Propane vs. Electric Heat: Which to Choose?

Rodney Nestor
Rodney Nestor
Research Writer
Rodney holds a Master’s degree in Arts and apart from working as a freelance writer, is a rather successful author of science fiction stories published in several literary read more
Last updated: August 26, 2023
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As an energy consumer, deciding and choosing the best and most affordable energy source is one big thing to look into. To be cost and energy effective, we will compare electric heat vs. propane. To begin with, both energy sources have their distinct features, composition, and common application like cooking, space heating, electricity generation, and fuel for engines, but it is important to choose which is pocket friendly at the same time. Thinking which is cheaper, reliable, effective, environment friendly, dependable, clean, and safe than the other? Let’s dive in to find out which.

Propane Heat

Propane Heat employs propane gas as an energy source for the home. Propane Gas, also known as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining; nontoxic and colorless and is commonly compressed and stored as a liquid. It is a versatile fuel and it is beginning to gain ground in terms of usage all over the world, especially in the United States. It is commonly known for generating heat for space, powering appliances, vehicles, and cooking.

Propane vs. Electric Heat: Which to Choose?


Clean: Propane is listed and approved by the Clean Air Act of 1990 as a clean source of energy. Compared to other fuels, it is a low carbon energy source, it reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and its utilization helps to improve air quality. It doesn’t pool, spill, or leave a residue. Conversion to this source is a great step towards cleaner air.

Affordable: In comparison to the prices of diesel, electricity, and oil, the price of propane is generally lower. It is a by-product of domestic natural gas processing whose prices often fall generating downward pressure on the price of propane.

Eco-Friendly: It is safer as low carbon and non-toxic fuel, and its environmental impact is of great advantage. It powers more efficiently when compared to electricity. In the comparison, propane heat vs. electricity, propane doesn’t cause damage to the home or family’s health so there is no need to worry.

Versatile: Its usage is of a wide variety, and it ranges from powering a house furnace, water heater, clothes dryer, stove, and fireplace to outdoor amenities like grilling, pool, spa heating, and more. It is also used as a fuel for automobiles, known as propane Autogas.

Dependable: It is measured in gallons and it is easy to be stored right on your property. Propane works and becomes reliable when other sources of energy don’t.


High upfront cost: Although propane saves a lot of money with its usage, in the long run, the initial cost of installing a propane furnace is between $3000 – $5000 on an average. This is a very high upfront cost for most homeowners.

Management: If you want a home that heats with propane, you have to do the changeover yourself from time to time as a good percentage of homes have not adopted its use. It requires a bit more observation by the homeowner as they may need to reorder their supply.                                    

Electric Heat

This involves electrical energy being converted into heat for use in the home. Common application includes cooking, space heating, water heating, and more. Most homeowners keep asking the question of is propane heat cheaper than electricity. Let’s take a look at both the advantage and disadvantages of electric heat.

Propane vs. Electric Heat: Which to Choose?


Easier Maintenance: Electric heating is easier to maintain as routine checks can be controlled. You don’t have to be afraid of the level of the electric unit running low unexpectedly.

Quick Installation: Electric heat involves a smooth and less disruptive process of installation in the home initially. So, no need to worry about the stressful process of having it fixed in your house.

Electric Heat is also safe and efficient- It is a heating system that doesn’t have moving parts so there is less chance for your system breaking down.


Expensive: Compared to all other sources of energy, electricity is expensive to maintain and make use of. Appliances, spaces, and events making use of this source often contribute to its cost and higher energy bills. You don’t want to have yourself and your family wrapped up with cold or living like the ends of the earth all because of the cost of electricity to power your home.

Slow Heating: Electric heat might have difficulty heating up our home as desired and it takes a long time.

Propane vs. Electric: Cost Calculation

Here, we will have to do a little bit of math as Electricity and Propane are measured in different units:

  • Electricity is measured in Kilowatts (kWh)
  • Propane is measured in BTUs

1 Gallon of Propane = 27 kWh of electricity, and to compare the cost of both energy sources you have to look at the price per unit to get the difference.

Let’s say you pay 10.2 cents per kWh for electricity and a gallon of propane costs $2.75, the comparison cost figure will be 2.75 (.102 x 27 = 2.75). Here, propane gas is cheaper than electricity. Now, your choice of energy to make use of depends larger on the size of your home and how much energy you consume.

Bottom Line

Propane has been proven to be cheaper and more affordable than electricity as a source of energy for your home. The use of electric heat vs. propane has propane on the cheapest side which will save you more money and increase efficiency.

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