The development of cooking technology and increasing health awareness among people are slowly but surely giving birth to newer entrants in the market. As we were settling down with the idea of microwave ovens (which provided faster cooking and heating over traditional ovens), science went one step further and created convection ovens.
Where we loved the crispy fries straight out from a deep fryer though feeling guilty about taking in all those extra calories! You can now make fries in air fryers and consume very little oil. Now they seem to be so similar in their basic functioning that often there are doubts over convection ovens and air fryers being the same.
Is an Air Fryer a Convection Oven?
There are few significant distinctions between the two appliances, knowing which may come in handy during your next purchase. Read on to learn more.
Differences Between Air Fryer and Convection Oven
Before we begin distinguishing them, it’s essential first to understand what these two appliances do.
So, what is an air fryer? An air fryer is a small electrical appliance that can comfortably fit over a countertop in your kitchen and uses a little-to-no oil efficient cooking method. The fryer makes use of convection heating wherein air rapidly circulates the food placed in the fryer via a fan.
The air in convection ovens envelope food in a manner similar to food being dipped in hot oil. This means that the effect created is the same – crispy, fried texture of the food – however, with no unnecessary and unhealthy extra layer of fat over it. Now, a convection oven works almost the same way as an air fryer – hot air circulates inside the oven to lend even heating to the food placed within. However, both aren’t identical; let’s see how:
Both air fryers and convection ovens come with their unique set of features.
I. Temperature control
Some of the best convection ovens are great at distributing heat evenly within. They can automatically adjust the temperature as soon as the food is placed inside.
This means that you can try out several recipes in here without worrying about what temperature to set for which one. Besides, there are no worries about the food left undercooked as well because the even hot air circulation would ensure that heat seeps through the centre of the food.
However, air fryers generally tend to reach a higher temperature which makes baking in air fryer perfect for delicate foodstuff such as desserts. It may not be a good idea to bake soufflés and pastries in a convection oven because it could be a bit harsh on these soft dishes.
II. Meal Servings
When you’re hosting a big party or event and need to serve food in multiple courses, you’d find convection ovens the most suitable to your need. They’re large enough to try out a variety of food items all for large gatherings.
III. Amount Of Oil Used
A convection oven may require a certain amount of oil in cooking; however, cooking with air fryer beats the former in this regard, using no oil in the process.
2. Cooking Capacity
Convection ovens, owing to their large size, have a bigger cooking capacity as well. In simple words, they enable more amount of food to be cooked at the same time. Besides, it also means that you can easily place large chunks of food in the oven without the need to chop it down into smaller bits.
Air fryers, on the contrary, owing to their compact size have a relatively smaller cooking capacity, but this is no way stops them from efficiently carrying out its job. Most air fryers come with deep chambers which allow substantial amounts of food to be placed inside, such as the likes of French Fries. They may not allow certain other big chunks of food to be placed though, such as if you wish to roast lamb legs.
3. Space Required In The Kitchen
The size of any kitchen appliance has a significant role to play during the buying decision. Every kitchen space is different, and you need something useful, yet does not occupy a lot of space. Air fryers score a point here because they’re so compact that they can comfortably fit over your kitchen countertop.
Convection ovens, on the other hand, are generally large and therefore use up more space in the kitchen. They may not always be able to fit over your countertop easily. This may sometimes restrict movement space in the kitchen and could also prove a higher risk of breaking or damaging goods in the kitchen.
Also, since convection ovens can’t be placed over the countertop, they tend to be difficult to access. Their positioning also makes them uncomfortable because you need to bend down to put food into the oven, to check its progress during cooking, and also to take it out after it’s done. Air fryers, owing to their convenient positioning on top of the counter, can be accessed easily anytime. Air fryers also easier to clean compared when compared to convection ovens.
4. Which is healthier – Air Fryer Or Convection Oven?
Both appliances cook healthy food. Convection ovens and air fryers utilise a similar technique of cooking food – circulating hot air around it via fans that generate heat and enable it to flow evenly throughout the appliance. Still, when it comes to comparing both the units in terms of health, we’d say that air fryers are relatively healthier simply because they do away with the need to add any oil to the food at all! This means that a large number of air fryers in the market today can be used without oil.
On the other hand, you might need to add some oil (though very little) when baking in a convection oven to add some moisture to the food. Also, since air fryers can reach higher temperatures than the oven, their cooking procedure and time is relatively shorter. This means that the food doesn’t dry up and lose all the essential nutrition value. Cooking with convection oven generally slows down the process, which results in loss of several healthy nutrients.
An appliance that’s easy to maintain in terms of money, time and effort spent is always much admired. If you find it hard to clean up the mess created with food spills, oil splutter, or hard stains, then you’d probably like air fryers over convection ovens. Air fryer maintenance is much easier because its non-stick pan on which the food is placed can easily be wiped clean. Also, its smaller size makes it easier to maintain. Air fryers are easy to move and can, therefore, be transported anywhere for cleaning purpose.
Convection oven maintenance, on the contrary, is slightly more complicated. You’d need to roll up your sleeves and literally get in there to access the difficult-to-reach areas. Their positioning also makes them difficult to access for cleaning and maintenance, unlike air fryers that can be placed over a countertop. Convection ovens may need strong detergents to get rid of heavy stains, and food drips, unlike air fryers which can be gently wiped off after use.
Which is Better: Air Fryer or Convection Oven?
It’s a subjective decision, which could depend on cost, kitchen space, maintenance effort etc.
While air fryers score over convection ovens in a lot of respects – space-saving, time-saving, easy to clean and maintain – the latter does have some credits to its side as well. You can try out larger possibilities of dishes in a convection oven owing to its bigger size and equally bigger cooking capacity.
However, its large size may tend to pose a problem at times when it comes to placement in the kitchen (especially smaller spaces) or when it comes to cleaning it up. Besides, when it comes to seeing things from the investment point of view, you’d be the better person to decide which unit would be the most rewarding for you in the long run.
If you love hosting large parties regularly, then convection ovens can be your perfect partner in catering to vast and varied tastes. Luckily for you, you can find our reviews on convection/OTG ovens on our website. If you’re a fried-food lover, then an air fryer could do more justice to your health while keeping your taste buds engaged on a budget. In fact, you can find some really resourceful air fryers in as less as $100, these days.
Whatever choice you make, remember that each electrical appliance requires regular maintenance to keep its life span, performance, and efficiency going. The same holds true for these two units as well. You’d need to take proper care of each by keeping them clean after every use and maintaining them well in terms of thorough clean-up once in a while. Also, avoid fixing electrical issues with kitchen appliances on your own (until you know how to do them cautiously) to prevent getting an electrical shock. Seek professional assistance whenever necessary.