Gas vs. Electric Stoves: Which is really more efficient?

How do they Work?

To understand why gas stoves will save you money, you first need to know how both gas and electric stoves use energy.

When you use a gas stove, natural gas enters your stove from the main gas supply to your house. It's carried to the burner, where it combines with air inside a mixer tube. As that gas-air mixture is released through holes in the burner, it mixes with even more air. The ignition system lights the gas-air mixture, creating a blue flame. As you turn the burner control knob, you control exactly how much gas reaches the burner. The higher you turn it, the more gas is released.

How Gas and Electric Stoves Get Hot

Gas stoves contain one of two types of ignition systems: a pilot light or an electronic ignition system. A pilot light is a constantly burning blue flame near the burner. Because it’s always on, a pilot light uses a lot more gas than an electronic ignition system. An electronic ignition system creates a spark (you'll hear this as a clicking noise) only when you turn the burner on.

When you use an electric stove, electricity runs to a wire inside the coils on the cook top. Smooth top stoves have an internal coil that sits underneath the cooking surface. When you turn the dial on the stove, the electricity flows to the coil and heats up the metal. You can tell that electricity is flowing to the cook top when it turns a bright orange color. The more you turn the dial, the more electricity flows to the burner and the hotter it gets -- but the control isn’t as precise as it is with a gas stove.