Air Fryer Vs Convection Oven – The Ultimate Comparison Guide

An air fryer and a convection oven are kitchen appliances that can be used for baking, roasting, and other forms of cooking. Not only are they similar in form factor and usage, using one appliance over the other can also impact the quality & taste of your dishes. 

This blog post will explore the differences between air fryers vs convection ovens, including their temperature settings, ease of use, capacity, health concerns, and maintenance requirements.

Air Fryer vs Convection Oven: Quick Look

What is an air fryer?

So what exactly is an air fryer? An air fryer is a countertop appliance that uses hot convection to cook food. It works by circulating heated air around the food, resulting in crispy and delicious results without using deep frying.

What is a convection oven?

Convection ovens, on the other hand, use fans to circulate heat throughout the oven cavity. This allows for faster cooking times, more even roasting, and an overall more evenly cooked dish.

Air FryerConvection Oven 
Cooks more quickly and produces crispier results Can be used for any form of cooking ranging from baking to roasting 
Air fryers are louder than a convection oven and also more expensive. They are also smaller in sizeLarge size, which makes it incredibly versatile 
Use an air fryer when:Dealing with frozen foods Chicken recipes Roasting veggies  Use a convection oven when: Multi-rack baking & cooking Pizzas Roasted meas CasserolesCroutons, cookies and scones 

Working Mechanism

Let us take a look at how both of these appliances work so that you can make a better decision based on your use case. 

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Air Fryer

So how does an air fryer work? An air fryer works by circulating heated air around your food. This hot air is usually generated by an electrical element and it circulates through the appliance to cook your food. The result is crispy, golden brown dishes similar in texture to deep-fried foods, but without the added fat and calories. 

Its working principle involves circulating hot air around the food within a closed chamber. This ensures that both sides of the food get cooked evenly and at a consistent temperature, giving it a crispy finish. The appliance also has a variety of adjustable settings to ensure that the air is circulating at a speed appropriate for whatever type of food you are cooking. The higher the temperature or speed, the crispier the food will be. 

Air fryers also have a special type of non-stick coating, so that food doesn’t stick to the surface and can easily be removed once cooked. Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough: 

  1. Preheat the air fryer by setting the desired temperature 
  2. Place the food into the air fryer basket and close the lid
  3. The hot air will start circulating within the air fryer chamber, cooking your food evenly from all sides 
  4. Once the timer goes off, check if your food is cooked and adjust the cooking time if needed
  5. Take the basket out of the air fryer and enjoy your meal! 
  6. Clean the appliance after use to ensure it is ready for the next use. 

Convection Oven

How does a convection oven work? A convection oven works by circulating heated air within the oven cavity. The fan, which is placed at the back of the oven, blows hot air around your food and through vents located around the walls of the oven cavity.

This ensures that heat is evenly distributed throughout the baking chamber, resulting in evenly cooked dishes with a superior taste and texture. 

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The working principle of a convection oven is the same as an air fryer, except for one key difference. Unlike the air fryer, convection ovens do not have adjustable settings and rely on thermostats to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process. 

Convection ovens also use fans to keep the air circulating in the chamber, resulting in faster cooking times and more even roasting. Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough: 

  1. Preheat the convection oven by setting the desired temperature 
  2. Place your food into an oven-proof dish on a baking tray and place it into the oven cavity 
  3. The fan will start circulating hot air around the food, cooking it evenly from all sides 
  4. Once the timer goes off, check if your food is cooked and adjust the cooking time if needed
  5. Take your dish out of the oven and enjoy your meal! 
  6. Clean any spills inside the oven after use to ensure it is ready for the next use. 

Air Fryers vs Convection Ovens

Temperature Settings & Cooking Times

Convection ovens are typically equipped with a wide range of temperatures, from low to high. This allows you to cook food at the best temperature for a particular dish, which in turn helps your dishes come out better tasting. Air fryers, on the other hand, have limited temperature settings and usually only reach temperatures up to about 400°F. This means that some dishes that normally require higher temperatures may not cook as evenly or quickly in an air fryer as they do in a convection oven. 

Ease of Use & Cleaning 

Convection ovens can be a bit tricky to use since they work differently than traditional ovens, but they usually have timers and other settings that make them pretty easy to use. Air fryers, however, are generally much easier to use since they have a  simpler UI and offer fewer temperature options. When it comes to cleaning up after cooking, air fryers can be more convenient because their small size makes them easy to store and clean. 

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That said, some people find it difficult to clean air fryers because of the perforated basket, whereas in convection ovens, you just have to clean the pans. 

Ovens have a transparent window that allows you to see the food inside while it’s cooking, which is not possible with air fryers. This makes convection ovens much more convenient since you can monitor your food without having to open the door and lose all the heat. 

Capacity & Energy Use

Air fryers tend to have much smaller capacities than convection ovens and usually only allow for a single layer of food. This means that air fryers are not suitable for large meals or batches, and can be more time-consuming when cooking multiple dishes simultaneously. Convection ovens, on the other hand, are larger and can fit more food in a single batch. 

In terms of energy use, air fryers tend to be much more efficient than convection ovens since they require less pre-heating time and can cook faster. 

Which Comes out on Top?  

Both convection ovens and air fryers have their own benefits and drawbacks, so the answer to which one comes out on top depends on your needs.

If you need more temperature control and larger capacities for batch cooking, then a convection oven may be the better choice. On the other hand, if convenience is what you’re after, then an air fryer may be the way to go.