One of the oldest debates in the restaurant community is whether gas or electric cooking ranges are the better choice for your commercial kitchen. Although most restaurants do tend to go with gas, there are pros and cons to each choice.
In this article, we’ll compare how gas and electric work so that, while you’re shopping for this new equipment, you can make an informed decision about which choice might be better for your facility.
When it comes to consistency while cooking, most chefs prefer gas ranges. They are quicker to heat up (you have a flame immediately) and you can increase or decrease the cooking temperature quickly and easily, giving you more control. With electric ranges, the coils take more time to get to and change temperature, giving cooking times a bit of a lag. They are also known to have hot spots or portions of the coils that heat unevenly. This is important to consider if your commercial kitchen is constantly busy and needs to get food out fast.
Efficiency and cost effectiveness
Although initial cost is typically lower for electric appliances as the installation process is much simpler (more on installation later), it can cost more to run your electrical appliance in the long run. Although electrical units will be more efficient when converting and transferring heat (more heat is lost with an open flame), electricity can be more expensive than gas. This can depend on the location of your restaurant and it can also vary based on the make and model of the unit. It’s always best to do this type of cost comparison prior to purchasing.
Installation and maintenance
Electric units are typically much quicker and easier to install than gas ranges. All you need to hook up your electrical appliance is the proper electrical outlet and you’re done. With gas ranges, you need electrical access as well as a gas line—and you will want an expert to install the unit. Any type of improper connection and you could have a dangerous situation on your hands. In general, once the ranges are installed, maintenance can be similar for both. Gas ranges tend to be a bit easier to clean (it can be difficult to get in between all the coils), but regular servicing should keep your unit in top shape.
Electricity usage for electric versus gas ranges will vary, as with their efficiencies, based on the make and model of the unit. Some rages will require heavier electrical usages but be more efficient at converting the energy to heat, while others might lose a bit too much heat in the conversion process. This will all need to be sorted out and discussed with your dealer or the manufacturer, so be sure to ask. They should be able to help you compare the two so you can make the decision process a bit easier. Another thing to keep in mind is that gas ranges can still be used and lit should you have a power outage.
With any appliance you purchase and use in your commercial kitchen, there can be safety risks involved. Gas ranges have open flames, which can be more of a fire hazard than the heated coils on an electric unit. Also, with gas ranges you have to be mindful of any gas leaks. Have the unit serviced regularly to ensure all connections remain sealed and, as mentioned earlier, make sure it is connected and installed by a professional. This will decrease the likelihood of safety issues while using the unit. In general, electrical units are considered quite safe. There is no issue with gas and as long as the unit is well-manufactured and all the electrical wiring is done correctly, including the proper installation, there is little to worry about in terms of safety.
Can BHS Foodservice Solutions Help?
BHS Foodservice Solutions has over 80 years’ experience helping restaurants like yours find the best equipment and supplies for their commercial kitchens. If you have any questions, contact us, and one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives will help you find the equipment and services you need to increase kitchen productivity and maximize your food-industry investment with a solution that’s right for you.