Many ovens, toaster ovens, and microwaves have a convection setting, but sadly, many go unused. We either forget to use the setting or never knew what it was for in the first place. Convection ovens offer faster, more even cooking by using a fan and exhaust system to circulate heat through the oven. That warm, moving air keeps the temperature around the food constant, reduces cooking times, and crisps food in ways a conventional oven can’t. And because cooking times are reduced, convection ovens also save energy and money.
Convection settings can be found on full-size ovens, as well as wall-mounted and microwave ovens. Convection lets you make pizza, rotisserie chicken, casseroles, and desserts in less time, but what makes a good convection oven? The following list includes a selection of the best convection ovens, each with features and functions to diversity your cooking options.
- BEST OVERALL: Breville Smart Oven 1800-Watt Convection Toaster Oven
- BEST BUDGET: Oster Extra Large Digital Countertop Convection Oven
- BEST MICROWAVE OVEN: Toshiba Countertop Microwave Oven with Convection
- BEST COUNTERTOP OVEN: Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Oven Airfryer
- BEST WITH ROTISSERIE: COSORI Air Fryer Toaster Oven Combo
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Convection Oven
Convection ovens come in many sizes and with a wide range of features. Some are simple and straightforward, and others are 12-in-1 models with presets and accessories that let you use a variety of cooking methods.
Size and Capacity
The convection function is available in different kinds of ovens, ranging from wall ovens with 6-cubic-foot capacities to small countertop convection ovens with .5-cubic-foot capacities. Many countertop models measure size in terms of slices of bread—as in how many pieces of bread the oven can toast at once. The capacity of these countertop ovens ranges from 4 to 18 slices of bread. Wall ovens and full-size ovens with a convection setting generally have a capacity of 4 to 6 cubic feet.
A good rule of thumb is to buy the largest convection oven you can afford that fits within the available space. Convection ovens rely on heat circulation to evenly cook food. The more space there is for that air to freely move and circulate, the more evenly the food cooks.
Convection vs. True Convection
All convection ovens have a fan to circulate air. True convection ovens have a heating element near the fan to warm the air and maintain a more consistent temperature. The terms “third-element” and “European convection” mean the same thing as “true convection.” If you’re comparing convection and true convection, true convection offers the most accurate cooking temperature.
Countertop vs. Wall-Mounted
Countertop convection ovens are typically less expensive than wall-mounted models. They’re also portable and often come with a long list of extra functions like air frying, browning, roasting, rotisserie, and toasting. Many people use these ovens as second ovens in addition to their full-size ovens.
Wall-mounted convection ovens can be more expensive, but they are full-size ovens that can cook larger dishes and meals. Many of these ovens also function as conventional ovens, giving cooks the flexibility to make foods like bread and souffles that don’t cook as well with convection.
Both countertop and wall-mounted ovens can be convection or true convection. Gas ranges may also have a convection option. However, to use it the oven must also work with electricity because gas cannot power convection.
Fan and Exhaust System
Convection relies on a fan and exhaust system. The fan blows while the exhaust pulls the air and heat throughout the oven. As the hot air circulates around the food, it maintains the oven’s temperature, reducing cooking times while crisping and browning food. True convection adds a heating element near the fan to more efficiently regulate the temperature.
Convection oven displays range from bright LED-lit buttons and backlit displays to mechanical dials with no digital display. Backlit displays are the easiest to see, with LED-lit displays and buttons coming in close behind them.
High-tech countertop convection ovens may have touch screens instead of manual dials or knobs to adjust settings, time, and temperature. In general, the more settings and presets an oven has, the higher quality and more complex its display. However, that also means its price tag is probably higher, too.
There’s a wide variety of settings on convection ovens. A simple countertop oven may roast, broil, bake, and toast. Newer models boast air frying, rotisserie, dehydrating, fermenting, and warming modes, too. It’s worth spending a little more on a fancier oven if you’ll actually use those extra settings. If baking pizza and roasting meat and vegetables is as adventurous as your cooking gets, however, you really only need a basic convection oven that will cook enough food for your family.
Cooking modes aren’t the only extra settings to think about. Many convection ovens simplify your baking even further by including preset options for bagels, toast, pizza, or cookies. These settings are handy for some home cooks but may not be necessary for others. The best convection oven for your needs is one that simplifies and improves cooking you’ll be doing anyway, not one that complicates a simple culinary routine.
The more settings a convection oven has, the more likely it will come with extra accessories like a rotisserie fork, fry basket, one or two removable wire racks, food trays, and cookbooks. The kind of food you plan to cook in the oven should inform which accessories you prioritize; a vegetarian chef won’t lose sleep if his oven doesn’t accommodate two chickens on its rotisserie. If you don’t think about which accessories are important to you as you’re shopping for the oven, you may end up buying them later on.
Other useful oven features are timers, automatic shutoff, and interior lights. Timers and automatic shutoff features often go together: The auto-shutoff feature turns off the oven once the timer has run out. These features can save you from overdone or burned food or an oven that’s left on after you leave the house.
Interior lights aren’t a dealbreaker, but they do make it easier for you to monitor your food as it bakes—and they illuminate the oven as you are cleaning it.
Our Top Picks
The top convection oven picks offer consistent heating and convenient settings, and some have long lists of extra features. We’ve included countertop and wall-mounted models, so you can find an oven that works in your available space.
The Breville brings Element IQ to the kitchen. This technology transfers and adjusts heat across five quartz heating elements to maintain an even temperature throughout the oven. Of course, it’s supported by a built-in fan that adds convection to the already effective elements. The combination results in fast, even cooking in its six-slice interior.
Among the oven’s nine cooking functions are bells and whistles not found on every convection oven, like presets for cookies, pizza, bagel, and slow cook. A bright backlit LCD display is easy to read, and all the dials are simple to understand. Overall it heats quickly and evenly and brings a sense of predictability to your cooking routine.
The Oster’s extra-large convection oven has ample room for up to 18 slices of bread—that’s enough space to accommodate a whole chicken or two pizzas. We also like that it has a defrost setting and a 90-minute timer with an auto-shutoff feature.
This toaster oven’s digital display and preset buttons are intuitive: You can set the temperature and time manually or operate the oven in one of the six preset modes. It comes with two racks, a baking pan, and an integrated broiling rack so you can start cooking right away.
Any appliance that has multiple functions gets bonus points—saving counter space is always welcome. This Toshiba offers the convenience of a microwave with the precision of a convection oven. With four auto-roast menus and four auto-bake menus, it really takes presets to a new level. Fear not if the foods you want to cook aren’t on the preset list, because this oven also has a smart sensor that monitors humidity to adjust cooking times and temperatures.
This oven is a terrific bet for families who eat meals at different times because it has a warming setting that can keep food at safe temperatures for up to 99 minutes. At cleaning time, the durable stainless steel interior is easy to wipe and resists rust and scratches. Another bonus: the Toshiba has an ECO mode to save energy and money.
With a 60-minute timer and an auto-shutoff feature, this Cuisinart makes burnt food a thing of the past. It gives you all the benefits of a convection oven, like baking, broiling, warming, and toasting, with the added benefit of air frying. This model also has a cool toast-shade selector that browns your bread just the way you like it.
The Cuisinart comes with a baking pan, air fryer rack, and oven rack to get you cooking as soon as you open the box. It’s a great option because it is simple to use, but the features it does have are actually useful.
Minimalists will love the COSORI, which combines several functions into one versatile convection oven—there’s no need for a multitude of single-function appliances anymore. Its brightly lit LED display helps you see letters and digits clearly as you select presets or adjust the temperature. Some of its 12 presets are really cool, too—there’s a rotisserie and warm, of course, but there’s also a ferment selection.
Another advantage of this 12-in-1 is that it comes with a bunch of useful accessories including a rotisserie form and rotisserie handle, recipe book, food tray, wire rack, fry basket, and crumb tray.
The Advantages of Owning a Convection Oven
There are distinct advantages to owning a convection oven rather than a conventional model:
- Food cooks faster in a convection oven.
- The convection maintains a consistent temperature throughout the oven for more even cooking.
- You don’t need to rotate trays and pans in a convection oven.
- Convection saves energy because it cooks food faster at lower temperatures.
- Convection crisps and browns food because it helps sugars dry and crystalizes during the cooking process.
Certain types of food do better in convection ovens than conventional ones: meat, vegetables, and anything that you cook covered works well in convection because of the even, consistent heat. Convection also speeds up the dehydration and toasting processes because the circulating air evaporates moisture.
FAQs About Convection Ovens
It takes some trial and error at first, but cooking with convection can change your cooking habits for the better. Once you understand how the convection feature affects your cooking, you can speed your way through many of your favorite recipes.
Q. What is the difference between a convection oven and a regular oven?
A convection oven has a fan and exhaust system that pushes and pulls air through the oven. The resulting air circulation maintains an even cooking temperature that reduces cooking times. Conventional ovens rely on heat alone rather than heat and air circulation.
Q. What is the best countertop convection oven to buy?
While there are many great countertop convection ovens on the market, the Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven is a definite standout. This oven has 10 cooking functions and an Element IQ system that maintains temperatures with a fan and five independently adjustable quartz heating elements.
Q. Does a convection oven fan run continuously?
The fan will run continuously as long as the oven is on the convection setting. It will turn off if the oven door is opened. Some models allow you to manually turn the convection setting on or off, which turns the fan on or off as well. That allows you to choose the cooking environment that’s best for the dish you’re cooking.
Q. How do I clean my convection oven?
Convection ovens can be cleaned just like conventional ovens. Remove the racks or any other accessories and wash them with soap and water. Use an oven cleaning solution inside the oven to remove grease and buildup. Scrub spills, and return the racks to the oven when they’re clean and dry.
Q. What shouldn’t I cook in my convection oven?
Flan, souffles, cakes, and breads don’t do well in convection. The moving air can cause some foods like souffles to collapse. Cakes and breads often dehydrate on the inside due to the circulating air, which is why they taste better when baked in a conventional oven.
Q. What kind of cookware can be used in a convection oven?
You can use ceramic, glass, aluminum, and clay cookware in a convection oven. Cookware that’s thinner often works better because the heat can reach the food from all angles. You may also want to use pans and cookie sheets with lower sides to put as much of the food as possible in direct contact with the heat.