What Is a Halogen Hob?
A halogen hob is an electric range top or counter stove featuring cooking surfaces made of a smooth quartz and ceramic material that has the appearance of glass but is very strong and stable under high heat. Unlike a traditional metal coil electric cook top, which is slow to come up to heat levels necessary for cooking, the halogen hob uses an intense infrared light source that quickly produces heat, which is then transferred to the pan and to the food in the pan. The burners of a halogen hob are completely smooth, have no protrusions and use painted on guide lines to assist in placing your pots in the correct position for cooking when the hob is cold and when hot the burners glow a bright red.
Halogen Versus Traditonal Electric Heat
Halogen cook tops work on the thermal principle of radiation. Ribbon coils or glass tubes filled with halogen gas are located under or embedded in the ceramic slab of the hob. These ribbon coils heat up very quickly transmitting or radiating heat to the ceramic surface and then into the cooking vessel and into the food cooking it. Of all electric hobs on the market, the halogen hob has the heat output volume and speed of heating that most closely competes with that produced by gas ranges.
Heat and Light
When electricity hits the halogen gas ribbons, it immediately heats that halogen gas molecules causing them to glow bright red and produce heat. When the halogen cook top is turned off, the bright red light fades and goes away but unlike an induction cook top, the halogen cook top stays hot for sometime. Some models have built-in sensor lights to signify if dangerous but invisible levels of heat are still present in a burner and this can be a great safety feature to have in your home.
Ease of Cleaning and Upkeep
A key attraction to halogen cook tops is the ease of clean up and maintenance. The ceramic glass material is very hard wearing and stands up to heavy pots and pans. With no burner wells or grooves there is no place for cooked on food and liquids to cling to and once cooled the entire halogen unit can just be wiped like a counter top. If a substance does get baked on a small plastic hob scraper that does not scratch the surface, it can be used or a scrub designed for halogen hob glass, such as Cerama Bryte.
Where to Purchase
A halogen hob can be purchased from most big box home improvement retailers in their storefronts and online. The halogen cook top is also available directly from manufacturers and from building contractors, kitchen designers and interiors firms.
The halogen hob is more expensive than other more traditional electric ranges, but is becoming more widely available at a range of price points at many more retailers so the costs are coming down a bit. Expect to spend between $800 for a basic four burner model to upwards of $2,500 for larger designer units or complex burner layouts.