Help and advice

Cooking with gas… Or electricity?

If you’ve ever had to buy an oven, you’ve probably been exposed to the debate between electric or gas-fuelled devices already. With plenty of passionate advocates on either side, it can sometimes be hard to work out what the pros and cons are for each system. If you’re gearing up for the task of buying an oven, then this is a handy guide to working out which option is best for you.

Availability

Despite the range of ovens available, the choice of oven fuel may already be out of your hands. Check the local fuel supplies in your area to see if either option has already been definitively ruled out, as this is the fastest way to come to a conclusion.

If you live in an isolated area, it may also be worth thinking about how vulnerable your energy supplies are. Do you want to be able to cook regardless of regular power cuts, or is your gas pipeline prone to leaks and other problems? You’ll then be able to make decisions based on common sense and a clear view of your situation.

Cost

One of the most important considerations when choosing home appliances of any kind is how much it will cost to run. We all love getting a bargain when it comes to upfront prices, so this should be extended to long-term considerations like keeping your energy bills down.

Overall, gas ovens are cheaper to run. According to consumer watchdog Which?, running an electric oven, grill and hob for about one hour and 20 minutes every day of the year will work out at about £53, compared with £16 for a gas device. Assuming your oven lasts for the average six year lifespan, a gas oven will cost £222 less to run. This shows how small savings can mount up over the long term.

However, it may not always be as simple as this. The temperature in electric ovens is easier to control with digital thermostats, and fan-assisted models are better at even heat distribution. This said, electrical coil hobs are less responsive than gas ones, although they will heat water in small pans more quickly.

Just bear in mind that if you opt for gas, you’ll need to have it installed by a GasSafe-registered engineer for safety reasons.

Cooking characteristics

Many people will swear that it’s impossible to roast potatoes well in an electric oven, while others will say the same about gas (in fact, parboiling is more likely to be the deciding factor). So what differences are there between electric and gas ovens?

As mentioned above, heat distribution and responsiveness are definitely important. However, it’s definitely possible to adjust to these factors as you get to know your oven.

It will always be easier to work something you’re already used to, so this can be a deciding factor. It’s largely a matter of personal preference and what you’re accustomed to, so try not to worry too much about anyone else’s opinions. If you have had success with an electric oven in the past, it’s likely you’ll get on well with another, and vice versa.


© Axonn 2015