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5 great reasons to buy a gas range

Plus top-performing gas ranges from Consumer Reports' tests

Published: July 23, 2015 02:00 PM
GE PGS920SEFSS

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Gas or electric? Even the best gas ranges do not perform as well as the top electric ranges in Consumer Reports' tests, and yet there are lots of good reasons to choose gas, reasons that go beyond our testing and take into account how you cook with your range, day after day.

We tested dozens of gas and electric ranges. Our electric range ratings include smoothtops, coil tops, and induction ranges. Many of these earned scores over 80 (out of 100)—making them excellent overall. None of the gas ranges did. Mostly that’s because the high-powered gas burners aren’t as fast as the fastest high-powered electric elements, and broiling isn’t as good. “As impressive as the glowing flame is, it often doesn’t rival the searing heat of electric broiling elements, which also tend to provide more even coverage,” says Tara Casaregola, the engineer who oversees Consumer Reports’ tests of cooking appliances. Even so, Tara says there are five good reasons to go gas, if you have the choice.

Visual cue

Some cooks prefer the visual feedback of a flame that changes as you move the control knob—giving you a sense of the heat—compared to simply selecting a number on a dial on an electric range.

Quick adjustments

Let's say the stir fry is getting too hot. Lifting the pan a little above the gas grate is a way to quickly and effectively adjust the heat. Sure, you can do this on an electric range-top but it takes longer for the element to cool down. That brings us to response time.

Response time

When you turn the knob from high to medium on a gas range, the pot and the food in it experience that change almost immediately. On a radiant smoothtop range, the big sellers, there’s so much residual heat, thanks to a glowing hot element under the range-top glass, that it can take a few minutes before the pot and the food in it get to medium heat. Among other electric range types, induction offers a fast response like gas, and coil tops fall somewhere in between smoothtops and gas models.

Not too smooth

“My personal pet peeve,” says Tara. “Pots slide around on a smoothtop surface. That’s not a big deal for a set-it-and-watch task like pasta, but when I’m stirring and adding ingredients and working with a pan I find myself forever re-centering it on my induction element.”

Any cookware will do

With gas ranges and cooktops you can use any and all cookware without fear. Love your Lodge cast iron frying pan? You risk scratching the glass ceramic surface of an electric smoothtop or induction cooktop, but the grates on a gas cooktop can take it. Do you have a favorite anodized aluminum pan, or a collection of specialty copper pans? They won’t work on induction. It requires magnetic cookware. And if you have odd shaped pots or griddles, gas is good.

Shopping for a Range? 

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