You’ll often hear chefs and avid cooks rave about the benefits of gas stoves over electric models. And it’s true that gas stoves offer more precise temperature control. However, there are pros and cons to both types, and the decision really comes down to personal preference.
Gas stoves are powered with natural gas or, less frequently, liquid propane. Older models relied on a continuous pilot light as an ignition source, but newer models often have energy-saving electric or spark ignitions.
Freestanding gas ranges, which include both a cooktop and an oven, cost anywhere from about $400 for a basic model to several thousand dollars for a top-of-the-line commercial model. Basic black or white ranges usually cost $500 to $800, while stainless steel models with advanced features such as a self-cleaning option often cost $800 to $1,200.
Gas cooktops range in price from about $300 to $900, depending on features, quality and the brand name.
- Cooking quality - Most professional chefs prefer a gas range for good reason. Gas stoves cook more evenly than electric models. And you can precisely control the level of heat. The same precision isn’t possible with most electric stoves, unless you purchase a very high-end model.
- Heating time - Gas stoves heat up instantly, while electric stoves require time to heat up and cool off.
- Cheaper to operate - Natural gas tends to be less expensive than electricity, so gas stoves are cheaper to operate.
- Purchase price - Gas stoves are more expensive to manufacture, so they cost more than electric stoves. And if you’re switching from electric to gas, you’ll have to pay a plumber a couple hundred dollars to run a gas line into the kitchen (provided that there’s already a gas line running to your home).
- Safety - Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of cooking over an open flame. Gas stoves do pose more of a fire risk than electric stoves, although accidents are rare.
Electric stoves are actually more common than gas stoves in American households. Nearly 60 percent of Americans homes have an electric stove, according to the Consumer Energy Center.
Electric stoves are less expensive upfront than gas stoves, but they tend to heat unevenly. However, electric stoves are available in a wider range of products and prices. There are two basic types: smooth top stoves with a built-in heating element and coil top models with an exposed, coil-shaped heating element.
Freestanding electric ranges cost anywhere from less than $300 for a basic model to several thousand dollars for top-of-the-line models. Basic black or white models sell for about $300 to $600, while stainless steel models with advanced features tend to cost $600 to $1,000 or more.
Electric cooktops are priced from about $200 to $800.
- Less expensive - Electric stoves are less expensive to buy and install. They cost less because they’re less expensive to manufacture. And to install the stove, simply plug it in.
- Easier to clean - The flat surface of most modern electric stoves makes them easier to clean. Simply wipe down the surface. With a gas stove, you’ll need to remove the grates and clean them separately.
- Safer - The idea of being close to an open flame and a gas line makes some people nervous. Accidents are rare, but they can happen. Generally, an electric stove poses less of a safety risk.
- Cooking quality - Electric stoves tend to heat unevenly, so you might end up with food that is cooked unevenly. It is also difficult to precisely control the level of heat. Most experienced cooks prefer a gas range to an electric range.
- Heating time - Electric stoves take longer to heat up, so you’ll spend more time in the kitchen. They also take longer to cool down.
- Won’t work in a power outage - Electric stoves rely on, well, electricity. They won’t work when the power is out. Some gas stoves will, as long as they don’t have an electric ignition.
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