They are lower maintenance than wood and propane. One should ALWAYS monitor their still when running a batch and never leave it unattended. However, if a thermostat is being used, less attention needs to be paid to the fuel supply. The lack of an open fire is also a safety advantage.
What I don't like about electric element stills:
Good elements can be hard to find. I've seen several stainless elements weather pretty quickly. They should always dried once the still is emptied to prevent this. If an element starts to corrode, ditch it and get a new one. More expensive is probably better. Again, recommendations welcome.
Distilling indoors, which is a big no no, seems more likely to take place if someone is using an element. Ethanol fumes are explosive and distilling indoors could lead to a concentration high enough to turn your house into a rocket. Also, ethanol burns with an invisible flame. Should something catch fire, you might not know it until it's too late! These are just a few of many things that could go wrong when distilling indoors....turning your relaxed Sunday afternoon into a local news field day. The bottom line: NEVER distill indoors, element or not.
Although more convenient in many respects, electricity, as a fuel source, has its drawbacks too. If you're not skilled with electricity, it's probably best you don't purchase or make a still that relies on a DIY electric element as a fuel source. Electricity can be as dangerous as an open flame if one doesn't know what they are doing. I, for one, am far from an expert when it comes to electricity. I know what it feels like to get a good jolt, and that's all I need to know. I'll stick with fossil fuels, thank you.
Thanks for reading!