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Oct 6, 2007 10:20 AM

Gas vs Electric oven

We are buying a new oven and have a choice between gas or electric. We've always had gas ovens. I've heard that electric might cook better. Does anyone know anything about this? Thanks

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  1. I've had both, and find electric ovens far superior. More even heat, better broiling, and, best of all, the self-cleaning cycle. Get a model that features convection cooking, too, if it's in your budget.

    17 Replies
    1. re: alanbarnes

      Do things brown nicely in an electric oven?

      1. re: arizonagirl

        Better than with gas, I think, because you're not introducing water vapor as a byproduct of combustion.

        1. re: alanbarnes

          I've only had a gas oven, but I have heard electric ovens are the way to go. My next oven will most likely be electric. Of course, I only know this because I am a review-reading hound. Check out sites like Viewpoints and Epinions. Those people are crazy about gas and electric grills enough to write lengthy (yet solid) reviews!

 - great content great reviews
 - great reviews, no content

          Hope this helps!

          1. re: snehnaik

            " but I have heard electric ovens are the way to go."

            that's a broad generalization, and ultimately not very helpful.

            ideally i'd have both gas and electric.

      2. re: alanbarnes

        I agree here. We just redid our kitchen and did it right and have a gas cook top and put in double wall ovens and they are electric. It bakes much more even than our old gas oven. Just baked off a loaf of the "no knead bread" and it's outrageous.

        1. re: alanbarnes

          Alanbarnes, you mention the self-cleaning cycle as a point about electric ovens. My last oven was gas and it had a self-cleaning cycle. Do gas ovens normally not have a self-cleaning cycle?

          Now we live in a house with an electric stovetop and double electric wall ovens. Love the ovens, and I've gotten used to the stovetop, but can't say that I love it. Water boils VERY quickly, but I don't like how it's much harder to control the heat while actually cooking something.

          1. re: valerie

            I was told that gas ovens can't get hot enough to self-clean, but a quick google search establishes that this information is incorrect. I used gas ranges for a long time, but not in the last 15 years or so. Maybe it's a more recent development, or maybe my source was just wrong. Sorry to repeat bad info here.

            Agreed that a residential gas cooktop is a pain when bringing a lot of water to a boil. Fortunately my outdoor kitchen has burners with more firepower; the biggest is 60k btu, and will boil a gallon of water in no time.

            1. re: alanbarnes

              I have a very inexpensive Maytag gas oven that does indeed have a self cleaning cycle - and it works like a charm.

              But it does take forever to boil a big pot of water - definitely hoping to upgrade in the near future - but I'm probably sticking with gas for both the cooktop and the oven. I just prefer it.

              1. re: flourgirl

                Re: boiling a big pot of water. I recently bought a house with what seems to have the same Maytag range in place and also find this painfully slow. Now I simply divide up the water into a few different pans, put a pan on top of each available burner, and light them all up. Each is boiling in a few minutes and then they all get poured into the big pot.

                I have noticed (with the help of an oven thermometer) that the temperature in the oven tends to be right on the money compared to the setting--I've always had to make an adjustment of 25-50 degrees with the previous electrics I've owned--and that the temp doesn't fluctuate as much as the electrics during the cooking process.

                1. re: tubman

                  I've adjusted to it and just make sure to start the water heating way ahead of when I actually need it to be boiling.

                  And yes, I agree, my oven has been very reliable temperature-wise.

                  1. re: flourgirl

                    A tip on boiling water: start some out in your teapot. The teapot water comes to a boil very quickly and can be added to the big pot!

                    1. re: mojoeater

                      That is a great idea that I never even though of! Thanks! Fortunately I finally bought a new range and this one gets the water boiling MUCH faster. :)

          2. re: alanbarnes

            Okay, I'm going to retract my recommendation. Or at least revise it. My thoroughly modern self-cleaning electric Jenn-Air convection oven is far superior to the elderly and decrepit gas ovens I used in the past where I had to lie on the floor to use the broiler. I'm like the guy who drives a new Lexus and a '72 bug and declares that the Japanese make better cars than the Germans. But at least I'm man enough to admit it. (Whimper.)

            1. re: alanbarnes

              completely agree.

              i've been using electric ovens all my life and then got a gas one with my current home. hate it. takes forever to heat up and is incredibly uneven.

              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                Gee. I'm feeling the opposite. I finally, finally got my very own gas oven after having to put up with other people's electrics for nearly 20 years. I love it! Of course, the wonderfully responsive the burners are the biggest plus, and I've quickly adapted to the slower boils (although I have two "power boil" burners on my Frigidaire Galaxy; they're not that "powerful") and I am LOVING the full European convection gas oven (very even cooking and browning).

                I don't understand the part about lying on the floor to broil. My broiler is on the top (although I do have to grudgingly admit that it doesn't cover as much surface area as did previous electric broilers) of the oven and quite easy to use.

                Ah, well. Different strokes for different folks.

                1. re: Beckyleach

                  Oh, forgot to add: it has five burners, continuous cast iron grates, that wonderful convection function, is self-cleaning and it cost only about $800.

                  1. re: Beckyleach

                    well, i'm talking strictly oven here. i'm fine with the burners except that the design is ridiculous and has so many crevices and components that it's a freaking pain to clean. not to mention that it takes a while for those grates to cool down and by then whatever i wanted to clean up is dried on hard in the annoying crevices anyway.

                    the oven isn't convection (so very uneven), takes forever to heat up, and heats lower than it should (i probably should calibrate but i keep thinking i'll just move to another place eventually).

              2. Gas is easier to control temperature, but I won't buy them anymore. A few years ago, we moved to a subdivision that didn't have gas. I did think I could survive, but then, after a period of time, I realized the kitchen stayed so much cleaner. None of the film on the cabinets, etc. So, when we built our current house, the architect was stunned that I didn't want a gas cooktop or ovens. I have no issue with going without gas.

                And, yes, things brown beautifully with an electric oven.

                1. We too have had both and when we built our new home there was no doubt that electic double ovens would be in the kitchen. Have the 30" Fridgedaire convention double ovens and they are outstanding. Baking and broiling are a snap. I'd never go back to gas ovens if I had my choice.

                  However, do have a great 36" 5 burner Kitchenaid cooktop that is also outstanding. I would hate to go back to electric on my cooktop.

                  1. We have both an electric range and a gas range. The electric is the one we use 90 percent of the time, particularly the oven. (Gas ovens cannot broil decently, of course, because the heat is coming from the bottom of the oven.)

                    And if I remember correctly, gas ranges have more repair problems than electric.

                    24 Replies
                    1. re: jillp

                      I love having a gas stove top, but if I could, I'd have an electric oven - agree about the broiling issue.

                      1. re: jillp

                        Maybe I'm being dim about this, but I have a gas oven and it broils beautifully. The heating element for the broiler is at the top of the stove and when I turn the broiler on, the element ignites and wa-la - flames. This is the only gas oven I've ever had, so my experience is limited, but I do remember the old electric oven in my mom's house had the same setup, just an electric element instead of a gas fired one. I don't see why one would work better than the other. And, in fact, my gas oven definitely does broil just as well as any electric oven I ever used. What am I missing???

                        I also bake a lot and have no issues with uneven baking, etc. (The igniter did burn out after about 6 yrs and it wasn't cheap to have repaired.)

                        I can't even imagine ever going back to an electric cooktop and would avoid doing so at all costs.

                        1. re: flourgirl

                          Is this common on gas range ovens now? I lived in a couple of apartments with gas ranges, and to broil you always had to put the pan in the slot down by the floor. Very hard to watch that way.

                          Probably won't have a gas unit again for some time. The house came with an electric range, and although it is plumbed for gas my SO is far more comfortable with the electric, even on the cooktop. I personally get by either way. The cooking we do doesn't seem to have tight tolerances for having high then low heat. In other words, it tolerates the slower reaction of the electric coils. BTW, if you are doing a typical moderate electric range, the old fashioned coils are what you want. These react faster than the smoothtops.

                          1. re: CrazyOne

                            I had a gas oven in my last house that had the broiler element right at the top of the oven. All you needed to do was turn the dial to "broil".

                            Now, I DON'T think my Whirlpool electric ovens broil as well. They are 13 years old and seem to take longer to brown things than the gas did. Any ideas on why?

                          2. re: flourgirl

                            Mines the same way too. I have a warmer drawer underneath the oven, which is electric of course, but the stove/oven is gas with the broiler at the top of the oven. I like because you don't have the worry of someone catching something on fire in the typical broiler drawer, which usually doubles as a storage drawer. That happened in a cooking class I was taking one time when someone put their pot holders in the drawer and someone else turned on the broiler without checking first.

                            Sadly I thought I would use the warmer drawer more then I do- I think I've turned it on once or twice and the rest of the time its been great for storing roasting & some of my baking pans.

                            1. re: flourgirl

                              I guess it's a good thing I had to wait through 20 years of other people's electric stoves, before getting my first gas oven in decades, last year. It is true convection, the broiler is on the TOP of the interior, and it's self-cleaning...and it was a fairly modest $800. I'm perfectly, perfectly happy with mine, in fact!

                              1. re: flourgirl

                                flourgirl, I'm wondering what kind of range you have? I am contemplating a gas stove/oven but am worried about the performance of the gas oven. I currently have electric everything and want to change to gas because of all of the great things I hear. A dual range is quite a bit more expensive than an all gas range.... Thanks

                                1. re: spiceysue

                                  Hi there -

                                  I have a GE Cafe Gas Range. It's about a year and a half old now and I've been very happy with it so far. The only problem I've had is that the collars behind the knobs started to melt (the knobs are metal but the collars are metal tape over plastic) from the heat of the oven when the door was opened. My dealer was able to get a free set for me because I noticed the problem right outside of the warranty - but it is annoying. These ranges may cost a lot less than Wolfs, Vikings, etc - but they are still not cheap and those parts need to be all metal.

                                  I saw a complaint on another thread here on CH that someone wasn't happy with the pull out racks in the oven - that they were slightly to small width-wise and they had a big pan go crashing to the bottom of the oven - they ended up having to replace the racks with racks from another manufacturer. I haven't experienced that - and I do use some big LC pots etc - but I could see the potential for that to happen. The edges of the racks don't completely cover the tracks and if the racks in my oven were just SLIGHTLY smaller, I'd probably be having the same problem.

                                  1. re: spiceysue

                                    I've had nothing but gas for the last 20+ years. Never thought I'd say this, but am seriously contemplating switching back to electric. Not just any electric cooktop, though - an induction cooktop. Everything I've heard about them is that they're superior to gas in every way. Something to consider...

                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                      I considered induction myself. But decided against it for a few reasons. 1) the cost to repair 2) the cost to install (it would have meant an upgrade to our current circuit board - something we absolutely have to do but couldn't afford when we needed a new range 3) I hate electric broilers with a passion 4) I just like cooking over live flames (I'm a big fan of flames - like cooking outdoors over real fires too) and 4) I regularly roast peppers over the gas flame on my range. I would really miss that. :)

                                      1. re: flourgirl

                                        There's no compelling argument to switch from gas to induction. But with induction, there's no longer a compelling argument to switch from electric to gas.

                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                          I hear what you're saying. Except the person with electric might not like induction for all the same reasons I listed. (except that there will be the cost issue of running a gas line connection if they don't currently have one.)

                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                            Two possible compelling arguments to switch from gas to induction: environmental impact; usage cost.

                                            1. re: danieljdwyer

                                              Another argument for induction is that it will work just fine with a standard ventilation system. To have similar heating capacity, a gas cooktop has to have some very serious burners. Which require a very serious ventilation system to get rid of the byproducts of combustion.

                                              That said, in many (most?) areas the usage cost is close to the same. Although induction is much more efficient, gas is significantly cheaper than electricity. No doubt the environmental impact is less, though. Those "byproducts of combustion" include greenhouse gases.

                                              1. re: alanbarnes


                                                Induction is more efficient than gas at the stovetop, but not from start to finish. Induction is about 80-90% efficient. In that, it converts 80-90% of electric power into heating the cookware, whereas gas converts 30-40% of thermal power into the cookware and the rest warming up the kitchen. However, electric is not a raw energy source and cannot be mined. It is created in the power plant via other energy sources. For example, electric can be created from gas in a gas power plant. The energy conversion rate in a power plant is about 38% in the US. That is 38% of the thermal power is convert into electricity. In short, induction is only more efficient if we measured in our houses, but not more efficient if we measure from the sources.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  A lot depends, of course, on where your electricity is coming from, and just how bad the power grid your home is connected to is. Solar panels in the backyard and induction in the kitchen is pretty damn efficient, but that describes, what? Four or five American households?
                                                  Much as our electricity generation and distribution are, generally, not terribly efficient, however, a whole lot of energy goes into producing and distributing each of the various types of gas used for stoves. For a fair comparison, you have to factor in the coal and oil burned to distribute the gas, not just the efficiency of the gas at the stovetop. That might be close to insignificant if you're using natural gas in Oklahoma, but if you're using natural gas in Maine? Or propane just about anywhere? Very substantial.

                                                  1. re: danieljdwyer


                                                    Well, one can of course also argue that the construction of solar panel may not be environmentally friendly. :)

                                                    Actually, US electric generation is better than much of the world. I think India electric generation efficieny at power plant is only 30%, while US is closer to 40%. Of course, I am not belittling India. My point is that for much of the world, one may argue gas stovetop is more environmentally friendly than induction stovetop.

                                                    You are correct that most electricity in the US is produced from coal and gas power plants. I also agree with you about the calcualation of gas generation. My main power is that the efficicney of induction cooking should not be examed only at the stovetop, but from the sources. Electricity itself is not a raw energy source.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      Of course. I don't disagree, just reflecting on the unfortunate fact that efficiency is hard to find no matter where you look.
                                                      I know the US does have some of the better power plants, but I was under the impression that some sections of our power grid are among the least efficient in the world. I recall a lot of information going around during the 2003 Northeast blackout about how that part of the power grid particularly around New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Southern New England, being among the oldest electrical systems in the world, was among the absolute most poorly designed. Oddly, though all of the surrounding neighborhoods and towns were blacked out for days, my parents' neighborhood, where I was living at the time, never lost power. There was talk in both the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns about serious updating of the power grid, so let's hope that actually comes to pass. Regardless of how it compares internationally, it's not even close to as good as we can make it.

                                                      1. re: danieljdwyer


                                                        I think on average we are not as good as European, but better than other countries. I think it comes to a bit of a tradeoff in term of updating power plants. Newer power plants are more efficient, saving money and energy, but updating them too often is not smart either. I remember reading Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak loves the Toyota Prius, and buy a new one every single year. Well, buying a new car every year is not really environmentally friendly -- even reselling them. There are costs to upgrading power plants, both economically and environmentally. By the way, I do think we should upgrade some of our older power plants. I just hope people don't get too emotionally about it.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          Upgrading power plants would be great, but it's only one piece of the puzzle - the biggest piece, but also the most costly and conententious. Upgrading the power substations, transformers, power lines, computerization of distribution (so called smart grid technology), and a redesign of the actual distribution grid to focus on closer to source usage, controlled distribution or directed power output, and decentralized generation are among small scale projects that would make an enormous difference without being resource intensive. Much of the grant money is already in place for these upgrades, some of it having been allocated as long as five years ago. Unfortunately, there isn't much profit to be made in the design, labor, or material production, so the money that is available is stuck. Until that money is spent, no new money will be allocated. Kind of an absurd issue to have in this economy.

                                                    2. re: danieljdwyer

                                                      It's true that there are inefficiencies in the gas distribution process. But similar inefficiencies must be taken into account whether gas is being pumped to a residential stovetop or to a turbine at a power plant.

                                                      Of course, not all power plants are gas-fired. When the inefficiencies make it too expensive to make electricity from gas, the power plant will switch to a different fuel, which may be more (nuclear) or less (coal) efficient at the point of use.

                                                      In hotter parts of the country, though, the biggest difference in energy usage between gas and induction cooktops may be indirect. For at least a significant part of the year in Sacramento, where I live, the waste heat from a gas cooktop - 60-70% of the total energy used - will be removed from the house using an air conditioner. Talk about inefficiency...

                                                      1. re: alanbarnes


                                                        Ok, in the case, you are pumping air conditioning to offset the heat, that is wasteful. Though I have lived in Davis (which is very close to Sacramento) and I am not sure if I would consider that as a very hot place.

                                                        Alternatively, one may argue that the extra heat from gas stovetop is not wasted in winters and is beneficial. e.g.: the 60% heat loss is really NOT lost because you would have to turn up your heater otherwise. So, it is not a lost.

                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                          And then you have my first college apartment in Boston, where the lost heat from the stove, oven, and shower were the only things keeping the place warm from November through March.

                                                          1. re: danieljdwyer


                                                            Right, in that case, heat lost is not a lost at all. There you have 100% efficiency. Ha ha ha.

                                    2. If it meant having to have an electric cook top, then I'd go for gas. Electric ovens are better, but gas is by far a better option for the stove top. The heat is instant, it's easier to control, etc. There's nothing worse than having an electric burner that's too hot at a crucial time in the cooking process.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: heWho

                                        I can't stand electric cooktops, either. But if the OP is buying a range instead of a wall oven, there are plenty of "dual fuel" models out there with electric ovens and gas cooktops.