Electric vs Gas Powder Coating Ovens + Operating Cost Calculators
We often have customers who approach us to consider electric vs gas powder coating convection ovens. Electric and gas powder coating ovens each have benefits and drawbacks to consider which we will cover in this guide so you can better decide whether an electric or gas powder coating oven is better for your powder coating needs. Please note this doesn’t include Infrared ovens but you can learn more about infrared vs convection ovens here.
Electric Powder Coating Ovens
Electric powder coating ovens are generally faster to respond to the need to change baking temperature as electric elements are able to rapidly change their temperature allowing for faster changes in the oven's temperature. This fast response is one of the greatest benefits to an electric powder coating oven. In addition to faster response, many times a manufacturing plant has easier access to high voltage electricity then it does additional natural gas supply, making an electric powder coating oven the practical winner. The operating costs of an electric oven are also critical to consider, which we have a calculator to help with. Here is approximately how the math of an electric powder coating oven works. One watt of power generates approximately 3.41 BTUs of heat per hour. So we can take the btu per hour that an oven is designed for and divide by 3.41. We then take that number and divide by 1000 to arrive at how many kilowatts an hour an electric powder coating oven will use at full operation this will be a worst-case scenario but will show the overall difference in operating costs between electric and gas powder coating ovens. We can multiply that by the cost per kilowatt hour for your area to give you an estimated operating cost of an electric powder coating oven. You will want to estimate the operating cost of your powder oven from the spreadsheet below to have a better idea of the potential operating cost.
Gas Powder Coating Ovens
Gas powder coating ovens will generally hold cure temperatures slightly less consistent than an electric oven and responds slightly slower. Additionally, with a gas powder coating oven you will have to have the ability to supply a sufficient volume of gas to heat the oven which can be difficult in certain locations where natural gas supply lines are not readily available. However, gas powder coating ovens can often be more cost effective to run, especially at larger oven sizes and with natural gas prices being relatively low. To calculate a gas powder coating ovens operating cost you can take the btu’s of the oven and divide by 100,000 which will provide the therms per hour the oven would consume. You can then multiply this by the cost of a therm of natural gas for your market. To give you an idea of the operating cost differences we looked at a 2.8 million btu oven and the operating cost for a gas oven would be about half the cost of an electric oven with current electric and gas prices as of 2017 (you can use our calculator to determine which may be better for yourself).
Things to consider regardless of whether looking at a gas or electric powder coating oven
Whether you decide an electric or gas powder coating oven will be best for your powder coating work, there are a few other things to consider to get a powder oven that will perform well. Ideally, you want to purchase an oven that meets national codes for curing operations like NFPA 86 and is designed with quality components to ensure a long and safe length of use. The overall design quality of a powder coat oven can often be identified by confirming whether it is UL listed. While it will ultimately be a personal choice the quality and type of oven you opt for, usually a UL quality oven will last for a long time and operate more efficiently.