The best convection oven
Ensuring dinner is on the table after a long busy day at work is always challenging. Convection ovens can make the process a little easier because they cook food more quickly than traditional ovens. That's because convection ovens use fans to circulate heat around your food to keep the temperature steady for more even and efficient cooking. With a convection oven, you can bake, roast, broil, and steam a variety of foods. And because of the dry atmosphere they create, you can brown the exteriors of roasts and meats while still keeping the interiors moist.
To learn more about how to choose the best convection oven for your kitchen, take a look at our quick buying guide. Our top pick is the Breville Smart Oven Pro, which boasts a generous capacity and easy-to-use preset cooking functions.
Considerations when choosing convection ovens
When it comes to convection ovens, you can choose from two main types: standalone convection ovens and multifunction ovens that can handle multiple cooking functions.
Convection-only ovens typically feature a cylindrical cooking chamber with at least one heating element and a fan. The chamber's dome is made of glass or plastic, and you set a rack or oven-safe cookware inside to cook your food. A convection-only model tends to be more portable than multipurpose products, so it can be a wise option for use in an RV or vacation home.
Multifunction convection ovens are similar to standard toaster ovens, but they feature a fan that circulates the heat for convection cooking. Because it's built like a standard toaster oven, you can bake, broil, roast, toast, warm, and reheat foods in a multifunction model. It's a versatile countertop appliance for your kitchen that works extremely well for smaller meals.
Convection ovens can use several different heat sources, which determines what cooking functions it works best for.
Those with halogen-powered heat sources have a light at the top of the unit that generates heat. They work well for air frying and grilling.
Models with infrared heat are effective for baking and broiling.
Convection ovens with gas or electric heat elements are ideal for baking, broiling, and toasting.
A convection oven usually sits on your countertop, so it's important to consider the size to determine whether you'll have room for it. Some models are as compact as 15 inches in width, while others are as wide as 19 inches. Consider the height as well because you may want to place the oven beneath cabinets -- they usually range from 1 to 1.5 feet tall. Larger convection ovens typically offer greater capacity, so you may need a larger model to cook for a large family.
If you opt for a convection-only oven, the material that the cooking area's dome is made of is an important consideration. Most models feature glass domes, which tend to trap the heat more effectively but can scratch or shatter. Plastic domes aren't as fragile, though they don't always offer the most even cooking.
Some convection ovens feature knob controls, while others have buttons to choose the settings. Both types of controls can work effectively, but push-button controls allow for more precision when you're setting the time and temperature.
Convection oven prices
Convection ovens usually range from $40 to $275. Convection-only models are the least expensive, so you'll usually pay between $40 to $150. Multifunction convection ovens are more expensive, costing between $55 and $275.
Q. Do I need to adjust recipes for a convection oven?
A. Because convection ovens circulate heat more evenly than standard ovens, foods tend to cook more quickly. That means you should reduce the temperature in any recipe you're following by 25º. You can follow the recipe's guidelines for cooking time.
Q. Can I use any cookware in a convection oven?
A. Nearly any cookware can work in a convection oven. Aluminum and light-colored pans are usually best because darker finishes can cause foods to cook too quickly. Ceramic and glass baking dishes don't distribute heat as well, so you may need to place them on the lower rack in a convection oven for even cooking.
Convection ovens we recommend
Best of the best: Breville Smart Oven Pro
Our take: Offers plenty of outstanding features and earns top marks for performance, making this the best convection oven available.
What we like: Boasts even heat distribution and extremely generous capacity. Included baking rack can be placed in three positions. Features 10 preset cooking functions, including a pizza option. Nonstick interior makes cleaning a breeze.
What we dislike: Some users aren't fans of the digital display.
Best bang for your buck: NuWave Pro Plus Oven
Our take: Coming in at an affordable price point and still providing top-notch performance, this convection oven is of serious value.
What we like: Browns foods effectively for crisp exteriors and moist interiors. Works especially well for meat and fish. Offers warm, reheat, and delay features. Digital controls allow you to adjust temperature in one-degree increments.
What we dislike: Some users find the dome can crack over time.
Our take: An effective convection oven that offers a wide variety of cooking functions and features.
What we like: Provides nine preset cooking functions, including Asado Roast for superior roasting results. Generous capacity allows you to make larger dishes. Timer can be set for as many as 120 minutes. Includes nonstick multipurpose pan, broiling rack, cooling rack, and drip tray.
What we dislike: Some users find the controls to be confusing. Temperature doesn't always remain consistent.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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