My gas range has been disappointing

After moving into a new apartment, I have access to a gas range Although it is a cheap gas range, I was looking forward to it. It is said to have 9100 BTU (according to the manual). Although not great, it is about the same as a 2700 watt electric stove – or so I thought.

Unfortunately, I found out that my gas stoves take longer to heat up water and my wok remains cooler than before. In fact, the handles of my pot got much hotter. I used to able picking up my small pot by its handles (on electric coil stoves). Now, the handles are so hot that this would burn my hands.

So it seems that my gas stove is heating around my cookware as opposed to heating at the cookware.

I was thinking about building something to isolate more heat toward the cookware, but I am afraid that this can cause incomplete combustion and therefore carbon monoxide…etc.

Anyway, this is not a dig at gas ranges in general, just that my gas range has been disappointing.

CK, I switched to induction a few years ago and every gas cooktop I’ve had to use since then has disappointed me. We do house exchanges and I’ve used some VERY high end gas and not been happy. Our daughter has a not-new-but-not-real-old electric, coil one and when I cook on it I’m happier than the gas. Go figure.


I am sure you will have thought of this - but just saying since you posted . . . .

The way those gas range burners work is that they do “shoot out” a ring of flame. So putting a small pot on a “large” burner will mean that most of the heat bypasses the pot and cooks the handles. Optimally the flame should remain “under” the pot for effective heating.

I love my gas stove and wouldn’t want anything else (though I have cooked on induction and could probably convert - though what would I roast peppers over . . . . ). My stove does have 4 different sized burner rings (not only for heat output but to accommodate different sized pots) and the largest has a center “ring” within the larger outer ring for larger pots.

Sorry you’re not having luck. Tricky ranges aren’t fun. Ovens you always have to seem to adjust to but having to adjust to the range too wouldn’t be fun.


Gas is about 40% efficient depending on specific style/shape. Coil/Induction is about 80% efficient. So that 9100 Btu burner delivers about 1100 watts to the pot of water (and wastes ~1600 watts, heating up kitchen air). Or to put it another way, your 9100 Btu gas burner heats about as well as a 1400 watt electric burner (which wastes ~300 watts to the kitchen air). That’s on the low side but is typical for cheap gas ranges like you’d see in rental apartments.

Even a portable induction burner can deliver 1800 watts (and emit less waste heat into the kitchen), so you may want to get a cheap 1800W induction burner like the

Yeah, I was thinking about that, which is why my pot handles are so much hotter now.

Agree, so far most of the flame is underneath the pot (the pot is not that small), and I have dial downed further, but it still heat up the side handles.

Well, my electric oil stoves are slower because it takes awhile to heat up, but once they are heated up they deliver more heat than my current gas stoves…

This may sound obvious, but on my pc of crap gas stove in my rental apt the front right burner is significantly stronger than the others. Does yours have the same function? I use that burner for boiling water or anything i want to cook on high heat

My four burners look to be identical – same size and shape.

I may need to improvise something. I know. In theory, I shouldn’t change the gas stove environment because they can change the gas flow and therefore the burning efficient… and cause more carbon monoxide…etc.

I put some aluminum foil slightly around the burner grate to channel more heat upward, and last night I “felt” the wok got much hotter – it could be all in my head, but if I can get the heat transfer from 40% to go up to 60-70%, then it will be a huge improvement.

I know gas stoves make cookware response fast and mine did, but between heat response and heat power – I need the latter.

I have a tiny, ancient, gas magic chef and I find that handle position is important to handle temperature. Generally, towards the back and outside edge. However, if two or more burners are on or a fan is going this changes. Even subtle changes in air flow (not noticeable in the flame) really change how hot handles get.

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Hi, Chem:

I start from the proposition that there is far larger a quality and performance spread among gas rangetops than any other hob mode. A builder-grade gas range is further from a Lacanche or La Cornue than the cheapest coil hotplate is from the best electric coil. Same, really, for induction.

With regard to power, with the exceptions of boiling large quantities of water or serious wokking, even a weak builder-grade gas appliance has enough. Coil has plenty, and induction probably too much. So while I can understand a cook’s disappointment when a low end gas appliance fails to wow in terms of power, I think perceived convenience factors more than anything. An analogy would be probe thermometers–we’re put out when it takes 3 or 4 seconds for a model to register, when in fact that’s pretty fast.

As others have pointed out, sizing a pan to a gas hob is important. So is factoring in whether the burners are “open” or “sealed”, because sealed burners tend to direct the flame outward, making an undersized pan/oversized hob choice bad one.

Then there’s the old issue of conductivity and conductive sidewalls. With the latter, a substantial amount of useful heat is “scavenged” from the flow-by. Far more heat is wasted by the straight-gauge SS sidewalls in a disk-bottom stocker on gas than by an aluminum or copper pot.

If you need to boil water fast on a weak hob, there are two exotic pan designs that are specific solutions to the “shed heat” problem. The first is the Eneron Turbo Pot, with a disk base fitted with finned heat sink fins. Tests by PG&E for restaurant use show a 30% gain in efficiency. Of course this construction is gas-only. The Turbo is an easy sell for restaurants that keep huge volumes of pasta water going all day.

The second is Flare. These pans are finned in 3 dimensions. I played with these at the IHHS show (they’re being sold by Nordicware). These pans actually can be used on electric stoves as well. They claim–credibly–a 40% improvement in heat exchange.

In the meantime, enjoy the improvement in response times.


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Great – thanks a bunch.
Now I have to buy a Turbo Kettle …

Well, not that it’s worth much, but here’s my experience.

The first gas range I ever lived with was the cheapest builder’s grade unit that came with the repossessed mobile home I bought as my first house. Simply put, it sold me on the benefits of gas over any other cooking method.

After that, I had several electric coil ranges (the kind I grew up with) and an especially nice ceramic top electric range. Although I was most familiar with the coil style electric, the lack of control (compared to gas) continually frustrated me. And the ceramic was abysmally, maddeningly slow to either heat or cool. Ugh! I would never (willingly) choose one of those again!

Now, I’ve finally got a “nice” gas range; not the best, but miles beyond any builder’s grade unit. The flames on these burners seem to flare wider than I recall the cheaper range doing. Maybe burner design has advanced over the past 30 years to improve coverage & efficiency? I don’t know. But I can definitely say that I’ve learned to “undersize” the burner to the pan with this range.

Essentially, as I understand it, you like the concentrated “heat pad” characteristic of an electric coil, but you’re hoping to also gain the instant heat control of a gas flame. However, because the heat “projection” of a gas flame is wider than that of a comparable coil element, you have to both use a smaller flame diameter than you would coil diameter, and use a lower heat setting than you would with electric (because higher flame settings only send more heat around the outside of the pan). This small/low combination conspires to lower your heat input & slow your cooking!

Now, I will also state here that my new copper pans react much more favorably to the gas flame than my stainless (Copper Core) pans. But we both know that it’s not practical to change all of your cookware to take greater advantage of the control gas provides!

So, the goal seems to be:
Maintain the central heat focus of “heat pad” (coil electric/halogen/induction) ranges, while maintaining the instant temperature control of a gas flame. I think you’re on the right track with a flame “containment” device, but you just need something a bit more refined than your foil.

Maybe something like this? :slight_smile:

Don’t admit that in a public forum!

I go between an electric coil at our place and gas range at my parents. We are moving to a home with gas in a couple months. For my type of cooking, gas was so important to me, we went through a 6 month process: we had gas brought to the house and then had all the gas plumbing done inside the house. (It will power the dryer and furnace, too, but the stove was my primary concern.)

Response time is a huge thing for me. When trying to maintain temperatures during deep frying, the electric stove frustrates me to no end. I have a sense now of when to turn it up and down, but every now and then I’ll be too late and ruin a batch of food (temp too low) or ruin my oil (temp too high). Also, I cook much more naturally on round bottom woks, and those are much easier to use on gas. Plus, we make rotis all the time, and there’s no substitute for finishing roti on a flame. Charring veggies is much easier with gas, too. And food made on gas just tastes better to me. I actually took ingredients and cookware from my place to my parents once to try and eliminate variables and see if it wasn’t just my imagination.

I like my electric range because it heats evenly. E.g., when I am frying an egg in cast iron, I don’t get weird hot spots. My electric coils are harder to get level, though, if that makes sense (hurts when making dry caramel). The boiling water advantage is a pretty big one, too. So much so, I’m hoping to find a range with 3 gas hobs and one electric.

Well, you’ve already brought in gas so it’s too late to talk about induction. As I’ve said to people, you couldn’t give me the most expensive gas cooktop/range plus $10k to give up my induction. Oh well.

Actually, we hope to redo the kitchen in a couple years. The plan is one of those combo gas/induction cooktops. Right now, we couldn’t invest any more time or money. We’re not savvy enough to quickly figure out if we can just buy a combo cooktop and slide it in place of the old one, or if it’s more involved.

Then there’s the oven to figure out , and the fancy microwave/toaster oven combos, and stand mixer, and Thermomix. Can’t wait till we move in and I can start dreaming about all those things.

I think I simply has less thermal power than before due to significantly more heat loss to the environment.

I remember that wok mon thing. I thought the conclusion is that it looks cool, but no real effect. I will re-read it again.

Yes, I remember the Flare cookware. Seem like a great design to absorb more heat.

OK, I’ll have the La Cornue delivery truck turned around…

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Can you swap out the gas range? My Blue Star range has 22K BTU burners and you can take out the grate and place a wok almost directly over the burner. I think they have a new unit with 25K BTU burners.

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo