Over the last century, ovens have served most men and women’s cooking passions. And in their distinct forms, they have also been used in the past for drying, heating, baking, and a whole lot of other purposes.
Present in a different form in today’s marketplace, ovens have once again started a debate among its users as to which oven (Toaster oven vs convection oven) is better than the other, and which one should be made the beauty of all household kitchens.
Before getting to the main section of the post where I highlight the differences between using the two appliances, let us look at what generally sets the two apart.
Convection ovens (AKA fan assisted ovens) are an upgrade from the conventional oven. As you may remember, conventional ovens relied solely on radiation from their walls and natural convection to transfer heat to meals they were cooking.
However, a convection oven takes a slightly different approach. A convection oven comes with a fan that blows hot air inside the oven to deliver even, quick, and thorough cooking on your food. This is the main feature that makes the convection oven more efficient than conventional counterparts.
That said, convection ovens are almost the same size as conventional ovens, and thus, they can also be used to bake cakes, pies, bread slices, broiling or roasting meat, reheating already cooked food, cooking casseroles, and even browning & toasting.
A toaster oven is a small version of the convection oven with a front door, but without the fan that blows hot hair. A toaster oven also comes with a removable baking pan and a removable wire rack. Some key applications of a toaster oven include dehydrating, roasting, defrosting, toasting, baking, and broiling.
In addition, a toaster oven works like a traditional oven, the heating elements are placed either on the bottom or top side and will cook food when they’re turned on. But unlike most traditional ovens, toaster ovens retail with a wide array of heating settings, from very low to very high for searing and broiling. You can even use it as a warmer.
Like a traditional oven, a toaster oven also boasts a timer option and thermostats that ensure consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.
Now that you understand what sets apart the two products, let us look at the differences between using the two.
Source of power
A toaster oven runs solely on electricity since it is a “plug and use” appliance. Most convection ovens, on the other hand, can run on gas as well as electricity. This is a win for the convection oven because in case there is a blackout, someone who owns a toaster oven will have no choice but to halt their cooking procedure, whereas people with a convection toaster oven can go on with what they were doing as they wait for power to return.
Toaster oven vs convection toaster oven energy usage
The convection oven takes the lead on this one as well. If you needed to set your toaster oven to, let’s say 450° to cook a certain meal, you would need to adjust and reduce the temperature when it comes to the convection toaster oven due to its fan that’s circulating hot air around the food.
The exact amount of temperature and time you have to cut down will be depending on what you are preparing. Different oven models will also require distinct settings. So in such a case, trial and error may be what is needed for best results.
As expected, a toaster oven will cook slower compared to a convection toaster oven, due to the fan we just talked about that’s circulating hot air, hence expediting the cooking process. That said, some toaster ovens nowadays are also come with a fan, so in such cases, the two appliances may take the same time to prepare the same meal.
A toaster oven is a countertop model, which implies it is small and most of the time is designed to accommodate four to six slices of bread. In fact, some are even smaller, retailing with a 2 slice capacity (for instance the MaxiMatic toaster oven.)
Remember, one of the main functions toaster ovens were designed to do is to toast bread slices, and so, if they are too large, then the toasting effectiveness is affected. If the distance between the slices of bread on the rack and the heating element is huge, do not expect delicious or nicely toasted slices.
That said, a convection oven was created to replace the traditional oven, which implies they can be very huge. Even though there are countertop models as well, you’ll have the option to go large if you wish. This way, you can prepare large meals for family gatherings and parties without a hassle.
When you will need the convection feature depends on what you’re preparing and hope to attain. If you’d like to roast and create a nice crust but retain little juices in your meat, then using a convection oven is your best option. The convection fan will also assist with the extra lift for meals such as pastries and pies.
But not all foods will need a convection fan. If you would like to retain as much moisture as you can in your meals, then I recommend you to use a toaster oven. For example, baking a birthday cake would be better done in a toaster oven, as this will ensure it does not end up with a crusty layer.
Needless to say, a wall convection oven is more expensive than a toaster oven. After all, the size is much bigger, so the cost of this sort of oven can easily rise up to $1,000 and sometimes to $2,000. Even if you compare countertop models of the same size, a convection oven will be more expensive because it fits the additional fan feature.
As you can see, each product has its pros and cons, and the one you choose will largely depend on your needs as well as personal preference. But as a rule of thumb, if you’d like to prepare large meals in a short time, then a convection oven is the way to go.
But if you’d like to carry out medium to small sized cooking tasks (such as cooking small roasts and baking some cookies), then a toaster oven would be a better choice.
I hope this post has helped clear the Toaster oven vs convection toaster oven debate in your head.