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Culinary Showdown: Gas vs Electric Cooking Options

by Albert Lee Appliance

Most homeowners have two main choices for cooking appliances: gas or electric. You may have a preference based on the type of appliance you learned to cook on; however, when you explore the trade-offs of each type, you might find more than one reason to switch your allegiance. If you’re a pro chef, you might favor the versatility and accuracy provided by the flame of gas ranges, but if you’re a home baker with children in the house, you’ll probably gravitate toward the safety of an electric range.   

If you’re like most people, you may not have a choice in the matter—your home may be equipped for one cooking option or the other and you live with what you’ve got. But if your current cooking appliance is scorching your sauce, burning your breakfast, or charring your casserole, it might be time to consider a replacement. Our latest guide puts these cooking options side-by-side—gas vs electric—to help you understand what makes each option different and how they can help you in the kitchen.  

Which is Easier to Install?  

Gas wall ovens, ranges, and cooktops run on natural gas and require a gas line to the house—sometimes running on propane or butane. This can be a deal-breaker depending on where you live. In many suburban developments, there will be an available infrastructure for gas and electric-powered appliances, and in some rural areas, gas lines are not provided. Regardless of where you reside, there’s a good chance you’ll have electricity. If you have a sufficient power outlet (240-volt), you can operate an electric oven or other cooking appliance.   

Energy-Efficiency  

This is somewhat of a loaded comparison. If you’re looking at both cooking options, your operating costs might be cheaper on one type, but you can be wasting more energy with the other. Gas ranges, gas cooktops, and gas ovens are far more energy-efficient compared to their electric counterparts. When cooking on a gas appliance, the majority of energy produced is transferred directly to your food. It takes about three times as much energy to produce and deliver electricity to your stove; whereas, a gas stove will use half the amount of energy to operate.  

If you’re using gas, you’re already using a more efficient heating fuel and making the ecologically friendly choice. If you’re wondering about costs to run the appliance, propane and natural gas rates are typically competitive with electricity rates, but they vary greatly by region. And even in more affluent, gas-rich states, it still tends to be the more energy-efficient and economical fuel type.  

Better Operating Control  

Whether you’re an experienced cook or you need to keep a fire extinguisher close by, precise temperature control can help you manage your meals for thorough and even cooking results (without burning).  

Gas cooktops and ranges allow for better temperature control than electric models. The main difference is how each type responds to changes in temperature settings. A gas-powered cooking appliance will respond more instantly because the flame spreads beneath the pan—allowing you to turn the knobs and change the size of the flame to provide more control when preparing meals. Gas also tends to have more settings because you can turn the control knobs in tiny increments. If the water is about to overflow, simply turn down the heat—if your veggies aren’t sauteed to your liking, turn the dial to crank up the heat.  

Electric ranges, for example, have a more limited number of settings and do not respond as quickly when adjusting the temperature down or turning off the heat source. You won’t notice a change in results immediately which can affect your cooking, and electric heating zones take a long time to cool down after your meal pre

However, with an electric element, the pot or pan sits directly on the heat source and can reach higher temperatures than gas because the heat is more concentrated. You won’t have the risk of using the wrong-sized cookware for your burner grates, causing the flame to heat the air and the sides of your pan rather than generate heat to your food directly.  

Safety First  

If safety is your main priority in the kitchen, electric models are generally the safer product for households. Even though gas ranges and cooktops are covered by metal grates, the burners still use an adjustable flame that can catch items like dishcloths and paper towels on fire if kept too close. An electric appliance does not eliminate the risk of burns or fires completely, but it is considered safer.  

You won’t have the worry of a gas leak if your appliance is not properly installed to the gas line, and you can erase the fear of the dial turning far enough to release gas without igniting. If you do have a gas range, it’s a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector and be vigilant to make sure knobs are always turned all the way toward the “Off” position when the appliance is not being used.  

Which Appliance is Easier to Clean?  

For an easy-care and easy-to-clean product, electric range tops bypass all other cooking appliances. Cleaning electric coils are comparable to cleaning the burners and grates associated with gas cooking options, but the smooth glass or ceramic cooktop on electric appliances can be cleaned easily with the wipe of a damp rag and some dish soap. And if something is burnt or stuck onto the surface, it should only take the minimal abrasion of some baking soda to help scrub away any leftover remnants. 

Speed 

One of the most frustrating aspects of cooking is waiting for your appliances to heat up. Gas ovens certainly have the advantage with a faster preheat speed as specialized vents on the sides of the appliance introduce heat into the oven. However, electric ovens tend to cycle between the bake and broil elements during the preheat, which can be far less efficient. You may be waiting a few minutes longer for an electric oven to preheat, but each appliance can get the job done equally well. It comes down to style and design more than anything else.  

Bonus: Induction  

Whoever said three’s a crowd obviously didn't know much about kitchen appliances. There's another great cooking feature you can’t forget about: induction. If you’re serious about safe and energy-efficient cooking, induction is the way to go. It's versatile, consistent, dependable, and easy to keep clean.  

You can cook with the highest temperatures and the lowest temperatures at a faster rate than ever, giving you ultimate control over mealtime and your favorite dishes. Instead of cooking with a gas or electric element to transfer heat to food, magnetic induction is used to send heat currents to the cooking vessel itself. Talk about masterful culinary innovation! 

The Bottom Line 

When it comes down to it, if you’re shopping for new kitchen appliances and are stuck between gas vs electric, choose the model you are most comfortable using. If you have reservations about gas or cooking on an open flame, opt for electric. If you’re a budding chef, gas may be the best option for you. You want to feel confident in your decision and know you can prepare meals safely and effectively.  

The choice is yours, but if you have questions or need help scouring through the features of each appliance model, give us a call or stop by Albert Lee to shop our entire catalog of kitchen appliances. We'll carefully guide you through our line of products so you can make the right purchase for your needs.