Choosing Between Gas, Induction and Electric Ranges and Cooktops

So you’ve decided to upgrade your kitchen’s cooking capabilities in the form of a new cooktop or range! Traditionally, your cooktop fuel options were gas or electric. Being a staple cooking method in Europe and Asia for decades, induction cooking has become more widely adopted and affordable in the western world, so there is now a third option to the “Gas or Electric” dilemma.  In this post I’ve decided to look at the most notable differences between induction and those two classic options, gas or thermal electric. When finished with this, you should have a better idea as to which fuel is the perfect choice for your kitchen!

Gas Ranges

Gas cooking surfaces heat food with a flame. These cooking surfaces offer rapid heat and control, allowing you to quickly move from high heat to low heat. The height and width of the flame also make it easy to determine the heat level.

There are two types of gas cooking surfaces:

  • Gas cooking surfaces with “sealed gas burners” prevent food from getting trapped under the burner, making cleanup hassle free. The drawback is that the flame comes out of the burner in a horizontal orientation.  This can cause the flame to creep to the edges of the pan where the air is, causing the edges and sides of the pan to get hotter than the center.
  • Gas appliances with “open gas burners” offer a higher level of heat.  The flame comes out of the burner vertically.  Heat is distributed across the pan very evenly.  One hazard unique to open burner ranges: if something boils over, the spillover can fall through the surface and end up under the burner.  Though the performance is much better with open burner designs, cleaning can be a much more laborious process.
Sealed burner on the left and open burner on the right.

Some gas cooking surfaces also feature integrated downdraft designs where a fan works to draw smoke and odors out of your kitchen. Cooking surfaces with an integrated downdraft eliminate the need for purchasing a ventilation hood and are perfect for kitchen island installations.

Induction Cooking

Induction cooking surfaces are a newer type of glass electric cooktop. These cooking surfaces have electromagnetic coils beneath the ceramic glass surface and transfer energy directly into metal objects. While these ranges and cooktops look the same as a smoothtop or ceramic top range, they cook very differently. By skipping the thermal heating process, there is far less energy loss and by heating the cookware directly, cooking is much faster without making the cooking surface hot to the touch. You can enjoy precise and even cooking with induction.

This symbol on the bottom of your cookware will also tell you if the item is induction compatible.

Unlike other electric cooking surfaces, only induction ready cookware can be used for induction cooking surfaces. You can easily search for and purchase induction ready cookware. Also, if a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pot or pan, this cookware will work with an induction cooking surface. Since induction cooking surfaces only heat the area that meets the cookware, they are a safer option for busy homes with pets or children. You can take a deeper dive into our blog article, “Why Induction Cooking is Simply Better” by clicking here.

In addition to the performance advantages outlined above, electric induction cooktops are far easier to clean that any of the alternatives.  There aren’t any holes for food to fall in and the cooking surface itself stays cool during cooking which keeps any food soils from burning to the glass.  When you’re finished cooking it really is a matter of just wiping the cooking surface to get it clean.

Traditional Electric

Electric cooking surfaces heat food without a flame. Electrical coils radiate heat into the bottom of the cooking vessel. These cooking surfaces are better at maintaining low heat. There are two types of electric cooking surfaces to choose from, coil cooking surfaces and smoothtop, also known as ceramic, cooking surfaces.

  • Coil Ranges: Coils sit on the top of the cooking surface or in a recessed cavity. The coils are more vulnerable to spills, but drip pans below the coils will contain most messes. They also have the lowest price point and are easy to service.
  • Smoothtop or Ceramic Top Ranges: These cooking surfaces have radiant elements, like coils, installed beneath a smooth, easy to clean ceramic surface. Smoothtop elements heat evenly and quickly and they also provide a sleek, integrated appearance.  Electric smoothtop cooking surfaces can stay very hot for an extended period once you are done cooking.  To ensure safety, look for hot surface indicator lights which let you know that the surface of the cooking surface is still hot even if it is turned off.
Ceramic top on the left and traditional coil hob on the right.

When purchasing an electric cooking surface there are several great features to keep in mind that make cooking a breeze. Dual element burners feature an inner ring for smaller cookware and an outer ring for larger cookware. Bridge elements are an extra element between two main elements that can be active to create a long surface for cookware like griddles and grills.

Which method of cooking is the best choice? Is induction cooking better than the more traditional gas or electric? It’s all a matter of personal preference and your individual cooking style. When you are finally ready to select and install a new range, or if you need further information, Metropolitan Appliance is the perfect place to get the range or  cooktop that’s perfect for you. We offer a huge variety of cooktops and ranges in different fuel types, styles and sizes, all at guaranteed lowest prices. For the best in gas, electric, or induction cooking for your kitchen, shop Metropolitan Appliance.  The only appliance store you’ll ever need!

One comment

  1. I am glad to see that open gas burner ovens are great for getting the heat evenly across the pan. This would help cook certain foods better. I think that having the heat all over and not just on the center would make it more efficient at cooking too.

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