Convection Oven Vs. Infrared

Many newer-model homes have convections ovens in the kitchen, and they're a popular household appliance. But the infrared oven is arguably a better option for most families, depending on what you're looking for in your household oven appliance.

Modern and new kitchen with built in appliance
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Many newer-model homes have convections ovens in the kitchen, and they're a popular household appliance.

Before you decide on your next oven purchase, there are some key things you should know about regarding the convection versus infrared oven debate. After all, you may find yourself wanting to buy a new smart appliance like the Brava oven in the near future.

What is an Infrared Oven?

According to Infrared Heater Genie, infrared ovens are a multipurpose appliance that can cook food by the heat that is created by energy waves. What's more, infrared ovens tend to be faster and more efficient than conventional cooking methods because they can do a lot more than cooking food.

You need to make sure that you're careful when using an infrared oven, though, because they can reach extreme temperatures. According to Infrared Heater Genie, infrared energy isn't absorbed by air; rather, the object that is being cooked absorbs the energy. For example, say you're preparing a Sunday roast using an infrared oven. The moisture inside the roast will absorb the infrared energy. The friction that is caused by the molecules in the roast vibrating at high speed creates the heat that cooks the roast.

When cooking with an infrared oven, the food is heated through the reflectors and shields inside the appliance. Although these protective measures are in place, you should try not to spend a lot of time in front of high-intensity infrared emitters. Just like it is cautioned to stand in front of a microwave for a long time, you just don't want to take any chances.

What is a Convection Oven?

People love having convection ovens because they continuously circulate heated air with a fan. With standard ovens, hot air is blown directly onto the food, whereas with a convection oven, the circulating air speeds up the heat transference.

According to Compact Appliance, this means that most items will cook about 30 percent faster than in a traditional oven. When you're cooking dishes with a convection oven, you'll notice that your dishes will come out juicier than in a standard oven. Still, you need to bake items for the full amount of time because the temperature is lowered.

If you're new to convection oven cooking, then it will take a little bit of practice to master the new model fully. But it's not super challenging to cook with on the daily. Although the cooking method is a bit different, convection ovens are generally easy to clean, and they create an evenly heated cooking space. Also, they are energy efficient compared to regular ovens because they require lower temperatures to cook items.

Plus, convection ovens are time-efficient. Not only do they require shorter cooking times, but you'll also be able to fill your oven will multiple pans. You won't find yourself having to bake or cook with a lot of batches.

Another essential thing about convection ovens is that if you have cookware from a traditional oven or you just upgraded to a convection oven, you'll be able to use all of your older cookware, for the most part. Some cookware items, though, work better than others. According to Compact Appliance, bright aluminum or light-colored pans work better in convection ovens. Bakeware with an anodized finish, a protective oxide coating created by an electrolytic process where the metal forms the anode, tends to brown food quickly. On the other hand, cookware like ceramic dishes, Earthenware and some glass items are not that great at directing heat.

Convection vs. Infrared

If you're trying to choose between a convection oven over an infrared oven, it will come down to your preferences on noise, price, space-saving, maintenance, cleanliness and energy-saving efficiency.

When it comes to noise, convection ovens tend to generate a lot more sound than infrared ovens. Infrared ovens cause less noise because they have low air movements. Convection ovens, on the other hand, are known to be louder because of the air and fans inside of the appliance.

As far as pricing goes, it depends. The retail price of an infrared oven should be around the same as a convection oven. But this depends on what model you are buying. The only dubious thing about comparing the prices of infrared and convection ovens is that, even though an infrared oven may cost the same as a convection oven, the appliance will likely be smaller than a convection one. This is because infrared ovens require fewer parts to build the device. Convection ovens, by comparison, have a lot of bulkier parts. They are often the same size, and sometimes a bit larger, than traditional electric ovens.

Since convection ovens have more parts, this means that you could be replacing more pieces in the future. Maintaining convection ovens will be more expensive than an infrared oven solely because of the number of parts it has in the oven. Not to mention, because there is more space to heat, convection ovens tend to use more energy because it is a lot larger than an infrared oven.. It also takes a long time for convection ovens to reach the temperature you want compared to infrared technology.

Read more: Types of Ovens

Cleanliness and Energy Efficiency

A significant plus for having a convection oven is that it has self-cleaning capabilities. The oven can heat up to a super high temperature, which in turn sanitizes the oven's surface. The only problem with this feature is that is doesn't make for a very energy-efficient appliance. Self-cleaning appliances use up a lot of energy, all of which is used to only clean the surface.

Dust accumulates in the interior of the oven, and when the fan is turned on, it can get on your food. A pro about the infrared oven is that it is machine washable. There is no fan, so that means dust won't get onto your food, and it can be cleaned easily compared to a convection oven.

As far as energy-efficiency goes, in addition to the drawbacks of self-cleaning capabilities, convection ovens tend to take up a lot of more space, which means they tend to use more energy overall compared to infrared appliances. Since convection ovens are bigger in size, there is a lot more internal space to heat. That means that the appliance is using a lot more energy to heat the oven and cook the food. A pro tip to reduce your heating consumption is to try and batch together your items when cooking as much as possible, and don't leave your oven on for excessive periods.


Allanah Dykes

Allanah Dykes is a freelance writer and her work has been featured on Elite Daily, Levo League, Popsugar, Complex, Gurl, The Kitchn, HelloGiggles, Revelist, and Food 52.