Which Is More Energy Efficient for Cooking: Gas or Induction?

An empty pan sitting on an electric stovetop, with three eggs and a spoon

 tomazl / Getty Images

A while back we looked at the question Which is greener, a gas or an electric stove? We concluded that if you live in a part of the world with relatively clean electricity, then an electric induction range is greener, both for its carbon footprint and because of indoor air quality.

But I always assumed that when it got right down to the cooking, ignoring the source of the energy and the air quality issues, gas was going to be faster and more efficient. Now Paul Scheckel of Vermont's Home Energy Pros (via BlueGreenGroup) gets out the meters and the spreadsheets and proves me wrong.

Comparing Gas and Induction

1 quart of water boiling time chart
 Paul Scheckel

He found that boiling a quart of water on an induction range took significantly less time, and therefore consumed fewer BTUs of energy (992 BTUs for gas, 430 BTUs for electric induction.)

Cooking efficiency comparison chart
Paul Scheckel

He then calculated the efficiency of the conversion of energy to heat in the water, and found that "The induction cooker is 74 percent efficient at transforming and transferring input energy to the water, and the gas range comes in at 32 percent. The induction method was 32 percent faster and consumed 57 percent less energy."

Induction Is Simply More Efficient

This doesn't take into account the energy used by the exhaust hood and the energy needed to heat or cool the air that replaces what went out the exhaust hood, which is always needed over a gas range, even when you are boiling a quart of water. And now that we know that an induction range is even faster than gas, there really is no excuse for burning fossil fuels indoors.

A kitchen with a stove visible on the left, and an island with a sink and chairs in the center
 Lloyd Alter / CC BY 2.0

I was recently in a stunning Passive House in Brooklyn, where the owner, a serious cook, insisted on a big gas range in his kitchen. You could build a normal house for the money they spent on the ventilation and recirculation in this kitchen, all to get that so-called instant response and high heat that big gas stoves are known for. The BlueGreen Group titled their post "the world cooktop championship" and gave it to the induction. Perhaps we need a real Iron Chef cook-off, induction vs gas, to figure out the real cooktop champion.