BY MIRANDA BOUTELLE
When considering a new stovetop, it pays to consider the options that will make the most of your cooking experience. Fortunately, there are many great choices in the market today.
Most people who enjoy cooking have pretty strong opinions about their preferred fuel choice: gas or electric. Induction is a newer option for home stovetops, which is growing in popularity.
According to a study completed by the Electric Power Research Institute, 74% of the energy from an electric range is transferred to food, versus 40% on a gas range. Induction cooktops are the most efficient option at 90% energy transferred to food. Regardless of your stovetop choice, right-sizing pots and pans to the burner is important to avoid wasting energy.
Evaluating electric cooktops
Electric cooktops are a tried-and-true option for many homes and are typically the most affordable option. Glass-top models offer a cleaner look than the traditional coil elements. They are easier to clean but tend to be a bit more expensive. The most common complaint about electric cooking is that the heating controls are not as fast or precise.
Pros and cons of gas stovetops
Many home chefs prefer gas stovetops because you can easily see the size of the flame, a visual clue that helps you control the cooking temperature. Temperature adjustments are also faster and more precise than on electric stovetops. However, there are some concerns with safety and indoor air quality associated with gas stoves because gas emissions can be harmful to your health. To help reduce indoor air pollution, always use your exhaust fan when using your gas stovetop. Ideally, your exhaust fan should be vented to the home’s exterior.
Access is also a consideration. Natural gas is typically available in more populated areas, while rural customers may need a propane storage tank installed outside their homes to use a gas stove.
Exploring newer induction stovetop options
An induction stovetop can offer a higher-end cooking experience than a standard electric stovetop, and some people prefer it to cooking on gas.
Induction stovetops use electromagnetic energy to heat the pan, reducing energy waste. Instead of heating the stove’s surface, they heat the pans themselves, resulting in faster cooking times. They also allow for more precise temperature control, which can deliver better results.
Induction cooktops are typically more expensive than similar gas or electric models. They also require you to use specific cookware. Stainless steel and cast-iron cookware are both compatible with induction cooktops. If you want to test your pots and pans to see if they are induction-compatible, do the magnet test. If a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan, it will work on an induction stove.
If you are remodeling and have a gas range, consider running electrical to support an induction cooktop if you change your mind in the future. Setting up the power supply during a remodel can offer significant savings.
If you are considering making the switch, keep an eye on any incentives for your state or region. A rebate for replacing your gas stove with an electric one may be available under the Inflation Reduction Act.
Miranda Boutelle writes on energy efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 electric co-ops.