What is a Convection Oven: Definition, Types, Uses & Benefits

May 12, 2023

An oven is at the heart of most kitchens, whether commercial or in the home. There are many different types to choose from and knowing as much as you can about each one makes your decision easier. 

Convection ovens are not the most common, but there are many benefits to using one. A quick answer to the question is that a convection oven is a way of cooking and baking quicker and more evenly. It can do this because of a fan that moves the heat around the oven. 

Let’s look at things in more detail and answer some more common questions asked about convection ovens, how they work, what makes them different, the different types, how to use a convection oven, and what to look for. We'll also compare them with conventional ovens.  

What is a Convection Oven

A convection oven is often referred to as a fan oven, but there’s much more to this type of kitchen appliance than that.

In the most basic terms, a convection oven uses and fan and exhaust system. A regular oven, on the other hand, has neither of these features. 

The fan helps to circulate hot air in the oven around and over the food. This allows a more even temperature to be achieved inside the oven which means the food cooks evenly and quicker. 

Many convection ovens also have a third heating element. This is called True Convection and allows food to cook even quicker. The heat is created at the top, bottom, and sides of the oven and circulated by the fan.  


The very first oven that used a fan to circulate hot air was invented in 1914. However, it didn’t launch at that time. 

It wasn’t until 1945 that convections were widely used. At that time, the most popular model was the Maxson Whirlwind Oven. 


Something that takes place when cooking food in an oven is that a stationary thermal boundary layer of cooler air forms naturally around the food. This layer is an insulator and slows down the rate that heat reaches the food. 

When this cool air layer is convected away, it gets thinner, and food cooks faster. The fan helps to reduce the thickness of the insulating layer. 

This is an excellent feature of the oven’s design, however, to prevent the outside cooking before the middle, it’s usual for the cooking temperature to be reduced by around 20 °C (40 °F). 

The fan also mixes the air very well and creates an even temperature inside the oven. 

The heat sources differ depending on the model. In some models, the heat sources are at the top and bottom which improves the transfer of heat and speeds cooking from a cold start.

In other models, the heat sources are hidden from the food in an outside enclosure. This reduces the effect of radiant heat on what’s being cooked.  

What is the Difference Between a Conventional Oven and a Convection Oven?

The main difference between convection and conventional ovens is the fan. This affects how you cook food in a certain way. Foods cook faster because of the blowing air.

Does a Convection Oven Cook Differently Than a Regular Oven?

Both convection and conventional ovens have heating elements that heat the air inside the oven. There is a bottom heating element and the other is on the top. 

A conventional oven doesn’t have a fan so the air doesn’t circulate like it does in a convection oven. Conventional ovens have hot spots or pockets of air that are at different temperatures. The result is uneven cooking. This is why you often get conventional baking recipes that ask you to rotate dishes for more even cooking. Most recipes are written for conventional oven settings. 

This isn’t necessary with fan oven cooking and a convection setting.  

Can a Convection Oven be Used as a Regular Oven?

Yes, you can use a fan oven as a traditional oven. It’s a simple case of using a convection setting to turn the fan off and stop the circulating hot air. 

What is Better? Convection Oven vs. Conventional Oven?

A convection oven is a great choice if you want dishes to have a crispy exterior, to be evenly cooked, and to cook quickly. However, there are cases when conventional ovens are the better choice. For example, a conventional oven or thermal oven is better if you want your dishes to retain moisture or rise before they’ve finished baking.  

How Does a Convection Oven Work?

A convection oven works by circulating hot air around the inside of the oven using a convection setting. This circulating effect allows you to cook faster and evenly. 

The air is circulated by a fan and an exhaust system. 

What are the Different Types of Convection Ovens?

There are two main types: True convection ovens and regular or fan-assisted convection ovens. 

Both types are similar in that they both have a fan located in the back of the oven. The convection setting runs a convection fan and circulates the hot air around the oven and the food. This means you can cook food faster and get more even browning.  

True Convection Ovens

True convection ovens are sometimes called European convection ovens. The number of heating elements is the feature that makes them different from regular ovens. 

True convection ovens have a third heating element, rather than just the two. heating elements 

This type of oven provides consistent and efficient heating, resulting in faster cooking times and more even browning.

Fan-Assisted or Regular Convection Ovens

A fan-assisted or regular convection oven has a fan located in the back of the oven but there is no third heating element. However, because they lack the third heating element, the cooking results may not be as consistent and the heating as efficient as a true convection oven.

Which is better? True Convection or Fan Convection?

A regular or fan convection oven might not cook food as evenly as a true convection oven. This is because the fan is circulating both hot and cold air. If you want to get the maximum out of your convection cooking experience, a true convection oven will be the better purchase.

What are the Different Variations of Convection Ovens Out There?

While there are two main types, there are more variations. They include the following. 

Countertop Fan Ovens

This is a very useful convection to have if you’re running a busy food truck, concession stand, quick-serve restaurant, or convenience store. You don’t need to stress about finding floor space as it fits on a countertop. They are very efficient ovens and can have wattage ratings up to 7700. Various sizes are available including quarter-, half-, or full-size and they are all easy to install. 

Built-in Convection Ovens

A built-in convection oven can fit anywhere you want in your kitchen. It doesn’t have to be floor-standing or on a countertop. It is designed to be an integral part of your kitchen design. 

Double Convection Ovens

A double convection oven is ideal for a kitchen with high output demands. It’s possible to place double-digit cooking rakes inside the oven simultaneously. They are bigger than most other types, so you need to be certain there is space. 

Steam Fan Ovens

A steam convection oven combines two cooking modes to deliver optimum results. Inside the oven, there is a reservoir that must be filled with water for the oven to work properly. With a convection steam oven, the movement of hot air ensures consistent heating and browning. The steam adds moisture at the right time and in the right amount.  

Microwave Convection Ovens

A microwave convection oven has an additional heating element and fan. These additional features circulate heat throughout the cavity. It’s possible to use a convection microwave for baking, broiling, or roasting. 

Commercial Fan Ovens

A commercial convection oven has high-speed internal fans that circulate hot air. They also tend to be much larger than a convection oven designed for domestic use. 

Halogen Convection Ovens

A halogen convection oven uses a halogen lamp as the heating element. 

Infrared Fan Ovens

An infrared convection oven cooks food using infrared radiation rather than conventional convection heating. 

Convection Toaster Ovens

A convection toaster oven is a standard toaster with a built-in fan. There are two types: 

  • Smaller convection toaster ovens

  • Full-sized convection toaster ovens

Air Fryers

Air fryers are similar to a convection cooker in that they both use a fan to circulate hot air. With an air fryer you get an even and often crispier finish. However, the main difference with an air fryer is size.

How are Convection Ovens Powered?

One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make about your convection oven will likely center around the power source. There are pure electric ovens, as well as natural gas and liquid propane. 

Electric Convection Oven

This is the most common as most kitchens and other establishments already have an electric supply which makes installation quick and easy. 

Natural Gas Convection Oven

To install a gas convection oven there must be a pre-existing hookup and the correct connectors. Natural gas tends to be the cheapest option. Another benefit is that the oven will heat up much quicker than an electric version. An electric connection is still needed to run the fan, but the cost will be minimal. 

Liquid Propane Convection Oven

An LP convection is an option if your kitchen lacks an adequate natural gas connection. Propane heats faster and runs more efficiently than natural gas, however, it tends to be more expensive in most regions. You will still need electricity and appropriate tanks, gas lines, and regulators.  

Which is Better? Gas, Electric, or Propane?

The answer to this question depends on your needs and situation. Gas, either propane or natural, may offer a more efficient cooking experience, but you need the right facilities. Electricity, on the other hand, tends to be readily available wherever your kitchen might be.

What are the Pros and Cons of a Convection Oven?

There are several pros of using convection baking, but there are also some cons. 


  • Even, fast cooking because of the constant temperature

  • No need to worry about food on the top racks burning

  • Air circulation in the oven cavity perfectly crisps skin on roast chicken

  • Beautifully browned quick bread


  • The outside surfaces of a cake bake and rise quicker than the middle

  • Cakes tend to dry out before fully risen

  • Conversions can be tricky 

What is the Temperature Range of a Convection Oven?

You can set convection oven temperatures anywhere between 300 degrees to 550 degrees, depending on the type of oven. 

Does a Convection Oven Cook Hotter Than a Regular Oven?

A convection oven typically runs 25-30°F cooler than a convection oven set to the same temperature.

How to Use a Convection Oven?

Using a convection oven is very simple, however, there are some things you need to keep in mind. This is because most recipes written are for conventional ovens which means you need to make some adjustments. 

Follow these steps to ensure the best results:

  • Preheat the oven: Turn on your oven ready to preheat it before cooking your food

  • Adjust cooking time and temperature: It’s generally recommended that you reduce the cooking temperature by around 25 degrees F. For the cooking time, multiply it by 0.75 to get the right timeframe. 

  • Use the right cookware: Use cookware with low sides as this allows the hot air to circulate properly. 

  • Position the food correctly: For the best results, never overcrowd the pan or the oven as this will block the flow of air. 

  • Check the food frequently: Your food will likely cook quicker than you were expecting. Check it halfway through the cooking time and as it gets near the end of cooking, check more frequently. 

Do You Need Special Pans?

The best pans for cooking in a convection oven are those with low sides. Rimless baking sheets also work very well for roasting vegetables and baking cookies. The lower the sides the better the air circulation. Low sides also help foods become even crispier. However, this is not essential if you’re cooking cakes and casseroles that rely on high sides to hold their shape. 

What Can You Cook In a Convection Oven?

Some dishes are perfectly suited to convection baking. They include:

  • Roasted meat and vegetables

  • Baking pastries and pies

  • Making large batches of cookies

  • Cooking food that’s covered such as casseroles or stews

  • Dehydrating or toasting food

Can You Use a Convection Oven for Everything?

While you could use a convection to cook everything, some dishes are not suitable for convection cooking. For example:

  • Quickbreads

  • Bread

  • Cakes

  • Souffles

  • Flans and custards

Do You Need to Change Recipes for a Convection Oven?

Recipes tend to be written for conventional ovens so you will need to make adjustments if you’re using a convection oven. It’s recommended you lower the temperature by 25°F. You will also need to reduce the cooking time because convection cooking is quicker. 

What You Should Look for in a Convection Oven?

If you like the sound of convection baking and cooking and are in the market for a new oven, there are some things you should look for before you spend any money. 

  • Size: Ovens range in terms of dimension, and deck number

  • Capacity: The air can circulate better in a larger oven that has more oven racks 

  • Power: Options include electricity, natural gas, or liquid propane

  • Temperature Range: A wide temperature range means you can prepare more dishes

  • Fan Settings: Being able to switch off the convection setting means you can cook conventionally

  • Cooking Modes: A range of cooking modes will expand the various dishes you can cook 

  • Ease of Use: A user-friendly design and convection setting features will make it easier to use

  • Durability: Good quality, strong construction, and materials last longer

  • Price: This must suit your budget

Which is the Best Convection Oven?

The best convection oven is one that suits your needs and is within your budget. It should incorporate features you know you’ll be able to use, be user-friendly, and be the highest quality you can afford. 

Are Convection Ovens Worth It?

A convection oven is a worthwhile investment if you know you’re going to be able to make good use of it. If you’re looking for crisp, quick cooking, it’s a great option. However, if your most common dishes need to retain moisture and rise before they finish baking a conventional oven would be the better choice. 

That being said, if you have the option of switching off the fan, you’re going to get the best of both worlds. 

Where to Buy a Convection Oven?

There are numerous places you can purchase a convection oven, both physical stores and online retailers. If you’re looking for a leader in providing convection ovens, Kitchenall is an excellent choice.


So, we’ve answered the question “What is a convection oven” It’s time to finish up with some final thoughts.

While buying a separate convection oven is an option, many modern ovens have a convection oven setting. When a fan is brought into the mix it increases airflow, creates even heat distribution, and you can cook faster. Convection cooking is great for baked goods such as pies, pastries, and cookies, but a convection bake isn’t so good for cakes. Convection cooking can also be used for many savory dishes, such as casseroles, roasted vegetables, roasted chicken, and other covered dishes. 


Do convection ovens take longer to cook?

Convection cooking is quicker than conventional cooking by around 25%. 

How much hotter can a convection oven be than a conventional oven?

A conventional oven is typically 25 to 30 degrees cooler than a convection oven set to the same temperature. 

Is there a difference in cooking time with a convection oven?

Dishes cooked with convection cook around 25% faster than a conventional oven. 

Does a convection oven use more electricity?

Convection cooking uses less electricity because it’s quicker and the temperature is lower. 

Why are convection ovens so loud?

This type of oven can be noisy because of the fan inside that is circulating the air.