thereaverofdarkness wrote:So I have to use modules to offset its weaknesses? It's not worth it until end-game when I'm processing huge amounts of stuff in one area. I don't even play up to end-game usually, I prefer the mid-game.
I don't see how this is such a difficult concept to understand. Electric furnaces are NOT an upgrade.
If you want it to be straight up better than a Steel Furnace (less pollution and energy/fuel use for same amount of material processed), but you can also alternatively accept tradeoffs: You can make a Furnace block that doesn't need fuel delivered to it (simplifies logistics), and if you use solar+accumulators for power, this can save Coal and/or Oil consumption that would otherwise be feeding your furnaces (going this route can also significantly lower pollution, as most of the pollution from using Electric furnaces with Steam power is due to the Boilers burning fuel (for 100% steam power, it's still only slightly higher than a Steel Furnace including the 0.9 pollution from the Electric furnace itself, so pollution can be reduced even when most of your power is still coming from steam, though fuel efficiency won't become better until you exceed 50% power from solar+accum). But you can also choose to forgo energy efficiency for either productivity or speed increases, which can become even more powerful with Beacon usage later on (requires new layout anyways, so the size shift isn't really an issue here, in fact, being 3x3 is beneficial to simplest, compact, efficient layouts; that is, alternating lines of beacons and furnaces).
I don't necessarily upgrade to Electric furnaces from Steel furnaces right away. Their not an upgrade in the way that Steel furnaces are over Stone furnaces. Instead, I time that transition based on when I want to exploit any of the potential advantages of Electric furnaces (so usually module usage, and possibly beacon use as well).
tl;dr version: The value of Electric furnaces is that you can use modules (and beacons) on your smeltery and thus exploit module benefits there. Outside of module use, the only reason to upgrade is fuel and pollution reduction, and that's only if you use solar+accum for power.