Igniters are used to start the burning process on gas stoves. Igniters provide better efficiency than pilot lights and can prevent a number of safety issues.
Electric igniters typically use a small piece of wire that heats up quickly, creating the heat necessary to set the flowing gas on fire. Because gas stoves sustain their flame after being lit, igniters are then turned off. Some stoves may use a sparking mechanism instead of electrical flow.
Pilot lights require a constant flow of gas to remain lit, leading to small but noticeable waste. While pilot lights are typically covered, small items that fall near them can catch fire, creating a potential safety hazard.