A convection oven, as found in the typical home kitchen, is an electric, or gas heated oven. It is not a microwave, although SOME microwave ovens have a convection heating setting. Plus, you can get convection in toaster ovens in countertop and built in varieties. Both fixed and portable ovens also offer hot air cooking. Indeed, convection ovens come in about every size from small countertop units to large, industrial sized built-in fixtures. Most of them have a circulating fan, usually in the rear of the baking chamber. Many cooks feel that a convection oven is better than conventional. So in this post, we list out the convection vs conventional ovens pros and cons. We hope these lists will help you decide which oven type is best for you.
Hot air ovens by Kitchen Aid, Hamilton Beach, Cuisinart, Bravetti, Black and Decker, Europro, and others, offer helpful features. These make them even more preferable to conventional ovens. Convection units heat the food more uniformly and quickly. Further, toaster style convection ovens more evenly brown, bake, and cook. So to, do range-based convection ovens.
Conventional ovens on the other hand, have no air moving fan. Thus, these ovens often create “hot spots” in the food as well as uncooked spots too. Traditional toaster ovens can burn the crusts while leaving the bread middle unbaked. The same is true of conventional microwave ovens; particularly if they include no rotating carousel.
But conventional non microwave ovens are often quieter than convection types. Plus, as mentioned, they have no fan motor to burn out, or fan blades to collect dirt and grime. As you can see, convection vs conventional ovens pros and cons is a pretty extensive list of considerations. So we hope this post helps you smartly select your next oven purchase from between these two systems.
Convection Vs Conventional Ovens Pros and Cons: Benefits
More Even Baking and Browning
The fan spreads the heat more equally through the oven. So, you get more even baking of food. Thus, the edge of that cake is just as well baked as its middle.
Less Heat Needed
In a convection oven, you can often get the same cooking in a food with lower oven temperatures. This is due to the added heat transfers to the food via the fan driven air currents.
Bake More at the Same Time in Hot Air Ovens
Also, you can bake more than one item at a time without hampering the oven’s baking ability. Convection ovens rely less on the radiant heating patterns. Instead, they rely more on the even flow of hot air. So, blocking those heat rays with a second pan, causes fewer problems. A second tray of food in the oven less affects baking time than it does in a conventional oven.
Fewer Hot and Cold Spots Inside
So, with a right sized fan, convection ovens have fewer hot and cold spots within. This is due to their more even heating method. As it goes, the entire oven chamber reaches about the same temperature.
Better Temperature Control
With fewer hot and cold spots, the inside oven temperature is easier to control. That is, particular temperatures yield more consistent baking.
Put the Food Anywhere Inside the Oven
Food placement in the convection oven is less critical as well. The forced air flow helps assure thorough baking. You can put a cake on the top, middle, or bottom shelf. Yet that cake will bake the same. Given the same temp and time, no matter where you put it in the oven, the cake bakes consistently.
Use Lots of Aluminum Foil Without Worry
These ovens with the fan inside don’t care about lining their shelves with aluminum foil. They bake just as well, with or without it. So to contain messes, feel free to foil line them liberally. Why? Because you need not worry about blocking the radiant heating. Convection ovens rely far less on radiant heating, and much more on convection. And, coated shelves don’t interfere much with convection air current flow. Once, we lined our traditional oven. Then, we wondered why it took so long to bake our pizza. But sitting items on cookie trays or aluminum foil in a convection oven should cause no bake time rises. Not a problem though in the convection ovens we’ve used.
Convection Ovens Brown Foods Faster
These ovens run cooler. The heaters need not warm to such high temperatures. Why? Because more heat reaches the food. Plus, the flowing hot air engulfs the food evenly. And since the heated air is moving, browning often happens faster with convection units.
Cooler overall operating, means longer life for the oven’s parts. But the fan itself could fail more often, with its moving parts. See below for more details about the convection oven fan.
Tastier Meat Cooking
Some say that meat cooks to a more tender and moist consistency in a convection oven, as do vegetables. Pizza crusts and turkeys come out more evenly brown as well.
Less Energy Used
Thus, convection ovens can use less energy and time to cook the same food the same way.
Convection Vs Conventional Ovens Pros and Cons: Drawbacks
More Motors to Break Down
With a convection oven, you have the added fan motor(s) to fail. They can be less reliable. But that would not typically be an issue if the motors are good quality. Well built fans can run constantly for years, without wearing out.
Fans can be Too Small
Sometimes, the hot air fans used are either under- or over-sized. A too-small fan turns the convection oven into a conventional type, with the cons of that design in full effect.
Fans can be Too Large
An over-sized fan might force too much heat out of the chamber and into the surrounding room. This can heat the kitchen area too much, making the chef’s duties unpleasant. Plus, too much leaking heat also lengthens baking times. A leaky oven often takes longer to bake. So, the right fan size is critical thus, to benefit from all of the pros of convection ovens. So choose a convection oven built by a reputable manufacturer.
You Must Keep Oven Door Closed
Opening the door during baking can raise food cook times. How? It interferes with the convection currents inside. It lets out the warm air. Then, the oven must recover to the desired temperature once the door closes again. This re heating lengthens baking times. So keep the door closed until it’s time to remove the food. If you like inspecting your cakes while they’re baking, buy a convection unit with a window.
You Should Place Many Food Items Carefully
Though you can cook more items at the same time, be careful of how you place the pans. To avoid choking the air flow, leave an inch of open space between each pan. Good air flow is most crucial in a convection oven.
Convection Ovens are More Noisy
Fan based convection ovens can be noisy, depending on the size and quality of the fan.
Recipes May Cook Differently in Convection Oven
A cook, used to conventional oven baking, should test her recipes in a hot air oven. Experimenting helps to master the convection oven’s oddities. Some foods cook to the same degree, in half of the time. So, try out your conventional oven recipes in a hot air oven first, by yourself. Don’t serve them to others the first time you prepare them in convection. Then, after you know about any changes to make, only then, invite your friends over.
Convection Ovens Cost More than Conventional Ovens
Convection ovens cost a but more than conventional. But they may pay for themselves over time in reduced energy costs and better tasting food.
Convection Vs Conventional Ovens Pros and Cons Conclusion
If you’re a chef, then you should buy the convection oven if you can afford one. If you are sensitive to the consistency of your oven, then again, buy convection. This is the better choice over conventional models, overall.
But if your budget is tight, go with the cheaper conventional oven. Do that too, if you do not care about hot and cold spots found in a traditional radiant heat oven. If you’re a less picky cook, then you can manage these drawbacks.
In either case though, great cooking demands that the chef get quite familiar with her oven. Whether that be radiant, convection, or a combination of the two, she should know it well. Indeed, it’s possible to make great dishes in a conventional oven. Besides, doing so may need less skill from a novice cook.
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Convection Vs Conventional Ovens Pros and Cons: References
- 2018-04-06: Revised post content.
- 2018-02-11: Originally published.