What’s cooking? Choosing between gas and electric

Once you settle back to work after lunch time, you’ll probably start wondering what to cook for dinner that evening. But whatever your favourite food and way of cooking it, deciding whether to go with gas or electric in the kitchen is the biggest decisions for households when buying, building or renovating their home.

With the oven/stove a focal point of most kitchens, this is an important decision to make, with gas and electric appliances each coming with their various pros and cons, not to mention personal preferences.

The good news is that there are a range of gas and electric oven/stove options (both together as an oven and stove in one, or separate), available at various price-points and sizes, in a range of different styles, meaning that whether you ultimately go with gas or electric, you will not be limited by choice.

So, what’s the difference between the two? Is it preferable to use one or the other? Should you be cooking with gas or electric?

First and foremost: Can you connect to gas?

Before considering whether to go with gas or electric, households without a gas connection will need to determine whether they can connect to mains (from the network) natural gas. Those who fall into this bracket will need to get in touch with the gas distributor for their area.

If natural gas isn’t available, however, and you are still set on gas, fear not because all is not lost – it is still possible to install an LPG oven/stove, with there being many such options available within this category. Households should be aware that natural gas and LPG appliances are not interchangeable – while natural gas comes from the wider gas distribution network, LPG is supplied via portable, refillable, replaceable LPG bottles.

Electric is everywhere

In looking at Australian household energy usage, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal that almost all households use mains electricity, with just half using mains gas, one in five using solar energy, and one in five using LPG/bottled gas.

A quick browse of the respective websites of some of Australia’s major appliance retailers illustrates the dominance of electric, revealing that electric oven/stoves are by far and away the most commonly listed appliance in the overall category, providing the greatest range of choice. Of course, the greater choice sees consumers provided with more scope for purchasing an oven/stove in line with their individual requirements, from the various functions provided by the appliance through to its design and measurements.

From fan-forced to free-standing, built-in, single and double ovens, ovens with pyrolytic cleaning capabilities, oven and stove combinations, budget-priced to premium, households looking to go with electric have a range of options at their disposal.

Going for gas

That said, there are plenty of gas options also available, and consumers set on cooking with gas, be it mains natural gas or LPG bottled gas, will by no means be limited by a lack of options.

Across the range of gas ovens, households have access to a variety of different styles and sizes, designed for a variety of different kitchens, with prices for gas and LPG generally starting at around the same level as electric. Of course, another factor that plays in favour of gas oven/stoves is that, should there be a power blackout, they will not be affected.

Gas or electric: Which is cheaper?

As to whether gas or electric is the cheaper option for cooking, this will ultimately come down to individual circumstances, along with the constant ebb and flow of market forces, with gas and electricity prices varying state-by-state.

There are various online tools designed for people to compare energy costs, with this being a good starting point for consumers making the choice between gas and electric. Of course, the more energy-efficient an appliance is, the lower your bills will be, and consumers should do their research on energy ratings and the energy-efficiency of the appliance they have in mind, keeping in mind that spending more in the short-term could result in long-term savings.

Decision time: Gas or electric?

So, what to go for – gas or electric? When it comes to cooking, it may well be a matter of individual preference, with a variety of opinions easily found online about the respective pros and cons of cooking with electric and gas.

For some, gas may produce desired results, while for others it may be a case of electric being the only way. However, it may even be that you decide to go with a combination of the two – for instance, running an electric oven and a gas stove.

It is certainly worthwhile doing your research online and shopping around, weighing up the respective costs of each option, getting in store to see the options on offer and, of course, talking to experts in the field.

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