Most people who enjoy cooking have 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 by 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, at 90% energy transferred to food. No matter the option, right-sizing pots and pans to the burner is important to avoid wasting energy.
Electric cooktops are a tried-and-true option for many homes, and they are typically the most affordable. Glass top models offer a cleaner look than the traditional coil elements and 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.
Many home chefs prefer gas stovetops because you can see the flame as a visual clue that helps you control the temperature. There are some concerns with safety and indoor air quality. To help reduce indoor air pollution, always use your exhaust fan—ideally vented to the exterior—when using your gas stovetop.
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. They also allow for more precise temperature control.
Cool burners offer additional safety benefits. You don’t have the indoor air quality issues associated with gas, and they won’t ignite items like dishrags or paper left on the stovetop.
MIRANDA BOUTELLE writes on energy efficiency for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.