What are the differences between Gas, Electric and Dual Fuel Ranges, and which of the three is best? Let's take a look at a side-by-side comparison and find out.
Gas Fuel Type
Powered by either propane or natural gas, these ranges are installed with a gas kit that hooks up either to your home shutoff valve for natural gas, or directly to a propane tank. These units often come with a griddle attachment that is either removable or set in the place of a grate.
The gas burners are generally preferred by those who love to cook due to the amount of control you have over the temperature of the burners.
Gas ovens are considered to be more susceptible to uneven baking due to the need to start and stop ignition to keep the oven warm - although most newer & nicer models are rather consistent, and this discrepancy may come down to a design flaw. Even entry-level electric ranges can pose problems with baking consistency compared to higher end models.
The downsides to gas ranges is that they tend to be more expensive than comparable electric units, and they waste more energy. According to a study done by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, gas stove tops use only 40% of the energy they emit, compared to 74% used by standard electric, and an incredible 90% by induction (more on induction below).
Electric Fuel Type
These are powered by (you guessed it) electricity and require a 220V outlet to install. They come in three styles: coil top, glass top standard, and glass top induction. The coils are the oldest style and the most affordable due to their simple and cost effective design. The glass tops tend to be a bit pricier, but they are generally easier to clean and keep clean than the coil top.
Induction tops look the same as regular glass tops, however the range top itself uses magnetic qualities to heat specially-made induction pots and pans that only heat the area that the cookware is directly touching. As mentioned above, another compelling reason to go induction is that this design wastes only 10% of energy compared to 30-60% wasted by gas and normal electric burners. Not to mention that burns are essentially a non-issue with this type of stove top, so you can safely welcome your little helpers in the kitchen to work alongside you.
The downside to induction vs regular smooth top is that they tend to be more costly on the outset, with entry-level models starting out around $1,000.00
Dual-Fuel refers to a unit that has utilized all the good from both gas and electric combined into one master chef range over which you'll exert maximum control for all of your chef needs. These units are gas powered on the surface so you get the cooking expertise and joy of a gas range from perfectly sauteing scallops to simmering sauces, while inside the oven is heated by a 220V electric coil, so you pro bakers can enjoy the benefits of evenly heated electric power that ensure your souffle and crispy baguettes will always be baked to perfection.
The downside of these is they tend to be much more expensive than standard gas or electric ranges; However, any appliance is an investment, and it's definitely worth it to spend a little more to get what you love rather than settle for any less.
|Energy Efficiency |||Cost Efficiency (Outset) |||Cooking Control |||Baking Control ||
|Winner:||Induction Electric||Standard Electric||Gas||Electric|
The bottom line:
When purchasing a new range, it's important to consider your tastes and preferences as well as what you are used to. Think about whether you enjoy cooking or baking more, and what type of machine you are already familiar with. You may prefer to stick to what you know rather than invite a new learning curve into your life.
Consider initial costs as well as yearly energy costs, which vary by region. In some areas, it will be more expensive to run a gas stove than electric, and vise versa.
Most importantly, do your research and, if possible, test the type of appliance you are interested in before purchasing to get a good feel for it. If you are dying to buy a dual fuel range and you know your friend has one, ask to bake something using her unit before biting the bullet on your own. Hopefully this appliance will be lasting you years to come, so make sure you're getting what works best for you!