We’ll go over the similarities and differences in both as well as what kind of foods can be cooked in each. To begin with I’ll go over how each appliance works.
How do convection ovens work
Convections ovens are basically regular ovens with a fan on the inside. They work by using the normal convection currents created by heated air to move the hot air through the oven and cook your food.
The fan inside the oven helps to circulate the air more evenly to eliminate hot spots or areas of cooler air. This helps the food cook faster and more evenly.
How do air fryers work
Air fryers work in almost the exact same way as convection ovens. The difference is in the fans. The air circulating through an air fryer is moving much faster than the air moving through a convection oven.
The air is directed downwards through a heating element. It circulates around the food on all sides. Once it hits the bottom of he cooking compartment it bounces back up around the food and to the top again.
You can find a full explanation of how air fryers work here.
What are the similarities between convection ovens and air fryers?
- Both improve the cooking process by using a fan to circulate hot air through the cooking compartment.
- Both devices can be used to roast and bake foods.
- Both can be used without adding excess oil to your food. You can lightly toss your food with any type of cooking oil or use a cooking spray, to ensure food doesn’t stick to the basket or tray.
- Both devices can cook a wide variety of different foods.
What are the main differences between convection ovens and air fryers?
- The air in air fryers circulates much faster than the air in a convection oven.
- In general air fryers come much smaller than what you can find with a convection oven. So you could cook more food at a time with a convection oven, rather than cooking in batches with an air fryer.
- An air fryer produces a crispy outside on all surface of the food, while convection ovens usually only crisp the surface that is touching the rack or pan. There is an exception if your oven has a toast or broil setting.
- Food usually cooks faster in an air fryer because the high speed air movement.
- Air fryers are easier to clean because they have a tray that catches oil dripping and crumbs, while convection ovens usually have an exposed heat element at the bottom. The heat element can get dirty from oil or crumbs and cleaning around it can be more difficult.
- Air fryers can produce foods similar to what you would get with a deep fryer. You can fry foods in a convection oven. For a full description on what type of foods you can cook with an air fryer click here.
Which is better convection oven or air fryer?
How do you know which of these two devices will be the best choice for you? That depends on what you plan on cooking the most and how much you want to cook.
If you are looking for the most versatile cooking device then you would probably want to go with the air fryer. With an air fryer the main advantage you’ll get is being able to fry foods.
Another thing is that the air fryer is better at grilling foods as well. In addition to this you can still roast or bake foods just like you could do with a convection oven.
The second thing you would want to consider is the quantity of food you will be preparing. In general air fryers are much smaller than convection ovens.
If you are cooking for a family and you don’t want to spend the time to cook your meals in several batches, then you would want to go with the convection oven.
Also if you want to cook larger items like a whole chicken or ham, your best bet is to get a convection oven. However, some companies have started producing larger capacity air fryers for this exact purpose.
You can find a review of two of the large capacity air fryers on the market here. You will also find there, a list of other competing large air fryers with links to reviews for them.
Another thing to consider is the amount of space you have in your kitchen. Because convection ovens are large they will require quite a bit of room on your counter top. Also because they are larger storing them out of site when not in use is not really a reasonable option.
If you get a convection oven be sure you are okay with it being a somewhat permanent fixture in your kitchen.
Air fryers are considerable smaller than most convection ovens. If you were considering getting one of these because it will fit nicely in a small or crowded kitchen you still have some things to consider.
With the high temperature and constant air flow inside of an air fryer, if left unchecked it would build to an unsafe pressure. To deal with this issue air fryers vent air during the cooking process.
Although most are much smaller than convection ovens they still need more space to operate. The hot air shouldn’t be vented directly under cabinets or near other heat and moisture sensitive items.
The one advantage to having an air fryer is that because it may be smaller, it can be a bit more reasonable to store one in a kitchen cabinet if you don’t plan on using often.
However they can be a bit heavy, so if you do plan on using it frequently, your best bet is to find it a permanent home on your kitchen counter top.
The bottom line is both of these products can add value and options to your kitchen. Deciding on which ones a better fit just comes down to what and how much you plan on cooking.