Convection ovens have grown in popularity over the past years. Both industrial and domestic kitchens have begun to use these ovens due to the advantages they offer. One of these key benefits is their ability to cook food homogeneously. The convection oven has made cooking much easier.

What does convection mean? It is a form of heat transfer between two elements, in this case it involves heat transfer between the oven and the food. These appliances include one or more fans that circulate hot air in the oven. The food is cooked through the hot air circulation process.

Key Facts

  • Convection ovens are different from the common oven in that they make use of fans when cooking.
  • One of their key advantages is time saving.
  • These ovens are larger than traditional ones, which makes them more expensive.
  •  Forced convection ovens heat frozen food by forcing hot air to circulate over and heat food homogeneously.

Ranking: The best convection ovens on the US market

There are many options when buying a convection oven. In order to make the right purchase, you’ll need to consider several aspects. The size of the appliance, your available space and the frequency of its use will all shape your decision. In the following section, we present a selection of the best convection ovens on the US market.

No. 1: Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven 1800-Watt Convection Toaster Oven with Element IQ, Silver

The Breville Smart Oven is currently one of the most popular convection ovens in the US and it tops our list due to its high-level features. It comes equipped with Element IQ cooking technology, which adjusts power to cook food more evenly and quickly. This heating system distributes heat throughout the oven when and where it is needed, to guarantee more efficient cooking.

Nine different menu options allow users to choose the best setting for the food they are cooking. The oven is constructed with reinforced stainless steel. The interior is coated with a non-stick material that can withstand high temperatures, making cleanup easier. The oven comes with a 1-Year limited warranty.

No. 2: KitchenAid KCO275SS Convection 1800-watt Digital Countertop Oven, 12-Inch, Stainless Steel

The KitchenAid KCO275SS is a stellar convection oven which offers versatility in cooking a wide range of dishes.  It isn’t the cheapest option, but it offers quality in place of discounts. Cooking is multi-functional here – the oven can bake pizza, broil a side dish, keep a cooked dish warm or toast bread. It is spacious – with room to cook 2-12 inch pizzas or two chickens.

The oven cavity features a non-stick coating for easy cleaning.  There are 9 pre-programmed functions such as the ‘Asado Roast Function’ to adjust from high to optimal cooking temperature for better roasting. The120-minute timer can be set to remind you when a dish is finished.

No. 3: Cuisinart TOB-260N1 Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven, Stainless Steel

The Cuisinart TOB-260N1 is a solid option for most home needs. It comes with a heat sensor that calibrates the unit’s 5 quartz heating elements to the optimum settings for each function.  It is user friendly and has a digital interface. Functions Include: Toast, Bagel, Waffle, Keep Warm, Bake, Broil, Roast, Pizza, Leftovers, Sandwich, and Defrost.

This oven also lets you run two cooking functions at two different temperature levels consecutively. This is helpful when cooking tougher cuts of meats, or slow cooking items for up to 4 hours on two cooking settings.  An additional feature of interest is the comes with a ‘Speed Convection’ which provides cooking without preheating.

No. 4:  Oster Convection Oven with Dedicated Pizza Drawer, Stainless Steel

If pizza is a priority dish, this convection oven by Oster is for you. It comes with your very own pizza drawer that can also be used for preparing bruschetta and quesadillas. The oven includes separate top and bottom crumb trays to simplify cleaning.  The 60-minute timer with auto-shutoff and bell signals help to manage your cooking when you are multi-tasking.

The upper convection oven can reach temperatures of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and has warm, toast, bake, broil, and turbo settings. Its two rack positions easily fit roasts and pies. The oven has a sleek brushed stainless steel exterior that will look good in your kitchen.

No. 5:  Hamilton Beach 31331 Convection Toaster Oven

The Hamilton Beach 31331 is a basic, affordable and good option for people who like to cook limited baked options. This is a small toaster convection oven and so, in comparison to other products it has less versatility and more simple features. Its main features include a curved glass door to make it easy to watch food as it cooks.  It is designed for easy access with a large, curved glass door.

The ovens’ capacity fits 6 slices of bread or a large 12-inch pizza. Main settings are: toast, bake & broil. This is an energy efficient option, using less than 71% energy when compared to peer non-convection toaster ovens.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about convection ovens

Convection ovens enable users to save space, time, and maintain better health. That being said, not all models are the same. It is therefore important to learn about the different options before making a decision. In the next section we discuss some of the most frequently asked questions by past buyers to help you make sense of this area.

What is a convection oven exactly?

This domestic appliance stands out by using one or more fans to replace the cold air inside the oven with hot air in the cooking process. Convection ovens have had a genuine impact on the food industry. Their larger size allows for greater quantities of food to be cooked, saving both time and money in the long run. Mainly due to cost factors, steam cooking has replaced gas and electricity cooking.

What are the advantages of a convection oven?

This appliance offers several important advantages. Microwave ovens destroy nutrients that damage the molecular structure of food. Convection ovens, in contrast, heat your food evenly by using the surrounding heat.

The food industry has gradually replaced conventional ovens for convection models. The results they offer are much greater. When we’re dealing with domestic use of convection ovens, however, their popularity has not yet led them to replace regular ovens. That being said, they are expected to do so in the medium term.

Advantages
  • Energy savings
  • Convection ovens cook almost 30% faster than traditional ovens
  • They cook food evenly
  • Microwave ovens often cannot heat the whole food
  • The vitamins and nutrients of foods remain intact
  • It is recommended to subtract 25°C from the indicated temperature when cooking with a convection oven
Disadvantages
  • They are less affordable than conventional ovens. However, they offer greater savings in the long run
  • They are not designed for all types of food. Foods made from flour – such as biscuits – are best prepared in conventional ovens

How should I use my convection oven?

Notwithstanding the advantages convection ovens offer, you will still need to know how to use them properly to make the most of your appliance. We’ll now have a look at two key aspects that you need know to cook your meals to perfection.

The heat distribution of convection ovens differs from traditional ones. Recipes tend to provide the cooking time and temperature for conventional ovens only. To adapt these instructions to your convection oven, you’ll need to subtract 25°F and/or shorten the time by around 25%.

What pots and utensils can I use in my convection oven?

For the hot air circulation cooking system to work, you cannot have any interference between the air and your food. For this reason we advise you to choose low-edged dishes.

It is important to determine which type of edge won’t interfere with the distribution of hot air. Just like with conventional ovens, you’ll be able to use trays without edges if you’re cooking biscuits or other fatless foods.

Can I use baking paper in my convection oven?

Due to the hot air distribution mechanism of the convection oven, you are not advised to cover the food inside. That being said, its fine to use baking paper. Make sure to tuck the corners in properly to avoid the air raising the paper and ruining your dish.

Convection ovens can prepare larger amounts of food saving time and money. 
(Source: serezniy: 115300575/ 123rf.com)

What happens if I turn off the oven fan?

Turning off the fan converts your convection oven into a conventional oven. Note that not all models have this option. Certain convention ovens also offer different air levels: High Air/Low Air. Most will include a guide to help you learn which foods cook best under which option.

Dave AspreyCreator of the Bulletproof Coffee and Author of The Bulletproof Diet

“Convection ovens have heating elements on the top and bottom along with a fan to circulate air, so foods cook faster and more evenly. With this method you can have really good meals cooked in fat that is less damaged.”

What can I cook in my convection oven?

Convection ovens are just what you need if you’re looking for the quickest way to make food nice and crunchy.  In the following list, we’ve added some of the dishes that you’ll love to cook in your convection oven:

  • Hotpots: Foods that need to simmer are ideal for convection ovens. The heat transfer of these appliances allows the dish to cook evenly. Another advantage is that these ovens also allow you to prepare the food quicker than conventional models.
  • Roasts:  Convection ovens help keep roasts juicy. The hot air also browns the skin, giving it a crunchy and attractive appearance.
  • Dehydrated food: Your convection oven also serves as a food dehydrator. This is because its fan and convection cycle speed up the food dehydration process. You’ll get excellent results with fresh vegetables, fruits or nuts.

What shouldn’t I cook in my convection oven?

Breads or biscuits, for instance, are more suited for cooking in conventional ovens; this is due to the fact that moist air is better for them. That aside, your convection oven will be perfect for preparing other foods such as chicken or vegetables. Dry air is ideal to obtain dishes with a perfect texture. In addition, you can cook various foods without the smell of one of them infusing the other.

How do I clean my convection oven?

It is key to keep appliances that come into contact with your food clean. The same goes for the dishes and utensils you use.  Once you’re done cooking, wait for your convection oven’s walls to cool down and then clean the cavity. The instruction manual will indicate which products to use. You should also avoid cleaning your oven directly with water jets or using chlorine products.

What types of convection ovens are on the market?

There are five main types of ovens on the market. While their end purpose remains the same, each model has unique functions and characteristics. The one you buy should ultimately depend on your needs, what and how you’d like to cook.

  • Regeneration ovens. These are extremely common in professional kitchens, they are designed to shift foods from frozen to room temperature.
  • Steam ovens. They allow you to cook at low temperatures. Steam and heat combine to retain the natural taste of the food.
  • Vacuum ovens. Vacuum ovens cook at low temperatures. This means that the food keeps its flavors and nutritional content. Vacuum cooking requires you to prepare a container with food and insulate it with a hermetically-sealed packaging.
  • Combi steamers. These appliances carry out all the functions of the previous types of oven: cook, heat and defrost. Certain models also include the vacuum cooking option. These multi-use options tend to be more expensive and are found more frequently in professional kitchens.
  • Convection ovens.  Convection ovens are designed for cooking in general. Their structure and power allow you to save both time and energy.

What is a forced convection oven?

This type of oven features a function that heats frozen or very cold foods. By dispersing the cold air, the convection oven fan allows the dish to gradually warm up. This results in foods evenly heated and truly ready to eat.

This type of oven is most commonly used in the food industry, as they produce heat more easily. Electric ovens can control the temperature more precisely and provide greater energy savings than gas ovens.

Why are electric convection ovens better than gas ovens?

The heat convection ovens use for cooking is more constant. Their installation also tends to be much easier. Finally, they also tend to be cheaper when it comes to maintenance and spare parts.

Gas appliances offer more limited features. You will also find it easier to transport an electric oven than a gas one. That being said, convection ovens do present one disadvantage: the bigger the model is, the more electricity it requires to work.

Shopping Criteria

It is important to consider several criteria before finalizing your purchase. These include functionality, capacity, size or even power. We’ve detailed these shopping criteria in the following section to help you make the right decision:

  • Functionality
  • Capacity
  • Size
  • Accessories
  • Power

Functionality

The market offers a wide range of convection ovens, from the simple to professional models. This will naturally influence its final price. Ovens generally feature anywhere between 5 and 12 combined functions of heat, roasting and convection. You need to evaluate which of these functions you will likely use to choose the best oven.

Capacity

Convection ovens allow you to cook different foods at the same time without mixing flavors. If time saving is key for you, you could place even more dishes and get cooking. This is why the capacity of the oven is an important factor to think about. Depending on your use, you could opt for a model with a capacity ranging from 10 to 40 litres.

Size

There are a variety of sizes of convection ovens on the US market. Take care to pick a model that won’t take up too much space if your kitchen is small.

Accessories

The majority of convection ovens also include certain accessories that facilitate cooking, roasting and frying. These may be  handles, trays or roasters, for example. Make sure that the accessories of the model you opt for are useful to your cooking habits.

Power

The power required by the convection oven is also important to consider. An appliance with a higher voltage will shorten the cooking process, but it will use more power.  This will naturally increase your electricity bill.

Summary

Convection ovens let you cook more healthily than other types. They also cook faster than traditional ovens and save you time. Moreover, they prepare food evenly, leading to tastier cooking results.

It is important to keep in mind that certain models are more tailored for professional use. Choose a model that take into account your needs, space and budget. Once you’ve considered these factors, you’ll no doubt make a satisfying purchase.

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(Source of featured image: serezniy: 115296458/ 123rf.com)

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