We get a lot of questions about gas versus electric ranges when it comes to kitchen remodels. Both have advantages, but they have some disadvantages as well. Like most kitchen remodel decisions, choosing what is right for you depends a lot on how you work in your kitchen. We broke it down into a handy list to get you started on your process.
Pros of a Gas Range:
- Gas offers better control and precision. With gas, you have more control over the exact temperature. For many home cooks, this is a must have.
- Gas ranges heat faster than traditional electric ones. This of course allows you to get your cooking done in less time.
- Gas cooktops offer a more even heat distribution. Electric ranges pulse with heat (notice how the coiled top ones get redder and then less red throughout the cook time?). Gas offers an even heat distribution throughout the entire cooking process.
- Gas is better for emergencies. If you live somewhere with frequent power outages or weather emergencies, gas can still flow into your range. All you need is a lighter to ignite it and you can keep making dinner even when the lights are off!
Cons of a Gas Range:
- They’re usually more expensive. The upfront cost of a gas range can stop some people from getting one. It is worth noting though that depending on natural gas rates in your area, you may recoup the cost with electric bill savings over time.
- You need a gas hookup to your home. If you don’t already have a gas range or other gas-powered appliance in your home (such as a water heater), it may or may not be feasible to run a gas line.
- Their performance could depend on where you live. Some gas lines don’t have enough pressure to heat your range quickly. And some cities are actually phasing out natural gas. Berkeley, California recently banned it altogether in new construction. This isn’t as much of an issue in our local Corvallis area, but something to consider when making investments in your home.
Pros of an Electric Range:
- Electric is better for oven roasting. Heat from an electric source is drier than heat from a gas source, so if you like to put vegetables in the oven and have them come out nice and crispy, electric could be the way to go.
- Modern electric cooktops are very easy to clean. Most newer models have glass-ceramic cooktops that are easy to wipe down.
- They provide very high heat. Newer models of electric ranges are vastly more comparable to gas in the levels of heat they provide.
Cons of an Electric Range:
- Electric ovens aren’t as good for baking. Though they are great for roasting, they are more likely to dry out your baked goods. If you’re a casual baker, it’s not too much to worry about, but if you bake a lot from scratch, it may not be the best option.
- Electric ranges often have an uneven heat distribution. As mentioned, heat in an electric range “pulses”, which can be a deal breaker for more serious cooks.
A Note About Induction Cooktops: Most induction cooktops have electric ovens, but there are a couple of important differences. The biggest pro is the built-in safety features. Induction cooktops produce heat using magnets, which means they don’t heat anywhere other than where you specifically set the pan you are using. They also have automatic shutoffs – if you remove a pan, most models will shut off the heat within 30-60 seconds. Most models also heat faster than even gas ranges, which is a bug plus for busy people. The biggest downside to induction is that because the heat is produced via magnetic interaction, you can’t use certain types of pans – anything that is not magnetic on the bottom will not work. This includes stainless steel and most copper pans.
There are of course many other factors when it comes to choosing a range type for your kitchen. What you already have plays a big role – you may be used to using that type, or you may not want to go through the effort of trying to change it. When you’re working with a designer at Powell Construction on your kitchen remodel, they can help talk you through the pros and cons for your specific needs and make sure you are getting what is right for you.