Buying a convection oven, there are many choices now available in the market, especially with the induction and ceramic tops aside from the traditional gas vs. electric convection oven. So which one is better? This article will help you compare and evaluate the pros and cons of each category.
Should you buy a gas or electric convection oven?
Most consumers prefer to cook with gas, but of course, not everyone has gas service. When your range conks out, you’re typically limited to replacing the type you have with one that runs on the same fuel source.
Statistics show only about half the homes in the U.S. have that option—the rest rely on electric. But as much as gas ranges are hyped in real estate listings and on cooking shows, do they deliver cooking performance that’s significantly better than power? We see the greatest discrepancies between individual models, and you can find excellent choices in gas or electric. In CR’s range tests, the best ranges of either type deliver solid performance across the board. Read on for a breakdown between the two models. And be reassured: If you live in an area without natural gas service, your culinary ambitions won’t be limited by the type of range you own.
Electric convection ovens use metal heating elements capable of high temperatures that cause the part to glow red-hot. One factor is generally found either on the floor of the oven or underneath the level of the oven, in the case of a ‘hidden’ bake element. Secondly, there is one on the top of the oven, commonly called the ‘broil’ element. And lastly, if in the right a convection oven, a third element, which is circular and housed around the fan at the back of the oven cavity.
Gas convection ovens use a tube burner that is ignited by either a spark igniter or a small electric glow bar that gets hot just like the above-mentioned electrical elements and ignites the gas when it reaches that intense heat. Those tubes exist under the floor of the oven for your bake functions. Your broil burner is typically a tube style burner as well, but in higher-end products, the broil elements are infrared burners where flames are distributed over a metal mesh or ceramic type mesh. This broiler style is very intense and covers a large area providing incredible results.
Electric convection ovens give a tighter variance of temperature fluctuations because the heating element holds a great deal of heat even when no wattage is given to it. Therefore, when the oven calls for heat again to maintain the desired temperature, the element reaches its potential temp extremely fast. It also means that it can be turned off by the oven more quickly which keeps that tighter variance.
Gas convection ovens will have a higher variance of temperature fluctuations because the burner is either on or off – it’s not going to hold on to heat in between. The heat that a heater produces is also naturally convective, which means the weather is flowing around the oven, increasing its potential for hot and cold spots.
Compare Actual Performance
Companies of gas and electric ranges have been in a race for years to maximize the output of big burners. Which is faster? In general, electrical, by a decent margin. Of the 59 electric smooth top ranges in our ratings, nearly 65 percent earn a score of Excellent for our high heat cooking test. Only 44 percent of the gas ranges we tested can make that claim.
For all the importance placed on boiling water quickly, a range’s ability to maintain a low, steady simmer is arguably more important. Given enough time, any field will boil water. Although there’s no cure for a cooktop with erratic simmering, which can scorch delicate sauces or melted chocolate in an instant.
Which is better? Electric again offers a slight edge, with just over 60 percent of the models in our tests earning Excellent marks—about 47 percent of gas ranges ace this test.
Lofty cakes and evenly-browned cookies aren’t a given unless you’ve got an oven that bakes evenly.
Which bakes better? Gas takes the cake here, with nearly two-thirds of the models in our ratings earning scores of Excellent or Very Good in our slew of baking tests with vanilla layer cakes and butter cookies. Just over half of electric models can make that claim.
Some of the most significant performance differences we see between gas and electric ranges happen in the grill.
Which broils better? You may assume that—because they cook with a flame—gas grills are better. But in our tests, they routinely underperform their electric counterparts. Sixty-one percent of electric ovens earn scores of Excellent or Very Good in our broiling tests. Less than 20 percent of gas ranges do.