Which Consumes More Energy: An Electric Stove or an Oven?

It's difficult to say whether electric stoves or ovens have more energy consumption, although the typical user saves about $18 per year using gas rather than electric. So there isn't a huge financial advantage to choosing gas over electric.

But natural gas prices continue to rise, which could change the picture significantly. Also, the price of gas is more expensive in some areas than others. Also, if you don't already have a gas line, the cost of installing one can be expensive and negate the price advantage over electric. There is also the cost of adding gas service, which cuts into savings. But even if using gas saves you that little bit of money, keep in mind that gas can be dangerous, as it is combustible after all.

Instead of making it an either/or proposition, it's wiser to know how to use each appliance as efficiently as possible.

Using ovens efficiently:

  • Preheat only when you need to, and preheat for as little time as possible. If you're not baking pastries or breads, you might not have to preheat the oven.
  • Try not to open the door to check food. The temperature drops approximately 25 degrees every time you open the oven door. Instead, keep an eye on the timer or your clock.
  • Never cook with the door open—obviously. The heat just flows right out.
  • Try and bake many items simultaneously. This is truly killing two birds with one stone.
  • Never use foil to cover oven racks because this blocks air flow. When air circulates freely, food cooks more efficiently and quickly. You should also stagger pans on low and upper racks, thus improving airflow.
  • Use ceramic or glass pans to cook with. That way you can lower the temperature as much as 25 degrees, yet still cook just as fast.
  • Clean self-cleaning ovens directly after use, and put that residual heat to good use.
  • Check the seal on the door for tears and cracks because even small rips let heat get out. Cleaning seals also help hold in the heat.
  • If you have a small-to-medium meal, a microwave or toaster oven is much more efficient for the task. Try to only use your large oven for large meals.

Using electric stoves efficiently.

  • Don't use anything other than flat-bottomed pans that make complete element contact.
  • Turn off electric burners many minutes before the scheduled cooking time.
  • Check electric coils regularly, and make sure they aren't worn out.
  • Keep your burners and reflectors clean. And if you must replace any of these, replace them with good ones—not cheap ones.
  • Match the heating element with the pan size.

The bottom line in the gas versus electric debate is that, it's not so much the fuel you cook with as how efficiently you utilize your power source. If you take the above tips seriously, you can expect to consume much less energy than if you ignore them and develop inefficient cooking habits. Any energy source, whatever it is, can be conserved or wasted, so always use energy wisely—whether with your electric stove, or your gas oven.