Which is More Energy Efficient ? Convection Oven,Microwave Oven Or Toaster Over
Appliances today are all about energy efficiency, and ovens are no exception. So which among conventional ovens, convection ovens, microwave and toasters is the most energy efficient and practical to use?
And the Winner Is…
There are a lot of factors that come into play, but all things being equal, the microwave is the most energy efficient.
Electric Convection Oven
Electric Frying Pan
Microwaves vs. Conventional Ovens vs. Convection Ovens
Microwaves utilize radio waves to heat the molecules inside the food, cooking it from within. This keeps the air surrounding the food at room temperature, and more importantly it heats the food at the same time.
It is this approach which cuts down cooking time and makes it more energy efficient. Microwaves are most effective for cooking small meals.
A conventional oven however, uses the air around the food for cooking. The hot air and the coils arise due to the temperature difference between the food and hot air. This heats up the food and cooks it, but it is not as efficient as a microwave.
A convection oven uses a fan and multiple heating elements to evenly cook food. It is more effective than a conventional oven, both in terms of cooking and energy use. However it is still not as energy efficient as a microwave oven.
Microwave Oven vs. Toaster Oven
On the average a microwave consumes 925 watts, while a toaster uses 1225 watts. From this figure alone it’s clear that toasters consume more power so it’s not as power efficient as a microwave.
However, toasters are more energy efficient compared to conventional electric ovens. On average a toaster uses only half or a third of the power used by an electric conventional oven when cooking small amounts of food. Toasters are at their best baking and toasting, but not so much for broiling, warming or defrosting.
How to Boost the Energy Efficiency of Cooking Appliances
● Buy only products with an Energy Star or energy efficient label. This ensures the appliance has been thoroughly tested and a proven energy saver.
● Position your oven as far from the fridge as possible. The heat generated by your oven will force the refrigerator to work harder to cool the food inside. Put insulation foam between the two to avoid complications.
● Look for ovens with doors that fit tightly as well as those with self-cleaning features. These are more energy efficient than the regular oven because they lock in heat.
● Do not open oven doors too frequently because it causes the temperature to drop by 25 F. Use the timer and interior light to check the food’s doneness.
● Preheating ovens consumes a lot of power, and in convection ovens that is not even required.
Use Kitchen Appliances Appropriately
Of course you will only save time and energy if you use these kitchen appliances properly.
● Microwave ovens are best for cooking small food portions.
● A conventional or convection oven is the best for browning, roasting and baking.
● The larger the microwave the less energy it can save. If you have to prepare lots of food, it’s better to just use an oven.
● A convection oven is more efficient than a conventional oven as it can cook food at a lower temperature.
● Newer oven, microwave and toaster models make better use of energy. Many have sensor controls and temperature probes which makes sure food is fully cooked. The newer models also have numerous power options.
How to Save Energy When Cooking
● Cook as many of the foods as you can at the time in the oven to save energy. Doing so allows you to save heat and space. Freeze the food you won’t be eating and just reheat them later.
● Cook as many foods simultaneously as possible, but do not overcrowd the oven. Leave an inch or two of space so air can circulate and cook the foods evenly.
● Whether it’s microwave or another type of oven, do not open the door incessantly. The more times a door is opened, the more energy it is going to use to raise the temperature up.
● Defrosting and then cooking takes time and energy regardless of the oven you use. You’ll be able to save energy and time by defrosting food in your refrigerator overnight. Do this and your cooking time gets cut by up to 50%.
● Do not preheat unless it is required. If preheating is necessary, check the recipe instructions and heat only for the amount of time required.
● If you have to buy a new oven, toaster or microwave, make sure that it uses energy as efficiently as possible.
● If you’ve got an oven which is ten years or older and the fan or other component is broken, it’s cheaper to buy a new model.
● Keep your kitchen cooking appliances clean, as dirt and gunk have a negative effect on performance.
● If possible, cut food into smaller chunks as it will cook quicker.
So does this mean a microwave oven is the best choice? It depends on the situation. For small quick meals, a microwave is the answer. Cook some medium sized potatoes in a microwave and it takes less than 15 minutes. Cook the same number in a regular oven and it will take about an hour. Not only does a microwave cook faster, but you also save energy.
But there are times when a conventional or convection oven is the more practical option. If you have to cook large servings, you may want to use an oven because of the greater capacity. It is possible to use a microwave but it’s going to take too long, whereas an oven lets you cook large foods at the same time.