Quite often during the shopping process, we are asked the question, “Which is best, gas or electric?”. There is no right or wrong answer here, as it always comes down to personal preference, so we weighed the pros and cons of each to help you decide next time you find yourself shopping for appliances.
Cooktop or Range Top
Most of the time when we are asked this question it is in reference to the cooktop or range top. Generally, customers tend to lean towards what they know and what they have been cooking on in the past. This way there is little to no learning curve with their new appliance.
Quite often the biggest hesitation with switching from electric to gas cooking is working with an open flame. If you are not used to working with gas appliances, then this can be a little intimidating to the average home cook. If you are familiar with cooking with gas, you know the benefits of a gas cooktop.
The most commonly stated benefit is your instant heat. With the open flame, there is an instant input of heat, and opposite to that, instant removal of heat when dialled down. With electric coil elements, there is a heat up and cool down time when changing temperature. Even when switched off there is some residual heat transferring to the pan. Cost is commonly less for a Gas cooktop as well. Not always, but when compared to a similar quality electric cooktop, gas is often the less expensive option, in both cost of the appliance, and cost of operation.
Pros of Gas Cooking
- Instant heat up and cool down
- Generally cheaper to run over electric
- Easy maintenance, more reliable long-term
- If parts are needed, they are usually cheaper to repair
- Relatively cheap to run
Cons of Gas Cooking
- Harder to keep clean
At some point, most customers have had some experience with electric cooking. And most of the time you will instinctively think of a large coiled element set on top of a white range. These are still available, however, electric cooking has come a long way. Using high-speed ribbons, which is a thinner element coiled many times, the heat up and cool down process has dramatically improved. These are typically found in glass top electric ranges and cooktops.
The smooth glass tops are often a point of contention as well. On your coil top burned, there is not a lot that can go wrong, and it can take quite a bit of abuse before any real damage is done. Breaking the glass top is often a concern for customers. The glass top although tougher than you would expect can be broken if you are not careful. If taken good care of, the glass can be easily cleaned and look great for many years without discolouration.
Pros of Electric Cooking
- Smooth work surface (in smooth top cooktops)
- Can reach higher temperatures than gas
- Less energy loss when cooking (more direct heat transfer to cookware)
- Easier to clean
Cons of Electric Cooking
- More maintenance to keep the glass top looking great
- Potential to break glass top
- Generally more expensive to operate
Additional Cooktop Options
Whether you are a fan of electric or gas, there is always the third option of Induction cooking. If you are unfamiliar with induction cooking, head over to our article Introduction to Induction for more information.
Our experience with Induction users is fairly unanimous. Once they go induction, they never go back to electric or gas. Induction has the best performance in terms of speed and temperature control, with the added benefit of safety, efficiency and easiest cooktop to keep clean. With almost no downsides to induction cooking, it is definitely something to consider.
With performance and function always the top priority with most appliances, the difference in cooking varies very little between a gas and an electric oven. Again, as hydro rates steadily increase with no signs of slowing down, gas will tend to remain the cheaper option in terms of operating costs.
Electric ovens have an edge on versatility and extra features. Things like steam ovens and speed ovens are always electric. One of the major features that you normally do not get with a gas oven is your true fan convection. The third element in the back of the oven will always be an electric element.
Most gas ovens and ranges do, however, have standard convection cooking, like the Smeg all gas range lineup. So you can still enjoy the benefits of convection cooking when needed. In some cases, like the Thermador professional series range, you can have an all gas range, with the extra option of true fan convection, giving you the best of both worlds.
No matter what type of cooking someone claims as the best, it always comes down to personal preference, comfort level, and what features you are looking for in an appliance.
For more information on Gas and electric cooktops or ovens, come visit us in our showroom.