That smell of freshly baked bread, straight from the oven – heavenly. The fish you had for dinner last night, though? Not so much! Getting the right extractor for your kitchen is, in my opinion, crucial to its design (as well as the aroma).
It doesn’t have to only sweep away lingering food smells, after all, but also draw the grease out of the room. The results? Cleaner air, less condensation, a sleek look, and the mesmerising sight of steam being sucked straight from a pan into this rather nifty modern appliance.
So it’s no doubt that an extractor will be an essential item on your kitchen checklist, as I’m sure an induction hob will be too. Induction cooking is different from any other hob on the market, using a magnetic field to heat the base of the pan which is efficient and safer than traditional hobs.
But what about if these two items were incorporated into one?
Enter the extractor hob.
Also called a vented hob, it is the latest innovation in kitchen design, uniting two key appliances into one – that fact alone was enough to sell it to me,
For a bit more insight, I’ve put together my top tips and a few of the latest models so you’ll have everything you need to know before making your purchase.
How do they work?
An extractor hob draws off odours and grease particles directly from your saucepans, preventing any smells rising up and spreading throughout your kitchen. “The grease particles released during cooking are effectively trapped in the stainless steel grease filter,” says William Bruckbauer, chief executive officer at Bora.
A central grid, generally sitting flush within the induction hob, conceals a powerful extraction unit. You will need to use some space beneath the hob to house the appliance’s motor. Most brands have adapted the design to allow for a sink drawer – a partial unit utilising space on either side of the hob’s motor, for example to store spices – to be installed below.
So, why should you have one?
They are incredibly efficient, as any odours are taken care of at source. The extraction unit is positioned in the centre of the hob, drawing the steam and cooking smells directly from your saucepan by pulling the air down . “Essentially, it’s about design as you can keep the space above the hob completely clear,” says Howard Bogod, managing director at DR Kitchen Appliances, Elica’s exclusive UK distributor.
The pros and cons of an extractor hob
As mentioned before, one of the biggest upsides is the design freedom these appliances give you. Venting hobs completely eliminate the need for big overhead extractors or cooker hoods, which makes them ideal for use on an island or in small spaces where every cabinet counts.
They are also ideal for open-plan spaces, as extracting grease and smells right at the source prevents them from straying into the room and lingering long after dinner. Not to mention that, when placed on an island, they allow you to easily keep conversation with guests flowing if you’re cooking, instead of leaving you facing the wall.
Oh, and one small additional bonus? Since they’re not overhead, you won’t need a ladder to properly clean them. How handy is that?
You may also enjoy: Gas or induction: pros and cons of hobs
On the downside, however, an venting hob often needs a fair bit of space below the appliance to store the motor – and, if you have a design with an extractor that rises up when in use, a place for the actual venting unit.
This could limit your available storage space by taking up valuable drawer space, although a lot of companies now offer something called sink drawers.
Often shaped like a horseshoe or simply consisting of two compartments – one on the left, one on the right – are designed to fit around an obstruction such as a sink or a venting hob’s motor.
What are the options?
Just as overhead extractors, these combination appliances come as ducted out models – which funnel the air out of the room, so need to be close to an external wall – or those that filter and recirculate the air. A recirculating kit is installed within your kitchen cabinets’ kickstand, to make changing the charcoal filters easier.
Venting hobs should always be installed by a kitchen fitter and wired by a qualified electrician to ensure best performance. Units may also need to be adapted, depending on the appliance’s size.
Any buying tips?
Extractor hobs are designed to be installed in standard-sized kitchen units, but it is worth checking your specific appliance’s dimensions, as brands’ sizing will vary.
“Make sure you know how close your hob will be to the wall before you start shopping,” advises Maurizio Severgnini, managing director at Bertazzoni UK & Ireland. “For every bend between the extractor hob and the outlet, you will lose one meter of ducting, which reduces the performance.”
Venting hobs are fitted with a safety tray to collect spillages, so no debris will end up in the extractor. “These reservoirs are easily accessible to clean – and the motor will continue to work even when wet,” explains Vicky Harris, director at KitchenEX. All moving parts can be easily removed by hand and are usually okay to go in the dishwasher, too.
How much do they cost?
These high-tech designs are expensive – but as their popularity increases, more brands are producing ranges of increasingly affordable models. Costs range from £1700 to £6000.
Featured image: Novy‘s Panorama Pro hob and downdraft extractor, £3899, creates a seamless finish for the design-conscious home chef. And it’s smart, too: a bridging function turns four zones into two large ones, ideal for big casseroles.
Post updated on: 16/07/2020