Energy Efficient Cookers
If you want to reduce your impact on the environment and lower those energy bills, you’ll want a cooker that’s efficient. But which is better, gas or electric?
Read on to find out which cookers are cheaper to run and what you can do to cook more efficiently.
Energy Efficiency Rating
Unlike many other household appliances, not all cookers have energy efficiency ratings that allow for easy comparison between different models.
In the main, only electric cookers have an efficiency rating, and even then it’s only for the oven and not the hob.
Having said that, if you’re only interested in electric cookers, you can use the energy efficiency to compare models. The current scale for new appliances ranges from A+++ for the most efficient, to D for the least efficient. Be aware that there’s some variation in each grade though, so one A rated cooker might be more efficient than another.
For a like-for-like comparison, it’s worth looking at the average running costs, also provided on the energy label.
One of the biggest differences between cookers in terms of energy costs is the fuel they use.
We highlight some of the benefits of electric and gas in our Cooker Types section. However, when it comes down to running costs, there is a clear winner.
According to Which?, if you ran an electric cooker for 1 hour 20 minutes a day, it would cost around £53 per year. Compare that with a gas cooker, run for the same time, which would cost around £16 per year. Over the lifetime of your appliance, this represents a significant saving.
New technology is making electric cookers more efficient. Induction hobs are particularly good as they don’t heat anything except the pan and its contents. However, gas cookers are still generally viewed as more efficient.
Size also plays a part in how efficient a cooker is.
It may seem fairly obvious, but larger appliances take more energy to heat up than smaller ones. It’s worth making sure you’re buying the smallest cooker you can get away with, but remember that you might need extra capacity every so often, for parties or Christmas dinner.
New technology is making electric cookers more efficient. However, gas cookers are still generally viewed as more efficient.
For a like-for-like comparison, it’s worth looking at the average running costs.
There are certain things you can do in the kitchen to increase the energy efficiency of your cooking.
Cooking on the hob, for instance, uses less energy than oven cooking, so it may be worthwhile to have a stir-fry rather than a roast chicken. If this is something that appeals to you, you might want to look for a model with a better hob – some have a high-powered wok burner which is perfect for this sort of thing.
Similarly, quicker cooking uses less energy than lengthier jobs, so quickly frying some fish is more efficient than grilling it (although grilling is probably healthier).
You can also add more efficiency to normal cooking processes, rather than changing the way you cook. Only put enough water in a pot to cover vegetables for boiling, otherwise you’re unnecessarily heating more than you need. Pre-boiling potatoes before popping them in to roast saves you time and energy too, as they’re already partly cooked.
If you’re cooking with the oven, try not to open the door too often, as heat escapes and is replaced with cooler air, making the appliance work harder to maintain its temperature. Look for a model with a built-in timer as this will remove some of the guesswork.
Make sure you use the right size pan for your burner on the hob. This is more relevant to electric hobs than gas, but using a 6 inch pan on an 8 inch burner can waste as much as 40% of the heat generated.
It’s also worth making sure your cooker is kept clean, as food debris absorb heats, reducing the cooker’s efficiency.
Unlike other white goods, cookers don’t have an eco-mode you can switch on, but there are some features to look out for that help your appliance run more efficiently.
Investing in a cooker with a glass door which lets you see inside is a great idea. It lets you keep an eye on what’s cooking more easily and means you keep any door opening to a minimum, retaining all the hot air inside.
A lot of glass doors on cookers are double or triple glazed. This increases how good an insulator the door is. More layers of glass means less heat can escape.
It also has the added benefit of keeping the door cooler to the touch. Some doors even have heat reflection technology, which helps insulate the oven even more efficiently.
Models that feature self-cleaning technology also tend to be more efficient as the special linings inside the oven offer better insulation. And of course, they’re easier to keep clean!
A lot of glass doors on cookers are double or triple glazed – more layers of glass means less heat can escape.