Air Fryer vs. Convection Oven: Which Is Best For Your Cooking Needs?

Last modified on September 13th, 2021 at 1:48 pm

**Disclosure: We recommend the best products we think would help our audience and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post contains affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, and we may earn a small commission. Read our full privacy policy here.

Air Fryers and convection ovens are both popular choices for preparing meals that are evenly cooked and crispy, so it can be challenging to know which option is best for your cooking needs. 

You need to know the primary differences between air fryer vs. convection oven, how they work, and what kind of food you can prepare in each of them.

In this blog post, we will provide insight into these concerns, and we will discuss when you should use an air fryer or a convection oven, so make sure to stay with us till the end.

How Does An Air Fryer Work? What’s The Big Deal?

(And Why The Air Fryer Was Considered As The BEST Christmas Gift…)

chicken fillet in air fryer

So what is an air fryer, really? An air fryer is a type of deep-fryer that has been designed for healthier cooking by frying with hot air instead of oil. So with an air fryer, now you can prepare your favorite snacks with far less fat and what’s even more important, with fewer calories!

Air fryers are great for anyone who loves fried food but wants to eat healthier. They heat up quickly and cook your favorite foods with less fat than traditional deep fryers. And they’re simple enough for anyone in the family to use!

Not a long time ago, Amazon declared the air fryers as the perfect Christmas gift, simply because they are modern and compact countertop appliances that can be used to bake, roast, and re-crisp your food in no time.

The air fryers work by blowing heated air over the food through a fan that sits on top of a heating element, and because the air circulates more rapidly in the small chamber inside, it drastically speeds up the cooking process.

The result? Crispy outer edges of even delicate foods without any oil!

So, if you’re looking to save time while preparing healthier foods that are extra crispy with a golden exterior (like our air fryer tater tots recipe here), and without leaving an oily mess behind, then an air fryer can be your best option (or even better Christmas gift)!

How Does The Convection Oven Work?

(And Why It’s Still Mom-Approved Appliance After All These Years…)

The convection oven has been on the market for a long, long time. Starting as a must-have appliance in commercial kitchens in the restaurants, they evolved as moms’ favorite innovation in every home.

Convection oven

Convection ovens are still the best option for cooking family dinner in a quick and evenly manner because they provide consistent, quality baking.

The convection oven offers a number of features that make it the best option for quick and evenly cooked meals for your family and friends. It has a powerful fan that circulates hot air in the oven so food cooks quickly with no need to rotate or stir during cooking time. The interior light makes it easy to see how your meal is progressing without opening the door which can cause heat loss.

Its large capacity allows you to cook multiple dishes at once, saving time on busy nights when you have more than one thing in the oven.

The convection oven models come with different temperature ranges from 50°F to 450°F which allows for versatility when cooking different foods at different temperatures according to your needs. They also have vents for ensuring all areas of the food are evenly heated, without getting the oven too humid.

Also, they are easier to clean than the traditional ovens, meaning that you won’t have to worry about baking spray or grease in the cracks… just clean the pan, and you are done!

It’s important to mention that a convection oven uses more energy, takes a larger space, and heats up much slower than an air fryer, so it doesn’t have the convenience of being able to fry smaller batches of fries or chicken wings on the fly like you can with air frying.

However, it’s still a great solution for cooking family-sized dishes, such as a whole turkey, cake, or ham that takes up an entire rack in your oven.

Is An Air Fryer A Convection Oven? The Answer Might Surprise You!


So, is an air fryer a convection oven? Yes and no!
(We told you the answer might surprise you 🙂)

Although the air fryer works on the same principle as a convection oven by using hot air to cook the food, it has some major differences.

Yes, it’s much more than a small portable convection oven with a fancy name!

The air fryer differs from the convection oven primarily because it’s a healthier and cost-efficient cooking alternative that doesn’t use any oils and fats that are typically found in fried foods.

Air frying also cooks food faster than other methods such as baking, grilling, or roasting in a convection oven, since the heat surrounds the food from all sides at once. This makes for a crispy crust without greasy residue on the outside of your dish!

You can even make desserts like doughnuts and cookies in an air fryer without having them taste oily or greasy.

You can also check out our comprehensive guide to help you with how to use an air fryer or how to air fry here.

7 Differences Between Air Fryer And Convection Oven

Let’s check the 7 most important differences of air fryers vs. convection ovens.

  1. Air fryers can cook your food at a lower temperature and with less time as compared with convection ovens.
  2. Air fryers take little to no preheat time, while convection ovens take longer to preheat the oven.
  3. Air fryers are more energy-efficient, while convection ovens use significantly more energy for cooking.
  4. An air fryer cooks smaller batches of food faster than a convection oven.
  5. Oiled and greasy foods can’t be cooked in a convection oven like doughnuts and french fries, but they can be perfectly cooked in an air fryer without actually getting oily or greasy on the outside.
  6. The air fryers have fast fans located at the top so the heat is more concentrated, while the fans in the convection oven are slower and located back at the oven.
  7. While convection ovens don’t require any accessories, the air fryers are typically paired with custom accessories for quick and even cooking, without the need to flip or toss. You can place air fryer baskets, trays, baking pans, racks, rotisserie spits, kebabs sticks, and many more accessories for preparing the crispiest food you will ever taste!

5 Air Fryers Benefits That Every Cooking Enthusiast Need To Know

Best Air Fryers
  • Your health is a top priority and air fryers can help in preserving it. Air fryers are a healthy cooking option for many cooking enthusiasts because of their efficient method of heating up the interior, which makes your food extra crispy and tender with absolutely no oil needed.
  • Cleaning an air fryer can be a walk in the park. The modern air fryers are so easy to clean up, because the inside pan is made of nonstick material, so you can take it and clean it quickly in the sink with water and soap.
  • Your family will love the taste of your air-fried food. Also with the air fryer, you can serve up your family’s favorite foods quicker than ever.
  • You won’t go back to traditional frying ever again! Once you see how fast and convenient it is to prepare meals with your modern air fryer, you won’t want to touch your convection oven (unless you are preparing a large amount of food).
  • You will save more money, energy, and time. Since air fryers are highly energy-efficient, you will save more money on electricity and you will reduce your cooking time by over 30%.

Are Air Fryers Really Worth It? Or Should You Just Stick To Convection Oven?

It’s true that both an air fryer and a convection oven provide delicious results if operated and cleaned properly.

Convection ovens can be a great option if you have a large family, as they can cook up a large amount of food, cakes, meals, and meat (including that Thanksgiving turkey). In this case, you probably don’t need an air fryer.

woman cooking using oven

But on the other hand, the air fryer can be of great help to you if you want to quickly prepare smaller, healthier meals and heat up frozen food to the desired temperature (which may not always be the case with convection ovens). 

Along with other benefits that we’ve mentioned previously, they are cheaper and have a compact, futuristic design that can fit on your kitchen countertop perfectly.

However, at the end of the day, it’s really a matter of personal preference, and your decision can strongly depend on what type of food you want to prepare.

Speaking of types of food, let’s see now what you can cook in an air fryer and what in a convection oven…

What Can You Cook In An Air Fryer, And What In Convection Oven?

Air fryers cook foods that normally require dry heat, such as roasting and frying. Its main purpose is to cook food of many shapes and sizes, such as meat, fries, burgers, fish sticks, pizza rolls, cookies, sandwiches, and small pastries.

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Tenders in Air Fryer

Breaded foods like mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers, or chicken nuggets also are a great fit for an air fryer. Just remember to use minimal or no oil at all in order to avoid soggy results!

For your larger baking needs, convection ovens are the better option and can bake things like breads, cakes, and pies in a fast manner that will make your house smell delicious!

Closing Thoughts

In this blog post, we’ve gone over the differences between air fryers vs. convection ovens, so you can easily make an informed decision about which one is right for your cooking needs. Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on these two appliances so that now they won’t seem as daunting anymore.

If you wish to discover more about what we would recommend based on our experience with these different types of appliances, you can check out our list of top-rated air fryer brands here or our individual product review of Emeril Air Fryer 360 here!

Happy cooking!

Try Our Easy-To-Follow Air Fryer Recipes and Cooking Guides:

Leave a Comment