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What Is the Difference between a Gas Oven and an Electric Oven?

By Ken Black
Updated May 17, 2024
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The differences between a gas oven and an electric oven may be subtle, but can make a significant difference when it comes to cooking certain foods. While many cooks have come to expect a certain level of performance depending on which oven they choose, the choice between ovens ultimately comes down to a personal preference. No matter which choice one makes, cooking styles may vary slightly between the two types of ovens.

One of the first things to consider is how much baking you will be doing. This could affect the cost of running the appliance. Often the cost difference between gas and electric is not that significant. However, for those who do a lot of baking or broiling, gas ovens could be far more economical in the long run, even though they may cost more initially to acquire.

Gas ovens tend to heat and cool down quicker than electric ovens. This may not be a major concern for most people. Still, for those who like to bake in a hurry, and who have small children around, the convenience and safety of this type of feature may be enough to convince them.

Some say one of the major differences between a gas oven and an electric oven is the way in which heat is distributed. Electric ovens do a far superior job in this type of circumstance, most will agree. However, others would argue that gas ovens better control the exact temperature of the oven. Further, changes in oven technology over the years have enabled gas ovens to heat very evenly.

Another thing to consider is how dry the heat is. Some say electric ovens are far superior because they tend to use dry heat more than natural gas ovens. Therefore, they tend not to rust as easily. However, the additional moisture in gas ovens could help prevent some bread crusts from becoming hard and brittle before the inside of the bread is cooked. The same could apply to cakes and pies as well. Therefore, some may consider the additional moisture to actually be a cooking aid.

Both types of ovens often work in similar ways. Each has its own thermostat and most are controlled electrically. This means that even in an electrical outage, it may not be possible or practical to cook with the oven even though some cite this as a reason to choose a natural gas oven.

Powering Gas Stoves vs. Powering Electric Stoves

As the names imply, gas stoves are most often powered by natural gas, although sometimes they can also be powered by liquid propane. Older gas stoves rely on the pilot light being constantly ignited, but newer versions save energy by having electrical spark ignitions, which means they slightly rely on electricity in addition to natural gas.

Electric stoves are more common than gas stoves these days, often because they are cheaper to purchase upfront. Electric stoves also come in different styles. High-coil versions have exposed coils that you can see when heating food. Others have sleek tops, which are typically glass, with the heating coil underneath the glass.

What Is the Monthly Utility Cost of Gas Stove Vs Electric Stove?

The costs of operating gas or electric stoves vary greatly depending on how much a person uses the stove and even where they live since energy costs vary from state to state. Even though there is no set amount of money for operating costs, you can calculate how much you think you'll spend if you have a bit of information.

First, consider gas stoves. Find the oven's energy rating (it will be in BTUs, which stands for British Thermal Units) and divide it by 100,000. Next, multiply the number you get by the cost per therm of natural gas in your area. Then, estimate how many hours you use your oven per month and multiply the number of hours. For example, if your oven has 18,000 BTU and you divide that by 100,000, you'll get 0.18. That's what you'll multiply by the price per therm by. You can consult with the U.S. Energy Information Administration to find out the cost per therm in your state.

Next, you'll want to know how to calculate the consumption of an electric stove. First, you'll need to find your oven's wattage rating. There should be a small plaque somewhere on the unit, or you can find it in the manual. Multiply your oven's wattage by the number of hours you use it per day, then divide it by 1,000 watts (which is equal to a single kilowatt). This tells you the kilowatt-hours (kWh) that your oven uses each day. From there, you'll need to know how much your area charges per kWh of electricity. Multiply the number you got by the price per kWh to find out how much you use per day, which you can then use to find out how much you'll use per month.

Which Is More Energy Efficient Gas or Electric Oven?

To learn which one is more energy-efficient, you'll first need to know how gas and electric stoves work. If you have a gas stove, the natural gas enters it from the main supply in your house. If you don't already have a supply but want a gas oven, you'll need to keep in mind the upfront costs will be more since you'll need to install the gas source. The main gas supply carries the gas to the burner, where it mixes with the air. The ignition system lights the mixture, which creates a blue flame. When you turn on your burner's knobs, you can control how much gas reaches the burner and therefore how high the flame goes.

When you use an electric stove, the electricity has a coiled wire that either sits just under or on top of your cooktop (often, older models have visible coils and newer models have glass tops). Regardless of which type you have, when you turn the burner on, the electricity flows through the coil to heat it up. You'll see a bright orange color when your burner is fully heated, but the temperature will not be precise.

Because electricity cannot create as precise of a temperature as gas can, gas stoves are considered to be more energy-efficient overall. In fact, electricity takes about three times as much energy to heat up your stove. However, it's important to keep overall costs in mind. Even if gas is more energy-efficient overall, the price may be higher than electricity, which means you'll spend more money.

Do Chefs Prefer Gas or Electric Ovens?

Typically, chefs prefer gas cooktops. The biggest reason is that chefs can precisely control the temperatures of their creations with a gas stove. There are other benefits as well. Most pans aren't entirely flat on the bottom, which means electricity heats them unevenly and may leave the edges cold. Gas ranges heat pans more evenly, regardless of how flat or rounded the cookware is. Gas ranges are also easier to clean. Electric ranges often need to be cleaned under the burners, which is not a situation that gas ranges create. Electric ranges with glass tops are even harder to clean since they need special supplies.

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Discussion Comments

By anon1003357 — On Jun 19, 2020

Thank you for all these comments. It's really helpful since I'm using an electric oven and bake almost every day. Cakes, cookies, brownies, bread, etc.

By anon977803 — On Nov 13, 2014

@anon977786: First, make sure your oven racks aren't placed too low. For baked goods, the rack should be in the middle of the oven.

If I'm baking a cake, if it has layers, about halfway through the cooking time, I rotate the pan positions in the oven. Sometimes, electric ovens have hot spots and rotating the pans will help keep the cake from getting done on the edges too quickly.

I also rarely bake anything for as long as the recipe specifies. If something has a 30 minute baking time, for instance, I always check it at 20 minutes. It may not be done, but it won't be overdone, either. I can always let it go a little longer.

If you're baking in a glass pan, make sure you turn the oven temperature down 25 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4 degrees Celsius lower than the recipe says. If you're using metal pans, make sure they're sturdy, thick metal. Thin pans will overheat the outside and will leave the middle undercooked. Good luck!

By anon977786 — On Nov 13, 2014

Is there a difference of temperature the both ovens have? I mean, I have been baking cakes and muffins in my electric oven for a year, and none of them turned out good. They are uncooked in the middle and hard on the outer sides. I used to cook in a gas oven years back, and things used to come out good at that time. I need help.

By summertime — On Oct 21, 2010

I think that the big difference for me as a home owner and the type of oven that is in my house is the way that the device uses energy. It seems like with most heating devices, gas systems are much more efficient and cost less in the long run to operate.

For this reason, my wife and I decided to have a gas range and oven installed in our new home. We did have an option and while the gas service line did cost a few hundred dollars more to install the cost savings over the life of our home will more then compensate for the initial costs that we incurred.

By MrPolitic99 — On Oct 21, 2010

There may be big differences for professional cooks in the way that gas and electric ovens operate but I can tell you that for me the difference isn't very big or not enough for me to notice. About the only things that I bake in my oven are pizzas and cookies. As a bachelor these two items are essentials parts of my diet and as long as the oven actually does the job well and doesn't take an hour, I don't care if it is powered by electricity or gas.

By spreadsheet — On Oct 21, 2010

I am by no means a commercial baker but I can tell you that my love for baking means that I am serious about my cookies and breads. This means that I am very sensitive to the performance of an oven and I agree with FrogFriend in his analysis that there are huge differences in gas ovens and electric ovens.

For me, the big difference comes in the way that the broiler works on either oven. While an electric oven has a broiler heating element located at the top of the oven, a gas oven has the burners located at the bottom. This can effect what kind of dishes you can put under the broiler as not all deep pans will fit in the bottom part of a gas oven.

Gas broilers will however provide you with a much more authentic gas fired taste that electric simply cannot compete with. I recommend you take careful consideration when purchasing a home if you are a serious baker and make sure you know what kind of energy the oven in the house uses as trying to switch the energy type would require a remodel and new service lines or pipes to be run to the kitchen location.

By FrogFriend — On Oct 21, 2010

As a professional chef, I can tell you that there are huge advantages to using a gas oven and stove. Usually in a commercial environment you will find that only gas is used but sometimes because of location and what the building can provide you will be forced to use an electrically powered oven.

These electric ovens will bake your food but in a different manner then gas ovens. This is critical in the way that the oven can change temperatures. Gas ovens heat up so much faster then electric ones that you must consider this timing delay when trying to deliver quality and hot food to your customers. These delays can mean the difference between a large tip for the waiter or no tip at all and it is solely up to the chef to ensure that any baking procedures are carried through properly.

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