Which is better: gas or electric stoves?

According to Consumer Reports, most people prefer cooking on a gas stove over an electric stove. Only around half of U.S. homes, however, receive gas service.

Most other homes in the country rely on electricity for their ranges. Is it worth adding gas service to an all-electric home for the benefits of gas stoves over electric stoves, or are gas ranges not all they are hyped to be? Ultimately, the differences may come down to models rather than fuel sources, and excellent stoves can be found in both gas and electric varieties.

Many people end up cooking on the type of stove they grew up with and learned to cook on originally. If you want to know which type of stove is actually best for your style of cooking, there are some differences between gas and electric stoves that may make one a better choice for your household than the other. Besides fuel source availability, other differences between gas and electric stoves include cooking temperature, accessibility, price and preferred cooking method. Consider the following information if you are trying to choose between cooking with a gas or electric stove.

Cost

In terms of purchase price, electric stoves typically cost more than gas stoves, although not by a large amount. Electric stoves typically cost between $650 and $2,800, whereas gas stoves cost between $800 and $2,300 to purchase. The real difference in cost between electric and gas stoves is in the operating costs, as this difference is largely a matter of your choice of fuel source. Which type of fuel source is cheaper to use depends largely on how accessible a consistent supply is of gas or electricity.

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Not only do prices for these utilities vary between urban and rural environments, but they also vary over time. The price of gas or electricity today may be significantly greater or lesser than it was yesterday or will be tomorrow. As a result, you need to research the gas and electricity costs in your area over time to determine which one is the more economical option for you. In general, gas stoves are usually about 10 to 30 percent cheaper to operate than electric stoves.

Ease of Installation

Most houses have electricity, so to install an electric stove, all you need to do is plug it in. You specifically need an outlet capable of 240 volts rather than the standard 110. You can find electric stoves operating on 120 volts, but they also are not as powerful for heavy cooking.

Gas stoves are generally powered by natural gas and need a gas connection or a tank you fill up regularly in order to operate. This tank must be hooked up to the stove with a direct line. To install the gas tank, you will need a licensed electrician. Trying to install a gas stove yourself is dangerous and not advised. A gas leak could harm you in more than one way and may potentially damage your house as well. In most situations, an electric stove is easier and cheaper to install than a gas stove.

Cooking Temperature

Electric stoves cook faster at a high heat than gas stoves. High heat cooking on large burners is convenient for boiling large pots of water, such as for rice or potatoes. Many cooks would argue the more prevalent type of cooking is not fast high-heat boiling but slow low-heat simmering. Surprisingly, electric stoves once again outperformed gas stoves, though this time by a much slighter margin. Electric ranges, however, can provide inconsistent temperatures at low settings, leading to scorched sauces and undercooked stir fries.

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In addition to the distinctions between gas and electric stoves when cooking at high and low heat, major differences also exist in how each type of stove handles temperature changes. You can make fast changes in temperature on a gas stove. On an electric stove, the temperature changes more gradually. If you need to shift from boiling to simmering, for example, you can do it much more quickly on a gas range than on an electric one. This means you must time your cooking carefully and pay greater attention on an electric stove, so you do not accidentally burn your food.

Cooking Method

For quality baked goods, an oven needs to bake evenly. For even baking of foods, gas ovens are far superior to electric ovens. The distinctions between gas and electric stoves may be most apparent in broiling. While flame broilers are a highly-touted feature of gas ranges, electric stoves performed better in tests.

Other types of cooking can be performed only on gas stoves including the following:

  • Flambeing.
  • Toasting.
  • Charring.

Safety

You can hurt yourself on either kind of stove if you are not careful and paying attention. The open flame of a gas stove poses more safety hazards than an electric burner does. Consider an open flame can catch any item too close on fire, whereas an electric burner must come into contact with an item to ignite it, and sometimes it must even maintain contact for a time before the item ignites. If you have young children in the house, an electric stove might be the safer option.

The one safety advantage a gas stove may have over an electric one in terms of risks of burns is it cools down faster than an electric stove. It can be far more common to burn oneself on an electric stove no longer in use than a turned off gas stove. Besides the potential for burns or catching items on fire, both types of stoves have their individual hazards you must be aware of. Electric stoves can short and spark if the electric wiring or the outlet is worn or damaged or a power surge occurs. Gas stoves can have gas leaks in the lines. Both of these issues can be avoided with proper stove and home maintenance and utility repair.

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