Gas vs Electric Cooking

danvirsseNovember 1, 2013

We are in the midst of a total renovation of a 1838 Cape home we purchased 3 years ago. The structural repairs have been completed and I need to begin making basic choices concerning my kitchen. Both Natural Gas and Electric are options. I've cooked on electric most of my life, but did cook on a low end propane range for a few years. I can't recall be either unhappy or especially pleased with the propane rangetop, but did love the propane oven.

What are the disadvantages of gas? Advantages?

If I choose Electric, it will be smooth top radiant. Aside from the need for very flat pan bottoms, what do you see as a disadvantage? I do like the ease of cleanup.

We expect this to be our "forever" home, so I can't make this choice twice. Do you have any views?

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I have gas and I have had electric.

I personally prefer Gas.

1. It heats the pan faster, cooking is faster
2. it doesnt matter if the pan is a little warped, heat is still better distributed. Things cook more evenly anyway
3. You can light your candles on the stove. (ha)

Other than that, heat is heat and it really depends on how you cook... I am not an expert but gas is preferred by me mostly because of th above reasons.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 10:43AM
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Honestly, I prefer electric, but when we redid the kitchen DH wanted was the only thing he really wanted so I deferred, even though neither one of us does a lot of cooking at this stage in our lives...empty nesters, both working full time, he travels a lot. He swears he's going to get into cooking when he retires...can't wait!

I guess the fair thing is, whoever does the most cooking (or at least likes to cook the most) gets to choose.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 11:09AM
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I've had gas and electric and prefer gas. Easier to quickly adjust the heat and heat is distributed better. I've heard really good things about induction cooking. I'd use that if going electric.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 11:10AM
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I prefer gas to all varieties of electric, except for induction.

I have both a gas range and and induction burner and I can't quite decide which I like the best. I prefer cooking on gas for its power and responsiveness, but we have also have solar panels so my electricty if "free", well at least it is very low-carbon unlike mains electricty. You can't beat the super low energy cost of using induction, even w/o solar equipment.

Gas, of course, comes with the reality that most of it in my area comes from fracking, which I don't like.

We also have fairly frequent power outages so having a gas cooktop is very handy because I can still cook on it. Some older gas ranges had the ability to also use the oven w/o power, but newer, more electronic, ones need power to run.

I also do a lot of canning and right now most canning equipment does not work on induction. None of my huge, and expensive, pressure canners which are all aluminum will work on an induction range

There are other special-cookware issues with induction, but many newer pots work with it.

It has many of the easy clean-up attributes of a smooth radiant top.

There isn't an easy answer, except in my book all electric ranges, except induction, are much less desirable than gas (whether propane or natgas).

I do like my set-up though: both. I try to always use the induction where possible because of the fuel issues. I now have too much gas-fed real estate since I am using my ancient, 48" restaurant-style range. If had to buy new appliances now I would buy a small or med-small all gas range with an infra-red broiler and small oven and an induction range with a slightly larger convection oven. But if only one range is possible I would get an all-gas one and at the same time find a set-up that accommodated a good-quality, 220V induction burner unit beside it.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 11:51AM
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Cindy103d - I originally thought I was all set and going to get an induction. Then we went to see several under power. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed...even with the higher end brands. That is what led to this post.

smthakker1 and joaniepoanie - I appreciate both of you adding your 2 cents worth. I think, if my DH is in agreement, we'll go look at a few gas ranges and some "better" radiant top electric. I have a GE radiant top now that is "just okay", but since this will be our forever home I'd like it to be more than that.

Anyone else have opinions?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 11:52AM
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Regular gas is better than radiant electric. By far. But induction is better than either.

Induction can do everything gas can do, and better. Except for charring a pepper and giving you that primeval "cooking with fire" bit that many people are attracted to no matter that it's incredibly inefficient when compared with induction.

There is no comparison with regular radiant and induction. It's night and day. Regular radiant is a C- experience. It depends on the skill of the cook to rise above it's capabilities to give you a good meal. Induction expands those capabilities, so it expands the universe for the cook as well.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 12:24PM
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They used to say gas is the professional's choice. I initially kept reading electric, however, was best for the oven, though have also read that varies depending on what type of baking you are doing.

These days, induction is said to be equal or better than gas and everyone reporting back seems to love it. Bummer is your pots and pans might not work on it.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Fri, Nov 1, 13 at 15:03

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 12:35PM
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junco East Georgia zone 8a

Danvirsse--what was it about the induction you saw that "underwhelmed"you? I might be making this decision as well.
Perhaps some of the induction fans here can help you evaluate your observations.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 1:21PM
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I have the same question as junco.

If I ever get to remodel my kitchen, I'd like a 4 hob zone-less induction cooktop and a 1 or 2 burner gas module for my non-magnetic cookware/power outages/charring.

I'm not a fan of my radiant cooktop. The cycling of the element's heat is a pain.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 1:43PM
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Induction is faster at heating and making temperature changes than anything else
It is less demanding for ventilation because it doesn't add btu waste heat to your space.
It is simple wipe down cleanup. Nothing burnt on.
Top pro chefs around the world all choose induction in new and remodeled spaces. You won't see a single gas range.
We have been given fewer choices at higher prices than European consumers. They have hundreds to choose from.

Post this question on the Appliance Forum for first hand feedback. No one will give it up.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Personally, we prefer gas, as we hated having to clean spillovers off of the ceramic surface of an electric range and it just doesn't heat as quickly or evenly.

Though, when we did our recent kitchen reno we made it so we can use either gas or electric. The electric line for the old range was relocated to the island and then we piped in gas for our new cooktop. Maybe the next home owner might want to put in an electric or induction cooktop They will have an easy time of that. If this is your forever home, you might want to give yourself that flexibility now, as making a change later can be far more expensive.

This post was edited by gpraceman on Fri, Nov 1, 13 at 14:45

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 2:18PM
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Induction left me "underwhelmed" because:
1) Very Noisy when turned on higher settings
2) Fan discharge blowing at me
3) Did not boil water much faster the my slow, old radiant top

Again, thanks to all for their insights

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 2:37PM
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Sophie Wheeler

I'd be interested in what brand left you with this bad taste in your mouth. And where you tried it. And what cookware they used. Because it sounds like a mismatch for the pan to the burner. It sounds like the pan was marginally acceptable. Especially given #3. #2 is kind of a given in most anything that has electronics these days.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 5:03PM
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I grew up with a house that had an all-electric kitchen but grandma (the REAL cook in the family) had gas. The electric stove was a pain because sometimes the perfect amount of heat was between two settings and of course, you always had a lag in the heating up/cooling down from when you changed a setting. With gas you can fine tune the heat, it's instant on/off, and of course stir-frying in a wok is SO MUCH easier and doing any sort of flambe-ing is just a breeze on gas. You can try lighting it with a match or lighter but it never works as well and doesn't burn off as completely. Both my husband and I prefer cooking on gas for these reasons (with the added benefit that gas is cheaper on the energy bill). Oh and don't forget charing peppers and other veggies! Unless you want to start up the BBQ, that's pretty much impossible with electric.

It was fortunate that the house we bought before Xmas came with an older all-gas range. It took a little bit of practice to become familiar with cooking on gas again after being in an AEK apartment for the last several years. The one thing I found that I didn't like was the gas oven. I miss hearing the "click" when it reaches temperature and it seems like the air is drier which affects the baking (we do a LOT of baking and cooking from scratch). I super super hate that the broiler is on the bottom - this may not be an issue with newer models. I'm putting together ideas for a new kitchen, and we are both in agreement that a perfect kitchen for us would be gas stove and electric oven.

Everyone has different needs so different things appeal to them, but that's my $0.02

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 5:33PM
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Induction. Induction. Induction. Unfortunately, the vast majority of sales people in this country are clueless how to use it or explain it. It is a national embarrassment. I have not seen (or heard of) a new installation in Europe that wasn't induction in ages. I have cooked on a variety of induction cooktops both here and across the EU. None have made what I'd call "noise." On boost, my Bosch makes a faint clicking sound, but nothing like the hiss of a gas top. (Granted, haven't had one of those since back in the days of pilot lights.) Induction is energy efficient, extremely safe for small children, bad cats, and forgetful old people, a class I will join sooner than I'd like. It cooks like blazes, and cleans with a spritz of vinegar. I get up every morning, and hug mine. I will never go back.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 5:47PM
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When we bought our last two houses we picked dual fuel ranges since my wife likes gas burners for performance and an electric oven for even heat. However, dual fuel ranges do cost more, so it might be cheaper to get a gas cooktop and electric wall oven (which we have also had).

Our current range is a dual fuel 30" GE Cafe with one main oven and a baking drawer. The burners work great, but the main oven seems a little slow to heat up. We haven't used the baking drawer yet. We are very happy with the features and capacity, considering its only a 30" unit.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 5:54PM
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I'm a gas person. Have had chances to use, but not enjoy, electric cooking.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 6:23PM
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It is not a real question unless you define your terms. "Better?" in what respect? Induction is usually less expensive to use and in some ways the rational choice. Those of us like myself who like gas are not only about how well it performs, but about the experience of cooking. For me the experience is important. I like seeing the flame and controlling it. I like using my copper and iron pans. I even enjoy the warmth. For me gas is a better experience. Just like a wood burning fireplace is a better experience (messier, dirtier, but warm, fragrant, authentic) than a gas fireplace. Plenty of people feel a gas fireplace has it all over a wood burning fireplace, but not me.

So, "better"? depends what metrics matter to you.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 6:53PM
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Full disclosure - I bought an induction cooktop about 18 months ago.
Were you in a showroom?
Lots of times the showroom model is running on 110 vs 240 which would not boil water very quickly.
Gas makes noise, heats the room and the cook
Induction makes different noises. It heats the vessel and not the room or cook. When my exhaust fan is running,I barely notice the noises - also, it is noisier with layered pans when the pan is cold.
From reports, it is easier to clean than radiant as the surface gets hot but not as hot as radiant. I find mine easy to clean.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 6:55PM
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We moved into our home last year and it has no gas, only electric. I've burnt so dang many things. I just can't get the hang of electric after being a gas man so many years.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 7:34PM
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Disclosure--I have never been impressed with gas.

We moved into our new home almost a month ago. I installed a Bosch induction (had a electric ceramic top in our old house) and it is one of the things I love about my home. It does make a small noise when I first turn it on high but goes away. And I wouldn't call it very loud or overwhelming. And because the surface isn't heated up, it is a breeze to clean. The water doesn't splash all over the surface when boiling and I don't get grease spatters when browning meat.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 11:25PM
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Gas all the way here.

Unfortunately, when I remodeled, I got an electric oven. Was told over and over how great they are for baking.

I must keep a pizza stone on the top rack to bake, as I also found it was burning the top of everything I baked, as the broiler is a heating element.

I do have a gas cooktop and am so glad I do.

DH is going crazy experimenting on how to get his gas oven homemade pizza. We now have a metal plate/stone combo design trying to get it to work right in the electric oven. (At one point he lined the oven in bricks, jeesh!)

So sorry I did not get a gas oven. Would never get electric again.

No experience with induction. Not really interested in it.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 8:37AM
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I made the change to DCS propane from Thermador electric. I agree with the above advantages mentioned and especially like cooking during the power outages. I really love the infrared broiler and the very low simmer on all of the DCS burners. I was concerned about the oven but everything I've done is even better.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 9:05AM
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I love to cook and cook every single day.I have always cooked on natural gas and thought that's what I liked until we had to replace our range a few years ago. My DH talked me into trying the smooth top electric range and I will NEVER go back to gas. I can cook just fine on either but the ease of clean-up on the smooth top is unbeatable in my book. My range is 4 years old now and I can spend 10 minutes cleaning after a weekend long cooking binge and it looks as good as when we took it out of the box.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 9:19AM
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I also am trying to make this decision, but I have restricted the argument (for myself) to induction versus gas. I have lived with gas and currently use an induction hob (underpowered and featureless). Nevertheless, I have come up with my own list of pros and cons for gas, induction, and radiant electric and would love to hear comments on their validity and on where I am misinformed. (I am leaning towards induction despite my long list of cons--cleanup and quick, even heat are so important to me!)

1. easily adjustable--continuous control from simmer to boil
2. intuitive to use--small flame versus big flame
3. familiar to most repair services--cheaper and easier to fix (parts not ridicuolously expensive)
4. can use the same pot on all burners (not always true--some ranges have different size burner heads which dictate small or large pots)
5. can span burners with griddle or roasting pan
6. no need to buy special pots
7. cooktop will work in a power outage (may not be true for oven)
8. heats the kitchen in the winter
9. cooktop/range makes a statement unlike a flat piece of glass
10. can char a pepper

1. difficult and time consuming to keep clean
2. knobs, if too close to burners get hot
3. requires vigilance to avoid burning/melting equipment (plastic pot handles or utensils) that gets too close to flame
4. some burners cannot achieve a true simmer, so sauces can burn since the flame is not evenly distributed across the bottom of the pan (a simmer plate can help with this) and hot spots at higher temps depending on the pot/pan
5. heats the kitchen in the summer
6. depending on btus, may require a high level of ventilation
7. some electric wall ovens cannot be placed under a gas cooktop

1. easy to clean in seconds
2. spills don't burn onto the cooktop
3. cooktop doesn't pose the same burn hazard as does gas or radiant electric
4. doesn't heat the kitchen
5. easily adjustable with a finger
6. easy to maintain a constant low temp with no hot spots--evenly heats the pan
7. doesn't melt the handles of neighboring pots or equipment
8. ventilation requirements are less due to less residual heat from cooktop
9. efficient in terms of power to the pan versus lost to the surrounding air
10. fast to heat

1. May require expensive wiring upgrade
2. Won't work in a power outage
3. Requires pans that the cooktop can recognize (i.e., magnetic and flat on the bottom)
4. Size matters when it comes to recognition of pot or pan and the hob--can't switch pots around easily
5. Not intuitive when deciding 'levels of power'--no visual on the differences between the levels
6. Restricted to the levels of power of the cooktop--"some may have various 'steps' and 'halfsteps' to create a broad range, others my not have as many levels, so you don't have as much control--not continuous
7. May have difficulty getting the cooktop to recognize finger presses (learning curve for the 'right' touch
8. Cookware may buzz even if magnetic
9. Cooktop may buzz and click as it cycles off and on--some are louder, longer, and more annoying than others
10. Power sharing can limit when you can use boost on the different hobs
11. Special requirements for install clearances and ventilation in the cabinet
12. May require for warranty purposes that the same brand of wall oven be used under induction cooktop
13. Sliding pans may scratch the cooktop as will salt
14. Controls on the actual cooktop surface reduce the available space for pots
15. Often expensive to repair due to electronics involved
16. Not as much of a statement in a kitchen--just a piece of glass on the counter
17. Cannot span hobs with a roaster or griddle on most induction cooktops (unless cast iron to radiate the heat but may risk damaging the electronics under the cooktop by doing so)--few cooktops have a griddle feature
18. Cannot char a pepper--or light a candle!

PROS are similar to induction EXCEPT no special pots required

1. food burns onto the cooktop and is difficult to clean if left
2. surface gets hot and can burn hands or items on cooktop
3. don't have immediate control over cooking temps (i.e., can't reduce temp without lifting the pot due to the residual heat of the cooktop)
4. Slow to heat
5. Sliding pans can scratch cooktop

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 6:34PM
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Holly- Kay

SoCal, I had a radiant stove pre renovation and hated it except for ease of clean up. We have gas in our other home that I like better than I liked our radiant stove but when we put a new kitchen in our main home I went with induction. I LOVE it! It boils water faster than my gas stove does, the ease of clean up is superior to the radiant stove. It does make a slight buzzing noise but I don't find it at all annoying. The cook top cools off very quickly and you can't accidentally turn it on because there must be a magnetic pan on a hob to make it work. I just love my JennAir 30 inch induction and would buy the same if we ever decide to replace the gas range in our other home.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 8:07PM
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I feel like I need to address some of the listed Cons of induction:

4. Size matters when it comes to recognition of pot or pan and the hob--can't switch pots around easily-- I have never had a problem putting any of the smaller pots on any of the hobs. Now, big pots on small hobs don't make a whole lot of sense.

6. Restricted to the levels of power of the cooktop--"some may have various 'steps' and 'halfsteps' to create a broad range, others my not have as many levels, so you don't have as much control--not continuous - I don't understand this one- my induction has better control over heat than any gas I've ever used, and the best simmer.

7. May have difficulty getting the cooktop to recognize finger presses (learning curve for the 'right' touch)- Learning curve is short! Just like learning how to use any other appliance.

10. Power sharing can limit when you can use boost on the different hobs- how many times does this come into play? I have used an induction range for 10 months, and have never been aware of power shifting, if it has occurred.

11. Special requirements for install clearances and ventilation in the cabinet - Only on cooktops.

14. Controls on the actual cooktop surface reduce the available space for pots- Cooktops, mabe. Ranges, probably not. My Electrolux actually sticks out the length of the control panel- the top is bigger than a normal electric radiant.

16. Not as much of a statement in a kitchen--just a piece of glass on the counter- I think mine is sexy and space-age.

17. Cannot span hobs with a roaster or griddle on most induction cooktops (unless cast iron to radiate the heat but may risk damaging the electronics under the cooktop by doing so)--few cooktops have a griddle feature- OK, I'll give you this one. I bought a electric griddle to compensate and make pancakes. I would consider using a roaster on one of the big hobs alone. But my roasters are all compatible anyway.

18. Cannot char a pepper--or light a candle! I use the broiler to char peppers. Not ideal, but a heckuva lot better than firing up the grill.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 8:58PM
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I've had electric all my life and have never had any problems with it, but since SO MANY PEOPLE love gas, I did some research. While gas-people are outspoken in their love for their stovetops, Consumer Reports gives the thumbs-up to electric. Make of that what you will.

I do have concerns about gas lines coming into my house, and I don't love the idea of a pilot light being lit all the time. Perhaps these are foolish concerns harbored by a person who doesn't really know gas, but they are real in my mind.

I have used a gas range at church, and I can't say I liked it better or worse. Perhaps if I had more experience, I'd have a more complete opinion.

I like my smooth-top electric range. It isn't particularly easy to clean, but -- to tell the truth -- which stovetop IS easy to clean? They all get smeared with grease and other food, so this is something of a non-issue for me.

Not being able to use my big canner on the glass top stove IS an issue for me, but I'm planning to buy an electric canner, which I will use out on the covered porch. I like the idea of keeping the heat of the cooking outside anyway. My mom has a different answer: She uses a small single-eye burner on the countertop for her canner. Since canning isn't something we do on a day-to-day basis, I think these are reasonable answers to the problem.

You can't spread a long griddle over two burners on a smooth-top electric stovetop. Since I don't happen to own a long griddle, this isn't really an issue in my life . . . but I do mind just a tad bit that this option doesn't exist for me. This feeling, of course, is totally silly since I DO happen to own an electric long griddle, which I can use on the countertop . . . or even set on top of the stove.

My mom has induction, and I'm kind of underwhelmed with it. Aside from party tricks like boiling water with a paper towel under the pan and laying your hand on the cool burner after you've just cooked something, I don't see that it's better than either of the other two options -- and it does limit your cooking pot choices. But, oh, does she love it.

You can get a "disk" that makes any pot work on an induction range, but I don't know whether they're effective.

My personal choice: My new house will have a smooth-top electric range. Moderately priced. Works fine. I don't think it'll kill me in my sleep.

This post was edited by MrsPete on Sat, Dec 14, 13 at 22:02

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 10:00PM
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There we're be an awful lot more dead people if gas were such an issue! And I don't know about anyplace else, but you're not permitted to have a constantly- lit pilot light here (that's what igniters are for).

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 10:12PM
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Circus Peanut

I mention this solely because it hasn't been brought up in this thread, but when we were considering induction a few years back, we were advised by a family member's doctor to be cautious about using it in his presence - he wears an implanted ICD defibrillator near his heart. Things may have changed, so apologies if this is not up-to-date information, but as we were given to understand, the high-intensity magnetics of induction have yet to be adequately tested for their effects on such medical devices.

Not wanting to take the chance, and finding it awkward to have to chase Grandpa out of the room when the stove is on (!), we passed on a all-out induction setup. I hasten to add that this is not some woo-based fear of electricity, but we simply didn't want to take even a remote chance of messing up the ICD's finicky electronic programming.

We are however planning on a 220V induction hotplate in our new remodel as it does appear to be the fastest way to boil water.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 11:51AM
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I've heard that too cp. I've not needed o research it, but it's worth researching if its an issue in your household.

As for boiling water, you won't even believe how fast it is!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 12:04PM
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