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Thread: Gas (Propane) vs. Electric Range?

  1. #1

    Gas (Propane) vs. Electric Range?

    I've posed my questions to the "experts" at the appliance stores and received conflicting answers, so I decided to turn to the real experts!

    We just moved to an area that does not have natural gas. I have always had a gas stove top (natural gas) and that is what I am comfortable with. (I can handle an electric oven.) What people do here if they want a gas range is run it off of a large propane tank placed outside the house or buried under the ground. Here's what I'm trying to find out:

    1) I've been told at the appliance stores that propane gas will not produce as hot a flame as natural gas. One guy told me it would take me forever to boil water. Another guy told me if I get a stove top with high btu burners, I wouldn't even notice the difference. Can anyone comment on these statements from personal experience?

    2) One guy told me that they are now making electric stove tops that can compete with gas as far as even heat. Can anyone comment on that?

    3) I love to cook with cast iron. One guy told me I can use cast iron on the glass surface of an electric stove (he even took out his keys and ran them over the surace without leaving a scratch). The other guy said to keep cast iron away from the glass cooktops. Any experiences?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
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    I have propane, it is not that unusual in my area.

    I don't notice a longer time to boil water. Gas does take longer than electric, but I never heard that there was a difference between natural and propane.
    Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

  3. #3
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    I have had natural and propane (and am building and I have to use propane and I will be doing a gas cooktop) and the gas in my experience has always been faster than electric. I hate electric. I will say though that the size of the burner probably does make a difference--when I had propane I had a newer, nicer stove with a very large burner (I assume meaning more BTUs?). So maybe with the same stove I might have noticed a difference--I have no idea. For this house we are building I am getting a cooktop with a burner that has very high BTU output (18,000 maybe? don't remember).

    Never mind how long it takes water to boil, just think of how long it takes electric to cool down when you need to lower the heat. For me that is a deal breaker also.
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  4. #4
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    I use cast iron on my glass cooktop all the time with no problems

    I guess I wouldn't recommend slamming it down on the surface...
    - Josie


  5. #5
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    I cook on a lot of different stoves. I hate all of my client's propane stoves. All of them are average quality stoves, nothing high-end. Boiling water takes forever, but that aside, all of the burners are seriously underpowered.

    In 2007, I considered propane to replace my decrepit electric stove. I decided against it because the cost to run the propane plus the cost of of a high-end propane stove was more than I wanted to spend. I'd go with propane if I was willing to spend the money on a stove designed for propane, not a stove that is designed for natural gas and simply rejetted.

    I bought a GE Profile electric ceramic top stove. It's about 18 months old now. I'm really happy with it. I don't tend to cook on the stove top with cast iron, but as long as you are careful, it shouldn't be a problem. I'd avoid very rough bottomed cast iron.
    *******************
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  6. #6
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    When we first moved here the little house had a gas range (propane) and it did take a bit of getting used to since it does run a bit cooler than natural gas. The range is quite old in that house so that made a difference. In this house I have a dual-fuel and the burners are 15,000btus so water boils incredibly fast.

    When I had an electric cooktop I always cooked with at least two burners so that I could move the pot/pan to one set on low rather than wait for the hotter one to cool down. Always a bit of a challenge during holiday cooking.

    If it were me I'd go with the propane.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  7. #7
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    DH and I will be moving to an area where there is no natural gas.
    In our current home, when DH was single, he had an electric stove. Within 2 years of marriage, I had him put in a gas stove (we already had gas coming to the house so it just required a pipe..not cheap, but not outrageous).

    I've done research on this and here are my thoughts:
    I much prefer gas to electric. If you have to use propane, in order to get good BTU output, you must buy a cooktop/stove that is MADE FOR propane.
    Wolf, Caldera, and I think Bluestar are a few that make their appliances SPECIFICALLY for propane or natural gas. If you buy something like Bosch,GE profile, etc, they have CONVERTERS.....converters will lower the BTU output which means you are paying for the "high end, high BTU burners" but your burners will not be what they say.

    If you have no heart conditions (pacemakers) in the family and have stainless or cast iron cookware, you can think about induction (uses electric and magnetic) which burns as hot/high and is as responsive (if not more so) than gas.

    Good luck.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  8. #8
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    Given the choice between propane and smoothtop electric when I moved up here, having cooked with natural gas all my life, I'm glad I chose the electric for all the reasons stated by the previous posters. I agree with Susan about the downside, slowing the burner down can be difficult, so I do the same thing, heat another burner, or I've learned to anticipate and lower the heat before the boil is reached. I also make it a point to bring to a boil at, say, 7.5 rather than HIGH.

    Bob

  9. #9
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    It seems like we might not be helping you all that much with all the different answers, especially when you add mine to the mix.

    We don't have natural gas either.

    I'd been cooking on an old-fashioned coil-top electric stove for the last 14 years. When we renovated last year, I was also given the info that a gas stove run off propane would never be as hot as I wanted, so I chose a KitchenAid 4-burner flattop, electric cook top. I DESPISED it because: the layout was wacky... mostly small size burners, some not too hot, others blazing hot; it took forever to cool; it got ruined immediately (I tried to wipe up a spill while it was still too hot and the imprint of the towel burned onto it); and the burners were laid out in such a way that although there was space for 4 pans, only 1 of them could be large or else they'd be bumping into each other and not centered over the heat source.

    During the past year, I began my Personal Chef business and began cooking on other people's stoves. I noticed a great variety of difference in different gas stoves; some were very hot, others were not. All of my clients run their gas stoves off propane, BTW.

    After doing some more research, I selected a DCS 5-burner that is specifically made to run off propane to replace my very new electric flat top. The DCS is HOT, which I love, because I'm mostly boiling water or sauteeing. It has a simmer function on all 5 burners that does not blow out, and it has ample room for many different size pots and pans. I have been extraordinarily pleased with it. BTW, I purchased it from a local appliance store, which gave me very good advice as I was pondering the switch; vs. the large home store which gave me crappy advice when I bought the electric cooktop.
    Visit my website at www.simplydeliciouschef.com

  10. #10
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    This is all totally news to me and now *I* don't know what to do. I swear I never noticed a difference when cooking with propane. We are fairly committed to GE at this point... hmmm....

    Sneezles: is your cooktop made for propane?

    I had no idea there was any difference!

    ETA I just found out the cooktop I *had* settled on will run 15,000 BTUs on propane (18,000 on natural gas). Anyone have any thoughts on whether I should be worrying about this?
    Last edited by ljt2r; 07-01-2008 at 08:23 AM.
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  11. #11
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    If you are paying for and wanting 18K BTUs (Wok cooking, etc.), then I think you will be unhappy.
    If you are simply wanting a higher BTU than the old, old ranges had, you will be OK.
    My 10 year old GE profile (natural gas) is 12Kbtu for 2 of the burners and I rarely if ever crank it high. I'm not great at wok cooking so evn then, full blast 12K scares me.
    I'm looking at the Caldera for propane and it will have some high BTU burners but I'm trying to learn good wok cookery.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  12. #12
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    Just looked at the manual; my DCS Model CTD-365, which I find very hot, has 4 burners rated at 11,000 BTU and one at 17,500 BTU. FWIW, just make sure your new range has the type of space you want for your pots and pans. That was the most frustrating aspect of my old range. Good luck!
    Visit my website at www.simplydeliciouschef.com

  13. #13
    I converted from electric to propane several years ago. My cooktop is high end with high output(BTUS's), and is specifically designed for propane. I would not go back to electric. I have not noticed that it boils water slowly(probably because it is high BTU's) and I love the control that I have over heating things up and cooling down. Mine also has the simmer feature on each burner which is wonderful. I could never simmer anything on my old electric cooktop. I did have a smooth top prior to this one and I had no problem using cast iron pots/pans on it. You just have to be very careful. If it slips from your grip, your cooktop may easily be a "goner." I do enjoy using my cast iron cookware much more on the gas cooktop.

    Good luck,
    Karen

  14. #14
    Karen, do you mind telling us the brand/model of your propane range?

    And Sneezles, you have a Wolf, right?
    "This better be important! Is the frickin' meadow on fire?" -- Charlie the Unicorn

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Arete View Post
    Karen, do you mind telling us the brand/model of your propane range?

    And Sneezles, you have a Wolf, right?
    It's a Viking with 6 burners.

    Karen

  16. #16
    Aw man, now you all have gone and muddied another issue for me.

    We currently live in an area where propane would be the only option. I am currently cooking on a smoothtop electric and while I've adjusted, I really miss my gas stove. We eventually want to replace it, but now I'm not so sure.

    I definitely wouldn't be getting anything REALLY high end - for us, high end is like $1300. I wonder if I'd be happy with propane? I wish I knew other cooks in the area who were using propane for their stoves/ovens........

    Even though I've adjust to the cooktop, tne thing that I really hate about the smoothtop is that the small burners are still bigger than quite a few of my pots or pans so you end up with this big unused area throwing out heat that's not even being used. I love that you can adjust for pot/pan size with gas.

  17. #17
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    I decided to not worry about it and am going with my 15,000 BTU cooktop. I was perfectly happy with propane gas when I was in PA on a lower quality (but still nice) stove.

    Which brings to me my other comment, Alysha--if you strongly prefer gas, like I do, I cannot imagine that you will want electric over this issue. Unless you are really sensitive to heat (i..e, looking for super hot for stir frying). I never noticed anything when I was in PA--I loved that stove, it was far superior to all of the natural gas stoves and electric stoves I have used. It was a Kitchen Aid Superba (sp?--I did not pick it so am unsure as to exact model) with gas convection oven and gas cooktop, maybe 5-6 years old. If your budget is $1,300 for cooktop alone I gotta think you will get something at least that nice.
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  18. #18
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    This is the one I am going to get.
    It got good reviews on gardenweb and it is used at the Vermont culinary school.

    I would just get the 36" basic knob, propane, but you can get 5 burner in 30" though placement of pans would be tighter.
    I've not seen it in person but have read so many wonderful things about it.
    The regular knob propane or gas was around 950 last year.

    http://www.calderacorp.com/
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by ljt2r View Post
    Which brings to me my other comment, Alysha--if you strongly prefer gas, like I do, I cannot imagine that you will want electric over this issue. Unless you are really sensitive to heat (i..e, looking for super hot for stir frying). I never noticed anything when I was in PA--I loved that stove, it was far superior to all of the natural gas stoves and electric stoves I have used. It was a Kitchen Aid Superba (sp?--I did not pick it so am unsure as to exact model) with gas convection oven and gas cooktop, maybe 5-6 years old. If your budget is $1,300 for cooktop alone I gotta think you will get something at least that nice.
    I don't do a lot of high heat cooking, so yeah, I'd probably be okay. But now there's that seed of doubt!

    It would be a range, not just a cooktop. No room here for separate, unfortunately.

    As much as I drool over the high end cooktops and as much as I'm sure they're wonderful, I don't really need it. I can do everything I really need and turn out perfectly fine meals on a regular old range.

    I just need to get someone out for an estimate because in this case it won't be just the cost of the range either - we'll need the tank and a line run, etc.

  20. #20
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    Alysha: I hear you about the seed of doubt. I drove the GE lady and her technician nuts on the phone this morning discussing this issue, since I AM paying for a high end cooktop--this thread made kinda feel like I would be wasting my money! I just decided that the odds of me noticing the difference between 15,000 BTUs and 18,000 BTUs is pretty small.
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by karen w View Post
    It's a Viking with 6 burners.

    Karen
    That's what I have as well with the griddle.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljt2r View Post
    Sneezles: is your cooktop made for propane?

    Mine is a 48" Viking with double ovens and I don't really recall if it came propane ready or they had to use a conversion kit. The propane guys installed it.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

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