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by Staff Writer
Which should you buy: a gas range or an electric range? It's a question without a definitive answer. The choice between gas and electric ranges and ovens often comes down to the personal preference of the cook. However, there are a few key advantages of an electric range that are common to all kitchens, regardless of your personal taste and style. Even if you're a die-hard gas range fan, you may want to consider some of the following.
Safety. As you know, safety first is the rule in any kitchen, and electric ranges and ovens adhere to a T. If the pilot light goes out on a gas range, the room can quickly fill up with toxic natural gas which can be fatal and explosive. Electric ranges don't present this risk. Also, most modern electric ranges will have a "hot surface" indicator light to prevent you from inadvertently placing a flammable item or your hand on the range before it has cooled.
Efficiency. On warmer days, it's important to heat your food without heating the rest of the kitchen. Electric ranges often come with two sets of elements on frequently used burners -- one for larger pots and one for smaller pots. This ensures that no more heat is thrown into the air than is absolutely necessary, which means lower temperatures in the kitchen and less work for the air conditioner.
Cleanup. Flat-top cook surfaces are easy to clean, and the older electric ranges often have removable elements for easy cleaning. Gas ranges, by nature, have more gaps and crevices for food and spills to fall into, which can mean tedious cleanup.
Installation. Gas ranges require a gas hookup, which can be costly to route and install in an existing kitchen. True, electric ranges often require special electrical outlets, but these are much less expensive to install.
Cost. Lastly, price also plays an important factor when you're deciding between a gas and electric range. In general, electric ranges run at a slightly lower price than gas ranges, although this will vary depending on size, model and features.