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Gas vs. Electric Stove Tops
Have you heard that gas cooktops are always better than any electric option? You might be surprised to learn that one type of cooktop is not necessarily better than the other.
Available in both gas and electric models, kitchen cooktops (unlike ranges) are independent from the oven cavity. Designed to provide an integrated look with your kitchen countertops, a cooktop can be installed over a built-in wall oven or a warming drawer, or even on its own in a countertop or kitchen island.
At Atherton Appliance & Kitchens and BSC Culinary, we carry a variety of premium kitchen appliance brands that offer gas and electric cooktop options. What we’ve discovered is that gas cooktops work best for some customers, while electric is a better choice for others. Let’s examine some of the differences so that you can determine which option is best for you.
Response speed and fine-tuned control: If quick startup and response time are priorities for you, you’ll likely lean toward purchasing a gas cooktop, such as one of the options offered by Viking. Gas burners respond immediately when you turn them on or when you need to turn the heat up or down; you can drop a rolling boil down to an easy simmer in no time at all. Electric cooktops respond more slowly. Some cooks who prefer electric cooktops handle this issue by moving the pan on and off the heating element as they cook.
Heat escape: There’s no way around it: more heat escapes from a gas burner. Heat from the burner travels up around the sides of the pan and into your kitchen. This means that less heat gets to your food, and the handles of your pans can get hot. Gas ovens also vent more heat than electric ovens. Jenn-Air offers the Expressions™ Collection Gas Downdraft Cooktop, which features sealed burners and a powerful built-in ventilation system that efficiently clears the air without a hood.
Boiling speed: Gas might offer a quicker response time, but comparison tests have shown that a large pot of water boils more quickly when heated on an electric cooktop—even when the BTU rating is the same. As we noted above, more heat escapes from gas burners, which likely explains the discrepancy. So if you cook a lot of pasta or heat up pots of soup, you might want to consider one of the beautiful electric cooktops offered by a premium brand like Wolf.
Worry-free simmering: Electric cooktops tend to be best for simmering because they can heat slowly and evenly. Some of our high-end gas stoves do a great job of simmering; Bosch’s 800 series, for example, is designed for quick heating and gentle simmering. Still, our electric cooktops, like Fisher & Paykel’s 36” ceramic cooktop with a completely flat profile, tend to have the edge here.
Type of pan: Your choice of cooking pans might also affect your cooktop decision. As Consumer Reports notes, electric cooktops, especially those with flat tops, require pans with bottoms that are as flat as possible. Pans with a convex bottom might be unstable on a flat top stove, and can even rock or spin during cooking. As for gas? You can use pretty much use any pan on a gas cooktop.
If your favorite pan is a wok, you know that this popular cooking tool works best when used over an open flame. You can create wonderful stir-fry dishes with an electric cooktop, but you’ll want to use a flat-bottomed wok; a traditional round-bottomed wok should be used with a gas burner. Research your options when it comes to buying a wok and make sure the one you choose will work well with your cooktop.
Cleanup: Electric cooktops come out ahead here; even coil electric burners tend to be easier to clean than gas burners. Some gas cooktops, including a number of models from GE Appliances, now come with dishwasher safe grates to make the cleaning process easier.
Wolf Gas Range and Electric Wolf Cooktop
In the end, neither gas nor electric cooktops are an inherently superior choice. The type of cooktop you should install in your kitchen depends completely on your individual needs and cooking priorities. If heat accuracy and response time or if cooking with a wok is your top concern, you’ll likely want to go with gas. But if you love to simmer and cook pasta, or if easy cleanup is a must, an electric cooktop might be for you. Stop by one of our showrooms so we can introduce you to some of the latest cooktops. We’ll be happy to help you determine which option is best for you.
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