There are numerous types of stoves and ranges available for your kitchen, but which one should you buy if you’re looking to save energy and money in the long run?
First, it’s important to note that the amount of energy a stove uses is not directly proportional to the cost for that energy. While a stove or range may be very efficient, if the source of energy used is extremely expensive, that fuel source and stove are probably not your best option.
Below are suggestions on which stoves and ranges provide the best value. That is, the analysis combines efficiency with fuel cost to determine the best stove type. This concept is important because the more money you save on your energy bill, the more you have available to invest in other energy saving projects.
Best value – Natural gas stove
Natural gas stoves are at the top of the list for one big reason; natural gas typically costs 50-70% less than electricity when comparing energy output. While natural gas stoves are not as efficient as electric alternatives, the cost savings enjoyed by using natural gas make this the best bet. Another thing to consider is that natural gas stoves heat much more quickly than electric stoves, meaning you’ll spend less time pre-heating and cooking.
2nd Place – Magnetic induction stove
Magnetic Induction stove tops take a close second only because they are currently more expensive to purchase and require special pots and pans. Magnetic induction stove tops, also known as induction cook tops, use electricity as their primary energy source, but they use magnetic induction technology to directly heat pots and pans. Since the heat goes directly into the pan’s metal, instead of flowing around the outside, they waste less energy. According to Electrolux, their magnetic induction stove tops are 50% more efficient than standard electric stove tops.[i] Magnetic induction stove tops also heat pots and pans much more rapidly than standard electric stove tops, so you’ll spend less time cooking.
If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint without regard to cost, magnetic induction is definitely the way to go.
3rd Place – Electric stove
Electric stoves take third place in this ranking for two key reasons: electricity is more expensive than natural gas and electric burners take time to heat up. Time spent heating is energy wasted. In addition, the burners stay hot after you turn them off. This results in more wasted energy.
4th Place – Wood stove
Wood burning stoves tend to be the least efficient type of stove. Unless you purchase one that is specifically designed for efficiency, a large majority of the heat will go straight up the stove pipe. If you get free wood, this is a much more attractive option, but if you have to buy wood then the benefits hardly out-weigh the costs. Another important factor for a wood stove is air quality; be sure to check your local codes to ensure you’re allowed to install a wood stove.
The above analysis is meant to be for information purposes only. Every homeowner will have a different situation, including utility rates and available energy sources. Homeowners are encouraged to contact their local utility companies or an energy conservation professional to determine which type of stove is best for their situation.