What Is A Halogen Hob (Cooktop)? – Pros, Cons & Advice
Are you researching options for a new kitchen hob/cooktop? Have you come across the halogen hob and wondered, what on earth it is? Do they even still make these? Fear not, I’m here to shed some light on one of the lesser-known types of hobs – the halogen hob.
In this post, I’ll be delving into the pros and cons and providing advice to help you make an informed decision about whether it’s the right choice for you.
Let’s get into it!
In a hurry and just want to know if you should get a halogen, ceramic or induction hob?
In my opinion, get an induction hob! 👍
What Is A Halogen Hob/Cooktop?
A halogen hob, also known as a halogen cooktop, is a type of electric stove that uses halogen lamps as its heating element. These lamps generate heat that is transferred to your pots and pans through a combination of conduction, convection, and radiation.
Halogen hobs typically consist of a flat glass surface with four or more heating zones. Each cooking zone contains a halogen lamp underneath, which produces heat that is directed upwards towards your pots and pans. The hob also includes controls that allow you to adjust the temperature of each zone to suit your cooking needs.
You don’t really see many halogen hobs nowadays in kitchen design (at least I don’t here in the UK).
How Does A Halogen Hob/Cooktop Work?
A halogen hob or cooktop uses tungsten halogen tubes as its heating element. When you turn on a halogen “ring,” the tungsten halogen tubes emit a bright red light. This is a mixture of invisible infrared light radiation and visible red light. Which creates a kind of ‘hot light’.
It’s this infrared radiation that is the important thing for cooking. It travels out from the “ring” at the speed of light, instantly beaming through the ceramic glass cooktop directly above it.
The glass cooktop is designed to transmit about 80% of the infrared radiation. This is then absorbed by any pots or pans on top of the hob. The heat is transferred to the pan through a combination of radiation and conduction from the hot glass beneath it. If there’s soup or liquid in the pan, it gradually warms up by convection, just like with a conventional stove.
Halogen cooktops will typically have four or more heating zones. Each of these is controlled by a dial/knob or touch control that allows you to adjust the temperature. The power level or cooking power of the heating zones is indicated by the brightness of the red light emitted by the tungsten halogen tubes.
In short, a halogen hob cooks food by a mixture of conduction, convection, and radiation. The tungsten halogen tubes emit infrared radiation, which is absorbed by your pots and pans. The heat is then transferred to the food by a combination of radiation and conduction.
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halogen hob pros and cons
As with any type of hob/cooktop, there are always some pros and cons to consider.
Pros Of Halogen Hobs
- Fast heating: One of the key advantages of a halogen hob is its fast heating time. Halogen lamps can generate instant heat quickly, and the hob can reach its maximum temperature in a matter of seconds. This makes it ideal for cooking dishes that require high heat, such as stir-fries and searing meat.
- Precise temperature control: Halogen hobs offer precise temperature control, allowing you to adjust the heat level with accuracy. You can control the temperature with a dial or touch controls, which allows you to make fine adjustments to the heat level.
- Easy to clean: The smooth, flat surface of a halogen hob makes it easy to clean. You can wipe clean the glass ceramic surface with a damp cloth or sponge. Making any spills or splatters easy to tackle.
- Energy efficient: When compared with electric hobs that use heating elements (ceramic/solid plate), halogen hobs are can be more energy-efficient. This can help reduce your energy consumption and lower your electricity bill. The design of the hob’s heating zones is to focus the heat on the cooking vessel, reducing heat loss and energy waste.
- Safe to use: Halogen hobs are generally considered safe to use, as they have safety features such as automatic shut-off and residual heat indicators. The residual heat indicator alerts you when the hob surface is still hot, even after you have turned it off, which helps prevent accidental burns.
- Sleek design: Halogen hobs have a sleek and modern design that can work well with a modern-style kitchen. The flat, glass ceramic surface gives the hob a more contemporary look.
Cons Of Halogen Hobs
- High energy consumption: While halogen hobs are energy-efficient compared to some other types of electric hobs, they still use more energy than induction or gas hobs. The high power output of halogen lamps means that they can consume a lot of electricity, which can lead to higher energy bills.
- Prone to scratches: The glass ceramic surface of a halogen hob is prone to scratches. You can easily cause damage with abrasive materials or heavy pots and pans. Scratches can not only affect the hob’s appearance but can also interfere with its performance and reduce its lifespan.
- Can be noisy: The cooling fan on a halogen hob can be quite loud, especially when the hob is operating at high heat levels. This can be a nuisance in small or open-plan kitchens, where noise levels can be more noticeable.
- Limited cookware compatibility: Halogen hobs require the bottom of the pan to be flat to ensure even heat distribution. This means that some types of cookware, such as woks or round-bottomed pots, may not work well on a halogen hob.
- Risk of overheating: The high heat output of a halogen hob can cause it to overheat if used incorrectly or left unattended. This can be a fire hazard and can also damage the hob’s heating elements or glass ceramic surface.
- Expensive to repair: If a halogen hob requires repairs or replacement parts, it can be expensive to fix. The cost of replacement halogen lamps can also add up over time, especially if the hob is used frequently.
- Poor thermal conductivity: Halogen cooktops are made of a type of ceramic that doesn’t spread heat evenly (low thermal conductivity). This means it takes a bit longer for the heat to reach your cooking pot since the ceramic glass doesn’t conduct heat very well.
What is the difference between a halogen hob and an induction hob?
The main differences between a halogen hob (cooktop) and an induction hob (cooktop) are the methods of generating heat and the type of cookware they require.
Halogen hobs use halogen lamps to generate heat and require flat-bottomed pots and pans. While induction hobs use electromagnetic induction to heat the cookware directly and require induction-compatible cookware with ferromagnetic properties. Such as cast iron or stainless steel, for the magnetic field to work.
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is a ceramic hob the same as a halogen hob?
A ceramic hob and a halogen hob are both types of electric cooktops, but they work in slightly different ways.
A ceramic hob uses heating elements located beneath a smooth ceramic glass surface to transfer heat to the cookware. These heating elements can be made of various materials, such as metal coils or radiant heat elements, and they generate heat through electrical resistance.
On the other hand, a halogen hob uses halogen lamps located beneath the glass surface to generate heat. When you turn on a halogen hob, the halogen lamps emit infrared radiation and visible light, which heat up the cookware through radiation and conduction.
While both types of cooktops have smooth ceramic glass surfaces and are easy to clean, halogen hobs tend to heat up faster and provide more precise temperature control than ceramic hobs. However, halogen hobs can be more expensive to purchase and may use more electricity than ceramic hobs.
Do you need special pans for a halogen hob?
You don’t necessarily need special pans for a halogen hob, but it’s recommended to use flat-bottomed pots and pans for best performance.
This is because the glass ceramic surface of the hob needs to be in direct contact with the cookware to transfer heat effectively, and flat-bottomed cookware provides the most surface area for contact.
It’s also important to note that the type of cookware you use can affect the efficiency and safety of a halogen hob. For example, lightweight or warped cookware can cause hot spots and uneven heating, while non-flat-bottomed cookware can be unstable and may cause spills.
While you don’t technically need special pans for a halogen hob, it’s still a good idea to choose cookware that is compatible with the hob and provides even heat distribution for safe and efficient cooking.
Do halogen hobs use a lot of electricity?
Halogen hobs are known for their high power output. However, as with most appliances, whether or not they use a lot of electricity ultimately depends on how they are used and how often they are used.
Halogen hobs use halogen lamps to generate heat, which requires a significant amount of electricity. The power output of a halogen hob typically ranges from 150W to 2000W per ring, depending on the setting.
When multiple rings are in use, the electricity usage can add up quickly. However, because halogen hobs heat up and cool down quickly, they may use less electricity overall than other types of electric cooktops that take longer to heat up or cool down.
As well as this, using the right size of cookware and keeping the hob clean and free of debris can help improve energy efficiency and reduce electricity usage.
Are halogen hobs any good?
As I’ve explained, halogen hobs have their advantages and disadvantages, and whether they are good or not depends on personal preferences and needs.
While halogen hobs can be a good choice for some, it is my personal opinion, induction hobs are generally considered to be the better choice nowadays.
Induction cooking uses electromagnetic technology to heat up the cookware directly, rather than using halogen lamps or heating elements. This makes them more energy-efficient, faster to heat up and cool down, more precise temperature control and safer to use than halogen hobs.
There you have it! The halogen hob (cooktop) explained.
While it certainly has its advantages and may be suitable for some, the halogen hob is quite rare to find in any modern kitchen these days.
Personally, if you’re looking for a sleek, easy-to-clean cooking surface with fast heat-up and cool-down times then I would recommend you choose an induction hob over a halogen hob.
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for around 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.