Thursday, May 28, 2009

Decisions, decisions...or electric VS gas

I need assistance. I had hoped to embark on a kitchen redo this year (mine having been constructed and decorated in June Cleaver's hay day.) Unfortunately, a leaking garage roof took precedence this summer so my kitchen project has been, shall we say, put on the back burner. I had hoped my ancient appliances could handle another year of my cooking (that didn't come out as I intended, did it?) but unfortunately I'd been noticing some black specks on my baked goods (more than the usual charcoaled edges) that raised a red flag. When one of the back coil burners became hot when the oven was on but the burner wasn't, I knew the old oven was 'toast'.

Although I couldn't justify the expense of new cabinetry right now with a double car garage roof needing to be replaced, I knew I couldn't put a nice, new stove in my June Cleaver kitchen without some--alterations. So, I quickly went to work pulling down a stubborn border, primed and painted the walls (they were originally a terrifying combo of mauve and blue sponged on white walls that looked way too much like spider and varicose veins for my peace of mind). Once the walls were painted I simply couldn't abide the horrible GREEN flooring so it had to go and I'm replacing it with a reasonably-priced laminate product that I'm going to try and lay myself--with my son's help. (Lucky kid.) I also purchased new hardware for the cabinets to spruce them up.
My current dilemma? Should I replace the electric stove with another electric stove--or should I go with a gas range? I can easily have a gas line run from my basement to the kitchen. If I do go with electric should I go with coil or smooth top? White or stainless steel? Should I buy a cheaper one for now as I might replace it with some built-ins when I do get to redo the kitchen?

As I said. Decisions, decisions. So. Any recommendations? I've heard the smooth-top is hard to keep clean--and I do have a tendency to be a bit of a distracted cook at times resulting in some major boil overs. Another salesperson told me some folks don't like the way a gas oven bakes. True or false? What about cost? Should I go with a stove just good enough to get us by for now just in case I do incorporate built-in appliances with the redo?

Any thoughts? Do share. I'm stove shopping this Saturday.

~Bullet Hole~


terrio said...

Personally, I don't like cooking with gas. I've done it, but not much. And the price of gas would prohibit it for me anyway.

BUT, I do believe chefs only use gas, so that must mean it's good.

My ex-MIL had a smooth top and it was very easy to clean. Heats up quickly as well. But another friend of mine had one and the entire top surface would get really hot, even around the edges. Very hard to get near when you're cooking. So if you get one, I'd ask for the model with more isolated heat, if possible.

I love that you tackle projects like this. I may be crazy, but it sounds like loads of fun to me. (Not the garage roof thing, but the rest.)

Tori Lennox said...

Gas always worries me a tad. We have a smooth-top now and I like it pretty well. Does make clean up a breeze. Stuff can't get down in among the burners. :)

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks for the input, Terrio. I've heard conflicting accounts regarding the smooth tops, as well. One friend got rid of hers after only a few years of use because she couldn't keep it looking nice and clean.

I actually do enjoy tackling projects like the ones I've undertaken the last several years. This time, however, I'm opting out of the roofing project and hiring it out. The knees just won't permit that level of kneeling and bending. :(


Bookmobiler said...


I'd say approach it the same way you did with your shoe purchases. Look for a bargain and buy eight stoves.

You could get one of every type.

A side benefit is that you probably wont be able to fit in the kitchen and thus wont have to cook. Just stock up on takeout menus.


Kathy Bacus said...

You don't have any trouble with stains or marring of the smooth-top, Tori?

I must admit I do like the look of the smooth-tops. And anything that makes cleaning easier, I'm all for.


Kathy Bacus said...

LOL, Bookmobiler!

Alas, this time I must limit myself to one item. And since my culinary abilities are somewhat dubious, I can use all the help I can get from my cooking appliances.



Zita said...

I recently bought a condo and the stove that came with it is a smooth top. It's my first, and I have to say I like it a lot. It only heats up in the designated circles (not the whole top like Terrio's friend's) and clean up is as easy as wiping the counter. My only real issue is that it's black, so finger prints and smudges show, but since I'm not a CSI I don't worry about it over much :-)

Virginia said...

I don't like cooking on gas, but is nice during when the power is out. I have a glass top electric and love it. Mine was a hand me down from my sister. I just wish it had the white at the top of the stove, the black show every little greese mark, other then that I love the way it cooks and I cook a lot.

Becky LeJeune said...

I cook a lot and I much prefer a gas range because it's easier to control the temperature. I would say, if you get electric, go with a flat top because then you never have to worry about stuff burning onto the coils. Plus, every coil range we've had in our various rental homes, has had issues with the connections. None of the burners ever works reliably.

Christie Craig said...

Ahh Kathy,

You just touched on a sore spot for me. We redid our kitchen several years back and I got a smooth top. Now, granted, with a husband who won the frugile-man award, we probably bought the cheapest smooth top available, but I hate it! It's white and I burn calories cleaning it every night. Plus, now it seems to cook at its own desired temperature, ignorning what I set it at.

So...I'm in the market to buy a new one, too. I'm almost ready to go back to the old eletric type, though I hated cleaning out beneath the eyes, it's better than this.


Kathy Bacus said...

Hmm. I have three college-aged kids that could add up to a lot of fingerprints, Zita. Still, that easy clean up sounds very appealing.


Kathy Bacus said...

The loss of electricity was one thing that had me considering a gas range, Virginia. When ice and snowstorms take out the electric here in the Heartland, it would be nice to have a source of heat and the ability to cook a hot meal when the power was out.


Kathy Bacus said...

Good points, Becky. The smooth top is looking better all the time.


Kathy Bacus said...

I'm on a budget, too, Christie, and probably wouldn't be able to afford the top-of-the-line smooth top that might be easier to keep clean. And I sure as heck don't want to be spending my evenings scrubbing a stovetop.

Thanks for sharing your experience!

~Bullet Hole~

Refhater said...

I'd stick with what you're used to. Get yourself electric that you can keep if you want/need to or replace if you decide to redo later.

I've cooked on all 3, and have to say that my favorite is the electric. Each type has an advantage. The flat top is easiest to clean, The electric is most consistant in my experiance, and the gas is the best for roasting marshmellows (or peeps) over the burners for smores.

Kathy Bacus said...

I'm definitely leaning towards the electric stove, Refhater. As you pointed out, it's what I've become used to--and the cost is actually less than the gas counterpart in case I decide to go with built-in options down the road.

And you HAD to mention s'mores. I'm thinking it's time to make a chocolate run. Brownie batter blizzard anyone? :)


Delia DeLeest said...

Gas, definitely. I HATE HATE HATE electric stoves. I also don't like the smooth tops, they take forever to cool down once you turn them off. There's also the risk of dropping something on them and shattering the cooktop. That happened to my sister who was pulling something out of her over-the-range microwave and dropped it onto her stove. It cost almost as much to replace it as the stove originally cost.

Oh, and stainless steel is evil incarnate. It's miserable to clean and always looks fingerprinted and nasty.

I don't care for clothes or shoe shopping, but I'm a total slut when it comes to kitchen stuff.

Martha Lawson said...

Hi Kathy! I'm with Delia - definitely go with GAS! They are not that expensive to operate. I hate every thing about an electric stove, never had a smooth top but burner replacement is hell! And like you say, if chef's use them (and both my nephew's are chef's) they gotta be good! HOpe this helps!

Jenyfer Matthews said...


I had never cooked on anything but electric until a couple of years ago when we moved into our current place in Cairo where there was a gas stove. I was initially skeptical but I have been totally converted. It heats up very fast and it is much easier to control the heat - when you turn it down, it immediately reacts whereas an electric stove takes ages to both heat and cool. And I love that I can use it even when the electricity is out.

Never had an issue with baking at all and I do lots of baking. Once again, it heats up much faster and so I can only think it would be more energy efficient in that respect.

My step-mother has a smooth top and she seems to like it fine too. She has a special cleaner she uses to wipe up any spills or boil-overs.