Every year brings along its own trends; in the form of both decades and individual years. You’ll find each chock-full of trends in all aspects of life; fashion, sports, and all the way to culinary devices and recipes.
One of the biggest hits of 2018-2019 was definitely the Air Fryers. They have been marketed for around two years and still are as creators of faux-fried texture and taste. They are trying to pull users in with the promise of those juicy deep-fried treats without all the oil, grease, carbs, and, of course, the guilt that hits you after.
How true are these promises, and can those new guys hold a candle to our trusty Convection Oven? That’s what we’re going to find out.
General Overview of Both Machines
The first thing that we have to address is the fact that both the convection oven and the air fryer are quite similar. They both work in the same way, even if each one is tweaked differently. They both depend on the rotation of hot air, and that is generally known as convection.
The difference here is that the convection oven usually has a power source, whether it be gas or electricity, which heats up a coil. The air then touches the coil, becomes hot, travels up, and the cycle continues.
On the other side, the air fryer depends on generating the hot air itself. It allows the air to revolve at much higher speeds and with much higher temperature since it’s not bound by how hot a coil can get. So, because of that reason alone, many would wager that an air fryer will definitely cook your food through and thorough down to the very last bit while a convection oven cannot reach the same results.
Yet, some convection ovens have fans that disperse the air around, and that makes it possible for the air to reach each and every part of your meal so that might tip the scale a little bit towards the convection oven.
Comparisons and opinions are endless, but what we have reached is that it all comes down to the kind of food that you’re introducing into your machine. An air fryer is designed to deal with frozen foods; you’re talking french fries, nuggets, and all that fast food that you want to enjoy in a festival. Supposedly you can do it just as well using an air fryer.
However, a convection oven is more designed towards the heavy stuff, like pork chops, ribs, steaks, and all that saucy food that you cannot put in an air fryer for reasons that we are going to discuss later on.
Air Fryer vs. Convection Oven – Full Comparison
Air fryers came out in 2018-2019, so they caught up with the trend of very sleek and smooth designs. You even call it sexy if you want. It’s designed in a way that’s focused on your comfort and to fit in with the aesthetic that you might have in your kitchen. A lot of it comes in either a shiny black or a stark white color that just gives you those trendy vibes.
Another thing is that its only compartment is quite easily managed. Just pull it out, check on your food and then put it back without any strain or effort whatsoever. That feature allows the air fryer to be user-friendly. Plus, it’s equipped with just one button used to set the temperature, one button used to set the time and the bin with the basket inside of it, and that’s it.
However, a convection oven is quite bulky and nowhere, even near the word ‘’trendy’’. It’s designed very normally, nothing to draw the attention. The more considerable disadvantage here is the inability to see your food most of the time. That’s due to the vapors and fumes produced from the cooking procedure. You will find that the glass screen is mostly dim and not that much of use.
Also, if you are dealing with people who have back problems or elderly, the idea of bending each time you have to look at it because the door opens downside can be exhausting. A lot of people have complained that that issue has left them less eager to use the device.
Winner: Air Fryer.
We have already established that the air fryer would reach a much higher temperature due to its slightly different mechanism of rapid hot air flowing and circulating around the food.
This little fact here allows it to win, hands down, when cooking/baking delicate treats such as soufflés. As it allows for better distribution and shorter cooking time, which is the perfect recipe for that soufflé.
On the other hand, the convection oven will give a relatively high temperature for an extended period of time successfully killing your soufflé.
Winner: Air Fryer.
Now, this is a tricky one because, due to the high temperature and better distribution, an air fryer will take much less time to cook your food than a convection oven. Actually, real-life experience has shown that it takes an air fryer 15 minutes to cook the same thing that a convection oven would cook in one hour.
So, this is, of course, a win for the air fryer, but there are still other factors that we’re going to talk about later on that are going to shed better light on this aspect.
Winner: Convection Oven.
The most important thing about any kitchen is your own comfort in moving around and using all these tools that you have paid a hefty price for. So before buying any machine, not just an air fryer or a convection oven, you have to be absolutely sure that you have the space for it and that it’s not going to hamper from using your coffee machine or toaster in the morning. Plus, all the wires have to be tucked away safely so that there’s absolutely no risk of tripping over them.
An air fryer can be moved around a little bit and can be stored when not needed, but it’s not a counter space saver. The device is, by no means, tiny and will take considerable space off your counter. Also, don’t forget height as some cabinets will not accommodate it.
A convection oven is much bigger than an air fryer; it will be stable on your counter space. There’s just no moving it around for good at all; it has to stay where it is.
Winner: Air Fryer.
This point is going to bring us back to the point of time. First, though, you ought to know that a convection oven can house a lot of food inside; it has a rack that helps a lot. You’re not making several batches.
The air fryer can hardly feed two people with one batch, so you are saving time if you’re cooking for yourself alone. However, if you’re having a party or are you cooking for yourself plus others, then you are certainly not. The several batches you’re going to make are going to subsidize and even overcome the time taken by the convection oven.
At this point, you really have to do the math and figure out how many people you intend this device to serve. Because that very well might be a deal-breaker as you certainly don’t want to spend 60 minutes cooking a dish that you can cook in 20.
Winner: Convection Oven.
There’s been a myriad of opinions about cleaning both the devices. Although a lot of people would say that the air fryer, it is much easier to clean since you can take out the entire compartment, wash it and clean it however you want. You can reach all those nukes and creases. Others would say that the net is tough to clean as all the juices and crumbs stick to it.
On the other hand, some people would say that the convection oven is very easy to clean; you just need a towel, stick your hand in there and just wipe everything you can. Plus, you can take out the rack and clean it just like your standard oven.
However, this has proven not to be the cup of tea for all, as many people stated that they don’t like the idea of the scattered-everywhere mess in a relatively large space like the inside of convection oven. There’s so much to clean and not enough freedom of movement to clean it as well as you want. That’s due to the fact that it’s only your hand that you can get inside so we can’t really see that much.
This is also totally dependent on the kind of food are you going to be making. Yet, a lot of people have reported that when they’ve searched for recipes for the air fryer, they always included a lot of prep. Time. All done to adapt the food more to meet the air fryer and be cooked inside it.
Nevertheless, with your regular convection oven, all you have to do is throw all your ingredients on the tray, paint them with oil, sprinkle seasoning on top, slide tray inside, and you’re done for the day. The learned lesson here is to check the available recipes for each device in order to decide which one suits you better.
Winner: Convection Oven.
Of course, the main focus of the marketing of air fryers have been ‘’Health’’, how it’s way more beneficial for you and the fact that very little to no oil is used. The air fryer does take no oil whatsoever most of the time as it cooks your food with hot air, and that’s it.
Only a lot of people have reported that it’s not the same as deep-fried food. People yes it’s like fried food, it’s close, but it’s nowhere near being the same. So, that really does beat the object here.
If you focus on the mechanism of preparing food in a convection oven, you’ll find that you already, don’t use that much grease. So, some people find that there’s hardly any difference and if there is, then, it’s not worth it.
However, if you are choosing to be extremely calorie-conscious and want to track your calories precisely, then maybe an air fryer would be better for you.
Winner: Air Fryer.
Pros and Cons:
So the final thoughts here cannot be conclusive as in this device is better than this device. This is not how such a decision is made, especially with kitchen appliances. You have to tailor that choice to your very own needs, and you’ll find that that was, indeed, mentioned at the end of every point.
If you are going to bake and prepare more fast food, then you should go for an air fryer. If lamp and pork chops are your thing, then you should go for the convection oven.
Also, one more thing that’s a significant factor in your choice is your budget. You will find that a high-end air fryer will cost you a fortune; however, a convection oven has a lot of options that range prices of $70-$200. Convection ovens do offer a lot of choices since they have been around for a lot longer.
Still, the final verdict here is that you can choose whichever one that you want if you are going for a strictly calorie-conscious life-style, then the air fryer will be your pal. If you are trying to eat healthily, but you’re not that strict about it, then go for the convection oven.
One thing to keep in mind is that neither machines will produce the same taste as deep-fried food. Hence, the better idea is to eat healthily, as much as possible, and then enjoy your guilty treat every now and then. Instead of trying and forcing yourself to believe that what you’re already having is the same as the deep-fried pleasures.