Difference Between Convection Oven and Toaster Oven
Ovens today come in different forms, shapes and styles. Look them up online you’ve got conventional ovens, microwave ovens, convection ovens and toaster ovens from different brands. Those who are new to cooking and baking often confuse the two. While they are both used for cooking, there are fundamental differences between the two.
What is a Convection Oven?
A convection oven, unlike a conventional oven, has a fan and in several models have extra heating elements. A conventional oven uses radiation to heat the food and cook them.
A convection oven however, uses the fan to give it extra heating. The food is then heated evenly and quickly. With the blowing fan and the heating elements, food is cooked more rapidly compared to conventional oven.
Convection oven sizes are similar to conventional ovens, and they’re very useful for meat broiling, browning, toasting, reheating, making bread, cookies, pizza crusts and pies. You can also use it to cook vegetables, turkeys and anything you want crisp.
Convection ovens come with several features to help with cooking. Aside from the fan and heating element, convection ovens may also have thermostats and timers. Some regular ovens also have a convection converter so you switch between conventional and convection mode.
Convection ovens are usually fixed, but there are now some which are set on countertops. Whatever the differences in style and features, they are more efficient than thermal and radial ovens.
What is a Toaster Oven?
A toaster oven is a small cooking appliance. These small ovens have different features, but they do share common elements like a removable baking pan, a removable wire rack and a door at the front. Toaster ovens are versatile and capable of dehydrating food, roasting, defrosting, toasting, baking and broiling.
Toaster ovens function like conventional ovens. It has heating components on the bottom or the top. These elements provide the heat and when activated, cooks the food. Like convection ovens, toaster ovens have different settings and options. You can set it to low, medium or high, for searing, broiling and also as a warmer. Some toaster ovens also have timers and thermostats for enhanced functionality.
What are the Differences between a Convection Oven and a Toaster Oven?
The most significant difference between these two ovens is a convection oven is much larger. A toaster oven is smaller, easier to clean and is portable. A convection oven however, has a larger capacity and has more features.
There are other differences which should be pointed out:
● Toaster ovens can only operate with electrical power, wherein you plug and use it. A convection oven can run on gas and electricity.
● A convection oven costs more than a toaster oven. It is also more expensive than a conventional oven.
● A convection oven cooks faster than a regular toaster oven. However, the cooking time of a convection oven and a convection toaster are the same.
● A toaster oven that does not have fans takes some time to cook. In many cases it is even slower than a conventional oven.
● The heat distribution in toaster ovens is uneven, as it is hotter in the coils. In contrast, a convection oven provides very even heat distribution as air flows uniformly across the food.
● Both convection ovens and toaster ovens have drawbacks. Convections are not ideal for baking food which needs moisture, as it can dry them out. In these cases you will need to make adjustments to the temperature.
● The biggest limitation of a toaster oven is the limited capacity. There’s also uneven heating and you cannot use it to boil or cook rice.
Which One is Right for You?
It depends on what you need and the situation.
● For large meals that have to be prepared with very little time, a convection oven is the ideal solution. A convection oven is also the only answer if you have a restaurant or into any kind of food enterprise.
● For small meals, cooking a small chicken or a few cookies, a toaster oven will get the job done.
● The large size of a convection oven also means it is ideal for preparing several large meals. It is also suitable for cooking and baking an array of dishes. What makes a convection oven especially suitable for this is the fan, as it provides uniform heating and cooking.
● If you don’t prepare a lot of large meals, a toaster oven is the better choice. It is more affordable, portable and doesn't take as much time to clean. But as we pointed out, food heating and cooking is uneven. If you want to use a toaster with convection like properties, you have to look for those with a convection capability.
● Except for baked goods that need moisture, you can cook just about everything on a convection oven. You can even cook foods that require a lid: while they won’t benefit from the airflow, there’s nothing to prevent you from using the oven to cook them. Convection ovens are also appropriate if you want to seal those meats so it’s juicier. It is also perfect for fruits and vegetables.
● If however, you’re always on the go, a toaster oven may be more to you liking. Can’t leave for work without a bagel or toast? Then you can just fire up the that toaster and your toast or bagel will be ready in minutes. Because there are heating elements on each side, toasting is quicker on each side.
● You will also find toaster ovens useful for warming up that leftover pizza or other snacks. Just turn the toaster on, heat the food and it’ll be ready to eat.
As should be obvious by now, there are many similarities and differences between toaster ovens and convection ovens. One may prefer the other, but the fact is they’ve both got good qualities, and those who love food will find them indispensable.
There will be instances when you will need one or the other. Rather than see them as being one or the other, it’s better to make use of both.