When shopping for a stove, you need to choose between two main fuel sources: gas or electricity. There are advantages and disadvantages of both types of stoves, and your choice ultimately comes down to which type fits your budget and performance expectations.
A gas stove may be an ideal selection if you are an active home cook who appreciates temperature control or you want a stove that would work in a power outage. However, you should consider an electric stove if you want a stove that's more affordable to purchase and use while also being easier to clean.
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Steadier Temperature Control With Gas
Thanks to their direct contact, the flames on a gas burner will immediately begin to heat your cookware. Furthermore, they will stay at a steady height as long as you don't adjust the knob to increase or decrease the amount of gas being fed through. This means it's easier to reach an ideal temperature and stay there. Whether you're trying to simmer a dish or maintain a rolling boil, you'll achieve more efficient cooking with a steadier temperature.
In contrast, electric stoves maintain their temperature by periodically switching on and off once the required temperature has been reached. This essentially means the temperature drops and rises over and over instead of staying steady. Delicate cooking procedures become a little more difficult when your stove's temperature is unreliable.
Gas Stoves Resist Power Outages
It's never fun when the electricity goes out, but wouldn't it be nice if you could continue to make hot meals or boil water? A gas stove makes this possible. For convenience and an added layer of safety, many modern gas stoves do have an electric ignition. However, opening the gas line does not require electricity.
To start a gas stove if the power goes out, you simply need a match or a lighter. It's safer to light the match before opening the gas line so that gas does not build up in the air and create a mini fireball when the match is struck. Light the match and hold it to the side of the burner and turn the gas knob to low. Keep your hands, fingers, face, hair and clothes out of the way when lighting the burner.
Once the burner has been lit, blow out the match and discard it into a bowl of water. The burner will stay lit until the gas is turned off. Also, note that if you have a gas oven, GE Appliances reports that gas ovens made after 1990 won't start without electricity. This may influence your decision to buy a gas range vs. gas stove top.
Disadvantages of Gas Stoves
One major disadvantage of gas stoves is the inconvenience and expense of installing a gas line if your home or kitchen does not already have one. Compared to electricity, natural gas is also a more expensive fuel throughout the country, and purchasing a gas stove may be a more expensive investment as well.
Natural gas also presents the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning or gas line explosions. Of course, there are also a host of electric stove dangers to consider, including the possibility of burns or house fires. However, purchasing a gas stove should prompt you to also buy a carbon monoxide detector if you do not already have one.
Finally, there's an aesthetic consideration, since gas stoves do not have that sleek, modern look that smooth stove tops have. Cleaning the coils on a gas stove also isn't as convenient as wiping down a ceramic electric stove top.