Gas or electric? What's hot & what's not in ovens
If you’re in the market for a new oven, you’ll inevitably be faced with the choice between gas or electric. And you’ll discover that just about everyone has an opinion on what’s hot and what’s not. So, to help you make up your mind, we've weighed in on the debate with a run-down of the pros and cons.
The bottom line
Up-front costs and energy efficiency are more than likely near the top of your list in terms of deciding factors, but recent research suggests that there’s no clear cut winner in these categories.
Gas ovens are more expensive to buy and install than electric, but they’re still considered to be cheaper over time and more efficient to run. One of the things to take into account is whether your kitchen already has a gas connection. If not, this can add significantly to the overall cost of a gas oven.
Electric ovens are generally cheaper to purchase and install — making up over 80% of the market — but historically they've cost more to run due to the price of electricity. Most consumer advice sites continue to maintain that electric ovens are more expensive to run than gas.
Both of the above statements, however, should be taken with a grain of salt. A changing energy market, the uptake of domestic solar electricity and the improved efficiency of electric appliances mean that the new generation of electric ovens are giving gas ovens a run for their money.
Proof is in the pudding
Most of us have a preference for cooking with gas or electric, and a lot of the time this is based on what we’re used to, rather than a balanced assessment of the merits of each.
Gas ovens don’t dry food out as much as electric, which makes them ideal for roasts, cakes and casseroles. Another advantage of gas is the almost instant control over the flame and temperature. That said, unless the gas oven has a fan, they don’t distribute heat as evenly, meaning you have to rotate your food for all over browning or crisping.
Electric ovens, on the other hand, usually have a fan so they heat evenly, plus a variety of cooking modes for more versatility. The new steam convection ovens also provide the moisture needed for roasts and other slow baked dishes. And, counter to popular opinion, most modern electric ovens have a pre-heat time on a par with gas.
The up-shot is, choosing between a gas or electric oven is probably going to boil down to your budget, your cooking needs and a healthy dose of personal preference. Do some research, talk to friends and family, and think about how and what you cook.
Regardless of whether you decide on gas or electric, using your oven efficiently is the key to conserving energy and saving money. Below are our 5 tips for energy efficient oven use.
5 tips for energy efficient oven use
1. Use fan forced cooking where available, as this means food cooks at a lower heat.
2. Refrain from opening the oven door while cooking.
3. Make sure the door seals are intact and working properly. Replace if necessary.
4. Cook several things at the same time.
5. Cook in bulk and freeze for later.