woman sat with cat warming her hands by an electric heater

Is gas or electric cheaper to run?

author: Adele Kitchen

By Adele Kitchen

85% of homes in Great Britian are connected to the gas grid and use a gas boiler and central heating system. But with energy bills going up, which is the most cost-effective way to heat your home and cook meals? We’ve done the research to find out if gas or electric is cheaper. 

Is it cheaper to cook with electricity or gas? 

Research by Which? shows that electric and dual-fuel cookers can be around twice as expensive to run compared to gas cookers – even though they use less energy. This is because electricity costs more per unit than gas. 

From 1st October 2022, electricity will cost 34.0p/kWh and gas will be cheaper at 10.3p/kWh. (This applies to dual fuel customers on a standard variable tariff paying via direct debit). 

Having said that, an electric microwave, slow cooker, pressure cooker, or air fryer will cost you less to use than a gas oven. According to Dr. Christian Reynolds, (Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Food Policy at City University London), “Slow cookers are equivalent in energy use to a microwave and draw about the same energy as an electric light bulb.” 

Does it cost less to run a gas or electric boiler? 

Yes, gas boilers are usually cheaper to run than electric boilers, but they tend to be more expensive to install, says HomeServe. This is because gas installation involves more work, such as connecting the boiler to your pipes and radiators. Another factor to consider is that electric boilers are 100% efficient in turning your energy into heat, whereas gas boilers are up to around 90% efficient. 

Overall, if you’re looking for a new boiler and you’re willing to pay extra for installation and maintenance, a gas boiler should save you money in the long run because gas costs less per unit than electricity. 

Which is cheaper to run – a gas or electric fireplace? 

You may end up paying more to get a gas fireplace installed than an electric one. (With some electric heaters, all you need to do is plug them into a socket). But gas should be more cost-effective overall.  

Are portable electric heaters cheaper than central heating? 

It’s a common myth that portable electric heaters are less expensive to run than central heating. According to an expert at Best Heating: “for every unit of heat from a radiator it will cost around three times as much for a unit put out by an electric heater. The only exception is if radiators aren’t turned off in unoccupied rooms, then an electric heater will prove cheaper, but this isn’t being savvy with bills.” 

Could a wood burner save me money? 

A wood-burning stove could save you money, as running costs are usually lower compared to gas and electric fireplaces, according to The Stove Industry Alliance. However, the initial outlay is higher, with log burners costing around £950 to buy, and installation costs coming to £2,000 on average.  

Bear in mind that a log burner won’t heat your whole home, but it may still help to cut energy costs, especially if you normally rely on electric heating.  

Can a smart meter help me save on my energy bills? 

A smart meter could potentially help you save around £131.75 per year on gas and electricity and they’re free to install. The in-home display units show you how much energy you’re using at any given moment, as well as your usage over time. This can help you to find areas that you could cut down on. Plus, your energy supplier will be able to bill you accurately instead of using estimates. 

If you’re struggling with paying your energy bills, read our blog to find out what help is available. 

Disclaimer: We make every effort to ensure that content is correct at the time of publication. Please note that information published on this website does not constitute financial advice, and we aren’t responsible for the content of any external sites.

woman sat with cat warming her hands by an electric heater woman sat with cat warming her hands by an electric heater