> but is implicitly converted into strings when it is entered.

use floatVal($str1) === floatVal($str2) then ... I honestly cannot spot any 
problem in what you wanna do, I can just spot an error in the root of the 
process: threat strings as numbers, comparing potatoes and tomatoes ... 

there are filters used for validation as well in php, maybe those filters, 
hopefully faster than PCRE, could help you to understand if a string is a 
number, or not.

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