Are you looking to replace your microwave oven with a new one? Am sure you would have come across things like Convection microwave and inverter microwave. If you didn’t know any better you might think that the internet is out to confuse you.
The major difference between these two microwave ovens occurs in their mechanism of power supply, a system of heat delivery and distribution, energy efficiency and general outcome of food.
Don’t fret if you are confused. Convection and Inverter microwave ovens are two separate kinds of microwave ovens. Although it is possible to have a microwave with both functions. So…what is the difference between a convection microwave and an inverter microwave oven?
In this article, the differences between the two microwave ovens will be established to give you the necessary information you will require when choosing a new microwave oven (see also ‘Convection Oven vs Microwave‘).
What is a Convection Microwave Oven?
A convection microwave oven is a kind of microwave oven improved with an in-built convection fan which helps to distribute the hot air produced by emitted microwaves (see ‘How Does a Convection Microwave Oven Work?‘). Also, while here, check out the best convection microwaves we recommend.
As regards shape, size, or color, the convection microwave oven is indistinguishable from any regular microwave oven; the only edge being the fan system which improves heat distribution and promotes uniformity in cooking. However, when it comes to ventilation, there are microwaves with convertible and recirculating vents, which you should be aware of before purchase.
The most distinctive feature of convection microwave ovens is that they can grill and bake like regular ovens.
They are basically 2-in-1 devices. They can use the microwave heat to cook from inside out and use the convection heat to cook outside in. On the other hand, this microwave air fryer from Galanz, goes one step forward, though.
What is an Inverter Microwave Oven?
This kind of microwave oven works by supplying power through an inverter circuit rather than a transformer as it is common in an ordinary microwave oven.
Normally, in a regular microwave oven, the work of a transformer is to step up or down –as the case may be- electricity to high voltages.
Transformers turn the magnetron assembly (the device that generates microwaves) on and off in order to maintain a certain power level.
This constantly turning on and off of magnetron assembly (in theory) distributes uneven heat to the food.
An inverter circuit, on the other, not only decreases the overall weight of the microwave oven, it provides the exact amount of voltage as needed to maintain a certain power level. In other words, it DOES NOT turn the magnetron assembly on and off.
Therefore, a portion of food cooked with an inverter circuit is more uniform as well as consistent in heat across the board.
So in short, in the absence of a transformer in an inverter microwave oven, the inverter supplies a steady amount of voltage throughout the cooking process.
Also Read: What is Microwave Oven Inverter Technology?
Difference Between Convection and Inverter Microwave Oven?
Now that we know what they are, let us now distinguish them from each other.
From power supply to heat distribution, there are several differences between a convection microwave oven and an inverter microwave oven.
In short, an inverter circuit relates to the system of power supply, whereas the convection feature relates to the method of cooking ( see sensor cooking explained).
An inverter microwave oven can also be a convection microwave oven and vice versa.
To help you choose the best microwave oven for you, here are some tips:
Delivery of Heat
In convection microwave oven, heat delivery is enhanced. It burns hotter and faster. Unlike regular microwave ovens whereby the microwave reacts only with the water molecules and cooks inside out, in convection ovens, the food can be cooked like a regular oven (outside-in).
The convection microwave oven has both radiation as well as convection heating methods. A regular microwave only has a radiation heating method.
This is as a result of the mechanism of heat transfer used in this microwave oven – the built-in fan. This fan helps to blow the hot air produced by the microwave so that it is delivered throughout the cooking space of the gadget. Also, in some cases, microwaves have the ability to go into the mute mode to avoid distraction from a fan or a motor.
Inverter microwave on the other hand, has a similar mode of heat delivery as a regular microwave oven.
The only difference between the inverter and convection microwave oven as regards the delivery of heat is that the former produces an equal and consistent amount of power control throughout the cooking process.
Convection microwave oven supplies power for its functioning like any regular microwave oven. The transformer supplies electricity; it also steps it up or down to a high voltage depending on the current.
In inverter microwave ovens, power is supplied through the inverter circuit. The circuit provides the same amount of power throughout the period of cooking as needed.
In both cases, however, power from either the transformer or the inverter circuit is transferred to the magnetron which is responsible for producing microwaves that cook food. On the other hand, grapes, for example, trap electromagnetic energy, which can cause flashes or sparks in the microwave and is thus best avoided being cooked in a microwave.
A consistent supply of power through the inverter circuit results in better efficiency as well as consistent heat distribution.
Uniformity in Cooking
The two kinds of microwave ovens cook food evenly but through different processes though you can do without a microwave when cooking microwave food, too.
A convection microwave oven cooks food to even perfection – unlike its regular counterpart that has numerous complaints about overcooked edges or cold spots – this is thanks to the built-in fan that ensures that heat is transferred to the entire food.
In regular and older microwave ovens there are times when the temperature drops and rises because of the inconsistency in power control i.e transformer. This can may result in uneven heating especially if the oven isn’t high-powered – 900 watt ovens spring to mind.
Inverter microwave oven also cooks food very evenly although the process is a bit different. Instead of circulating hot air throughout the cooking chamber, an inverter oven promotes even cooking via regulating a constant supply of power.
General Outcome of the Food
Convection microwave ovens can cook food very fast. This is why without supervision, food can come out overcooked or burnt (see ‘How to Get Burnt Smell Out of Microwave‘). Also due to the rise and fall of the power supply, delicate foods might lose their flavor.
Convection ovens are more suitable for baking because they practically can work like a regular oven or a toaster oven.
The benefit of Convection Microwave Ovens is that they can enable you to not only bake but roast and grill which is otherwise not possible on a normal oven.
As for the inverter microwave oven, their general outcome or cooking method is similar to a regular oven. They are just more consistent in heating.
Lastly, when it comes to food containers, go to this post that explains whether plastic, metal, or ceramic is microwave-safe.
Convection microwave ovens are energy efficient as compared to a regular microwave oven. This is because food cooks faster in them as the heat is distributed via the fan quickly. This helps to save more power. However, they are not as energy efficient as inverter microwave ovens.
Inverter microwave ovens are highly efficient. This is because they control the power output and by this, cook faster. This helps to lower the cost of electricity bills and quite possibly the longer life of a microwave (see also our tips for a long-lasting microwave oven).
Compared to most kinds of microwave ovens available out there, both microwave ovens in question are quite expensive.
But generally, inverter microwave ovens are more expensive than convection microwave ovens. It is also why you should get familiar with troubleshooting guides yourself, so you can avoid a potentially costly issue (see SE error code on Samsung microwaves, for example).
Both convection microwave oven and inverter microwave ovens can be found in many sizes. However, they generally range from midsize to large. They cannot be found on smaller sizes models i.e less than 1.0 CU FT (see where to put an oven in a small space). Nevertheless, if you need to utilize kitchen space we advise you to look for a setup that includes a countertop microwave oven.
In this article, we discussed the topic “What is the difference between convection and inverter microwave oven” shedding light on their different properties.
In a way, the two microwave ovens are quite distinct. One pertains to the supply of power, the other oven relates to the method of heating.
Nonetheless, be it convection or inverter microwave, you are clearly getting a superior kind of microwave oven when you compare it to a normal microwave oven.
So when choosing your new microwave oven, be sure to weigh these differences to get the best out of your shiny new microwave oven.
1. Are inverter microwave ovens better?
Yes, it is. The inverter microwave is powered by the inverter circuit, whereas the conventional microwave is powered by the transformer. The primary advantage of an inverter oven is that it maintains a constant temperature throughout the cooking process.
2. What is an inverter microwave oven?
The microwave oven is powered by an inverter circuit rather than a transformer as is the case with standard microwave ovens (see this Hamilton Beach microwave). This inverter maintains the same voltage throughout cooking, unlike a conventional oven, which fluctuates.
3. What is the benefit of an inverter microwave?
You can poach, braise, and even steam more delicate foods with Inverter, all at the speed and convenience of a microwave. You'll end up with delectable, healthy, nutritient meals in less time, temperature-controlled to ensure that no flavor is lost.
4. Which is better microwave or convection oven?
To compare the two, a convection oven heats food from the outside, whereas a microwave oven heats food from the inside. While microwave ovens are excellent for uniform reheating, cooking, and defrosting, convection microwaves are ideal for grilling, baking, roasting, browning, and crisping foods.
5. What is better convection or inverter microwave?
Convection microwave ovens consume less energy than conventional microwave ovens. They are, however, less energy efficient than inverter microwave ovens. Microwave ovens with inverter technology are extremely efficient. This is because they regulate the power output and thus cook more quickly.