It can be difficult to know the difference between some types of hobs, especially when they look so similar. Take halogen and induction hobs, for instance. What is the difference between halogen and induction hobs when on the surface, they appear to be exactly the same?
They both have the same black glass surfaces, and both show red lights in their rings / zones as they heat up. They both can heat up and control the temperature very quickly, too. In fact, when you are looking for one, you are likely to come across them both. But does that mean that they are interchangeable?
No – halogen hobs are certainly not the same as induction hobs. As similar as they might look, and although they do share certain qualities (being easy to clean, for example), halogen hobs are very different to induction hobs in how they operate. Let’s dig a little deeper and discuss why that’s the case.
What are halogen hobs?
Halogen hobs are technically electric, ceramic hobs. However, what sets them apart from other ceramic hobs is that they use infrared light to heat up the rings. The infrared light provides nearly instant heat and offers precise control over the temperature. That is partly what makes them so appealing. That, and the fact that they are presented like induction hobs, with flat, glass surfaces.
When many people see that they use infrared light to heat things up, there can be some concern regarding the technology. After all, isn’t infrared dangerous? In some ways – such as for your eyes and skin – it can be. However, halogen hobs have been specifically designed for use in family homes and are therefore are no more dangerous to use than any other kind of hob.
That being said, you should never look directly into the infrared light for too long, just to be safe – not that we’d assume you’re choosing to glare into the red zone!
What are the main differences between halogen hobs and induction hobs?
As you may know, induction hobs use magnetic fields created between the hob and the bases of magnetic pots and pans to create heat. Therefore, induction hobs use induction to create heat, whereas halogen hobs use indirect radiation.
Given that both light up red when they are in use, they do look very similar. However, the red light that comes on on an induction hob does not actually have anything to do with the heating mechanism. Instead, it is simply a light that is there to show that the hob is in use and/or still very hot.
Unlike induction hobs, halogen hobs do not need specific kinds of pots and pans in order to function. However, it is best to have pots and pans that have thick bases, to ensure that they can handle the heat from the hob. Moreover, halogen hobs tend to be less expensive to buy than induction hobs.
That being said, induction hobs remain more popular than halogen hobs – and that’s mainly thanks to the fact that they are so efficient. They, too, can heat up very quickly, and they can cool down just as fast. There is barely any heat loss, from which halogen hobs can suffer.
Finally, induction hobs do have the same quality as halogen hobs in that they are stylish, modern, and easy to clean.
Which is better, a halogen hob or an induction hob?
Generally speaking, many would agree that induction hobs are better overall for energy saving and precision cooking over halogen hobs. This is due to a handful of additional factors, too, including durability, safety, and general reliability. That is why, for the most part, halogen hobs have pretty much been replaced by induction hobs.
That being said, halogen hobs certainly have their qualities, including the fact that they are less expensive than induction hobs. You also do not need to buy an entirely new set of pots and pans with a halogen hob, which you would need to do if you bought an induction hob.
Therefore, if you are on a budget, a halogen hob will generally make a more cost-effective alternative to an induction standard.
However, it is important to note that halogen hobs also tend to need servicing or even repairing more frequently than induction hobs. Moreover, the energy that they lose during the cooking means that you will likely have your halogen hob running at a higher temperature for longer, meaning that you will have to spend more on energy bills.
Therefore, be careful to weigh up the pros and cons. Do you really want to pay extra for the convenience of induction cooking? Or, are you more concerned with the look and finish of your hob? If the latter is true, then it’s worth swaying a little towards halogen hobs. The choice is yours!