A gas oven creates heat in its cooking chamber using gas burners, which ignite natural gas; an electric oven creates heat by applying a current to specialized coils, known as heating elements. While chefs tend to favor gas ovens, as they produce visible flames that allow for more precise temperature control, electric ovens still offer several advantages.
According to Energy Guide, ovens are the least energy-efficient cooking appliances, as oven walls end up absorbing the majority of the heat that ovens produce. However, between electric ovens and gas ovens, electric ovens represent the lesser of two energy-consuming evils. A typical gas oven only converts about 6 percent of the energy it consumes into usable heat for cooking. Much of the oven's energy is lost due to incomplete combustion as well as heat escaping through the oven's flue or exhaust ducts. In contrast, a typical electric oven can convert between 12 and 13 percent of the energy it consumes into heat for cooking.
Installing an electric oven is typically a simpler and less costly process in comparison to installing a gas oven. This is because electric ovens do not rely on external sources of fuel that must be piped-in. Instead, an electric oven plugs into your home's existing electrical grid, just like a refrigerator or dishwasher. To install a gas oven, you may first need to pay a gas company to run a gas line to your home. If your home already has a natural gas hook-up, but it does not run to your kitchen, you'll need to hire a plumber to install some pipes. As Energy Guide notes, running a pipe from your home's gas connection to the kitchen can cost between $200 and $500, as of 2011.
Even Cooking Temperatures
As Bathroom and Kitchen Guide notes, in comparison to gas ovens, electric ovens are better at creating even or uniform internal cooking temperatures. Even cooking temperatures help eliminate the development of cold spots or hot spots in foods and also help to prevent burning. Unlike with the flames of a gas burner, which can be somewhat unpredictable, electric heating coils always release consistent amounts of heat. Some manufacturers also install fans in electric ovens, which help circulate heat and further help electric ovens cook foods evenly.
While gas ovens tend to produce a more humid heat within their cavities, which keeps foods moist, electric ovens produce a dry heat. While this dry heat may not be ideal for cooking cakes and other baked goods, it can be beneficial for other culinary applications, such as drying fruits and dehydrating meats.
In terms of initial cost, or how much you will pay to buy an oven from a retailer, electric ovens are less expensive, as Bathroom and Kitchen Guide notes. This means an electric oven will cost less than a gas oven of the same size. Per Energy Guide, gas ovens can cost as much as 50 percent more than electric ovens as of 2011.
- Photo Credit pizzas in an oven image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com
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