Toaster Ovens

Is a Convection Oven the Same as a Toaster Oven? | Our Detailed Answer

ovens in the kitchen
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The answer is no, a convection oven is not the same as a toaster oven. Convection ovens and toaster ovens are similar in that they both cook food with heating elements. However, the way convection ovens and toaster ovens work are different.

Today we're going to explore this question and learn the differences between these two kitchen appliances.

What is a Convection Oven?

Convection ovens are the best of both worlds: they combine a traditional oven with the convenience and speed of a convection system. Convection ovens are essentially regular ovens with a fan or series of fans that circulate air throughout the cooking cavity.

This allows for faster and more even cooking of meats, vegetables, baked food, and just about anything else you can think of. The circulating air also allows for better browning and crisping of foods, as well as bread rising higher than it would without the extra airflow. Convection ovens can also handle more food at once since they're able to circulate air around everything and cook each piece of food more thoroughly.

While they weren't always common in home kitchens, they have become very popular in recent years due to their versatility and ability to cook food more quickly than conventional ovens.

pastries in the oven

What is a Toaster Oven?

A toaster oven is a small electric oven that is designed to toast, bake, and broil. It's more energy-efficient than a full-sized conventional oven, and it can often do the same jobs as a countertop oven or a microwave oven.

In most cases, toaster ovens use only one heating element on the top or bottom of the appliance. It is worth noting that there are modern toaster ovens that are much more advanced with convection options hence you can find convection toaster ovens.

Toaster ovens are great for cooking small quantities of food, and they're especially useful for solo cooks or couples who don't need large amounts of leftovers. If you live in a very small kitchen or studio apartment and only have space for one small appliance instead of two, a toaster oven can easily replace both your microwave and your toaster.

toaster oven in the kitchen

Convection Oven Vs. Toaster: What’s the Difference?

Fan for Circulating Air

Basically, a convection oven is an oven that has fans in it, which circulate heat around your food. Because of this, convection ovens cook food evenly. The fan also helps heat up your food faster.

A convection oven also has vents at its top and bottom, which ensures that hot air is constantly flowing around your food while it cooks; this allows you to get good results even when cooking multiple dishes at once.

Toaster Ovens Radiate Heat

The toaster oven is used for toasting, reheating, grilling, etc.  It does not have a fan for even heat distribution, which means that it does not cook evenly. That's why you should turn your food over halfway through cooking time in a toaster oven.

But when you add a convection function to a toaster oven, you have a convection toaster oven that works as a regular toaster and a convection oven.

There are many things that can be cooked in both a convection oven and a toaster oven; however, since they cook differently, foods will taste differently depending on which appliance you use.

a person baking pizza in a toaster oven

Convection Oven Vs. Toaster: Size

The main difference between convection ovens and toaster ovens is size. A standard oven is about twice as big as a toaster, although there are mini-convection ovens that are closer in size.

Toaster ovens are miniature versions of convection ovens. They can bake and broil but often don't have enough space to roast a whole chicken or turkey. They are better suited for preparing foods that don't require large amounts of heat, such as rolls, muffins, or other small baked goods.

Convection ovens are larger and take up more space, but they are able to cook bigger meals so if you're prone to cooking for large groups or want to roast your turkey in the same appliance you use for pizzas and cookies, a convection oven is the best.

Price

Another difference between a convection oven and a toaster oven is the price. Convection ovens are pretty pricey and not every home has one just yet. But if you're serious about your baking or cooking, this is definitely an investment worth making. If you're just looking for something that can toast and warm up small dishes in a pinch, then save your money and grab yourself a toaster oven instead.

a woman using convection oven

Convection Oven Vs Toaster Oven: Versatility or Cooking Functions

Convection ovens are more versatile than toaster ovens. Convection ovens are great for broiling, roasting, baking, and reheating foods. You can cook anything that you would normally cook in a regular oven because they have the same capabilities.

Convection baking is especially useful for food like roast chicken, which can dry out quickly if not cooked properly; by circulating the hot air around the bird as it cooks, a countertop convection oven keeps it moist and tender inside until it's done.

The same goes for baked food like breads, muffins, and cookies; baking with convection helps them cook evenly from all sides so they come out looking golden brown on top with no burnt edges. And because convection cooking doesn't require you to turn your food while it cooks, you can go do something else while the convection oven is cooking.

A Convection Oven has more Functions

Convection ovens tend to have more functions, including steaming, dehydrating, and slow cooking. In addition, a convection oven can cook foods quicker and more evenly than a standard toaster oven. If this is important to you, look for an oven that has a fan on both the top and bottom for the most even cooking outcome.

A toaster oven is for toasting bread, reheating food, and grilling small amounts of food.

a toaster oven in use

Cooking Time

Convection ovens take less time to cook food than toaster ovens. If you're in a hurry, a convection oven will cut time off your baking schedule. Food cooks faster in a convection oven because the hot air is moving around the food at a higher speed than it would in a non-convection appliance.

The air that's circulating around the food keeps it from drying out, so you don't have to worry about your cookies tasting like cardboard if you set the timer for a few minutes less than usual.

Also, toaster ovens have smaller heating elements than full-size traditional ovens, so they will heat up much slower. This is why it takes longer for food to cook in a toaster oven.

clocks with different time  illustration

Even-Heat Distribution of Conventional Ovens

Freestanding and countertop convection ovens have been around since the 1940s, but are now becoming more common in kitchen homes thanks to their even heating. A fan is installed in the back of convection ovens that circulates hot air around so your food will cook more evenly.

In older ovens, the heat would rise and make your food cook faster on top than on the bottom. The convection setting gives you a more even distribution of heat which means your food will cook faster and be done at the same time.

So, no more burnt crusts and undercooked centers. Plus, the oven will maintain an even temperature throughout the cooking process, preventing the dry heat from rising to the top and scorching your baked food. What’s not to love about that?

But What About Flavor?

The heat of a toaster oven is ideal for delicate foods, like seafood or vegetables. However, if you like crispy and crunchy foods like fries, pizza, and chicken wings, then a convection oven is for you. That’s because it transfers heat 2-3 times faster than toaster ovens.

Even heating can only be achieved by conventional toaster ovens and convection ovens.

crispy chicken wings

Toaster Oven Types

Now that you are aware of the differences between a regular toaster oven and a convection one, explore the different types of toaster ovens to suit all your needs. Check out the extracts from our reviews:

Toaster Ovens for Baking

Next time you are looking for something tasty to cookies, brownies, and other delicacies, use your toaster oven instead of your full-size equipment. Cleaning up will go more quickly, and you're not going to get a bunch of enticing treats. Toaster ovens for baking come in many sizes and at varying prize ranges. Depending upon how much you bake, you can choose the appropriate option. 

Mini Toaster Ovens

Most mini toaster ovens lack the convection feature. However, you can most certainly find mini models with convection but at a higher price tag. Generally for basic toasting i.e toasting bread for breakfast, you can do without a convection. However, for reheating or cooking meat and vegetables, you will find Convection a great feature.

Digital Toaster Ovens

While digital toaster ovens may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they can promote ease of use once you get the hang of it. The intuitive user interface and myriad of automated functions on these models can be quite convenient. For simple toasting of bread slices, any budget digital option would do just fine. However, with the high end models, you will have to gauge whether the high price tag is worth it.

Large Toaster Ovens

It should be obvious that when it comes to sheer size, toaster ovens are not a replacement for regular ovens. However, if you need alternative to regular ovens that is much cheaper and consume less energy yet still promise the same cooking function, then toaster ovens are the way to go. For home chefs, a large toaster oven would merely add another dimension to cooking.

Low Wattage Toaster Ovens

While the least powerful toaster ovens above may take their time to cook or to reach desired temperatures, they are great at conserving power. The lower the power rating, the smaller is the food portion that they are suitable for. Most of the low wattage toaster ovens are simple toaster oven without any added functionality.

FAQs related to Convection Ovens Vs. Toaster Ovens

Which Is Better, a Toaster Oven or Convection Oven?

If you don't want to cook lots of meals but still want to cook something delicious and hot, a toaster oven or a convection toaster oven will do. Consider getting one if you live in a small space, like an apartment or a dorm room.

Convection Ovens Are Ideal for Large Meals

However, if you have a family and often find yourself cooking for several people at once, convection ovens or traditional ovens might be the better option for you. Convection ovens are great for cooking larger amounts of food because they use fans to circulate hot air around the food being cooked. This helps all of your food cook faster and more evenly.

If you're a fan of a crispy crust on your pizza, a pie with a golden top or bottom, or tasty bread that's toasted evenly, choose a convection oven or a convection toaster oven. The fan inside the oven circulates hot air around so your food will cook more evenly. Plus, depending on the model you buy, it could help save energy and money.

How Much Does a Convection Oven Cost Vs Toaster Oven?

A convection oven will cost more upfront than a convection toaster oven or a regular toaster, but in the long run, it will pay off if you plan on using it regularly.

Toaster ovens tend to be much cheaper than traditional ovens because they are smaller and do not have additional features like those of convectional ovens such as fans. However, some come with a wire rack and a removable baking pan.

We compared the costs of a few different toaster oven models and convection ovens to get an idea of how much the average consumer would spend on each. The prices for each type of oven varied by brand and model, but we found that you can expect to pay anywhere from around $50 to $500 for a good-quality convection oven and anywhere from $30 to $300 for a good-quality toaster oven.

So clearly, there is no quick answer as far as price differences between a convection oven and vs toaster oven.

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