Gas vs. electric appliances – which are cheapest to run?

Gas versus electric boilers – which are more expensive? Does it cost more to run a gas oven or an electric one? If you’ve always wondered which is more cost-effective, read on. 

Gas versus electric boilers – which are more expensive? Does it cost more to run a gas oven or an electric one? If you’ve always wondered which is more cost-effective, read on. 

Peter Earl
From the Energy team
minute read
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Posted 05 FEBRUARY 2020

Is gas cheaper than electricity?

A unit of gas costs, on average, 4p/kWh (kilowatt hour) - while electricity costs 16p/kWh. That makes electricity four times the price of gas.

But, when it comes to heating your home, there are other factors to consider. For instance:  

  • Gas boilers are more expensive 
    Gas boilers cost more to repair and maintain than their electric equivalents. 
  •  Gas boilers aren’t totally efficient  
    Even the newest gas boiler won’t offer the same efficiency that a modern electric boiler could.
  • Your house may not have a gas supply 
    If you don’t have a gas mains supply, you’ll have to factor in the costs of installing a gas pipe – which will be expensive. Having a gas boiler and radiators installed is likely to cost you in the region of £3,200 - £4,200. 

Electric night storage heaters don’t involve pipes or flues, so cost a lot less to install.  

Gas central heating vs electric radiators – which are cheapest to run?

Gas radiators are cheaper to run than electric radiators, but gas central heating tends to be more expensive to install.

Gas accounts for around 85% of home heating in the UK. 

One way to cut your electricity bills is with Economy 7 and Economy 10 tariffs.

These give you a cheaper electricity rate at night, and a higher one during the day. The difference between them is the number of off-peak hours you get. With Economy 7, it’s seven hours, and with Economy 10, it’s 10.  
This can be of real benefit if you use electric storage heaters, which store heat overnight – when your tariff’s cheaper – for use the following day. 
It’s always beneficial to keep tabs on how much electricity you’re using, especially if an off-peak tariff could work in your favour. 

Which are cheapest – gas fires, electric heaters or wood burners? 

Electric heaters tend to be the cheapest of these to install. Gas fires can be pricey to fit, and wood burners even more so.  
But your electric heater will cost more than the gas fire to run, since gas is far more fuel-efficient than electricity. Your wood burner will probably be the most expensive of the three to run – you could easily get through a £5 bag of logs in a weekend.  
Some people feel there’s a certain charm associated with a wood-burning stove, but electric heaters have other benefits. They’re easy to install and clean, and often they’re portable.  

Gas vs electric ovens – which are cheapest to run?  

Because of the higher costs of electricity, electric ovens are likely to cost you more to run.  
However, electric appliances are more efficient than they used to be, and cost isn’t the only factor to think about. You might also want to consider which is safer, and which you prefer cooking on. Electric hobs tend to have a smoother surface for cooking on, and often they’re easier to clean.  

How to use your oven more efficiently 

One way to try and cut your energy bills is to get clever with how you cook: 

  •  Use fan-assisted cooking if possible – this allows you to cook at a lower heat 
  • Try to cook several things at the same time 
  • Don’t open the oven door during cooking 
  • Batch-cook and freeze dishes for later 

There are plenty of other energy-saving tips to consider, too. 

One of the easiest ways to see if you could make savings on your energy bills is by comparing quotes with Compare the Market. Just give us a few details about yourself, and we’ll do the rest.  

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