Buying a stove for your home is an important decision, and one you will have to live with for a long time. For most shoppers, the choice comes down to whether you want a gas stove or electric stove. As modern versions of both varieties each have advantages, your choice should be based on your preferences and needs as a cook.
Electric stoves use a heating coil or heated surface for burners. In newer models, the cooking surface is a flat plane with no openings, allowing for easy cleaning. Since there is no open flame, most electric stoves have a warning light to tell you when the surface is hot, and some also turn red when lit. In terms of the oven in an electric stove, it produces a drier heat than its gas counterpart. Some cooks prefer this, but experts seem divided on whether it is better for baking.
There are several downsides to electric stoves. They can take a long time to heat up and cool down, which can be irritating if you want to do something simple like boil water. The heating process on some electric burners can be imprecise, with the burner turning on and shutting off repeatedly to maintain a temperature. With coil models, cleaning under the coils can be difficult. For those concerned with environmentally friendly, electric stoves are also less energy efficient than gas ranges, up to 50% less efficient with some models.
A gas stove is traditional for restaurants and bakeries. The ability to use a live flame allows for greater precise cooking, as well as the ability to cook things in the fire itself. Gas burners are removable for easy cleaning and heat up instantly. Modern gas stoves usually have an electric ignition, which does not require you to light the burner yourself. The wet heat of a gas stove is considered by some to be better for cooking, allowing baking items a longer rising time.
Some people may be afraid of a gas-powered appliance or may not like the idea of a pilot light burning constantly. If you do not already have a gas hookup in your home, installing one can be expensive. Experts also recommend that you install a carbon monoxide detector in your home if you have a gas stove, to detect any natural gas leaks. Some models of gas stoves may also be a little more expensive than electric versions with the same features, but only with some brands.
There are several other factors to consider when purchasing a stove. A Gas stove does have live flames, which may pose a danger to children. You may also want to consider the utility costs in your area; some places have considerably cheaper natural gas rates than electric rates. In these areas, a gas stove can actually save you a lot of money. Unlike with gas stoves where the size of the flame is an indicator, you have no way of judging the heat level and making small adjustments on an electric stove. While this may not matter if all you use the burners for is heating up soup, but if you make custards or tricky sauces, it can cause a huge problem.
Purchasing gas stoves versus electric stoves is really a personal choice. If you are terrified of gas leaks, fire, and carbon monoxide, electric stoves may be the best variety for you. For people who cook a lot and make complicated dishes, or those in areas with inexpensive natural resources, gas stoves will probably be your best choice.