Gas vs Electric Stove, Which Is Better? [Pros & Cons]
Gas and electric stoves are a necessity in every kitchen. However, choosing between the two can be a hassle that is difficult to resolve. Looking at the initial cost of a gas stove vs. an electric stove is often not enough, as you should count in the costs of running the appliance for years to come. As natural gas and electricity prices keep rising, they can often cost you more than the stove itself. Let’s consider the issue in more detail.
What is a Gas & Electric Stove?
Gas and electric stoves are general kitchen appliances that use natural gas or electricity for cooking food. As such, they consume a lot of energy and are considered to be power (and money)-hungry appliances. Both gas and electric stoves are necessary, so understanding the difference between the two is important to understand the long-term benefits of both.
First things first, a gas stove uses natural gas or other forms of gas, such as Butane, Propane, or even Biogas. The gas is typically supplied through a gas line, although stoves can also use gas stored in gas cylinders that can be refilled and reconnected to the gas stove as necessary. They are generally a bit cheaper to operate than electric ranges, although this really depends on the prices of both natural gas and electricity in your area.
However, gas stoves consume gas and produce harmful CO2 in the process. In this case, electric stoves look much better, especially if you have a solar array installed or if you have a green energy plan. In both cases, the electric current is sent through electric coils, which heat up and cook your food. Electric ranges can also include electric ovens, although they are sometimes sold as separate units.
How Do They Work?
A gas stove works by connecting to a source of gas. This can be a gas line or a gas tank in or outside of your home. Once you turn the burner on, the gas starts flowing through a series of tubes before reaching the burner. Once in the burner, gas gets ignited by a spark and starts producing heat. Beware that a gas stove still needs a power connection for the igniter to work. Some people disregard this and use lighters to ignite the gas, but this is not a recommended option as it is not safe.
On the other hand, electric models of stoves need no gas line connection. This is the biggest difference between gas and electric ranges. Electric stoves need to connect to a 110-Volt wall socket (or 220-Volt socket, if you are in Europe), where they draw power from. The electricity that they use is sent through hot plates which heat up and cook food.
Depending on the technology that is used, there are:
- Classic hotplates or electric coils use the most electricity,
- IR electric stoves – using infrared technology, they use less power than the previous kind of electric stoves, and
- Induction electric stove – uses magnetic induction technology to cook the food that is in the pot or pan without heating the cookware itself. This type of electric stove performs the best as they enable very precise temperature control, and there are virtually no heat and energy losses as there are with all other electric stove models.
Gas and electric stove installation are also different. As we said before, a gas stove needs a connection to a gas line to work. While connections to other sources of gas are possible as well, the fuel has to be supplied regularly, as we have stated before. The installation itself should always be done by a professional installer, as even a small gas leak can compromise your health and the health of your family members.
However well developed the gas lines in the US are, the power lines are even more developed. The simple installation of an electric stove has granted it a place in many US homes. An electric range simply needs to be plugged into the wall socket and forgotten about until it is the time to purchase a new electric stove. That being said, electric stoves are more practical than gas stoves, but gas stoves are preferred by professional chefs for a reason.
Namely, although electric stoves enable good control over the cooking temperature, the open flame found on gas stoves offers much more precise control of the cooking temperature. Cooking options electric stoves have come in gradients, usually 1-3 or 1-9. Besides this, there are few ways to control the temperature on an electric stove.
With this in mind, gas stoves have much better temperature control than electric stoves, although both a gas and electric stove will do the job for most users. If you do not have a natural gas line installed on your property or running through your area, you can forget about the open flame: electric stovetops are the perfect solution for you.
If, however, you can choose between the two and love to cook, you should opt for a gas appliance: simply turning the burner control knob offers you a more precise temperature control than an electric stove ever could. This is the reason so many chefs prefer this type of oven.
Difference Between Gas & Electric Stove
When it comes to the biggest difference between electric and gas stoves is the heating source that they use. Electric stoves use electricity and may be cheaper to run in areas where natural gas costs outrun the costs of electricity. They are also a better solution if you have your own solar panels.
Heating time is another major difference between electric and gas stoves. As it goes, gas stoves take a shorter time to heat up, as gas generates heat instantly. The same cannot be said of most electric stoves. The only electric stove that is comparable to gas stoves is the induction type of electric hotplate – as it heats water directly, there is almost no loss of energy, and time savings are significant.
You may decide that cooking style brings about an important difference between gas vs. electric types of stoves. As you may have noticed, most large kitchens, such as those in restaurants, use a gas stove and a gas oven. This is because gas allows for much more precise temperature control and can reach higher temperatures more safely.
On the other hand, you may decide that convenience plays an important role for you. In this case, electricity wins lower upfront costs, no dangerous gas leaks, and no need to make a gas line run all the way to the kitchen. However, not being able to cook during a power outage can mean less convenience for some, especially if you live in an area where the energy delivery system is yet to be modernized.
When it comes to efficiency, an energy-efficient stove is almost always electric. You may argue that a new stove powered by gas is better than an old stove powered by electricity, but the efficiency of electricity-powered devices keeps increasing. With this in mind, and if you follow our advice on energy-efficient cooking, you will be able to save energy every time you cook, regardless of the source of heat.
As safety is one of the biggest concerns in any family and cooking setting, it is worth noting that all types of stoves pose their own safety challenges. Gas ranges may have a faulty ignition system, and a gas leak may occur. Once gas reaches hazardous buildup, it can be damaging to health – even lethal in some cases. Electric stoves, on the other hand, pose a fire hazard risk, especially in older houses with old wiring. They may also seem cool but still be hot, causing burns if contact occurs.
Price can also be a big determiner in which type of oven or range you choose. In general, an electric stove may be cheaper initially, but a gas range typically pays off in a shorter while and costs less in the long run. This, of course, depends on the average price of natural gas, liquid propane, or any other fuel you may use.
In addition to initial investment costs, the operational cost of owning a range or an oven should be considered. Each stove type has different operational costs, with gas stoves being cheaper to run and maintain. An electric stove, on the other hand, can be cheaper only if you have solar panels, as almost no area in the US has electricity that is cheap to compete with gas in electricity production.
Durability or Maintenance
Durability and maintenance, on the other hand, go in favor of gas ranges. Namely, there is very little maintenance with them, as there are no electric parts that can go faulty, and the entire construction is made so as to withstand high temperatures. Electric appliances, on the other hand, may break periodically and need a replacement after ten years of service.
As cleaning is a daily duty, it is worth knowing which type of stove demands less cleaning. In most cases, that will be a smooth-surface electric stove, as it has a single, uniform surface to clean. No gas range can match this ease of cleaning.
Monthly Cost of a Gas Stove
The operating cost of gas stoves depends on the gas prices you pay in your area, the type of gas, and the time of use on an average day. This means there are many variables to consider when calculating the costs, but there is a rule of thumb. The rule says that an average stove in an average American household will cost $7.5 per month for one hour of use a day.
This is a guideline and should be taken with a grain of salt. Namely, your actual price will increase with an increase in the number of burners you use: using two burners for an hour each day will cost twice as much as using one. Likewise, using a single burner for two hours every day will cost double as well.
Monthly Cost of an Electric Stove
Using electric stoves costs electric power. The prices here differ very much, from $0.07 to $0.32 per kWh of electricity used. For this reason, the average electric burner costs more than a gas burner. On average, you can expect to pay around $11 per month for each hour of average daily use. Always check out utility bills to ensure you do not overpay.
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Pros and Cons of a Gas Stove
When speaking of gas vs electric stove, you should know the pros and cons of both. Here are the pros of gas stoves:
- They reach the desired temperature almost right away,
- They take mere seconds to change the cooking temperature once you adjust the knob,
- They last longer than an electric stove, and
- They cost less in the long run.
The cons of a gas stove:
- Installation is longer and costlier than with their electric counterparts,
- They cost more upfront,
- They are heavy and difficult to move,
- They require special plumbing and a wall socket for ignition systems,
- They pose a significant fire hazard if left unmonitored, and
- They pose a significant health hazard in case of a leak or if a gust of draft extinguishes the flames.
Pros and Cons of an Electric Stove
There are also both pros and cons to an electric stove. Here are the pros:
- They are cheap,
- They are easy to install,
- They are easy to operate,
- They do not require any change to the plumbing or wiring in the house – a simple wall outlet is all you need, and
- They are versatile in size and the number of cooktops.
The cons of using an electric stove:
- They take a while to heat up,
- They take time to change the hotplate temperature once you adjust the knob,
- They last shorter than an average gas stove,
- They cost more in the long run, and
- They pose a fire hazard with old or damaged wiring.
How to Use a Stove More Efficiently?
There are ways to reduce energy use with both a gas and electric stove. These appliances cost a lot of money to run, so you may want to consider ways to save money by using them more efficiently. This is especially useful for large households and restaurants or any other businesses where you need to use the stove for prolonged periods of time.
Choose the Right Cookware
Choosing the right cookware uses less energy than regular cooking. Check your pots and pans and see if they are damaged or not. Choose the right type of cookware for induction cooking. Choose the right cooking techniques or a pressure cooker for faster food cooking time. In general, stainless steel pots and pans need less heat and energy to reach the desired temperature.
Choose the Right Appliance
If you live in an area that has cheap electricity, you could benefit from this by using electric stoves. Your energy will be the same, but your energy cost and operating costs will be lower. Furthermore, if relying on gas stoves, choose models without a pilot light, as this small consumption really adds up over time.
If you’ve had enough gas stoves and have to do a regular inspection of the gas line, you may want to explore electric options. If you have some extra money to invest, choosing an induction cooktop will significantly reduce your energy use. Energy costs are rising, so deciding on a higher upfront cost that enables you to save in the long run may be the best solution.
Match Cookware Size to Burner Size
The next piece of advice on how to save when cooking food relates to the size of the pot. Always choose the pot that matches the size of the burner. On gas models, you can use larger pots than the burner size, but on electric cooktops, this can lead to burned food and uneven cooking.
Clean Your Cooktop Regularly
Cleaning your cooktop regularly will ensure smooth heat transfer and an easy way to energy-efficient cooking. Use baking soda or other abrasive solutions to clean your cooktop. These solutions will leave the surface perfectly clean and flat, with no bumps of burned food to create undesirable air pockets between the hot surface and the cookware. Beware with smooth top stoves, as baking soda can leave unsightly scratches on their shiny surface.
Use Electric Cooktops During Free Electricity Periods
If you have an electric cooktop and an energy plan that offers freebies, such as free nights and weekends, make sure to use these to your advantage. You can save a lot of money by cooking when electricity is free, and most meals, including meats, soups, and chowders, can sit in the fridge for a few days. Beware that your ‘free’ usage does not exceed electricity use during regular periods, as your energy provider may choose to charge you for both.
Prepare the Ingredients in Advance
Preparing the ingredients in advance is a huge time and energy saver. You use more energy when leaving a stove on for the cookware to heat up as you cut and chop and dice your vegetables. Only preheat your cookware when the recipe says you should do so.
Use Lids Whenever Possible
Putting a lid on your cookware will significantly reduce the heat escaping the pot and the energy needed to replenish that heat. That means that you should always cook with a lid on. Put the lid on the pot or the pan and reduce fire by up to 60% – you will still get the same results in the same amount of time. Cooking on consistent low heat also means more flavorful food and juicier meats and sausages.
Other Factors to Consider
We have already discussed many factors you should consider when deciding on a gas vs electric stove. All these factors are important, but the most important one that you should consider is the cost of the installation – the initial or the startup cost. What made electric stoves much more popular than gas ranges, at least in some parts of the world, is their relatively low price.
However, you should also consider the longevity of your appliance: an average electric stove can last anywhere between 5-10 years. Gas ranges, on the other hand, can easily last for more than 20 years, saving you $4 every month for each hour of use. This difference adds up to significant amounts of money saved, especially if you plan on settling in the house you’re installing the gas stove in. Gas stoves, despite high initial costs, are unmatched when it comes to operational costs.
What is the average gas usage for a 3 bed house?
A 3-bed house will use around 12,000 kWh of gas every year. This is around 1,000 kWh per month. Bear in mind that the actual gas usage may vary depending on your energy use habits, energy use times, the weather in your area, and the number of appliances using gas you may have.
Do gas stoves increase home value?
Gas stoves are generally more expensive and longer-lasting appliances compared to an electric stove. For this reason, they could increase the value of your home. A well-maintained appliance that has a long time to go before needing a replacement will increase the value of your home even more.
Is gas more efficient than electric?
Electricity is the most efficient of all fuels we have, with a conversion rate of around 95%. However, if you are interested in saving money or helping the planet, natural gas may be a more friendly fuel, as it is cheaper than electricity and has fewer emissions than coal which is predominantly used to generate electricity around the world.
Is it worth converting to gas?
Yes, converting to gas is worth it. Gas costs way less than electricity in most of the US. It is also a more eco-friendly energy source in areas where coal is burned to generate electricity. As gas is cheaper than electricity, it is also home budget-friendly and will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Whichever type of stove you may choose, gas or electric, there are both pros and cons to consider before making the final decision. As it goes, electric stoves are becoming more efficient, are easier to clean and maintain and also cost less to install. Gas stoves, on the other hand, cost less in the long run but will cost you more upfront. Reliable and heavy-duty, these stoves have found their way into the homes of most Americans today.