Air Fryer Vs. Convection Oven (Differences explained)

Air Fryer and convectional oven both work on the same conventional health method but are different from each other in size, appearance, and capability.

Air fryers and convectional ovens are the same, in the sense that they both use fans to circulate hot air but the air fryer, compared to its name, doesn’t fry food like a deep fryer.

There isn’t much difference between a convection oven and an air fryer but you need to know a few of them. To understand the differences you have to know first how both appliances work.

What is an air fryer?

The air fryer is essentially a more powerful countertop convection oven that does not fry food. (However, there is a distinction to be assembled between air-frying and baking.)

The Philips Electronics Company-patented small appliance claims to replicate the results of deep-frying using only hot air and little or no oil.

According to market research firm NPD Group, this device has grown in popularity in recent years, with nearly 40% of U.S. homes owning one by July 2020. Everything from frozen chicken wings and homemade french fries to roasted vegetables and fresh-baked cookies can be air-fried.

How does the air fryer work?

Air fryers work on the convection heating method to cook food evenly. When you place food in a basket, hot air circulates the food evenly to cook it.

This method is much similar to a deep fryer, but the air fryer doesn’t use oil to cook food instead it uses hot air to fry your food, which in turn leaves the food with a lower caloric content than that of a deep fryer.

That’s why the air fryer is famous for delivering healthy food with no or less oil while maintaining the crispiness and flavor of the deep fryer, which is precisely the reason to love the air fryer!

What is a convection oven?

A countertop convection oven is constructed similarly to a standard toaster oven, with a rectangular shape and a front door that opens on a hinge at the bottom. A convection oven differs from a standard toaster oven in that it has a fan that circulates hot air.

When compared to a standard oven, the motion of the air inside the oven results in faster cooking by transferring higher temperatures to the surface of the food. As a result, it both speeds up cooking and enhances the browning and crisping of your food’s surface.

How does the convection oven work?

The convection oven is not similar to conventional ovens which are larger.

An entire chicken roast in the convection oven.
You can enjoy an entire chicken roast in the convection oven.

The convection oven is also referred to as a toaster oven to easily place on your kitchen counter. As it contains fans to cook food which makes a convection oven different from a traditional oven. However, it includes:

  • Large rack for a sheet pan.
  • It also has enough space to place food widely instead of placing it in layers.
  • Also has a feature of changeable temperature.
  • The convection oven also comes with a timer selection.

In a convection oven, the circulation of hot air cooks food thoroughly and makes it crispy. Even though it doesn’t come out as crispy as the air fryer it still tastes delicious.

Check out this video to know more about the convection oven!

How does a convection oven work?

Convection Baking

As I am discussing the differences between air fryers and convection ovens, it is also mandatory to know about convection baking.

In convection baking, hot air circulates the food with the help of a fan to make it crispy which is better than conventional oven baking. So, does it mean the air fryer and convectional oven are the same?

Yes, air fryers are kind of similar to conventional ovens but there are some differences.

  • Air fryer cooking time is faster than a conventional oven.
  • Food gets crispier in the air fryer.
  • Air fryers use less oil than conventional ovens and healthy appliances.
  • A conventional oven is more suitable to cook food in large portions.
  • You can see food in a conventional oven while cooking but in the air fryer, you cannot.
  • An air fryer is more expensive than a conventional oven.

What can be cooked in an Air fryer?

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that you can air fry everything that you can bake. But the air fryers and convectional ovens cooking time and temperature aren’t the same.

You have to adjust your recipes and plan according to the air fryer to cook them properly.

Here are some of the popular things to cook in an air fryer.

Frozen FoodsBurritos, hamburgers, and more frozen fried items.
VegetablesBrussels, sprouts, and okra.
DessertsGiant cookies and lava cake and more air fryer approve desserts.
Chickenlemon pepper chicken and more air fryer chicken recipes.
Things that can be cooked in an air fryer.

Is Air Fryer better than a Convection oven?

I believe it depends upon the food you’re cooking to decide whether to use an air fryer or a convection oven.

However, if we talk about which one is healthier, air fryer food is a healthier option compared to convection ovens as it uses the no oil method to make food crispier.

An air fryer
An air fryer is used to cook without submerging the food in oil.

While convection oven is preferred to cook food in large quantities without putting it in layers, unlike air fryers. Some people also say that a convection oven makes less noise than an air fryer which is also a good thing about convection ovens.

Can a convection oven be used as an Air fryer?

Yes, you can use a convection oven as an air fryer because it comes with an air fryer feature.

To use a convection oven as an air fryer you would have to add up more accessories to it which are otherwise not useful like you would have to have a crispier tray or pan to cook food and it would require more oil than a convection oven, unlike an air fryer.

What are the drawbacks of a Convection oven?

Comparing air fryers and convection ovens, convection ovens seem to have many disadvantages. However, some of the major drawbacks of it are:

  • There are more chances of food getting burned.
  • It often contains loud fans which are annoying to users.
  • Convection oven fans often circulate parchment paper which interferes with cooking.

Does the Air fryer use more electricity than a convection oven?

No, air fryers don’t use more electricity. It is one of the best energy-saving kitchen appliances that you could ever have! Because it reduces the cooking time by 25% which results in saving power consumption.

Drawbacks of Air Fryers

An electric Air Fry on table with blue background showing assembled parts
Air fryers also have their limitations

From the above discussion, it is clear that air fryers are better than convection ovens but there is nothing like perfect so before putting your whole faith in the air fryer, I’ll let you know its disadvantages.

  • You don’t have access to check on your food while cooking it in the air fryer. While some people are okay with it some people would want to monitor their food to get to know its doneness.
  • Air fryers are far louder than convection ovens even after being small in size. The noise of it is almost similar to the noise of a vacuum cleaner which is not good for people.
  • Air fryers are not easy to clean as you have to clean their perforated basket followed by their bucket. If you’re cooking buffalo wings in it, you would also have to clean any drippings left in the basket.
  • Convection ovens are easier to clean than air fryers as you just have to clean the pan, you can use aluminum foil to put food in them and save yourself from later cleaning.

Conclusion

  • If you’re looking for a healthier option to cook food then an air fryer is a better appliance than a convection oven.
  • Convection oven also uses hot air like air fryers to cook food but they also require oil.
  • Convection ovens are much easier to clean than air fryers.
  • Air fryers are small in size, hence not good for cooking food in large quantities.
  • The air fryer’s noise is louder than a convection oven.

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