When it comes to kitchen appliances, the convection oven is not a foreign name. As a matter of fact, the convection oven is a common, if not staple, appliance found in the kitchen of many households.
The air fryer, on the other hand, is another story as it is not as well-known as the convection oven and some may never have heard of the air fryer before. However, the air fryer is slowly starting to gain a name in the cooking industry.
The air fryer is usually mistakenly thought to be the same as the convection oven because of the similar concepts of heating by the two appliances—both the convection oven and the air fryer work with circulating hot air to cook food and results in evenly cooked food. However, there are significant differences between the two kitchen appliances.
Convection oven or air fryer? How it works
A convection oven has a fan and an exhaust system, and usually has heating elements, a coil of wire, found above and below the oven chamber.
When electric current passes through these heating elements, the current turns into radiating heat that rises and is circulated by the fan found at the back of the convection oven for an even or consistent temperature. An air fryer, on the other hand, uses a rapid-air technology which circulates the air very fast.
Also, the heating element is found above the food where heat is pulled by the fan so that there is no direct source of heat in contact with the food. Instead, the heat rises up from an opening found at the bottom of the air fryer to provide heat for cooking.
Compare and contrast: Convection oven or air fryer?
Whether you should buy a convection oven or air fryer depends on the kind of recipe you are cooking and the special needs of the recipe. Because pastries and cakes are more sensitive, the air fryer is the better choice between the two. To differentiate between a convection oven and an air fryer, here are some of the differences between the 2 products.
Size and shape
The convection oven usually comes in a bigger and bulkier size compared to an air fryer. Where a convection oven is often a rectangular shape, the air fryer is a more compact and rounded shape.
Because the convection oven is often bigger than the air fryer, it can accommodate a larger quantity of food at one time. The air fryer, on the other hand, needs cooking in batches just to accommodate a large quantity.
Method of cooking
Both the convection oven and the air fryer work fine with baking and roasting. However, when it comes to grilling, the air fryer does the job better than the convection oven. But unlike the convection oven, the air fryer is not good for broiling or toasting food.
Cooking time and output
When it comes to cooking time, whether a convection oven or air fryer, both appliances do the work faster than a regular oven. Only because the air fryer is typically of smaller size, it has to do the work in batches.
A convection oven gives a juicier food but a less crispy result, while the air fryer gives way to healthy results because it strips the food of too much oil. Moreover, the air fryer also gives rise to a more flavorful and crisper output.
The air fryer is easier to clean than the convection oven because it has a guard found at the bottom of the appliance to catch the excess dripping oil and prevent it from touching the heating element.
Service life and price
The convection oven is normally more expensive than the air fryer, regardless of the model or brand. When it comes to service life, this depends on the model and brand of the appliance.
The air fryer, however, has an edge for it is easier to clean. Regular cleaning of the appliance, and the lack of food residue and moisture, helps in giving the appliance a long service life.