Among the endless choices you’ll need to make when renovating your home or building a brand new one is whether you should choose gas, electric or induction cooking appliances. There are multiple angles to consider here: cost, safety, efficiency, durability, and even what kind of cooking you do most. It all boils down to your individual circumstances – but to help you compare, here’s a list of pros and cons for each.
• They cost less to buy. Generally speaking, electric stoves are cheaper than gas and simpler to install – particularly if your property doesn’t have an existing gas line.
• They’re easy to clean. Electric stoves with coil heat elements are pretty simple to wipe down, while the more stylish smooth-surface ceramic models are an absolute cinch.
• They distribute heat evenly and accurately. With heating elements at the top and bottom, electric ovens reach temperatures quickly, which cuts down on pre-heating time. They also provide a drier heat than gas ovens – making them superior for baking and roasting. Fan-assisted electric ovens circulate airflow and can significantly speed up cooking time as well.
• They cost more to operate. Electricity costs are higher than gas over the long term.
• They’re slow to respond to temperature changes. Plus, when you turn off the heat, you must immediately remove your food to avoid overcooking or burning. This could also be a safety issue – especially for young children, who may not realise when the surface is too hot to touch.
• They’re easy to control. What you see is what you get with a gas flame: it ignites and lowers instantly. And once you’ve switched the flame off, the heat is instantly gone.
• They’re versatile. Toasting, charring and flambéing can all be done with a gas stove top. You can also still cook if you have a power blackout.
• They cost less to operate. Gas appliances are cheaper to run than electric – which, if you do a lot of cooking, means less energy consumption and lower bills.
• They’re tricky to clean. A gas stove top has cast-iron grates and burner plates that need to be removed every time you sponge it down, plus lots of crumb-friendly nooks and crannies.
• They operate with an open flame. This means that you may waste heat and gas consumption if your cookware is the wrong size for the burner, or if your gas stove top is next to an open window.
• They’re super-fast. Using electromagnetism to create energy, an induction stove top will reflect immediate changes in temperature, like a gas stove top, but will cook up to 50 per cent faster than either gas or electric – and use less energy.
• They’re safe. The surface of an induction stove top doesn’t generate heat, significantly reducing the risk of burnt food, saucepans, or hands and fingers. You can also wipe them down with a damp cloth immediately after cooking.
• They look good. Sleek, flat and glass-based, induction stove tops will add a stylish touch to any kitchen.
• They’re expensive. The technology is relatively new, so a four-zone induction stove top costs more than a comparably sized gas or electric stove top.
• They require special cookware. An induction stove top will only work with pots and pans with a magnetic field, such as iron, cast iron, enamel, or magnetic grade stainless steel.
• They’re noisy. Induction stoves are known to emit a humming or buzzing sound, especially at higher settings.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you’re really struggling to make up your mind whether gas, electric or induction is best for you, consider this: most major appliance brands offer hybrid models, such as stove tops that combine gas and induction zones, or ranges featuring a gas stove top with an electric oven. Sometimes you can have it all.
While you compare your appliances, you can also compare your plan to make sure you are on the best plan to suit your needs.