Electric, Electric Induction or Gas: Which one is better in 2022?
Whether you’re a busy family on the go or a home chef, a common question when it comes to cooking is: which stove is better, gas or electric? Whatever you prefer, there are pros and cons to both as well as new technology in electric induction cooktops that could be a game-changer. Contact your local utility to learn more about rebate programs for electric induction stove upgrades that may be available.
Electric induction stoves have been a recent industry disruptor. Whether you’re upgrading your home, have a large family or enjoy spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Here are some key upgrades with induction stoves:
For comparison, let’s start with gas vs. electric cooktops and stoves.
For starters, having a gas stove requires that your home have a gas line. Some homes may not have gas lines, so installing one will be required. This can be complicated, costly, and time-consuming, whereas electric stoves just need to be plugged in.
It’s standard for most homes to have an outlet compatible with an electric stove. If not, they can be easily installed.
Both gas and electric ranges have their advantages, depending on what and how you like to cook. For example, gas ranges offer responsive heat control for searing meats or stir-frying vegetables, while the dry, even heat of electric stoves work better for baked goods. For consumers seeking more heat control with safety and energy efficiency in mind, an induction cooktop is the recommended choice. In fact, many professional chefs and world-class restaurants are trading in gas stoves and turning to induction cooktops for their powerful, precise and efficient cooking ability.
Arguments can be made for the safety of both gas and electric cooktops, but because of the exposed flame, some individuals are wary of using gas stoves. A gas leak is also a possibility with gas ranges. Many gas range users have noted alerts from their indoor air quality monitor while using gas ranges. Indoor air quality can be affected by a gas stove, which relies on the direct combustion of natural gas.
Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in homes with gas stoves or other gas equipment.
Electric stoves are undoubtedly safer because no flame is present, meaning there are no unnecessary combustion byproducts being emitted into the air in your home.
With the arrival of induction cooktops and ranges, one can enjoy a safer way to cook with auto-shutoff and quick-cooling burners. As soon as you remove the pot, the heating stops. Once the burner is not in contact with a pot and turned off, the cool-down time is much faster than electric cooktops. Since the cooktop itself is not heating up, the burner only holds the residual heat from the pot, meaning that the cooktop does not get as hot as gas or electric burners throughout the cooking process.
The average prices of gas and electric ranges are between $450 to $2,300. They each have varying operation expenses, despite their similar prices. While gas stoves can be less expensive to operate, they do consume more energy. Additionally, natural gas and propane fuels have been subject to significant price fluctuations over the past several years.
Induction cooking is becoming more popular with chefs and home cooks since it cooks faster and responds quicker when you lower the temperature. To make induction even more attractive, the prices have dropped, with some induction ranges going for less than $1,000.
Despite their similar appearances, there are differences between an electric cooktop and an induction cooktop. Depending on your needs, one may serve you or your family better than the other.
Traditional electric cooktops, which provide conductive, centered heat for pots and pans are the most widely used. An electrical current flows beneath the glass or ceramic top’s surface, through a metal coil that glows hot and then transfers heat through the smooth top surface utilizing infrared energy. This infrared energy ensures that heat is distributed evenly from the burner to the pan, and ultimately to the food.
Induction cooktops, on the other hand, use an electromagnetic field to generate heat directly in the cookware, meaning that the cooktop surface itself is cooler than a conventional stovetop. Essentially, induction cuts out the intermediate step of heating up a burner and then transferring the heat to the pot.
The induction cooktop does not have a natural, heat-generated light to signal it is on. Many models are designed with a safety feature of simulated flames to show which surface elements are on because the electromagnetic field does not produce a hot glow.
Another significant difference between an induction and an electric cooktop is when you turn off a burner on an electric cooktop, the surface remains hot even after the electrical current has stopped flowing. For a period of time, the burner will emit residual heat, whereas induction cooktops quickly cool down.
Unlike traditional electric cooktops, induction cooktops require induction-compatible cookware, as the magnetic coils beneath the cooking surface require either iron or a magnetic coating to power the cooktop. Cast iron and most varieties of stainless steel pots and pans are compatible cookware materials, but glass, all-copper, and aluminum pots and pans are not—unless the bottoms include a magnetic coating. Most homes already have induction-compatible cookware. If you’re not sure, give your pan the magnet test. If the magnet sticks, it’s compatible.
If you’re interested in exploring induction cooktops but aren’t ready to commit to a full range just yet, buying a portable induction cooktop is an excellent and inexpensive way to introduce yourself to induction cooking. While it won’t exactly mimic a high-quality, full-sized cooktop, it will give you a better idea of how fast, powerful, and responsive induction cooking can be.
The application of induction heating to cooking appliances was a giant step forward in home safety. Induction heated cooktops do not affect indoor air quality and are cool to the touch even when the water in the pot is boiling hot.
Aside from aesthetics, the energy efficiency of induction vs. electric cooktop is a major point when deciding between the two. Up to 90% of the energy produced on an induction cooktop is transmitted to the food, which is remarkable given that energy transfer on electric and gas cooktops is reported to be around 74% for electric and 40% for gas.
Almost all of the heat generated by a gas burner is lost to convection as it flows around the pot. Electric cooktops are more efficient than gas cooktops. Induction, on the other hand, wastes very little energy because no heat is transferred from the surface of the pot to the pot itself.
Induction, like gas, may generate heat instantaneously, whereas electric coils require time to heat up. If you’re looking to save the most money on your utility bills, induction is the best option.
Induction cooktops heat faster than electric and gas counterparts. With induction, you don’t have to wait for the heating element to transfer to the pan. Instead, the pan heats up directly and quickly. Tests have shown that induction cooktops can boil six quarts of water in under 15 minutes.
Induction cooktops can regulate heat quicker than gas cooktops. When you turn off an induction burner, there is very little residual heat left on the burner because all of the heat is contained within the cookware. Because of this feature, you’ll have a good deal of control over the temperature at which the meal is cooked.
Induction burners are significantly faster at heating than gas burners and even faster than electric burners. Induction, on the other hand, excels in its accuracy. Gas cannot maintain a low temperature uniformly for an extended period of time, so you get better performance not only at the high end but also at the low end. Fondue and melting chocolate at lower temps without scorching? Yes, please.
Since induction stoves respond so quickly, they can boil water almost two times faster than the majority of gas stoves while also preventing burnt food from accumulating on the bottom of the pot after the burner has been switched off.
Since cooling times are quick and burners are flat, cleaning an induction cooktop is a breeze with a few swipes of a cleaning cloth.
Budget, energy efficiency, meal size, and frequency of use are all variables to keep in mind when selecting the ideal cooktop for your kitchen. Before making a final decision, you should experiment with an induction or electric stove. Find out for yourself which one you enjoy cooking on. If you do your research, you’re likely to discover the perfect cooktop that meets your needs.
Love Electric aims to accelerate the adoption of heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, and other efficient electric technologies in homes and businesses across Colorado, to lower consumer energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide improved health, comfort and other benefits. Love Electric is an initiative of the Beneficial Electrification League of Colorado (BEL-CO).