What is a convection oven? How do you use one and how does a convection oven differ from traditional ovens? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, turns out you are not alone. Many people even have regular ovens with convection settings but rarely use it because they don’t know what it does. Knowing the answers to these questions is vital to help you choose the best convection oven for baking and other cooking needs.
In this article, we review 7 of the best convection ovens in order to help you make the right choice and pick an oven that is just right for your needs. But before we get right into the review, let’s begin with what a convection oven is and how it works, but in the meantime, here is our comparison table as quick decision guide.
Best Convection Oven for Baking Comparison
What is a convection oven
As the name suggests, a convection oven is a type of oven that cooks food using circulating hot air. A convection oven still has traditional heating elements, but also includes an airflow system that blows air within the oven and vents it out. A convection oven basically heats food using a combination of radiant heat energy and hot air blowing over the food. Consequently, cooking with a convection oven is faster and it offers other benefits as well including more even cooking without hotspots and a more delicious and crunchy crust.
How does a convection oven work?
Unlike a regular oven with a heat source that radiates from a heating element at the bottom and top of the appliance, a convection oven has a fan that helps to circulate the hot air within the oven. The fan blows hot air around the food. Typically, there is also an exhaust to vent the air back out.
This method of cooking relies on the scientific principle of convection to cook food faster and more evenly. Convection is the same reason you feel colder when a cold wind blows against you on a windy day than on a windless day with the same temperature. A convection oven uses this same principle to cook food faster and more effectively.
How to use a convection oven
Cooking with a convection oven is slightly different from using a traditional oven. Here are a few things to keep in mind in using a convection oven.
- Keep the temperature a little lower: when you are following a recipe written for a regular oven, you want to go lower than the recommended temperature. Heat your oven to a temperature that is at least 25°F lower than what is in your cookbook. This is vital since the convection oven tends to be hotter and cook faster than traditional models.
- Expect your food to be ready in less time: convection ovens cook faster than traditional ovens. Hence, no matter what you are cooking, expect the food to be done in 25% less time. This means you have to check the food earlier than the time on the recipe. With a convection oven, you save more time on cooking the longer it takes to cook the food. For instance, a turkey will probably cook up to an hour faster in a convection oven than in a traditional oven but you will only save a minute or two if you are simply baking cookies.
- Use pans with low sides: since convection ovens rely on hot air to cook, it is recommended that you use cooking pans with low sides to fully enjoy the benefits of convection
- Monitor your cooking: one of the advantages of convection cooking is that it allows food to cook more evenly whether it is on the top rack or the base of the oven. But you should still monitor the browning of what you are cooking. Depending on the oven you are using you may need to rotate the pans to ensure even cooking.
- You can turn convection on or off: most convection ovens come with an option for regular cooking. You can easily play around with this to get different effects on your cooking. For instance, to make your roast well browned, turn convection on only at the start and end of your cooking but keep it off in between.
- Hold down the parchment: a convection fan has a fan that blows air around. This fan can sometimes blow the foil or parchment around if it is not secured. You can use a fork or metal spool to hold the parchment down when you cook.
How to pick the best convection oven
Consider space: convection ovens come in various sizes designed to match different types of kitchen. So a major consideration when picking a convection oven is how much space you have and the types of food you will be serving. If you have little floor space available then you should go for a countertop oven. However, larger kitchens like bakeries or a full-service restaurant will do better with floor models since they handle more pastries at once. You can also consider getting a stacking convection oven if you need a high-yield unit but you don’t have enough floor space for a regular floor model.
Buy a “true convection” unit: convection ovens are not born equal. Some models are better than others. The best and most efficient convection ovens are generally referred to as true convection ovens. A true convection oven commonly has a third heating element which is typically located near the fan. What this heating element does Is to heat the air that comes out of the fan before it is circulated in the oven cavity. This helps to heat their air to a uniform temperature. Ovens that are designed this way generally deliver more even cooking than those without a third heating element. Look out for terms like “third element convection”, “True convection” or “European convection” when shopping for a convection oven.
Consider the uses: when choosing a convection oven, you must consider the type of cooking you intend to do with it. There are convection ovens designed more specifically for light usage like toasting bread, defrost frozen meals, warm dishes, and so on. However, convection ovens can also be used to cook full meals, roast or broil meat, steam vegetables, and so on. If this is the intended purpose, you should go for a unit that is designed to do all of these effectively. Knowing the likely use cases of your even will be quite helpful in choosing the right oven for your needs.
Your budget: Finally, you should consider your budget. Convection ovens come in various price ranges. An entry point unit can cost as low as $50 but you can get higher-end models with additional features as high as $400. Knowing how much you are willing to spend will help narrow down your options.
Top 7 Best Convection Oven 2020 Pick
1. Ninja Foodi Digital Fry Convection Oven Toaster
With an 8 in 1 functionality, this convection oven is one of the most versatile products you will find around. It can be used to air fry or toast, broil, toast, or keep food warm among other things. This oven can cook up to 60% faster than a traditional oven will. Not only is this oven faster, but it cooks efficiently as well. It leaves 75% less fast than a traditional fryer and offers up to 40% more in terms of even baking.
This convection oven is portable taking up 50% less space than other models. Yet, despite the portable size, you get a larger usable cooking area with this unit. You will also love how easy it is to clean this convection oven. The crumb tray is removable and the unit’s back panel is easily accessible for easy cleaning.
2. Breville BOV450XL Mini Smart Oven with Element IQ
The Breville BOV450XL’s is designed to deliver smart heat for fast and efficient cooking thanks to the Element IQ technology which helps to transfer heat across the oven’s element. This is a true digital smart oven. You can choose a preset cooking setting and the oven automatically adjusts to cook your meal just right.
It also has a backlit display which indicates cooking temperature and time for added convenience. It has an auto-shutoff feature as well. In addition to smart technology, this unit has an impressive design as well. It is big enough to fit in 4 toast slices, a powder-coated steel frame, and a non-stick cavity which makes cleaning the unit quite easy.
3. Oster Extra Large Digital Countertop Convection Oven
The Oster Digital Countertop convection oven has a roomy design that can fit your toasts or baking quite conveniently. It has a large interior and multilevel cooking which can accommodate up to two frozen pizzas or a family-sized roast at the same time. The positions of the racks are adjustable. This makes it possible to customize the interior for even more space.
In addition to the regular convection technology which makes fast and even cooking possible, this unit also has a Turbo convection mode which makes even faster heating possible. It also has digital controls which makes it easy to pre-set cooking conditions as well as a timer, auto shut off, among other features.
4. Panasonic NN-CD87KS Home Chef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven with Air Fryer
This product features Panasonic’s patented microwave inverter technology which offers smart and efficient reheating, defrosting, and cooking capabilities. This unit offers a wide range of independent cooking functions which allows it to function as an air fryer, broiler, microwave, and convection oven all at the same time.
The Panasonic Home Chef as a sleek design that will look good in any kitchen. It also has a space-saving design without compromising on internal space. This unit offers lots of features for convenient cooking such as a single touch sensor reheat, 20 different automatic presets and a Genius Sensor Reheat feature.
5. Cuisinart AirFryer Convection Toaster Oven
This is one of the most rugged units you can purchase with the potentials to serve your cooking needs for quite long. This is a convection toaster oven but has an inbuilt air fryer in it too. This oven offers 7 different cooking functions for various types of cooking. On the exterior, this unit is a full-size toaster. Internally it features an oven rack, air fryer rack or backer, and a baking pan.
It also has several convenience features like an adjustable thermostat, auto-shutoff feature, and a 60-minute timer. This unit also has a selector timer that allows you to choose the desired shade for your toast. These features make it easy to cook conveniently with this unit
6. KitchenAid KCO273SS Convection Bake Digital Countertop Oven
The KitchenAid KCO273SS is one of the most versatile units on this list. It offers 9 pre-set cooking functions for super convenient cooking of a wide range of dishes. You can easily determine how hot you want the oven to get as well as the heat distribution.
The cooker has a convenient 120-minute timer which offers plenty of time, no matter the kind of meal you are preparing. In addition to cooking, you can also use this oven as a microwave to keep already prepared food warm. The oven set includes non-stick pan and drip tray as well as racks for broiling and cooling.
7. Hamilton Beach 31103A Countertop Oven
This is another highly versatile convection oven. it is suitable for baking, broiling, and convection cooking. It also includes a revolving rotisserie to conveniently cook meats. This unit has a stainless steel design that guarantees optimal durability. The oven interior is non-stick as well which makes cleaning and maintenance quite convenient.
This oven has a wide interior and the cooking racks are adjustable. This provides extra space which makes it possible to cook multiple foods at the same time. The versatile cooking functions make cooking multiple foods possible too. This oven uses a top and bottom heating design and also has a fan to evenly distribute the heat for uniform cooking.
Wrapping It Up
Choosing the best convection oven means you have to go for a product that serves your specific needs. There are several things to put into consideration including how much space you have and the type of cooking you intend to do among other things. Once you have chosen from any of the great options in this review, it is also important that you are familiar with how to use a convection oven correctly to get the best result on your meals.