a gas hob. The number will vary hob to hob, but as a general rule of thumb, induction is faster.
How to clean an induction hob
The flat, smooth surface of an induction hob makes them the easiest hob type to clean. Simply wipe up any spills with a damp cloth as you would your work surface. Unlike gas or electric hobs, mess is unlikely to become burned on as induction hobs rarely reach hot enough temperatures.
However, if you’re not diligent when cleaning, any spills that aren’t cleaned up on the ring may become fused to the surface if you cook with a pan on top of them. If this happens, a slightly tougher approach may be needed. Razors or scrapers can be bought directly from the hob manufacturer – use this in conjunction with washing-up liquid and water to scrape the scorched bits away.
What pans can you use on an induction hob?
In the “What is an induction hob?” section we explained how an induction hob works. Therefore, any pans with a metal element in the base will work on an induction hob. Pans made from cast iron and some alloys of stainless steel will naturally work on an induction hob. Cookware made from aluminium, glass and copper will not work because they do not contain a metal that reacts to a magnetic field.
Some brands counteract this by including an iron plate on the underside of their aluminium or copper pans. It’s always best to check whether the pans you’re looking to buy are induction compatible. We always include their compatibility in our cookware product round-ups.
How we tested portable induction hobs
We scoured the market for a range of different portable induction hobs. We wanted budget-friendly models, compact models, and models worth the investment. Both single and double portable induction hobs are included in this list, and both were tested using the same standardised criteria.
Our tests involved bringing water to the boil, seeing how reactive the induction hobs are to temperature changes, making BBC Good Food’s caramel sauce and allowing the molten sugar to show us any hot spots, as well as cleaning the hob.
With many of us wanting to be more enlightened about how much our appliances actually cost to run, we conducted a simple test. The average cost per kilowatt hour for fixed rate tariff customers is 34p, so we cooked pasta for 10 minutes on a rolling boil, and recorded the cost to run for that single unit of time. The cost to run for 10 minutes for each hob is recorded above.
All induction hobs were scored against the following criteria:
- Sustainability: We looked at the materials and packaging of each product – if it was not recyclable or sustainable, the product lost points.
- Cost to run: We asked whether the induction hob was costly or relatively cheap to run based on our 10 minute pasta-boiling test.
- Value for money: Is the performance of the product and its various features consistent with the price?
- Ease of use: We looked for practical, straightforward and intuitive hobs. Any elements that felt overcomplicated or in any way confusing meant the hob was marked down.
- Results: When peering into the saucepan, we wanted to see consistent bubbles, even heat distribution, a hob that brought water to the boil quickly, and one that was reactive to temperature changes.
- Quality of design features: Sturdy and robust design always makes sense. We also looked for appropriate safety features, bright, well-lit control panels, and useful, but not annoying, sounds and alerts.
For more information on our test processes, read our behind the scenes piece on how we test and review products
If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.