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Dec 27, 2007 02:58 PM

New stove advice please! Electric or gas or both or....?

Finally after 11 years we are going to redo our tiny, difficult kitchen. High on my list is a new stove to replace the ancient and awful electric GE model we got with the house. All along I've said that when I could I'd get a gas stove but now I'm being told that electric stoves have improved a lot and the clean up is better with the flat tops and.....

What do you Chowhounders say? I want a standard size not too expensive stove for daily use - baking and cooking. What should I get?

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  1. Oh, I'm sure you'll get tons of suggestions with loads of opinions, but here's mine: I like dual-fuel ranges. I like gas burners and I'm learning to like the stability of electric ovens. Also, some models will offer you the additional perk of a convection oven mode (my oven can do standard and convection, some do one or the other and some do both), which is nice when you want to roast a chicken in 40 minutes or bake a cake in half an hour.

    I can see the advantage of easy cleanups on a flat electric stove, but I'd be constantly worried about scratching the surface somehow. Ranges have come a long way and many gas models are designed for an easier cleanup.

    The good news is that you can get a standard size gas, electric, or dual-fuel range without having to look at Wolf or Viking prices! Just about every manufacturer offers these options.

    3 Replies
    1. re: leanneabe

      I would get a gas cooktop and an electric stove. I'm too impatient to cook on an electric range, but I prefer an electric stove for the evenness of the temperature.

      1. re: leanneabe

        As per most of the responses here, do yourself a huge favor and get gas for the cooktop. And get as many BTU's as your budget can afford. And more than one high output burner if possible. I'm sure I will offend some, but I don't see how anyone can cook on an electric cooktop (help me out here if you can...). There is just no way to quickly control the heat level as with gas (are there some new electric cooktops with instant on/off?)

        1. re: bnemes3343

          I *can* cook on electric and flat top burners, but I don't like to, and agree with the recommendations for gas burners and an electric oven.

      2. gas cooktop and electric ovens would be jfood's recommendation as well.

        1. Because gas lines can't get knocked down by falling limbs and high winds, I go for gas. Also, where I live gas is cheaper than electricity.

          4 Replies
          1. re: mpalmer6c

            Good point about the relative lack of reliability with electric service. I always worry about whether I will be able to finish cooking dinner when there is a good electrical storm. On the other hand, I never have to worry about whether I have a gas leak. My old gas stove used to leak a little bit and it could never really be repaired correctly. It made me quite nervous and I bought a new range when that happened.

            I've had both, and I have to say I no longer have such a strong opinion in favor of gas. I could live with either. It all depends upon the quality of the appliance you are buying. High end is still high end, if you know what I mean, regardless of the fuel. It IS harder to clean a gas cooktop versus a smooth ceramic top, and it doesn't take a lot of care to avoid scratches. Those special cooktop cleaners actually work very, very well. I've had mine for four years, and there are no scratches to be seen. I use the cooktop cleaner maybe once a month and a soapy sponge or glass cleaner most of the time. Choose a dark color -- not white -- if you go ceramic, due to possible discoloration. I find the heat control is actually very sensitive, because it seems to cool down more quickly than those big gas burner grills that have lots of metal in them. A large burner can boil water faster than gas on a high setting. It does require very flat bottomed pans, so if your cookware is warped, you will be springing for new cookware. New cookware might just cost more than some of the ranges you may be looking at, so keep that in mind.

            That said, people who have only had gas will look at your electric or ceramic cooktop as a negative when you sell your house because they are unfamiliar with it. I know I felt that way when I bought my house. I found those horrible old electric coils in my house and quickly replaced those with a ceramic cooktop. It didn't stop me from choosing this house, but I was disappointed that I could not get gas service to my center island cooktop without extensive work. I made the best of it. I am now quite satisfied, and as I said, no longer so opinionated about the fuel type. It sounds like your cooktop is part of a range and therefore against a wall, so looks are less of a consideration than center island placement. I would probably choose gas in your circumstance for the reason I just stated.

            For the record, I don't find much difference in the ovens for cooking. I don't do much baking and therefore I am probably less qualified to give you an opinion about which might be better. I do believe that my old gas broilers browned things better, but I suspect that is a quirk of my wall ovens, which are the originals with the house and now thirteen years old.

            1. re: RGC1982

              I live where power failures happen and for that reason, my cooktop is propane (and because natural gas isn't an option.)
              The longest outage we've had was seven days with high snow. Being able to eat hot food is a good thing.

              1. re: shallots

                This is nice, but you do have to look specifically for this capability these days, or maybe you can't get it anymore. Friend of mine in Oklahoma found out during those recent ice storms that his newish propane range could not be lit at all without electricity. Some kind of safety feature that the gas doesn't flow at all if there's no electricity to run the igniters.

                1. re: shallots

                  I've actually had great luck cooking in the fireplace during winter outages (and since we are using it for heat also that works well). I use the grill during summer outages. I suppose having the stove working would be nice but it's not a deal breaker or maker for me.

            2. First, the cooktop: gas offers far more control because the heat output responds instantly to the controls. There's also a visual cue (the size of the flame) as to how much heat you're emitting; that's good both for cooking and for safety (just ask the back cover of my old Joy of Cooking, which got set on an electric burner that had not been turned off completely). On the other hand, the hightest setting of a regular electric burner will emit much more heat than even the biggest standard indoor gas burner. It will win the boil-a-gallon-of-water-for-pasta race every time.

              If you decide to go for gas, see if you can test-drive the ones you're interested in; the btu measurement of the burners is input, not output, and one cooktop may produce significantly more (or less) heat than another. Also be aware that the really big burners (eg, a 36,000 wok burner) may require special venting to meet code in your area.

              As to the oven, I prefer my electric convection oven to the gas ovens I've had in the past. But based on other CH threads, this may be a function of the age and quality of the gas ovens I've had. Many folks will voice a preference for electric, but it appears that there are plenty of good gas ovens out there as well.

              1. I'm with the electric oven and gas cooktop set. One thing tho--the new induction tops may be worth your looking at. They control the heat rapidly, and they are easy for clean up. My sense is that they are coming down in price to the point that they can now be considered mainstream. I don't have one myself, but perhaps others can weigh in.