Is Natural Gas Good for Cooking? A Comprehensive Guide to Safety and Cost

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  May 31, 2022

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Is natural gas good for cooking? This is a common question when shopping for a new stove. Natural gas is a fossil fuel primarily composed of methane. It’s a cleaner fuel option compared to oil and coal, and it’s more efficient and cost-effective than propane. However, safety concerns should also be taken into account.

In this article, I’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of natural gas and how it can impact your cooking.

Natural gas for cooking

What Exactly is Natural Gas and Why is it a Cleaner Alternative for Cooking?

Natural gas is a fossil fuel that is primarily extracted from deep underground reservoirs. It is a naturally occurring resource that is composed mainly of methane, a gas made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms. It is easily transported through pipelines and is the largest percentage of monthly retail sales in the United States.

Recent Page on Natural Gas

According to recent studies, natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel than other fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. It produces fewer harmful emissions, such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which can contribute to air pollution and climate change. Additionally, natural gas is a more efficient fuel than other alternatives, with fewer system losses. This means that more of the energy produced by natural gas is used for cooking and heating, rather than being lost during transportation or conversion.

Overall, natural gas is an excellent choice for cooking due to its superior control, even heat, and cleaner burning properties. It is a reliable and efficient fuel source that is readily available and affordable.

Stay Safe While Cooking with Natural Gas

Cooking with natural gas offers many benefits, such as faster cooking times and more precise temperature control. However, it’s important to consider the potential risks associated with using this fuel source. Natural gas stoves can release harmful pollutants like carbon monoxide and formaldehyde into the air, which can be toxic to people and pets. To ensure that you’re using natural gas in a safe and appropriate way, it’s important to take proper precautions and follow standard safety guidelines.

Proper Installation and Maintenance

To ensure the safe operation of your natural gas cooking equipment, it’s important to have it installed and maintained by a qualified professional. This includes periodic inspections to make sure that all components are working properly and in accordance with national and international codes and standards. The American Gas Association (AGA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) have established requirements for the installation and operation of natural gas cooktops, ovens, and ranges, which should be followed to eliminate potential hazards.

Exhaust and Ventilation

One of the most important safety features of any natural gas cooking equipment is the exhaust system. This feature helps to draw harmful pollutants and gases out of your kitchen and exhaust them outside. There are several types of exhaust systems commonly used in natural gas cooking equipment, including overhead exhaust fans, wall-mounted exhaust fans, and ceiling-mounted exhaust fans. Some cooktops also feature a downdraft exhaust system, which draws air down through the surface of the cooktop and exhausts it outside. It’s important to make sure that your exhaust system is working properly and that it meets the appropriate ventilation requirements for your kitchen.

Using Natural Gas Safely

In addition to proper installation and maintenance, there are several other precautions you can take to ensure that you’re using natural gas safely in your kitchen. These include:

  • Making sure that your natural gas cooking equipment is the appropriate size for your kitchen and cooking needs
  • Using high-quality natural gas equipment that meets environmental protection agency (EPA) standards
  • Following the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation and maintenance of your natural gas cooking equipment
  • Having your natural gas cooking equipment inspected periodically by a qualified professional
  • Using an appropriate fuel source for your natural gas cooking equipment
  • Keeping your kitchen well-ventilated to reduce the risk of indoor air pollution from natural gas cooking

By taking these precautions and following standard safety guidelines, you can enjoy the benefits of natural gas cooking while minimizing the potential risks to your health and safety.

When it comes to cooking, natural gas is a more cost-effective option than propane. Here’s why:

  • Natural gas is often more affordable than propane because it goes through fewer refinement procedures, streamlining the process it takes to go from the ground to your business.
  • Natural gas is also more efficient than propane, meaning that it produces more heat per unit of fuel. This means that you’ll use less natural gas to cook the same amount of food as you would with propane.
  • Natural gas is delivered through a pipeline, which means that you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel or scheduling deliveries.

Grilling and Cooking: The Battle Between Natural Gas and Propane

When it comes to indoor cooking, natural gas and propane stoves have some differences that are worth noting:

  • Natural gas stoves tend to have a more consistent heat output, which makes them great for cooking dishes that require a steady temperature.
  • Propane stoves, on the other hand, heat up faster and can reach higher temperatures than natural gas stoves. This makes them ideal for cooking dishes that require high heat, such as stir-fries or seared meats.

Comparison of Fuel: BTU and Burning Efficiency

When it comes to fuel, there are some differences between natural gas and propane:

  • Propane has a higher BTU rating than natural gas, which means it burns hotter and faster. This makes it ideal for cooking dishes that require high heat.
  • Natural gas, on the other hand, is a fossil fuel that burns more efficiently than propane. This means that it produces less carbon monoxide and other harmful emissions.

Equipment: Natural Gas vs Propane

The equipment you use can also make a difference in your cooking experience:

  • Natural gas equipment tends to be more expensive than propane equipment, but it is also more durable and long-lasting.
  • Propane equipment is less expensive than natural gas equipment, but it may not last as long and may require more maintenance.

Propane vs Natural Gas Equipment: Which Is Best for Your Cooking Needs?

When it comes to cooking, choosing the correct fuel source is crucial. The main differences between propane and natural gas equipment are in the nature of the fuels, the cost, and the output they produce. Here are some key differences to keep in mind:

  • Propane is a gaseous fuel that is stored in a portable tank, while natural gas is a permanent fuel that is delivered to your home or business through an infrastructure of pipelines.
  • Propane equipment generally has a higher BTU output, making it more powerful and able to complete cooking tasks quickly. Natural gas equipment, on the other hand, has a lower BTU output but is generally more cost-effective to operate.
  • Propane equipment is more mobile and can be used in a range of locations, while natural gas equipment is more stationary and requires a specific location with infrastructure in place to ensure deliveries.
  • Converting equipment from one fuel source to another can be costly and may result in a loss of specifications, so it’s important to know which fuel source is best for your specific needs before making a purchase.

Choosing the Best Equipment for Your Cooking Needs

To ensure that you choose the best equipment for your cooking needs, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • The size of your cooking space: If you have a small cooking space, propane equipment may be the best option due to its portability. If you have a larger cooking space, natural gas equipment may be more cost-effective in the long run.
  • The type of food you prepare: If you need to cook food quickly and at a high temperature, propane equipment may be the best option due to its higher BTU output. If you need to cook food slowly and at a lower temperature, natural gas equipment may be more suitable.
  • The cost of operating the equipment: While propane equipment may have a higher initial cost, it can be more cost-effective to operate depending on your specific cooking needs. Natural gas equipment may have a lower initial cost, but the operating costs may be higher depending on your location and infrastructure.
  • The specific task you need to perform: Depending on the specific task you need to perform, one fuel source may be more suitable than the other. For example, if you need to bring a large pot of water to a boil quickly, propane equipment may be the best option. If you need to turn out a large volume of food quickly, natural gas equipment may be more suitable.

Ensuring Safe and Efficient Cooking

No matter which fuel source you choose, it’s important to ensure that your equipment is safe and efficient to use. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Check the specifications of your equipment to ensure that it is compatible with the fuel source you plan to use.
  • Follow all safety guidelines provided by the equipment manufacturer.
  • Have your equipment serviced regularly to ensure that it is working correctly.
  • Store propane tanks in a safe location away from heat sources and direct sunlight.
  • Use a fuel gauge to monitor the level of propane in your tank to avoid running out during the cooking process.
  • Ensure that your natural gas equipment is properly installed and maintained to prevent gas leaks and other safety hazards.

Natural Gas vs Charcoal Grills: Which is the Best Way to Cook?

When it comes to grilling, the flavor and smoke are essential factors to consider. Charcoal grills (best ones reviewed here) usually give foods a smokier flavor, which is great for meat lovers. On the other hand, gas grills (like these top choices featuring two burners) emit less smoke, and as a simpler molecule, gas produces only water and carbon dioxide when fully combusted. So while gas imparts food with a less pronounced flavor, that’s a plus when grilling fish, veggies, fruits, and other delicate fares.

Temperature Control

One of the significant differences between natural gas and charcoal grills is temperature control. Gas grills are more comfortable to control and maintain a consistent temperature, making them an easy and popular choice for beginners. Charcoal grills, on the other hand, require more effort and practice to set the right temperature. However, once you get the hang of it, you can achieve a wide range of temperatures, making them versatile for different types of foods.

Cooking Time

Another difference between natural gas and charcoal grills is cooking time. Gas grills usually take a shorter time to heat up, and you don’t need to wait for the coals to cool down after cooking. Charcoal grills, on the other hand, take longer to heat up and cool down, making them a better option for slow-cooking and smoking.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning and maintenance are also essential factors to consider when choosing between natural gas and charcoal grills. Gas grills are generally easier to clean, as they have a small metal grate that sits on a base filled with lava rocks or ceramic briquettes. Charcoal grills, on the other hand, have a domed lid that fits over the base, and the ashes and leftover coals need to be removed after each use.


Price is another factor to consider when choosing between natural gas and charcoal grills. Gas grills are usually more expensive than charcoal grills, but they are more convenient and require less effort to use. Charcoal grills, on the other hand, are basic and lower in price, making them a great option for those on a budget.

How to Take Care of a Gas Grill

Oftentimes, the burners and ignites are the first to experience damage out of all the components in a gas grill. Luckily, a broken igniter is easy to fix as all you have to do is light it up using a lighter with a long nozzle. The key to keeping your burners in good condition for longer is to clean them regularly. This will help prevent the build-up of gunk over time, and all you have to do is brush off any dirt that you see on the burner with a soft brush and mild detergent. It’s also important to clean the ventilation holes located along the burner so that there are no obstructions.

Another great tip that you can try out involves applying a coat of cooking oil on the burners to protect them from rusting over time. The added advantage of this trick is that it forces you to clean the grill regularly to get rid of the melted oil after cooking. Practicing these simple tips can significantly extend the lifespan of your grill.


So, is natural gas good for cooking? 

It’s a great choice for cooking with fewer harmful emissions and better control over heat, but you need to make sure the exhaust system is working properly and you need to follow standard safety guidelines. 

So, don’t be afraid to try it!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.