With standard gas or electric ovens, self-cleaning models are more energy efficient because they have more insulation. But if you use the self-cleaning feature more than about once a month, you’ll end up using more energy with the feature than you save from the extra insulation. So let us check out the best energy efficient stoves, best energy efficient pellet stoves and best energy efficient induction stoves below:
best energy efficient induction stoves
Induction cooking heats a cooking vessel by magnetic induction, instead of by thermal conduction from a flame, or an electrical heating element. They’re widely considered to be the most energy-efficient cookers out there, and are applauded for their fast heating-up time as well as precision in achieving exact temperatures.
According to Grist , “Because they heat your pots and pans through direct contact, with no heat lost to the surrounding air, they notch about 84 percent to 90 percent efficiency.”
The downside to induction is that they can be pretty expensive to put in, plus they only work with magnetic steel or cast iron.
Electric elements boast about 74 percent efficiency. HOWEVER, a 2014 study from the Electric Power Research Institute found that by using pots that completely covered the heating element, electric stoves can be just, if not more, efficient as induction models. Using larger pots and pans might not always be the best option for what you’re making, but bear in mind that this is the way to capture the lion’s share of the energy created by your stove.
Cooking with gas might sound efficient, but in reality these stovetops are only around 50 to 55 percent efficient. This is due to the energy expended on pilot lights and heating up the air around the burner.
How to make your existing stovetop more efficient (no matter what type it is!)
Efficiency isn’t just about what we have, but also how we use it.
It’s worthwhile keeping cookware clean, as shiny surfaces reflect heat back up to the pot, while blackened pans absorb it, reducing efficiency. Flat-bottomed pans are also the way to go, as an uneven surface can suck up to 50 percent more energy.
Choosing fast cooking methods such as stir-frying over slow cooking is also a good way to reduce the amount of energy your stovetop uses (and another reason to cook more vegetables over meat, which can take AGES to cook!).
Induction stovetops, those darlings of the foodie set, are widely considered to be the most energy-efficient cookers out there. They work by harnessing the power of magnetic energy created between the burner and your cookware, heating up lightning-quick and allowing for precise temperature adjustments (head over here for more details on the physics, including a neat-o diagram). Because they heat your pots and pans through direct contact, with no heat lost to the surrounding air, they notch about 84 percent to 90 percent efficiency. Compare that to electric elements, which boast about 74 percent efficiency, and gas burners, coming in last at 50 to 55 percent. Blame pilot lights and the fact that gas burners spend energy heating up the air around them for their poor performance.
That’s all she wrote? Well, not so fast. Efficiency depends quite a bit on how we use our stovetops, and in some cases, electric burners can beat out those fancy induction models. This 2014 study from the Electric Power Research Institute tested several cookers and found that the underdog electric coil stovetops were 6 percent more efficient than the induction stoves in the study — when researchers used pots that completely covered the heating element. But when they used a pot smaller than the element, efficiency plummeted to 42 percent due to all that extra heat radiating out into the room. The idea that you can improve efficiency simply by using the right-sized pots and pans is good news for conscientious chefs unwilling to shell out for an induction stove, which often costs an extra $300 or more than electrics — not to mention that induction stoves work only with magnetic steel or cast iron, so you might have to reboot your cookset as well.
By the way, I’d be remiss not to mention that not all electric stoves are created equal. Radiant stovetops (which use electric coils under ceramic or glass) are better than exposed coils, and halogen models that tap the power of halogen gas bulbs are better still.
No matter what we have simmering our stews and sizzling our stir-fries, though, we can boost efficiency with these simple tricks from our helpful gummint:
- The biggie, as I mentioned: Match the size of the burner to the size of your pots and pans. Otherwise, you’re just sending all that hard-earned heat out into space.
- Keep your metal burner pans clean. Shiny surfaces reflect heat back up to the pot, while blackened pans crusted with last week’s enchilada sauce absorb it, reducing efficiency.
- Retire your warped old pots and pans — an uneven surface can suck up to 50 percent more energy than a flat one.
- Making something that takes hours? Consider a slow cooker, as they beat stovetops on the energy-efficiency factor and the fretting-over-a-hot-stove factor.
- Turn off electric burners a few minutes before your cooking timer goes off. They’ll stay hot for a bit without running the juice.
And in case you’re wondering about efficiency under your stove as well as on top: Self-cleaning ovens are tops because they have better insulation (the better to withstand the up-to-900-degree temps they fire at during the cleaning process). That’s not to say you should self-clean every week just because you can, mind you: Use this feature sparingly, and run it after you’ve baked something so it starts out hotter. Another efficiency winner is convection ovens, which employ fans to better circulate hot air; they use about 20 percent less power than conventional ovens because there’s less time and heat required to achieve that perfect roast.
best energy efficient stoves
A good electric stove (or range, whatever you call them) should allow you to easily cook a full-size meal and keep it warm—on the stove or in the oven. Over the years, we’ve researched and reviewed different electric freestanding stoves in person and online. The GE JB735 stood out from the pack. It comes in five different finishes, and it has as complete a set of cooking features as you’ll find in a range that costs less than $1,000.
GE JB735 Stainless Steel
The best electric stove
This GE offers the best balance of build quality and cooking features in an affordable electric range, and it’s available in more finishes than most.$820 from Home Depot
The GE JB735 offers as much space in the oven and versatility on the cooktop as any electric range at this price. The smooth cooktop is sensibly laid out, with its two strongest and most-versatile heating elements in the front row, where they’re easiest to reach. The 5.3-cubic-foot oven is big enough to fit a large, 26-pound turkey or a 15-by-20-inch baking stone, and it has a convection mode and two types of self-cleaning modes (high-heat or steam-and-wipe). The previous version of this range, the JB750, received largely positive reviews and seemed generally reliable, so we’re optimistic about the current model. Keep in mind, though, that because this model is new, we’re as yet unsure how it will perform in the short- to medium-term, and so far there aren’t many reviews on retail sites that we can draw conclusions from. We’ll monitor customer feedback for any evidence of widespread defects and update the guide as we know more. We do wish the oven came with a third rack.
Frigidaire Gallery GCRE3060A
Similar features, fewer reviews
The Frigidaire has features similar to the GE JB750’s, though it hasn’t been available as long, so we know less about its reliability.$800* from Home Depot$943 from Lowe’s
*At the time of publishing, the price was $1,150.
If the GE JB735 is unavailable or you just don’t like the brand, the new Frigidaire Gallery GCRE3060A is a good alternative. Both stoves’ specs and features are similar, and on paper they don’t have any significant advantages or disadvantages compared to each other. But the Frigidaire is only available in two finishes (down from five). It hasn’t been available for as long, either, so it has fewer owner ratings, which makes us a little less confident in its quality and reliability.
Cheaper but still great
GE makes a lot of great cheap ranges, and this one has the best features for the price.$550 from Best Buy$50 from Abt
May be out of stock
If you don’t want to spend quite so much on a stove, we recommend any electric, freestanding GE range that fits your budget. The GE JB645 stands out as a particularly good balance of cooking features and build quality for an affordable price. It has a smooth cooktop with an array of power elements you’d expect to find in much pricier stoves plus a sizable 5.3-cubic-foot oven that’s bigger than most competing models. There’s no convection mode, typical for stoves this cheap. But it comes with high-heat self-cleaning, which is uncommon among similar ranges.
GE Profile PB960
Great double-oven range
This double-oven range has one of the largest lower ovens we’ve seen in this quirky product category, and one of the strongest power-burner elements we’ve seen on any freestanding range.$1,720 from Best Buy$1,712 from Appliances Connection
If you’re looking for a double-oven range, we’d suggest the GE Profile PB960. It has best-in-class cooking features, including as powerful a cooktop as we’ve seen on any freestanding range, and a lower oven that can fit bigger birds and roasts than other two-cavity models.
Power options for stoves and ovens
The heat output from electric cooktops is measured in watts. Output varies from stove to stove and burner to burner, but the output generally falls somewhere between 1,200 watts for low heat on a small burner and 3,800 BTUs for high heat on a large burner, though we’ve seen outliers at both ends of the spectrum. There are different types of electric cooktops from which you can select:
Smoothtop (glass-ceramic cooktop)
These cooktops are made of smooth glass-ceramic with heating units under the surface. A built-in sensor lets you know when a burner is still hot. This is important with smooth electric cooking surfaces, because the burner doesn’t always turn red if the heat is low.
Keep in mind that this type of cooktop is prone to scratches, and not all cookware is safe to use on the surface (the appliance’s manual will give you those specifics).
These burners convert the electricity that runs into the coil into heat. These cooktops contain thermostat sensors that notify you when a burner is on, but not necessarily whether it is still hot. Electric coil stoves are notorious for uneven cooking because of uneven distribution of the coil.
In short, it is hard to keep the coil perfectly level, which can make all of the food in the pan slide to one side. In addition, electric coil stoves are slow to heat and slow to cool. But ranges with this type of cooktop are cheaper than comparable models.
Induction burners use the heat created from electromagnetic energy to cook your food. An element just below the surface of an induction cooktop creates a magnetic field. When you put a piece of cookware containing iron on top of that magnetic element, it causes a vibration of sorts that converts to heat through a series of magnetic interactions with iron (you can read more about the science behind induction here).
These cooktops are safer than gas or electric burners because they don’t use flames or direct heat — induction burners won’t start to heat if you put something on them that doesn’t contain magnetic material. Induction cooktops are also more efficient and heat things quicker than other types of burners (the ones we’ve tested have boiled a large pot of water in an average of 6 minutes).
There are a few downsides to induction cooktops. You have to make sure you have cookware that will work with the cooking surface, and ranges with induction burners tend to cost more money than comparable electric or gas ranges.
Electric ovens: This type of oven uses a heating element that is either visible on the top or bottom of the oven, or hidden. Our baking tests show that they often cook more evenly than their gas counterparts.
Both home and professional cooks have valued gas stovetops because of the how uniform the heat output is. An open flame surrounds the bottom of your cookware, which evenly distributes the heat around it. This heat output is measured in BTUs (British thermal units). Like electric models, the power range varies from model to model, but the output generally falls somewhere between 5,000 BTUs for low heat on a small burner and 18,000 BTUs for high heat on a large burner. We’ve seen burners on high-end ranges get as low as 800 BTUs and as high as 20,000 BTUs. If you’re a speedy cook, be aware that our cooking tests show gas cooktops tend to take longer to boil large pots of water than electric or induction cooktops.
When it comes to gas ovens, we’ve seen in our cook tests that they have a harder time producing even baking results than electric ovens.
Some ranges use two types of power: gas for the cooktop, and electric in the oven. These dual-fuel ranges are a good compromise for folks who want the direct heat of a gas burner but the even cooking of an electric oven. However, these hybrids cost more than traditional one-power-source ranges.
Freestanding ranges are designed to fit anywhere in a kitchen. Oven controls are often located on a back panel that raises up above the cooktop. These are less expensive than slide-in models.
These ranges don’t have a back panel and are meant to fit in flush with the surrounding countertops. Slide-in ranges are often more expensive than freestanding models because of the mechanics that go into putting all the controls up front.
Drop-in ranges are similar to slide-in models — they sit flush with the surrounding countertops and all the controls are located at the front of the unit. But this type of range looks like you dropped it between two cabinets because of a strip of cabinetry you place beneath the appliance.
The search for an oven or range can resemble a visit to a car dealership — there are always opportunities to upgrade. Assess your needs and decide if these bonus features are worth throwing down more money for an appliance.
Companies have become more proactive in including wireless capabilities such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and near-field communication (NFC) in their ovens and stoves so you can control your appliance from your smartphone. For example, you could begin to preheat your Wi-Fi-enabled oven on your way home from the grocery store, so it’s ready for your frozen pizza by the time you get home.
Manufacturers have also started to connect appliances with smart-home products to add some automation and voice control in the kitchen. For example, GE’s Wi-Fi-connected ranges work with Alex and Google Assistant, so you can give voice commands to control your appliance. And Jenn-Air wall ovens work with Nest Learning Thermostats ($269 at Amazon) so you can automatically lower your home’s temperature when the ovens get hot.
Convection fans are built into the back of oven walls. They circulate the heat in the oven so hot air is more evenly dispersed, which means your food will bake more evenly. You’d want convection fans if you’re baking food like cookies on more than one oven rack at the same time. Midprice ovens will have at least one convection fan. Some ovens have what’s called “true” or “European” convection, which means there’s a heating element that surrounds the fan that warms the air as the fan blows. Read more about the science of convection here.
Special cooking modes
Your basic oven can bake and broil. But as the price for ovens increases, you’ll see that there are more cooking options. For example, ovens with convection fans will have modes for convection baking and convection roasting, which will enable the fans and heating elements. Some ovens also come with cook settings for specific foods, such as pizza or turkey, or food preparation methods, like dehydration or bread proofing.
Bottom drawers (baking/warming/broiling)
Some ranges come with a bottom drawer that can serve one of many purposes depending on the model. Some range ovens offer a baking drawer, which enables a person to use the main oven to roast or broil, and the baking drawer for smaller dishes, so you can cook more than one thing at the same time using different temperatures. A warming drawer will keep food warm, but it won’t cook the food. Some ovens have a broiler drawer, which functions like a traditional broiler and must be watched just as closely to ensure that food does not burn.
Temperature probes plug into the wall of your oven, and you use them to monitor the internal temperature of meat as it cooks. The temperature displays on the control panel of your oven, so you don’t have to open the door to see if your dish is done.
Double ovens in conventional space
The ovens on some ranges have dual baking chambers, which give you the flexibility of double wall ovens without the need for more space. These ovens allow the convenience of simultaneous cooking at different temperatures. Some ovens come with a divider that allows you to split your single oven into two unique temperature zones that will remain separate as long as the divider is in place.