The 21st century is an amazing time to be a home cook — from digital thermal thermometers that give you accurate readings in 0.5 seconds to sous vide machines that help you make a perfectly cooked steak without a flame, we’ve seen a lot of game-changing innovations in the last couple of decades. But the appliance that’s gotten most of the attention in the last few years is the air fryer.
Air fryers have garnered the praise of millions of home cooks and it’s easy to see why. They make getting dinner on the table fast and easy. But if you haven’t had the chance to try one out yet, you might be wondering what the difference is between a convection oven and an air fryer — you’re not alone.
Manay cooks have wondered the same and here, we’ll explain what the appliances are and which one is best for you.
What is an Air Fryer?
To correct any misinterpretations, an air fryer doesn’t fry food the way a deep fryer does. An air fryer uses a heating element (like a coil on an electric range) along with a high-powered fan that circulates hot air around the food. That fast-moving hot air cooks food quickly, and in some cases, it creates a crispy exterior that seems like the food has been fried without oil.
Air fryers were introduced as an alternative to the oven. They are designed to be compact and easy to use, making them a popular choice for home cooks who want to prepare healthier versions of their favorite fried foods, in the most convenient way possible.
Overall, air fryer technology offers a convenient and healthy way to cook foods such as chicken wings, fries, vegetables, and even desserts. They’ve only been growing in popularity and it doesn’t seem like that will change anytime soon.
What is Convection Oven?
While the term “convection oven” is commonly used, it would be more precise to refer to it as an “oven with convection capabilities”.
Convection ovens also have the capability to circulate hot air using a fan, cooking food faster and more evenly compared to a traditional oven without convection capabilities.
Convection ovens are often used in commercial kitchens, but they are becoming increasingly popular for home use as well, and most modern ovens come standard with a convection setting.
What is the difference between air fryer and convection oven?
Sound like the technology used for air fryers is nearly identical to a convection oven, right? They are, but in some areas, they are different.
1. Size and cooking area
Air fryers are much smaller than ovens, making them ideal for small kitchens or those with limited counter space. They typically have a capacity of 2-6 quarts, while countertop convection ovens can range from 12-20 quarts.
Because air fryers are small, most of the time they’re used to cook for 1-2 people. If you’re cooking for more than two people, you can use one for a quick snack or side dish. In that case, it might be more appealing to use and air fryer instead of turning on a large oven and waiting for it to pre-heat before cooking.
With its larger size and versatility, a convection oven may be a better option than an air fryer if you’re often cooking for larger groups of people or need to roast whole chickens or bake larger dishes. Consider your cooking habits, available storage space, and budget when making your decision.
If you don’t want go big, but you don’t want to go small, either, let the Typhur Dome Air Fryer be your introduction to air fryers. It is striving to be an exception in this case, serving to be a countertop air fryer that can handle larger groups and portions. It can easily cook up to 32 chicken wings at once and easily serve 4-8 people, perfect for family-sized meals.
Size isn’t the only difference, though. Let’s keep exploring some of the standout differences between the two!
2. Cooking Time
Compared to convection ovens, air fryers famously have a faster cooking time. Without the need to preheat, and a smaller cooking chamber, this fryer yields faster results than a convection oven.
Air frying technology has been developing at rapid pace and this air fryer doesn’t just rely on a standard heating element and size to make it a great option. Set to release in June 2023, the Typhur Dome air fryer, utilizes Typhur’s innovative cyclone heat technology. It reduces cooking time by 30% with twice the cooking area of standard air fryers. This is a major breakthrough in the cooking industry!
3. Temperature Range
The temperature range of a convection oven and an air fryer can vary depending on the specific model and manufacturer, but most convection ovens are capable of reaching temperatures between 100°F and 500°F (38°C to 260°C).
Most air fryers, in comparison, typically fall between 100°F (40°C) to 400°F (205°C).
Some specific air fryer specs, now, Typhur Dome™ Air Fryer has a temperature range of 100°F to 450°F (40°C to 230°C); and the Philips Airfryer XXL has a temperature range of 100°F to 400°F (40°C to 200°C).
Generally, air fryers are not hotter than convection ovens, that’s a common misconception.
4. Preheating Cycle
Convection ovens require preheating before use. In general, air fryers have a shorter preheating time compared to convection ovens due to their smaller size and more compact heating element.
This means convection ovens may require additional time for preheating and air fryers may save time on meal preparation.
Air fryers are generally easier to clean than convection ovens due to their smaller size and non-stick cooking surfaces. Most air fryers have dishwasher-safe components, making cleanup quick and effortless.
Air fryers are designed primarily for quick cooking, but they can also bake, roast, and grill. Convection ovens, on the other hand, can handle a broader range of cooking tasks such as baking, roasting, broiling, toasting, etc.
Newer air fryers, such as the Typhur Dome™ Air Fryer, are working to allow for more modes and options! Dehydration and grilling are two of the newer functions that air fryers, such as our Dome™ support.
Air fryer vs convection oven: which should I buy?
Choosing between an air fryer and a convection oven ultimately depends on your cooking needs and preferences. While convection oven can handle a lot more food than air fryers, some air fryers can cook for crowds and have a lot more functions and settings than the first generation of air fryers.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to your specific culinary needs and goals. If you’re looking for a compact appliance that can deliver crispy fried foods with minimal oil, an air fryer is an excellent choice. However, if you’re looking for a more versatile appliance that can handle a broader range of cooking tasks, a convection oven may be the better option. Home cooks and professionals alike are fans of both options.