Convection Oven vs Toaster Oven: Which Is Better?
There are many things to consider when purchasing an oven that is best for you and your home.
You need to give some thought to what you’re going to be cooking, how much space you have, and how ambitious most of your meals are.
Everyone’s diet is different, which is why we are so spoiled for choice when it comes to food and kitchen appliances.
In the debate concerning convection oven vs toaster oven, which one comes out on top?
The answer, it turns out, depends on you.
Convection Oven vs Toaster Oven
Let’s examine the strengths and weaknesses of the two so that you can see which one suits you and your cooking needs best.
Don’t be fooled by the name and the size; this small appliance can do a lot more than just turn your bread into toast!
Thanks to its small and compact size, the toaster oven is much more energy-efficient than your much larger conventional or convection oven, making it the greenest choice.
There are a surprising amount of things that you can bake, toast, and cook in a toaster oven.
This little guy can handle everything from paninis, kebabs, and pizzas to mac n’ cheese, baked fish, and homemade muffins.
Although a regular oven can also accommodate all of the things mentioned above, what it can’t do is be moved around with the same ease as the toaster oven.
One of the best things about a toaster oven is that it is small enough for even a studio apartment.
You also won’t need to hire an Olympic weightlifter to get it up the stairs to your flat, nor will you have to rearrange your entire kitchen to accommodate it.
Its size is also an advantage when it comes to the worst of jobs—cleaning.
The surface area of the toaster oven is considerably smaller than a large oven, so cleaning up is going to be a much easier job.
Although the small size of the toaster oven is one of it’s biggest strengths, it also means the toaster oven lacks the capacity of a regular-sized oven.
Although, if you only plan on making small pizzas or half a dozen muffins, then it's really all you need.
On the other hand, if you are an ambitious baker who plans on serving up a three-course dinner at Thanksgiving, then you might want to consider a larger appliance.
No toaster oven is large enough to properly cook you a ham at Christmas!
- Heat Distribution
Toaster ovens generate heat the same way as normal ovens do.
However, the thing a toaster oven lacks is an internal fan, which a convection oven and a convection microwave both have.
The internal fan ensures that the heat is evenly distributed, which means everything is cooked at the same rate.
Without this internal fan, the toaster oven lacks the capability of distributing heat as evenly, as well as cooking as quickly, as the convection oven.
The convection oven is the most popular choice for ambitious cooks who plan on making feasts for family and friends!
Convection ovens are by far the more spacious choice of the two and will better suit the more ambitious cooks among us.
With sometimes four to six racks inside, this cavernous appliance allows you to cook large items or multiple dishes at once.
There are a few things this appliance cannot handle; instead, you can use it for baking, broiling, browning, or basting.
It can help you create the perfect meal one day and then reheat your leftovers the next.
The convection oven is truly a jack of all trades, at least when it comes to cooking.
- Heat Distribution
Thanks to the fans within the oven, airflow is perfectly distributed to every corner.
This means that your food will be a uniform temperature without any hot or cold spots, which you sometimes end up with when you microwave your food or use a toaster oven.
Although its capacity allows for more and larger things to be cooked, it also means that you have to sacrifice more kitchen space.
If you live in a small apartment or simply don’t plan on making large meals, this might be something to consider before buying a convection oven.
Seeing that it has a larger area to heat up, naturally, a convection oven uses more energy.
It’s a bit of a waste to use that much gas or electricity just to make one lunchtime panini.
If you’re very conscious of your carbon footprint, only use the convection oven when the toaster oven can’t get the job done.
Cleaning a large oven can be a real pain in the neck (as well as the knees and the back!).
Anyone who has had to clean an oven knows that it can be a difficult and time-consuming chore.
Still, it is not wise to skip this job since unhygienic cooking conditions can affect both the taste of your meal and your health.
If you aren’t one who has the time or the energy to devote to keeping an oven clean, it should be something you consider before you purchase a full-size oven.
Is It Time to Consider a Third Option?
If you still can’t decide between a convection oven and a toaster oven, then perhaps it’s time to start looking at another appliance altogether.
A marriage between a normal microwave and a convection oven, a convection microwave can reheat your food in a jiffy, as well as crisp or brown your baked goods.
A convection microwave works the same way as a traditional microwave but with the key addition of a fan for the all-important heat distribution.
This means you can reheat last night’s lasagna and recreate the crispy, cheesy top that would have remained soggy in a regular microwave.
Not too big and not too small, the convection microwave sits in Goldilocks’ sweet spot.
It will fit nicely on most kitchen counters and won’t break your back if you have to carry it five stories up to your apartment.
With mostly smooth surfaces and prime countertop position, the convection microwave is much easier to clean than the aforementioned convection oven.
Cleaning it is quick, easy, and straightforward, and you won’t have to worry about pesky grease hiding in any unseen spots.
- Heat Distribution
The convection microwave uses a fan to distribute heat evenly.
Therefore, you will get a nice even cook, similar to what you would achieve with a convection oven, in addition to the fast cook time of the microwave.
- User-Friendly Operation
Microwaves, in general, are more straightforward than ovens, and they sometimes even have pre-set configurations for cooking specific meals.
For example, you can just throw in your bag of popcorn, hit the popcorn button, and come back a few minutes later to a perfectly popped snack.
This also means your food is less likely to burn when using this appliance.
Although it can handle reasonably large dishes, what it can’t do is cook multiple things at once.
The convection microwave has just the one rotating tray on the bottom opposed to the multiple racks that the oven has.
So, if you’re baking multiple things at a time or large trays of cookies or bread, this is not the best option.
- Not Metal-Friendly
You cannot put metal of any kind in a microwave, which means that if you absent-mindedly forget to take the aluminum foil off of your leftover pasta, you might end up with a much bigger problem than a ruined bolognese.
Metal in microwaves can create sparks, which are a major fire hazard.
Some plastics are also not meant to be put in a microwave as they can melt and secrete harmful gases.
1. Can a convection microwave replace a toaster oven?
A convection microwave can take over many of the tasks of a toaster oven, and it can easily make small dishes that you would normally use a toaster oven for.
However, for just making basic toast, the toaster oven does a much better job than the convection microwave.
If you are looking for something that will heat up frozen appetizers, reheat leftovers, and make popcorn, the convection microwave is a much better option because of its versatility.
2. Is a convection oven healthier than a microwave?
The healthiness of your microwave depends on how you use it.
You should stick to microwave-safe containers and avoid putting plastic of any kind in your microwave.
The waves emitted from the microwave that cooks your food are no more dangerous to your health than your cell phone or laptop.
The FDA strictly regulates microwaves, too, so there is nothing inherent in their design that makes microwaves more unsafe than convection ovens.
At the end of the day, the debate between convection oven vs toaster oven all comes down to what you are planning on using them for.
If you have a big family that you often cook for, the convection oven is going to be a better choice because of its bigger size and its higher capacity.
The same applies if you are the type of person who likes to host dinner parties or have lots of leftovers.
However, if you don’t usually cook large meals, don’t do a lot of baking, or have a small kitchen, the toaster oven could be adequate for your needs due to its smaller size.