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Air Fryer vs. Convection Oven

The first thing you should know is that an air fryer is a miniature convection oven, with a catchy name.

Both the air fryer and the convection oven force air via a mechanical fan around the food so that it cooks evenly and quicker, but that seems to be the only thing they have in common. 

Actually, there is more to this ‘miniature convection oven’ than its name, it comes with a golden promise: Be not afraid of the obesity pandemic, diabetes or heart diseases, for I’m thy healthy guilt-free pass to enjoying delicious fried foods (This promise has been its major selling point since it was introduced at a consumer electronics fair, Internationale Funkausstellung, Berlin in 2010)

According to the Grand View Research, the global air fryer market size was valued at USD 658.9 million in 2018 and a predicted compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7% from 2019 to 2025. This sporadic market growth can be attributed to the increase in health awareness and information about following a healthy diet and lifestyle. 

Air Frying vs. Convection Baking

We hate to break it to you, but the air fryer does not actually fry food. It cooks food via convection baking, and that’s pretty much what the convection oven does – convection baking. Still, the air fryer gives a much closer deep-fried result than the convection oven, which makes it a worthy contender. 

ahem…The convection oven has been around long before the air fryer was even conceived. It is similar to the regular oven, only that it has a built-in fan, exhaust system, and a third heating element.

Heat is produced by an element (either gas or electric), and the fan forces this heat around the food, making sure that the food not only gets cooked evenly but faster as well. This is similar to how the air fryer works, except that the air fryer uses the patented Rapid Air technology to create heat.

As stated by the inventors of this low-fat frying kitchen appliance, Rapid Air technology mimics the effect of a deep fryer by matching the same amount of heat transfer via a rapid airflow inside the air fryer. This means that the air fryer blows air more forcefully around the food, and it uses a higher heat intensity compared to the convection oven.

Still, should you ignore all the rave and purchase a convection oven? Does the air fryer deserve a space on your counter? Is it worth your money? 

Let’s find out…

The price of an air fryer ranges between $60 – $400, depending on its capacity and functionality. The Philips models are very popular on Amazon but you can check out the NuWave 36011 3-Qt. Brio Air Fryer, it costs only a fraction of what others do (check latest sale price) but it also has a pretty small capacity of 3 quarts.

Going for a low-cost air fryer means that you would enjoy limited functions, and you would need to purchase separate accessories like baking pan, oven rack, grill pan, pizza pan, etc. to enjoy more functionality. 

The convection oven is more expensive yet versatile, and you can enjoy a bevy of functions without having to buy separate accessories.

A better deal is the GoWISE 15-in-1 Electric Air Fryer Oven w/Rotisserie and Dehydrator, it is one of the largest air fryers in the market; it has a cooking capacity of 12.7 quarts.

GoWISE comes with over 10 accessories like the rotisserie tong, oven rack, drip pan, skewer rotisserie, rotisserie Cage, shallow mesh basket, two mesh trays, etc. Like most products, it comes with a recipe book with 50 step-by-step air fryer recipes so you know what to cook in the air fryer, and how to cook it.

The air fryer is more convenient because it can fit perfectly on your kitchen countertop, but the convection oven models the convection toaster oven as a countertop appliance. Still, the convection toaster oven will take up more space than the air fryer. 

Speaking of speed, the air fryer uses much better technology and focuses its fan closer to the food, so it circulates hot air much faster. Its preheating and food prep time is 25-50% faster than the convection oven.

The air fryer is your best bet if you cook a lot of frozen food items. Newair says that an air fryer can heat from room temperature to over three hundred degrees Fahrenheit in less than three minutes. That is pretty fast!

A convection oven takes a long time to preheat, and even longer to cook the food. 

While the convection oven works slowly and quietly, the air fryer works very quickly and makes noise as loud as an average vacuum cleaner. Most users don’t mind the sound so long as they get to have their food faster.

An annoying drawback to the air fryer is its capacity; A 3-quart air fryer can accommodate food meant for 1-2 persons while a 5-quart air fryer can cook food for up to 5 persons.

The bigger, the better (and the more expensive). Stacking up food in a low-capacity air fryer means that you may need to open the appliance during the cooking process to shake/toss/flip the food around just so it can cook more evenly.

The convection oven cooks larger quantities of food at a go. Also, you may not need to disrupt the cooking process of a convection oven if food is lined spaciously on the pan or rack.

Overall, the best part of the air fryer is that it gives a better browning, crispiness to your food (just like fried foods), and inside of the food remains moist and juicier as well.  Amazing how it achieves this which little or no oil at all, you can’t achieve the same feat with the convection oven.

The air fryer delivers on its promise. If you’d like to enjoy fried foods without the extra unhealthy trans-fat, the air fryer is your best bet. It is a huge support to #FitFam gangs. It cooks faster too. 

Have you used an air fryer before? Let us know your experience in the comment section.

By Chelsea Jones

A huge fan of cooking extravagant (but healthy) meals at home, Chelsea recently started exploring the art of 'air frying' food. In this blog, she intends to share tips, strategies, recipes and do's and don'ts as she explores the fascinating (at least to her) world of Air Fryers.

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