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How to Choose Between Gas & Electric Stoves

published Jul 12, 2010
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It’s been a long-standing legend that “real” cooks use gas-powered stoves. But before you go empty your appliance budget on a new one, you might want to consider if an electric stove better suits your needs. The truth is, when compared on seven different categories, the electric stove wins over gas four times. Click through to discover when it’s better to have an electric stove and decide—finally!—what’s right for your kitchen.

Peter Aitken put together a list of to dispel several common kitchen myths, including the idea that gas stoves are “better” than electric ones.

The truth is that gas and electric stoves each have their own selling points, and it’s up to you to decide which best suits your needs. Here’s a handy list to decide what works:

Response Speed
Gas stoves respond immediately when you turn the heat up or down. Electric Stoves are much slower, but can get a boost when you move your pan off the heating element. Even still, gas beats it every time.
Winner: Gas

High-end gas stoves have improved in their simmering skills. But electric stoves give you slow, even and worry-free simmering.
Winner: Electric

Escaping Heat
Gas burners produce hot air that flows up and around your pan. That means the room (and your pan’s handles) can get very hot when cooking with gas. If you use a pan on an electric stove that completely covers the heating element, almost all of the heat will go into your meal.
Winner: Electric

Boiling Speed
In comparison tests, gas stoves are slower than electric stoves to boil a large pot of water. It might have something to do with all of that heat that escapes from gas cookers.
Winner: Electric

Choice of Pans
Electric stoves are only heat efficient if you’re using pans with reasonably flat bottoms (This is especially true for flat-top stove models). Gas stoves, however, maintain their heat transfer no matter how your pan is shaped.
Winner: Gas

Use with a Wok
Woks are the quintessential “not flat” plan. So it’s no surprise that woks don’t work so well on an electric stove top. Woks are designed for cooking over an open flame. Plus, they’re sure to wobble around on an electric stove. Sure, you can cook your stir-fry in a flat-bottomed pan, but a round bottomed wok over a gas burner would be best. Will this decide which stove you should buy? Only if you’re a “Stir-Fry Friday” kind of family.
Winner: Gas

With a gas stove, you’ll need to worry about food stuff getting into your burners. Coil electric burners are easier (but not easy) to clean. But if ease-of-cleaning is a deal-maker for you, you can’t beat a flat-top electric stove.
Winner: Electric

(Image: flickr user stevendepolo under license from Creative Commons.)