Author Topic: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones  (Read 6068 times)

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Offline aduinstatTopic starter

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Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« on: October 15, 2022, 12:22:54 am »
I grew up with a electric range, so maybe I am biased, but now that I have used a gas range for a year, it is clear to me that electric is better. Here's why:
* There is an odor when the gas range operates
* It is inefficient, and more energy goes into the air around the pot than into the pot. Also because of this, I have burned myself on the pot handles.
* Maybe it's just my range, but it is not very powerful, and has a hard time boiling water.
* The open flame burned one of my kitchen towels
* The cages around the burners are more difficult to clean than a heater coil or glass panel.

I think the only advantage that gas has over electric is that the it works when the power is out, but I my experience, that is very rare and does not last long when it does.
I don't understand why people say that gas is better.
 

Offline pqass

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2022, 01:31:09 am »
People like the instant heat gas provides, however, I'd keep the range hood on.   
https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/gas-stoves-air-pollution-1.6394514

An induction electric range is probably more efficient then the usual one with resistive heating elements.
 

Offline johnboxall

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2022, 01:47:23 am »
Gas is superior for cooking. Perfect temperature control. Like using any tool a little preparation goes a long way.

I put foil around the burners before cooking a large meal, and afterwards take the grates out and put them in the dishwasher on the 'pot scrub' cycle, job done.

Online Psi

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2022, 02:05:54 am »
* Maybe it's just my range, but it is not very powerful, and has a hard time boiling water.

This sounds like an issue with your unit.
Gas is normally significantly more powerful than electric elements, and gas is able to get higher temps.
It's why you see gas used for wok cooking.


But ultimately I think electric induction cooking is better than both gas and electric elements.
Induction creates heat inside the actual pan metal directly, which is as close to the food as you can possibly get.
Induction is so good you can see it pulsing on/off/on/off because the water boils/stops/boils/stops. It's super direct heating.
Downside is you need induction compatible pans.

But if you need crazy high power or temps, gas usually wins against everything.
And there are situations where the pulsing you get on electric or electric induction are undesirable and gas wins
« Last Edit: October 15, 2022, 02:11:10 am by Psi »
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Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2022, 05:03:59 am »
Both have their advantages.  Every electric range I have used takes many seconds to reach steady state after a change of the knob, while for gas units it is a second more or less.  Different cooks will prefer one or the other behavior.  Cost of operation varies with local utility rates and can favor either one.  Rightly or wrongly gas units are being denigrated or even outlawed in some regions to help control global warming.  While I prefer gas, I haven't had access to it for several decades and have survived the experience.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2022, 12:12:23 am »
Global warming my ass. Natural gas when burning emits the least CO2 of all fossil fuels. Since most of the world's electricity is from much worse fossil fuels at the moment, the net result of cutting gas is fricking stupid.

With that said, for induction cooking, it's interesting to look at the efficiency. Unless you buy the high-end stuff, it's usually crappy.
 
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Offline james_s

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2022, 12:28:36 am »
I grew up with electric stoves, eventually with my own house I put in a gas stove. IMHO gas is so vastly superior there is no comparison. Instant heat, instant cool when you shut it off, instant feedback on heat level by visually looking at the size of the flame, continuous heat at the desired level without the cycling of electric. much higher BTU level available, it's much cheaper to run too, and during a power outage you can light it with a match. This is just what I can think of off the top of my head, it is not a comprehensive list. If you have a lot of heat going around the pot rather than into it then you have the flame set too high for the size of pot you are using, either lower the flame or use one of the smaller burners if there is one.

There is a reason 100% of restaurants and professional chefs cook on gas, it is just better in nearly every way except for possibly ease of use, it is a more powerful and capable tool that requires a little more knowledge to use it properly.
 

Offline KaneTW

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2022, 12:39:52 am »
Induction is a good substitute when there's no gas available at least. Not as good but also more comfortable.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2022, 12:46:19 am »
Induction is ok, but it's not really any more efficient than electric resistance and it only works with certain kinds of pan. I've survived with electric stoves but I've been spoiled by gas and would never want to go back.

Electric ovens on the other hand are arguably superior, they produce a dry heat without the moisture from combustion. The really fancy stoves have an electric oven with a gas cooktop.
 
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Offline twospoons

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2022, 02:44:40 am »
Having used both I prefer gas for the frypan or wok, and electric for simmering or boiling.  My ideal hob would have one large gas ring and 3 or more electric elements (or induction heaters).
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2022, 02:33:15 am »
There are pro's and con's for various technologies, but my first choice is gas, followed by induction cooking. As others have pointed out, the temperature can be carefully controlled with gas (and you can use those losses to your advantage depending on the size of the hob and cooking vessel you're using). Same with high temperature cooking. Gas gets much hotter and is great for things like wok cooking.

Gas also works when there is no electricity. You can still boil water, cook food, toast bread and provide emergency heat (with some ventilation and a burner that is well maintained and burns cleanly).

There is also less to go wrong/fail with gas cooktops.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2022, 02:34:53 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline pcprogrammer

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2022, 06:30:00 am »
There is a reason 100% of restaurants and professional chefs cook on gas, it is just better in nearly every way except for possibly ease of use, it is a more powerful and capable tool that requires a little more knowledge to use it properly.

You forgot about grill plates for the fast food, which are mostly electric  :)

Online tszaboo

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2022, 08:01:59 am »
I've used both, and I'm not really satisfied with either of them. Gas is super difficult to clean, requires more space, and the switched off unit cannot be used for something else. Electric is somewhat slower, and it takes soooo much more time to start it up. Seriously, in gas you dial up the number press it down to start it and that's it. On electric there is this fancy touch control which takes like twenty presses to set up the heat. Plus the glass always gets banged up during the years. It's almost as if it was designed that it needs replacing.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2022, 04:59:38 pm »
You forgot about grill plates for the fast food, which are mostly electric  :)

Maybe things are different where you are, but when I worked at a fast food joint as a teenager the grill was gas fired. The only electric heating devices we had were microwave ovens and warming trays to hold already cooked food.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2022, 05:06:07 pm »
I've used both, and I'm not really satisfied with either of them. Gas is super difficult to clean, requires more space, and the switched off unit cannot be used for something else. Electric is somewhat slower, and it takes soooo much more time to start it up. Seriously, in gas you dial up the number press it down to start it and that's it. On electric there is this fancy touch control which takes like twenty presses to set up the heat. Plus the glass always gets banged up during the years. It's almost as if it was designed that it needs replacing.

My stove has sealed burners so it's easy to clean, not quite as easy as those smooth top ceramic electric cooktops but at least as easy as the conventional exposed electric burners. I often set a cutting board over a switched off burner when I need more space.

I hate those touch controls that are on the fancy cooktops, I think you can still get them with proper knobs but I haven't looked recently.
 

Offline PlainName

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2022, 07:38:58 pm »
You can't do this kind of thing with an electric stove. Come to that, I don't think you could with your average domestic gas either!

https://youtube.com/mImG8RpsJTc?t=129

I sometimes disappear down the rabbit hole that is Taiwanese (or Vietnamese or, indeed, pick your Asian country) street food. I think they exclusively use gas, even those 4-foot square sheets they use to make a gazillion omelettes at once.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2022, 09:09:10 pm »
There's 18 kW induction wok stoves on the Chinese market, so yah they can ;)
 

Offline PlainName

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2022, 09:32:32 pm »
Wow! I'm impressed  :o
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2022, 02:32:11 am »
18kW though, I could run that here but it would consume almost half of the total electrical capacity of my house!
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2022, 10:47:07 pm »
I doubt it's really needed though, wok burners are likely ridiculously inefficient even compared to normal gas burners used with flat bottom pans. Wouldn't be surprised if even 10 kW could compete with 200k BTU.
 

Online tszaboo

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2022, 04:45:41 pm »
I've used both, and I'm not really satisfied with either of them. Gas is super difficult to clean, requires more space, and the switched off unit cannot be used for something else. Electric is somewhat slower, and it takes soooo much more time to start it up. Seriously, in gas you dial up the number press it down to start it and that's it. On electric there is this fancy touch control which takes like twenty presses to set up the heat. Plus the glass always gets banged up during the years. It's almost as if it was designed that it needs replacing.

My stove has sealed burners so it's easy to clean, not quite as easy as those smooth top ceramic electric cooktops but at least as easy as the conventional exposed electric burners. I often set a cutting board over a switched off burner when I need more space.

I hate those touch controls that are on the fancy cooktops, I think you can still get them with proper knobs but I haven't looked recently.
I haven't considered the exposed heating element electric ones, because that's something from a 1970's kitchen. I don't think they even sell that anymore.
I quickly looked for some that have knobs. Low end units that are not built in... Or high end units above 1000 EUR.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2022, 04:54:51 pm »
I haven't considered the exposed heating element electric ones, because that's something from a 1970's kitchen. I don't think they even sell that anymore.
I quickly looked for some that have knobs. Low end units that are not built in... Or high end units above 1000 EUR.

They're still very common, probably half of the electric stoves in service here are that style. They're nice because the burner elements and drip trays just plug in so they are easy to replace.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-30-in-5-0-cu-ft-Electric-Range-in-White-JBS360DMWW/306260284?
 

Online Kleinstein

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2022, 05:23:07 pm »
Many electric stoves have a kind of temperature control, while gas is essentially always power controlled. Depending one the implementation and what you cook this can be a nice feature - e.g. for slow simmering and it can also offer programmed function (e.g. full power till boiling and than kepp hot, turn off after ... minutes). How easy to control depends on the units, both gas and electric.

The efficiency for gas is not that great and this can offset much of the usually cheaper price per kWh.  The extra heat and need for good ventilation can be an issue when air conditioning is needed.
For the oven electric is usually much better controlled - so some even have electric for the oven and gas for the rest.
In many cases a special, usually electric appliance (e.g. water boiler, rice cooker, egg cooker,..) is more efficient than stove and pot.

Not getting enough power from gas may be an issue with that unit / setting. Natural gas differs (e.g. more or less CO2, N2) by location and one may need different settings limits. Normally gas is more powerful and thus faster to boil water.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2022, 05:30:59 pm »
The efficiency for gas is not that great and this can offset much of the usually cheaper price per kWh.  The extra heat and need for good ventilation can be an issue when air conditioning is needed.

It's about 40% according to data I can find, although that seems a bit low, typically when I'm cooking I find I can hold my hand over the edges of the pot and not get burned, which suggests most of the heat is going into the pan. If you figure 50% efficiency of a power plant and 80-90% efficiency of the power grid, ~75% of the electric burner energy going into the food, then gas is still probably going to come out ahead.
 

Online Psi

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2022, 03:13:36 am »
Efficiency of energy usage and benefits for cooking are separate things.

Both important to consider on a case by case basis yes.
But energy usage is so different across different locations and different green/less green generation methods I don't think
it's really relevant to take efficiency into consideration with this sort of discussion. (happy to disagree?)

Benefits for cooking are more generic across everyone, so it's a better discussion to have.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2022, 03:16:43 am by Psi »
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Offline Marco

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2022, 04:03:14 pm »
In theory an induction cooktop due to easy closed loop temperature control would always be a valuable addition, it can do some things easily a gas burner likely never would. I wouldn't mind an extra portable cooktop with continuously/smoothly variable power, a temperature sensor below the pan for constant temperature cooking/frying, with 2 concentric coils (outer coil kicking in for skillets and other large pans). Unfortunately most of what's available seems trash and/or overly expensive trash. I haven't been able to find anything truly well built as a cooktop, the Miele/etc hobs might be good but that's not what I'm looking for for the moment.

My sister wanted an induction cooktop to use as an extra, I ordered the latest version of the Xiaomi Mija (actually the UK TOKIT rebrand, specifically UK because for some reason mainland Europe gets a cheaper version). Coil still looks tiny, but at least it seems to have smooth power control and a temperature sensor, two out of three ain't bad I guess. I'll give it a try myself.
 

Offline Teledog

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2022, 01:40:30 am »
Dumped out the third electric coil range in 20 years.
Gas would be exceedingly difficult & ugly to put in.
Bought a Fulgor induction range, but $$$.
It will heat a cast iron pan to well over 300F within 30 seconds (boost mode).
Boils water faster than anything I've ever used.
It DOES heat up "supposedly" non- magnetic things (ie: stainless mixing bowls {chocolate} and disposable aluminum pie tins{melting paraffin wax})
Oven has dual convection & the pizza mode actually heats up to 585F.
Ideally, if I had my dream come true..induction AND gas in one.
My 2 cents anyway.
 

Offline onsenwombat

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2022, 09:20:56 am »
Kind of yes.. and no I'd say. Will leave the conventional electric hobs out of the discussion here as they're just complete rubbish.
Induction is lovely if you're mostly just boiling water. Quick and pretty much negligible residual heat. When actually cooking something, I'd take gas almost every time. Can adjust the heat with ~infinite accuracy, you can wiggle with the cookware as you please, the range can be cleaned with a jackhammer and a stick of dynamite after your cooking session without worrying about damaging the surfaces. And... and above anything else on this planet - NO GOD-AWFUL TOUCH BUTTONS. Fucking hate them.
For most everyday cooking, though, induction is pretty neat mainly for the lack of residual heat.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #28 on: October 28, 2022, 04:24:53 pm »
Can adjust the heat with ~infinite accuracy
That's a result of most of the market cheaping out, probably using a fixed frequency quasiresonant control loop and just switching it complete on or off. Many ways to make it continuously variable.
Quote
can wiggle with the cookware as you please, the range can be cleaned with a jackhammer and a stick of dynamite after your cooking session without worrying about damaging the surfaces.
You could get this this and cement some thin granite ribs on top of your granite countertop. Pretty abuse proof.

In theory it's even possible to make a pan which you could tilt and baste with (by putting a receiving coil in the bottom of the pan).
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2022, 04:49:40 pm »
That's a result of most of the market cheaping out, probably using a fixed frequency quasiresonant control loop and just switching it complete on or off. Many ways to make it continuously variable.

While it's technologically possible to make an electric burner that works like that, every one that I've seen just cycles on and off, most of them use a crude control designed ~100 years ago with a bimetal strip and an internal heater with the knob mechanically pressing on the strip to adjust the duty cycle. Even if you have continuous control you still lack the instant feedback of gas.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #30 on: October 28, 2022, 05:15:09 pm »
Even if you have continuous control you still lack the instant feedback of gas.
Some hobs already use lightguides to light up the edge of the pan, guess they should add some woosh too.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #31 on: October 28, 2022, 05:26:00 pm »
Even if you have continuous control you still lack the instant feedback of gas.
Some hobs already use lightguides to light up the edge of the pan, guess they should add some woosh too.

The light is a neat idea, I've never seen one that did that.
 

Offline JohnG

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2022, 05:13:20 pm »
That's a result of most of the market cheaping out, probably using a fixed frequency quasiresonant control loop and just switching it complete on or off. Many ways to make it continuously variable.

Yes, this is true. They are cheaping out. Even worse, many just run off of a rectified AC, but the cost savings are large. It's a shame for induction, because it is possible to get nearly infinite control.

While it's technologically possible to make an electric burner that works like that, every one that I've seen just cycles on and off, most of them use a crude control designed ~100 years ago with a bimetal strip and an internal heater with the knob mechanically pressing on the strip to adjust the duty cycle. Even if you have continuous control you still lack the instant feedback of gas.

I worked on one of these that went into a high-end electric cooktop, so it is possible. Note that you are still limited in what you can do at a reasonable cost. We used a variation of cycle-skipping. This is trickier than it seems if you want relatively fast and fine control. The total number of half-cycles per control period must be even so you don't pull any dc and unbalance the utility transformer (doesn't take a lot of dc to push the core flux average away from zero), and there are issues with subharmonics if you are not careful. You also need to avoid generating frequency components near 8-10 Hz to avoid issues with power line flicker.

Phase control with a triac is a non-starter because the power factor is atrocious and EMI is a nightmare (in the US, a high end electric cooktop might top out near 10 kW at full load). When I worked on this, this was not regulated at a residential level in the US, but that didn't mean we could do it. If you filled an apartment complex or a new subdivision with something like this, you would get an unpleasant call from the nearest utility, and word gets around. Not good for sales.

Finally, the ambient environment is brutal inside a cooktop and thermal insulation costs money...

John
« Last Edit: October 30, 2022, 05:23:09 pm by JohnG »
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Offline Marco

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2022, 05:43:49 pm »
Yes, this is true. They are cheaping out. Even worse, many just run off of a rectified AC
The output being AC modulated isn't really a problem, 100/120 Hz modulation is well beyond the thermal response.

Hard switched buck boost with a steady duty cycle to follow rectified AC, just scaled, then QR would work fine AFAICS. The buck boost doesn't have to deal with a terrible inductor, so it works a little simpler.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2022, 05:51:23 pm by Marco »
 

Offline JohnG

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #34 on: October 30, 2022, 06:19:54 pm »
100/120 Hz or it's harmonics are annoying to a subset of customers, and the cooking vessel can vibrate. But, even a little filtering or another converter costs money that appliance companies don't want to spend.

When I was involved, the product marketing teams often had little or no idea what it was like to use their own employer's cooking products. The test kitchen did a much better job, but they only got a little more respect than the engineers.

John
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Offline Alti

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #35 on: October 30, 2022, 06:33:45 pm »
An induction electric range is probably more efficient then the usual one with resistive heating elements.
My electric range is a sheet of glass and under it there is a heater element insulated from the back. All the energy goes through the glass, all but some tiny fraction that is hard to measure. It is absolutely quiet, does not squeak and has no fan.

I am an advocate of resistive transfer heating.

Whether it is faster to cook a meal with resistive, inductive or gas stove is a matter of powers delivered and heat capacities that take part in this process.

For gas flame burners you do not need a bottom surface of the pot to lay flush with flames. It can be arbitrarily thin and curvy.
For resistive heat, coupling through the glass, bottom of the pot needs to be super planar or you get huge thermal resistance. Small pot is a lesser problem and can have thinner bottom but thin bottom pans would flex, start to bulge when expand and "dance" on glass.
Inductive pots need to have magnetic coupling, bottom thickness does affect energy transfer but flatness is not critical.
 

Offline JohnG

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #36 on: October 31, 2022, 10:42:19 pm »
Glass with resistive heating underneath is often called "radiant electric" in the industry. If you have a very flat pot with lowish emissivity, you can transfer heat to the pot very well. But, if you have a shiny aluminum pot with a concave bottom, the same burner can barely boil water.

The problem with the latter is two-fold. First, the heat transfer is poor for obvious reasons. The second, less obvious reason, is that the resistive heaters must be thermally limited. If the glass (actaully a glass-ceramic composite with near zero TCE) gets to hot, it will fail. I forget the temperature (~700 deg C comes to mind), but it is within reach of the heating element. So, if you dump full power into the element, and your shiny, non-flat pot doesn't absorb it, the temperature of the glass starts to climb. Hence, the thermal limit kicks in to prevent that from happening. If the pot is bad enough, you can hardly bring water to a simmer.

Other downsides are the long thermal time constant (that glass stays hot for a long time), and better not burn too much sugar on it or it sometimes it can pit the glass.

John
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Offline JohnG

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Re: Electric stovetops are superior to gas ones
« Reply #37 on: October 31, 2022, 10:52:54 pm »
A few more bits of cooktop trivia:

The coil element cooktops (Calrod burners) can actually get response times a lot closer to gas, if you can estimate and cancel the thermal pole. This can give very responsive cooking performance. The glass cooktop cooling time constant is too long for this too work well.

The problem is, coil cooktops are the cheapest and have a unshakeably cheap reputation. Because of the reputation, a manufacturer won't put the money into it because they probably will never get it back. Most people with more money to spend will get gas or induction.

One other thing is that many mid-tier and above cooktops with electronic controls (in US) have a "showroom mode" that is activated when you connect power to one of the lines and neutral, and leave the other line disconnected. That way, the controls can light up and emulate function on the showroom floor without any danger of turning on a heating element. A lit-up big appliance will sell better than a dark one, even if otherwise identical.

John
« Last Edit: November 01, 2022, 08:23:21 pm by JohnG »
"Reality is that which, when you quit believing in it, doesn't go away." Philip K. Dick (RIP).
 


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