Should my kitchen island have a hob? The key things to consider first to avoid making a big mistake

The pros and cons of adding a hob to your kitchen island

Harvey Jones Shaker Kitchen Island Hob
(Image credit: Chris Snook Photography for The Main Company)

If you’re thinking about renovating your kitchen anytime soon or are looking to add a kitchen island, you might have asked yourself, should my kitchen island have a hob? It’s an appliance that we can often use several times a day. But do you need a dedicated hob on your island or are you better keeping your hob to the perimeter of your kitchen?

As you plan your kitchen island ideas you’ll need to think about how you and your family will use the space. If you love to cook up a storm and find yourself running out of hob space, adding one to your kitchen island worktop could make a lot of sense. Whether or not you already have a hob as part of your existing kitchen layout will also influence whether or not you feel the need to add a hob to your kitchen island. 

To be honest, there is no real right or wrong answer when it comes to whether or not your kitchen island should have a hob. However, the experts have outlined the pros and cons of doing so, as well as the regulations that you need to know about when installing one. So, if you’re in that position, you’ll want to keep reading to get all the details.

What are the regulations for hobs on kitchen islands?

Harvey Jones Shaker Kitchen Island Hob

(Image credit: Harvey Jones Shaker Kitchen Island Hob)

Understanding the regulations, if you plan on installing a hob on a kitchen island, is key. ‘One of the most vital regulations pertains to safety distances,’ explains Sue Flowers, Group Marketing Manager at NEFF. The hob – whether it's gas, electric, or induction – must be installed at a safe distance from any potentially flammable materials.

‘Generally, the rule of thumb is to maintain a minimum distance of 30cm from the edge of the hob to any vertical combustible material (walls or kitchen units for example),’ Sue continues. ‘When it comes to horizontal surfaces, especially those directly above the hob, the safe distance increases to 76cm. This is to ensure that there is ample space to disperse heat and prevent any risk of fire or damage to the overhead cabinet or extractor.’

As with all gas hobs, if you’re considering installing one in your kitchen, whether that be in your kitchen more generally or on your kitchen island, there are additional regulations that you will need to consider. A gas hob will need to be installed by a Gas Safe registered engineer. And ‘to further enhance safety, the gas hob should also be installed with a safety chain. This is a precautionary measure designed to prevent the hob from tipping over, which could lead to gas leaks and potential fire hazards,’ Sue adds.

What are the benefits of having a hob on a kitchen island?

kitchen island with hob

(Image credit: Simon Taylor Furniture)

Having a hob on a kitchen island does offer a range of practical benefits. ‘For instance, it can enhance one’s cooking experience by creating a social cooking space,’ says Dean Harper, Chef and Director at Harper Fine Dining. ‘It allows for interaction with guests while preparing meals, adding a dynamic element to the culinary process.’ 

It can work brilliantly as part of open-plan kitchen ideas, or if you like to host friends or family or socialise while you cook, having a hob on your kitchen island could be a good option for you.

‘Having a hob on the kitchen island is also space-saving,’ argues Darren Watts, Showroom Development and Design Director at Wren Kitchens. It allows you to ‘have more worktop space or cabinetry and wall units. You can also have space underneath the hob on the island for additional storage.’

What are the negatives of having a hob on a kitchen island?

Harvey Jones Linear Hob on kitchen island

(Image credit: Harvey Jones Linear Hob)

If you are working with small kitchen island ideas, a hob can eat up quite a bit of the available space, leaving you with less room for food preparation. The same can be said for if you only have kitchen island seating in your space. By having a hob on the island you will be sacrificing worktop space.

‘You also need to think about ventilation,’ admits Corum’s Property Expert, Gordon McGuire. ‘This can add a bulky cooker hood to the room or be an expensive outlay, if you want more subtle options.’ As cooking smells can easily transfer to the rest of the room without correct extraction, you’ll want to ensure that you plan this into your kitchen design.

‘You must have an extractor hood or other ventilation system installed to remove smoke, steam and other air pollutants generated by the cooking process,’ agrees’s Kitchen Design Expert, George Burrows. ‘All kitchens built after 2006 must have extraction ventilation fitted to conform with Building Regulations.’

Another thing to be mindful of is splatter, splashes and messes when you’re cooking. If you routinely make dishes which could cause any of these, they will be ‘more visible and harder to contain, compared to cooking against a wall where backsplashes are typically installed,’ insists Sophie Lane, Product Training Manager at Miele GB.


Where should you place a hob on a kitchen island?

wooden kitchen flooring, green and gold island unit with brown stools

(Image credit: Future PLC / Rachael Smith)

Most of the experts agree that situating a hob towards the centre of the kitchen island is best. Furthermore, ‘when designing any cooking space, it’s important to remember the rule of three: the hob, fridge and sink should all be within easy reach of each other,’ affirms HUSK kitchens’ Founder, Dave Young.

‘For a kitchen island with seating, you may want to situate the hob at one end so that it is out of the way,’ George adds. But again, you’ll need to ensure that you leave enough space either side of it to meet the regulations.

Is it better to have a sink or a hob on a kitchen island?

If you’re wondering whether to install a hob or sink in your kitchen island, unless you have ample space for both, the experts would advise against cramming both onto the island, as this can make it feel claustrophobic.

Again, this may be down to personal preference but they ‘lean towards the hob, as cooking can feel more collaborative, while a sink in your kitchen island can become a hub for dirty dishes,’ says Expert Kitchen Designer at Kitchens By Holloways, Barty Rowland.

Can a kitchen island still look aesthetically pleasing with a hob on it?

Harvey Jones Shaker Kitchen Island Hob

(Image credit: Harvey Jones Shaker Kitchen Island Hob)

If you’re comparing having a hob or a sink on a kitchen island, ‘a hob can look more appealing than a sink which can be full of dishes and washing up - ensuring you keep it clean and clear of mess,’ according to Alex Main, Director at The Main Company. In addition, ‘an induction hob for example offers a seamless design that sits flush in your worktop and is extremely easy to maintain.’

For those weighing up an induction vs gas hob, if you’re looking for a sleek and unobtrusive appearance, opt for an induction hob. On the other hand, even though it can be tougher to keep a gas hob looking as clean or feeling as inconspicuous on your island, it can instantly give a professional appearance to your kitchen.

Ellis Cochrane

Ellis Cochrane has been a Freelance Contributor for Ideal Home since 2023. She graduated with a Joint Honours degree in Politics and English from the University of Strathclyde and between her exams and graduation, started a lifestyle blog where she would share what she was buying, reading and doing. In doing so, she created opportunities to work with some of her dream brands and discovered the possibility of freelance writing, after always dreaming of writing for magazines when she was growing up.

Since then, she has contributed to a variety of online and print publications, covering everything from celebrity news and beauty reviews to her real passion; homes and interiors. She started writing about all things homes, gardens and interiors after joining Decor & Design Scotland as a Freelance Journalist and Social Media Account Manager in 2021. She then started freelancing at House Beautiful, Country Living and in Stylist’s Home team. Ellis is currently saving to buy her first home in Glasgow with far too many Pinterest boards dedicated to her many design ideas and inspirations.