How To Choose The Best Halogen Oven – We Review The Top 6 How To Choose The Best Halogen Oven – We Review The Top 6
460(Last Updated On: May 25, 2018)460 How To Choose The Best Halogen Oven – We Review The Top 6
(Last Updated On: May 25, 2018)

Despite their outwardly low tech, slightly 80’s appearance, halogen ovens represent modern convenience at its best. Not only do they cook food up to 40% faster than a standard oven but they use much less energy doing so too. Plus they don’t break down essential vitamins and minerals in food the same way microwaves often do. It is no wonder these useful cooking appliances are gaining popularity within the UK.

The problem is, as with most popular devices, there is a huge choice and finding the best one for your needs isn’t always easy. In this guide you’ll discover everything you need to know about halogen ovens, from reviews on the best units to guides on how they work.

What You’ll Find In This Guide

For ease this guide is broken down into easy to read chunks. You can read everything in order or skip to certain sections if there is anything in particular you’d like to know first to help you find the best halogen oven for your needs. Here’s the main contents at a glance:

Let’s get started by looking at our reviews of the top ovens & our comparison table…

Halogen Oven Comparison Table


  • Andrew James AJ-686GD 12L


  • Our Rating


  • Max. Capacity (Litres):
    17
  • Watts:
    1400
  • Replacement Bulb Included?:
    Yes
  • Accesories Included?:
    2 different height cooking racks, tongs, rice and cake disk, baking & steamer trays, a toast rack and 4 skewers
  • £££

  • 12L VonShef Halogen Oven with Hinged Lid


  • Our Rating


  • Max. Capacity (Litres):
    17
  • Watts:
    1200 - 1400
  • Replacement Bulb Included?:
    No
  • Accesories Included?:
    Tongs, 4 skewers, baking tray/frying pan, high rack, low rack, steamer, rice dish and extender ring
  • ££

  • Andrew James 1300 Watts


  • Our Rating


  • Max. Capacity (Litres):
    17
  • Watts:
    1300
  • Replacement Bulb Included?:
    Yes
  • Accessories Included?:
    'Low' and 'high' food grill, tongs, baking tray, steam tray and an extender ring
  • ££

  • Russell Hobbs 18537


  • Our Rating


  • Max. Capacity (Litres):
    16
  • Watts:
    1400
  • Replacement Bulb Included?:
    No
  • Accesories Included?:
    Lid stand, tongs, a low and high rack, extender ring
  • ££

  • electriQ 17L


  • Our Rating


  • Max. Capacity (Litres):
    17
  • Watts:
    1400
  • Replacement Bulb Included?:
    No
  • Accessories Included?:
    Extender ring, high and low rack, steaming pan/frying pan, tongs, a 4 piece fork set and a lid holder
  • ££

  • Sentik 12 Litre Premium 1300W


  • Our Rating


  • Max. Capacity (Litres):
    12
  • Watts:
    1300
  • Replacement Bulb Included?:
    No
  • Accesories Included?:
    High and low rack, tongs
  • £

Halogen Oven Reviews: Your Guide To The Best 6

Andrew James AJ-686GD 12L Digital Halogen Oven

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We thought we’d start with the best and you can’t find much better than the Andrew James 12L Digital oven. The top mounted digital control panel is what really sets this unit apart from the others and boasts some impressive functions. So, without further ado we’ll take an in depth look at just what this oven can do.

How To Use The Andrew James AJ-686GD

One of the first things you notice about the AJ-686GD is the hinged lid. This removes the need for a separate stand to hold the hot lid whilst you check on your cooking but it does come with one minor drawback. If you want to place this underneath one of your cupboards you might find there isn’t enough room to open the lid fully so this is worth noting if you decide to buy this unit.

The impressive digital controls make using this oven easy & fast

As we mentioned the digital control panel is what really makes this device. It smacks of convenience and makes accessing common settings a breeze.

To begin with the usual dials have been replaced by two separate LCD displays; the one on the left is for the timer and the one on the right is for the temperature. Beneath each display is a plus and minus button which you can use to set the timer and the temperature respectively. This has the advantage of being much more precise than using the analogue twist dials found on other units.

Once set all you need to do is press the start button for the cooking cycle to begin. There is even a handy cancel button should you need to interrupt the cooking process before the timer has elapsed.

Running in a semi-circle around the base of the control panel are a series of buttons which provide you instant access to common cooking programs and cleaning functions. It is these which really add some pizazz to this unit.

With a single button press you can select the correct time and temperature to cook rice, cupcakes, steam food and even cook pizza and toast. But, the benefits don’t stop there. You can even set the device on an automatic clean cycle and use it to sterilize the accessories which come with it. The AJ-686GD is so impressive it was recently featured on Channel 5’s the Gadget Show.

What Else Is Included?

Included with the AJ-686GD is a host of useful accessories including 2 different height cooking racks, tongs, rice and cake disk, baking & steamer trays, a toast rack and 4 skewers. Not only that but it also comes with a replacement halogen bulb which is a very nice touch.

The initial cooking capacity of this device can also be extended from 12 litres to a massive 17 litres using the supplied extender ring.

How Easy Is It To Clean?

Once you’ve finished cooking you need to let the unit cool before starting the cleaning cycle. The cleaning cycle needs nothing more than some cold water and a dash of washing up liquid. You can even leave the accessories inside the device whilst the cleaning cycle is running so they get cleaned too. This is incredibly convenient.

If you do decide on this unit don’t forget to let it stand at room temperature for at least one hour before you use it for the first time. This easy to overlook tip ensures the device is acclimatised before heating up and will help prevent damage to the unit.

What We Think

It’s hard to find any true faults with the Andrew James AJ-686GD. Not only does it make cooking far easier and faster when compared to a traditional oven it will even clean itself and its accessories after use. When you combine this with the simple, yet powerful, digital control panel this device is sure to please and is our favourite of the bunch.

12L VonShef Halogen Oven with Hinged Lid

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VonShef is not necessarily the known for producing ‘high-end’ appliances. So, when you see their halogen ovens, you could be forgiven for being skeptical. But, they do provide mid-range units which are priced very competitively and often provide good value for money. Take their 12L Halogen oven for instance, which is a well-built product, comes with a raft of accessories and boasts a low price tag. This versatile cooking appliance will be a joy to have in your kitchen since it can cook rice, bake, fry, roast, steam, and do so much more.

Design

The lid on halogen ovens houses the main heating elements, so it tends to get quite hot. Models that feature a detachable lid present the risk of burning kitchen worktops and leaving behind scorch marks.

The hinged lid of the 12l makes it easy to check on your cooking without burning your worksurface with the hot lid

The VonShef 12L eliminates this risk and the need to buy a separate lid stand thanks to its hinged cover. An extended piece of plastic that looks like a pouring spout found on the front part of the cover also makes it easy to open the hinged lid without burning yourself.

Unlike the Andrew James AJ-686GD, the 12L VonShef unit does not have digital controls. Instead, it has mechanical dials found on top of the lid. The left dial sets cooking duration from 0 to 60 minutes while the one on the right increases the temperature from 125 – 250 degrees Celsius. A red LED on the lid turns on when you plug the halogen oven into a power outlet. The green LED next to it is the ‘heat control’ light, which turns on when the halogen bulb under the lid is heating up.

For the cooking bowl, the designers at VonShef used glass just like with their previous halogen ovens. The transparent oven dish is a nice touch because you can visually monitor your food as it cooks. It has a capacity of 12 Litres and it is expandable to 17 Litres using the extender ring that comes with the package. The lid is height adjustable, allowing you to add the extender ring that features a silicone protector.

What Else is Included?

One thing that really makes this VonShef halogen oven to stand out is the sheer number of accessories it comes with inside the box. Included in the package are racks, skewers, tongs, red rice dish, steamer and a baking tray. Combined these accessories make this halogen oven very versatile.

How to Use the VonShef 12L Halogen Oven

It is important to pre-heat any halogen oven before cooking with it. Luckily, it only takes about 3-5 minutes for this VonShef unit to warm up. This is considerably faster than conventional ovens that preheat for 15 to 20 minutes. Once the oven is ready, open the lid and place your dish along with other cooking accessories inside the glass bowl. From there, simply shut the lid then set the time and temperature to start the machine.

For the most part, you’ll have to know the cook time and ideal temperature settings for various recipes beforehand because this VonShef halogen oven does not have any cooking presets. It only has one pre-programmed function for defrosting. You can defrost by turning the temperature control dial to point the ‘Thaw’ setting on the temperature scale and then choose the desired time.

How Easy is it to Clean?

Cleaning the cooking bowl on a halogen oven that has a hinged cover can be a bit tricky because any water that comes into contact with the electrical parts on the lid can damage the machine. However, the VonShef 12L has a self-cleaning facility to make your life easier. After the oven cools down, just half fill it with soapy water and turn it on for about 5-10 minutes to activate the self-cleaning mode. The lid should be simply wiped down with a damp cloth while the rest of the accessories can be scrubbed with a scouring pad and rinsed off under running water.

Pros
Self-cleaning function eliminates the need to scrub the halogen oven bowl
Generously sized bowl with extender ring increases the capacity to 17L
Available with plenty of accessories
The hinged lid takes less countertop space
Cons
No recipe booklet included
Does not have a digital control panel

Summary

Although the VonShef 12L does not have the convenience of digital controls, it is still a well-built appliance that gets the job done. When you combine this with its host of accessories and self-clean feature, this device offers good value for the price. Overall, it makes a good option if you are on a budget but don’t want to compromise on accessories or performance when shopping for a large size halogen oven.

Andrew James 1300 Watts, 12 Litre

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It comes as no surprise that the Andrew James 1300 watts halogen oven is one of the UK’s best selling counter-top ovens. Especially when you consider the raft of useful accessories it arrives with and its, up to, 17 litre capacity which means it can deal with most cooking challenges thrown at it.

Let’s dive right in and see just what this nifty little oven can do.

How To Use The Andrew James 1300 Watts

The supplied lid stand safely holds the lid after cooking

To start with we’ll look at the most important part of the oven: the lid. It houses the main heating unit and can be completely removed for easy access and cooking. Sometimes removing the lid can present problems because it can get quite hot. And, setting it down on your kitchen work top or table could easily leave burn or scorch marks. This is why some manufacturers opt for a hinged lid, which is good, but this can sometimes get in the way. As a remedy to this problem one of many accessories which arrives with this Andrew James oven is a handy lid stand. This keeps the hot lid safely stowed out of the way whilst you check on your cooking.

Using the oven is very simple; Two dials allow you to set the temperature and the cooking timer. The timer runs from 0 to 60 minutes. Once the cooking time is over the unit alerts you with a beeping noise and automatically switches itself off. The temperature controls range from 120°C to 250°C and can be set simply by twisting each dial respectively. Inside the device there is also a handy thermostat which keeps the temperature even throughout the cooking process by switching the bulb on and off as required.

There is even a defrost setting on this machine making it a handy alternative to using your microwave which can sometimes cause food to come out soft and mushy.

What Else Is Included?

Included with this halogen oven is a ‘low’ and ‘high’ food grill, tongs, baking tray, steam tray and an extender ring. These increase the versatility of this device. They allow you to not only bake and cook in it, like a traditional oven, but also steam food for healthier cooking. To help you take advantage of this versatility Andrew James have also included a manual which provides you with cooking instructions for a wide range of delicious meals.

Plus, if you need a bit more cooking room the extender ring can be placed on top of the cooking bowl before the lid is secured. This increases the capacity from 12 litres to 17.

Self-Cleaning Cycle

Once you’ve finished cooking the unit also has a self cleaning cycle – making it very low maintenance. All you need to do is wait for the bowl to cool and then half fill it with cold water and a drop of washing-up liquid. Then set the timer for 5-10 minutes and the temperature to 250 degrees and let the oven do the hard work of cleaning – all by itself!

Halogen bulbs, like any other bulb, will eventually wear out. So, it was nice to see that a spare one came packaged with the unit and, at the time of this review, it also has a 24 month warranty which really shows confidence in the product by Andrew James.

What We Think

It was hard not to be impressed by this amazingly versatile cooking appliance. The warranty, spare bulb and amazing host of useful accessories really compliment an already amazing device. If you want a good all rounder we believe this device won’t disappoint.

Russell Hobbs 18537

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Rusell Hobbs are another well known brand in the UK. They make everything from kettles to microwaves and toasters to irons. The 18537 is their main entry into the halogen oven market and has been a popular seller (and has the reviews to back it up) since its initial launch in late 2011.

Let’s take a look at the Russell Hobbs 18537 to find out exactly what this compact unit can offer you.

To begin with this device offers slightly less cooking room than the Andrew James unit above. The main capacity of the oven is a touch smaller at 11 litres. This is still quite sizable and it can be increased with the included 5 litre expansion ring to give you a very respectable 16 litre total capacity.

How To Use The Russell Hobbs 18537

Following a design common to virtually all halogen ovens the lid of this unit consists of a glass base plate on top of which sits the cooking element and controls. You can set this unit to cook from 0 to 60 minutes and at a temperature of 125°C to 200°C degrees which is about average for a unit of this type.

It is important to note the device will not operate without the timer running. This serves two purposes; the first is that it stops you accidentally cremating your food(!) and reduces the risk of fire. It is a testament to how much faster these devices can cook when compared to a regular oven.

When you first receive the oven you’ll notice that the instructions ask you to use the unit for 10 minutes at 200 degrees whilst it is empty. During this time it does smoke a little but this is nothing to worry about. The supplied manual claims this will happen but does not explain why. We assumed perhaps some residue left over from the manufacturing process was being burnt off.

What Else Is Included?

Like the Andrew James oven this one does arrive with a heater rest. It is a little on the flimsy side but does do a good job of holding the lid in place.

Once you’ve finished cooking, the lid features a handy folding carry handle making it safe to pick up and move and you can place it on the supplied lid rack for safe storage. In addition to the lid rack this unit also comes with some tongs, a low and high rack and, of course, the extension ring. It would have been nice to see one or two more accessories included however this is down to personal preference and not a necessity.

How Easy Is It To Clean?

No decent halogen oven would be without a self cleaning cycle and here the Russell Hobbs does not disappoint. To clean the unit place 1.5 litres of water into the oven bowl along with a dash of washing-up liquid. Then run the device at 125 degrees for 10 minutes until the bell sounds. Then all you need to do is let it cool and empty away the contents – easy.

What We Think

Overall this is a well-built and sturdy unit, as you would expect from Rusell Hobbs. It was disappointing that it did not arrive with a few more accessories. However this should be fine if you just want a simple halogen oven and aren’t bothered about all of the extras.

electriQ 17L

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Despite being relatively unknown electriQ have produced a decent mid-range halogen oven which easily stands on-par with its competitors. We believe this is, in part, because it seems to share the same parent manufacturer as some of the other brands. Though we can’t be sure, because we’re not electronics experts, the overall style of the case and size appear very similar to some others in the market place – with only a few subtle differences.

You might be wondering if this a problem. We would have to say no. In fact, it is a very good thing. More competition means manufacturers compete on pricing and become more innovative to get your attention. Generally speaking it means you get more bang for your buck. So, let’s see what this electriQ oven can do.

How To Use The electriQ Halogen Oven Work?

On top of the lid you will find the controls and the main heating element. The top features a folding handle for lifting the lid – so no burnt fingers here. The handle also acts as a safety switch and the unit will not operate whilst it is upright. When you lift the handle the unit switches off. This is a nice safety feature and will also help prevent any burns.

The temperature and timer can both be set using two simple dials. Which is, again, a feature common to most devices. The timer can be set from 0 – 60 minutes and the temperature can be set from 125 – 250 degrees.

There is also a defrost function and you can even cook food from frozen in the device. All you need to do is set the temperature dial around 20 degrees lower than the recommended cooking temperature for the item in question.

What Else Is Included?

Next, we thought we’d look at the accessories and the electriQ certainly does not lack in this department. If you’ve read any of our other reviews you’ll know that accessories can rapidly increase the usefulness of any halogen oven. The main advantage is that you only need to cook in, and clean, one device for your meals.

It comes with both a high and low rack (for twin level cooking), steaming pan, frying pan, tongs, a 4 piece fork set and a lid holder. This will allow you to cook all manor of meals from pizza to full roast dinners and even steam vegetables.

Should you find you need more room the initial 12 litre capacity can be extended with the supplied extender ring to 17 litres. This is a pretty standard addition so its good to see it here.

Lastly this oven does feature a self cleaning function. Which can be used once the unit has cooled down.

What We Think

Overall this is a solid entry by electriQ. It is difficult to find much wrong for the price and it comes with a good gamut of accessories which should keep even the most ardent cook happy. If you like the look of this unit but don’t want to go with a relative unknown we recommend you check out our review on the Vonshef which is very similar.

Sentik 12 Litre Premium 1300W

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In another unit which shares a standard design, this Sentik halogen oven appears to offer a very similar model to the electriQ and Vonshef models. However, it comes with a two main differences which should definitely make it worth a look.

The first it that it has an excellent price point and is by far one of the cheapest halogen ovens we’ve seen. The only downside to this (and the second main point) is that the reduction in price has meant a reduction in accessories and it only comes with the bare basics. Which may disappoint some, but be better for others who do not want to pay for accessories they may never use.

One of the most notable missing accessories is the extender ring. Which means its still very ample 12 litre capacity cannot be extended without buying one. That said, it does come with a high and low rack for multi-level cooking and a set of tongs for safe removal of the racks.

How To Use The Sentik Halogen Oven

The heating unit is located in the main lid and it contains the standard two dials which set both the temperature and timer. The timer runs from 0 – 60 minutes whilst the temperature can be set from 125 to 250 degrees. It did surprise us to see that is also came with a defrost function – something we thought may have been sacrificed to reduce cost.

What We Think

Overall this oven by Sentik is about as cheap as halogen ovens come. It does mean you’ll sacrifice accessories however this does not impact the quality of the device. It would be ideal for anyone who wants to dip their toe into cooking with a halogen oven but may not want to pay for a more expensive unit.

How Halogen Ovens Work

Yes, you can cook food with a light-bulb…

Because halogen ovens look so different to a traditional oven it might be tempting to believe how you cook using them is different too. In fact, they are very similar in this respect. To start with you always need to place your food in a container or tray before placing it in the oven. In turn this container is always placed on a wire rack to allow hot air to circulate to cook your food evenly.

What really differs is how halogen ovens heat the food. Instead of using gas or large electric heating elements, halogen ovens use, as you’ve probably guessed, halogen bulbs. This might seem like an odd choice considering we use them to light our homes. However, halogen bulbs give off a lot of heat – much more than a regular light bulb. They are also much more compact and have a longer life span making them ideal for use in a halogen oven.

When activated they emit infrared light which heats the air inside the cooking chamber. A top mounted fan then circulates this air to ensure even and fast cooking. Whilst we couldn’t find any independent scientific reports many manufacturers reports claim they can cook food up to 40% faster than a standard oven.

The Advantages Of Halogen Ovens

What are the advantages of halogen ovens compared to traditional ovens?

  • Halogen ovens use a lot less electricity than a conventional oven. In fact, one report stated that these devices cost less than £30 a year to use compared to £70 for a regular oven (based on 223 uses a year). This stands to reason given that, on average, a halogen oven will only consume 0.867 kWh compared to 2.068 kWh for a regular oven (both at 200 degrees).
  • The energy savings above come from 4 main features:
    • There’s much less space to be heated
    • There’s no heat up time
    • The food cooks faster
    • The type of heating element used
  • With automatic cleaning cycles halogen ovens are far easier to clean than a conventional oven.
  • Unlike traditional ovens, halogen ovens don’t radiate vast amounts of heat making them ideal for cooking in smaller spaces or on warm summer days.
  • Due to how the food is cooked it retains more of its natural juice and therefore flavour.
  • Halogen ovens are incredibly portable making them ideal to use on holidays or in student flats. You could even use them as an extra oven when friends and family come to stay so you can prepare extra food.
  • They are very simple to use and many people favour them over their traditional oven shortly after buying one.
  • You can easily check on your food thanks to the glass cooking bowl.
  • You can open the halogen oven to stir or check on food without losing the heat.

Useful Accessories & Extras

Throughout our halogen oven reviews we’ve mentioned that you often get a few additional included extras. Most of what you need is included with the oven. However, there are one or two extras you might find handy.

Here’s our top list of what we think you should look for when you buy, plus we’ve also included one useful extra accessory which is often not included with these ovens:

  • Extension Ring: These are incredibly handy because they increase the capacity of your halogen oven and allow you to cook more food at any one time. This could be handy when you’re cooking larger meals such as at Christmas.
  • Toast Rack: If you and your family love toast this is sure to come in handy. Typically you can cook up to 8 pieces of toast in the rack at once.
  • Tongs: Virtually all units come with a set of tongs to make it easy lifting in and out the baking trays or wire racks. They will prevent burns and stop you spilling your food everywhere. This is something which is worthwhile checking is included just to make sure you do not get caught short.
  • Lid Rack: If your unit has a lift off lid (as many do) make sure it comes with a lid rack so you have somewhere safe to place the hot lid when checking or serving your food. If it does not, make sure you have a good wooden chopping board or heat resistant silicone mat to put it on.
  • Steamer: For the health conscious among you the steamer tray is a must. It will allow you to quickly steam fish and vegetables.
  • EXTRA – Temperature Probe: This will surely come in handy during your early days of using a halogen oven when you might not be sure of cooking times. You will be able to ensure all of the meat is cooked fully and prevent under-cooking.

Closing thoughts

As with air fryers and soup makers a halogen oven could really make a difference in your kitchen. They are incredibly convenient, energy efficient and make cooking all sorts of meals that little bit easier.

In our selection of ovens we’ve reviewed a wide spectrum to encompass the best value for money units which offer a good selection of features and accessories to help you narrow your choice.

But, if you’re still unsure if this kind of oven is right for you (but still want to give it a go) we recommend looking at the Sentik 1300w or Vonshef Premium 12L Air Fryer. They both offer excellent value for money and you have the choice between a unit with a lot of accessories and one with very few.

However, if you want to take a relatively small plunge and get an excellent value for money, top end unit we think the Andrew James AJ-686GD won’t disappoint. It is currently one of the top units available today and is priced very competitively.

Happy cooking!