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Gas vs electric ovens: which should you buy?

Gas vs electric ovens: which should you buy?
(Image credit: Getty)

When it comes to gas vs electric ovens, which should you buy and why? We’ll be looking at the pros and cons of the best gas ranges compared to the best electric ranges as well as electric wall double ovens. We’ll also dive into whether price and efficiency should form part of your decision to help you make an informed choice between gas vs electric ovens.

Any keen cook will know that an oven is one of the most important appliances in your kitchen. From cooking up your Thanksgiving turkey to baking birthday cakes for loved ones, these appliances play a central role in most big occasions as well as everyday life so we’ve compiled everything you need to know from costs to the range of models each type of oven offers.

With running costs and the impact on the environment becoming increasingly more important to consider, we'll also be sharing some advice for choosing an oven that is more efficient. 

Gas vs electric ovens: Price  

If you’re thinking that affordability will be the easiest way to make your decision between a gas and an electric model, you’ll be disappointed. You won’t see much difference between the price tags for gas and electric ranges, they both start in the region of $400-500 and can go up to $4,000 or even as high as $20,000 for the very large premium models. If you want the convenience of a dual fuel range (gas stove and electric oven) this is where the price difference is noticeable, dual fuel ranges start at around $1,500.

For wall ovens, there is a price difference, single gas wall ovens start at around $650 but single electric wall ovens start at a more affordable $400, so if you’re looking for a wall oven on a budget, electric is the way forward. A double electric wall oven will cost anything from $1,600 upwards, but double gas wall ovens are harder to find.

Gas vs electric ovens: Range of models 

Both gas and electric ranges are widely available with plenty of models to choose from, but there are more gas and dual fuel ranges available at the large appliance stores, Home Depot for example has double the number of gas ranges than electric ranges online. 

The opposite is true for wall ovens, here electric is king, not only are gas wall ovens higher priced, but there are fewer models to choose from and double gas wall ovens are very hard to find.

Gas vs electric ovens: which should you buy?

(Image credit: Getty)

Gas vs electric ovens: Pros  

Electric: Electric ovens heat more evenly so are better for baking, where consistent heat is essential for even rising and browning and they tend to have fewer hot spots, so you don’t need to rotate trays as much as you would in a gas oven. Electric ovens also produce a drier heat which makes them ideal for roasting and broiling. 

Electric ovens and ranges are easier to hook up, so long as you’ve got a 240V outlet. Many homeowners tackle the installation themselves. In general, electric appliances are safer because they eliminate the risk of gas leaks and there’s less of a fire risk. However, as you’d expect, precautions should be taken will all types of ovens. 

Gas: With faster cooking and quick temperature adjustments, gas ovens offer more control and they produce a moist, more humid heat, which helps prevent foods from drying out during cooking.

If your previous range or oven was gas, installation and setup will be easier than having a 240V outlet installed for an electric appliance.

Gas vs electric ovens: Cons 

Electric: When adjusting the oven temperature, electric ovens are slower to react than gas and generally they’re slower to preheat too. Depending on what you’re making, many people also experience slower cooking times in electric ovens.

If you don’t have a 240V outlet for an electric oven or range, you’ll have to pay an electrician to install one, which adds to the initial cost. And electric ovens are affected by power outages, so for those who live in areas where power outages are common, electric might not be the best option.

Gas: In some states, codes don’t permit homeowners to install gas ovens and even if you are permitted, it’s often advisable to use a professional to install it for you. This means installation costs will be higher for gas. With any gas appliance, there’s a danger of gas leaks, so safety must be taken into account and this is why a professional installer is the way to go. 

If you don’t have a gas line running into your kitchen you’ll have to factor in this additional cost when looking at the price of the range or oven. 

Gas vs electric ovens: which should you buy?

(Image credit: Getty)

Gas vs electric ovens: Efficiency 

Running costs are an important consideration when choosing between gas vs electric ovens and while these will vary depending on your energy supplier and which state you live in. However, there’s no denying that gas is generally the cheaper fuel and so gas appliances cost less to run. It’s important to note that if your gas oven doesn’t have an electric ignition, it will use a pilot light which means it’s constantly burning gas and therefore not an efficient option.

Unfortunately at this point in time, the federal ENERGY STAR program doesn’t provide certification for ovens and ranges. Additionally, the yellow and black EnergyGuide labels that give useful running cost estimates for appliances also do not cover ovens and ranges leaving consumers in the dark when trying to work out whether gas or electric is the most efficient option.

There are other things to look out for which will narrow down your search and help you find a more efficient option. Convection ovens work by using a fan to circulate hot air around your food, and this speeds up the cooking process making these types of ovens a more efficient choice. 

Also, look for an oven with great insulation to trap the heat in - you’ll often find this with self-cleaning models. 

Gas vs electric ovens: which should you buy? 

In summary, electric ovens and ranges are safer, easier to install, and if you’re looking at wall ovens, definitely cheaper to buy while being more readily available. Avid bakers should opt for an electric oven for optimal results, but they are more expensive to run which will be noticeable if you use it a lot.

Gas is cheaper to run, so long as you already have a gas line to your house. There’s a wider variety of gas models to choose from, but safety and installation costs are a downside. There’s very little choice when it comes to gas wall ovens and they're more expensive to buy.

Electric ovens are better for safety and better, more even baking, but often it boils down to which type you’re most used to using, because despite the pros and cons, if you’ve been using one type for your whole adult life, the transition to a different fuel will take a bit of getting used to and will require some trial and error before you achieve the results you’re looking for in the oven.

Helen is a freelance writer who specializes in kitchen appliances and has written for some of the biggest home-related titles around. Helen also upholsters furniture and always makes sure she's got something interesting to work on.