Gas vs. electric (apples to oranges!)

I have been looking at deck ovens and have a difficult time due a true apples to apples conversion.

I understand that technically when it comes to converting coal to electricity then electricity to heat, it seems a bit silly in my mind. However there is more to it than that.

I would not be surprised if gas ovens are only 70% efficient (any knowledge there???) and that is probably being very generous, with a 6" flue. That brings a 120k btu oven down to 84k BTU, but you still get to pay for all 120k.

For ease of comparison, it runs a full tilt all day, that is 12 hours a day, 25 days a month, that is 360 therms, or about $540 USD ($1.5 per therm NG).

For sake of argument let’s say the electric of comparable deck size (NOTE, this is a different brand brand and is supposedly better insulated) is 17 KW/h and we’ll say it’s 100% efficient (obviously not the case?). If that is also running for the same duration of time per day, it is 5100 KW/h * .15 cents = $765 USD. 17 KW/h is about 58K BTU.

The electric should cook more evenly for one. In terms of heat recovery, assume that with the lack of huge vent and additional insulation that they perform equally. This may be a poor assumption. The electric does not require “combustion” air and hopefully has less heat being leaked into the kitchen and restaurant (another perhaps poor assumption, even with better insulation???).

For my area .15 KW/h is a lot, and I feel like $1.50 is pretty cheap, but I am still not convinced on gas… thoughts?

I don’t know how efficient a gas deck oven is but I think the biggest difference between the two is recovery. There is no substitution for btu’s. Try baking on two different gas deck ovens, one 80k btus the other 140k btus. During slow periods, you may not notice much difference. On Friday night when you are in the weeds, the bake time on the 80k oven goes from 7 minutes to 9 minutes to 12 minutes. It just can’t keep up. The higher btu ovens won’t have this problem, or if they do it won’t be as severe. I haven’t heard of an electric oven that recovers as well as a B.P. y600.

Ahhh… Then there are the conveyors… No recovery issues. Ever. They also heat up quickly. So quickly that we turn ours off after lunch and back on again for dinner rather than leaving them on 24/7 like I used to when I ran a store with gas fired decks.

Words out of my mouth.


I’m no expert on this, I don’t even play one on television, so take it for what its worth, but in my personal experience, I have yet to see an electric pizza oven bake as well, or recover as fast as a gas counterpart. Even with the top of the line air impingement ovens, we see the need for higher baking temperatures and longer baking times, indicating a lower level of efficiency when compared to the gas counterpart. At least one of the air impingement oven companies has addressed the issue with the oven being on a full or near full burner when the oven is sitting idle.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I’ve used both cas & elec conveyors - each is different…currently use old MM 360’s & get a decent bake & I turn off the gas when not in use…

My elec conveyor was a CTX (I’ve owned 2 sets) - but they are a bit different than other conveyors…really like the bake & you can better adjust/control the temps in the baking chambers…but, they are MONSTERS requiring massive juice 2 start 'em up, then they settle down & use a normal amount of power…another nice thing is they are quiet! No blower noise…these retain their heat a bit longer once shut down, but it will take a few minutes to come back to temp…

Hi Guys:

Yes, gas is best and deck ovens are about 70 % efficient and a lot of heat goes out the flue.

George Mills

And that doesn’t include the heat lost everytime the door is opened and closed to put in or take out a pizza, or to rotate pizzas.
Tom Lehmann/TDD

And put in sandwiches, and brush stones, and removes screens/pans, and “peekaboo” the pies, and warm/soften pita breads, and . . . . .

I still like my gas decks, though.

You’re right, sometimes during those slam periods I think the door on some deck ovens is open more than it is closed. We used to see our baking times go from about 7-minutes with just a couple pizzas in the oven to closer to 11-minutes once we got to rockin’.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I wonder how much help going with the brick lined ceiling and thicker firebrick hearth deck would help. I feel like in theory it should. Much more mass to heat up, slower to cool off.

The more mass in the oven, the more latent heat it will hold, so you don’t get the deck surface cooling off after baking only one or two pizzas, we see this in action when we look at the Marsal deck ovens as well as the Woodstone ovens, but on the down side, it takes longer to heat up all of the mass to baking temperature, which means running the oven empty for a number of hours before it is at baking temperature. Case in point, our old BP deck oven would heast up to baking temperature in about 30-minutes, our Marsal deck oven (with a much thicker deck) takes about 2-hours. When we had a wood fired oven, it took about 2-days to bring it up to baking temperature, but once there, it only took a log every hour or so to maintain that temperature. You didn’t want to shut that oven down. If you can keep the oven going 24/7/365 all that mass can really help, but when you shut the oven down, it will cost you again to get it back up to temperature. With many of the high mass ovens we like to idle them during the night at 300 or 350F, which greatly reduces the time it takes to get the oven up to temperature, but it still takes energy to maintain that temperature during the night, not to mention the additional load on the air conditioning. I’m guessing that the high mass ovens aren’t all that much cheaper to operate when you look at the big picture, but where they really do shine is during those slam periods, when you can just keep dropping pizzas on the same spot time after time without developing a cool spot on the deck.
Just one man’s opinion.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor