Air Fryer vs. Convection Oven

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy.

What is the difference between air fryers and convection ovens? Both use hot air for cooking food, but some critical differences between the two are worth exploring.

In this article, I’ll be taking a closer look at the differences between air fryers and convection ovens. We’ll explore the pros and cons of each appliance, and I’ll provide some tips on choosing the right one for your cooking needs.

Whether you’re looking to make healthier alternatives to your favorite fried foods or simply in the market for a new kitchen appliance, this article will help you make the best choice.

Ultimately, deciding between an air fryer and a convection oven depends on your cooking needs and preferences!

Upstate Ramblings

What is an Air Fryer?

Regarding cooking appliances, the air fryer is a relatively new addition to the kitchen. It is a countertop appliance that uses hot air to cook food. It works by circulating hot air around a heating element, creating a crispy exterior without needing oil.

I love using my air fryer because it allows me to enjoy my favorite fried foods without the guilt of consuming too much oil. It’s also straightforward to use – simply place the food in the basket, set the temperature and time, and let the air fryer do its job.

But, while an air fryer is an excellent option for cooking small batches of food, there may be better choices for larger meals. The basket size limits the amount of food that can be cooked at once, so it may take longer to cook larger quantities. Overall, an air fryer is an excellent option for those looking to enjoy fried foods more healthily. It’s easy to use, doesn’t require much oil, and produces crispy, delicious results.

putting cold fries in the air fryer

What is a Convection Oven?

A convection oven is a full-sized oven that uses a fan to circulate hot air around the food, resulting in faster and more even cooking. The fan is at the back of the appliance. This type of oven is perfect for baking, roasting, and even broiling.

The fan helps to distribute heat evenly throughout the oven, which means that food cooks more quickly and evenly than it would in a traditional range. This is especially useful when cooking large items such as roasts or turkeys, as it ensures that the food is cooked all the way through without drying out or burning on the outside.

In addition, convection ovens can be more energy-efficient than traditional ovens. Because the fan helps to circulate the hot air, the oven can cook food at a lower temperature than a conventional oven while still achieving the same results. This means you can save time and energy when cooking with a convection oven.

Differences Between Air Fryers and Convection Ovens

So both an air fryer and a convection oven cook use convection fans to circulate the hot air. So what is the difference? The main difference is the size. An air fryer is a convection oven, just a very small one.

Cooking Mechanism

Both air fryers and convection ovens have a similar cooking mechanism. Both use convection cooking, which means they circulate hot air around the food during cooking. However, air fryers cook more quickly because of their smaller size and because the fan is at the top of the appliance. This results in faster cooking times and a crispy exterior on foods like chicken wings and French fries.


When it comes to capacity, convection ovens have a larger cooking capacity than air fryers. So you can cook more food at once, making it a better option for feeding larger families or cooking for parties.


While air fryers and convection ovens can cook various foods, convection ovens are more versatile. They can bake, roast, broil, and even toast, making them a fantastic all-in-one appliance for your kitchen. On the other hand, air fryers are best for cooking smaller batches, frozen foods, or foods you would usually deep fry, like mozzarella sticks or a blooming onion.


Finally, price is another factor to consider when choosing between an air fryer and a convection oven. Air fryers are usually less expensive than convection ovens, making them an excellent option for those on a budget. However, if you’re looking for an appliance that can do more than just air fry, a convection oven may be a better investment in the long run.

photo of an air fryer and a convection oven side by side for comparison.

Pros and Cons of Air Fryers


As someone who has extensively used air fryers, I know they have many advantages over convection ovens. Here are some of the pros:

  • Faster cooking time: Air fryers cook food much faster than convection ovens. They use hot air for cooking food from all sides, resulting in evenly cooked food in a shorter time.
  • Ease of use: Air fryers are incredibly easy to use. All you need to do is set the temperature and time, and the machine will take care of the rest.
  • Cleaning: Air fryers come with removable parts that make cleaning a breeze.
  • Compact size: Air fryers are relatively small and compact, making them ideal for small kitchens or for those who don’t have a lot of counter space.


While air fryers have many advantages, they also have a few downsides:

  • Small capacity: Air fryers are generally smaller than conventional ovens, which means they can only cook small batches of food at a time. This can be a drawback if you need to cook large amounts of food or feed a big family.
  • Limited cooking options: Air fryers are great for cooking certain types of food, such as chicken wings, fries, and fish. However, they may not be suitable for cooking more complex dishes that require multiple cooking methods or temperatures.

Overall, air fryers are a great addition to any kitchen. If you’re looking for a healthier and faster way to cook certain types of food, an air fryer may be the perfect appliance.

Pros and Cons of Convection Ovens


Convection ovens have many advantages over air fryers. Here are some of the most notable:

  • Larger size: The large size of a convection oven makes it easy to cook for a big family or a party.
  • Versatile: You can cook more than one thing at a time. So if you want to roast a chicken, you can have a pan of scalloped potatoes in the oven simultaneously.
  • Simplicity: A convection oven works similarly to a conventional range, something most people are already familiar with.


While there are many advantages to using a convection oven, there are also some drawbacks to keep in mind:

  • Expensive: They are more costly than air fryers.
  • Cooking time: They don’t cook as fast as an air fryer.

Which One Should You Choose?

If you are looking for a smaller appliance that can cook small portions of your favorite foods quickly and efficiently, an air fryer is a way to go. They are great for making food with a crunchy exterior and meals without the added oil and fat. They are easy to clean and take up less counter space than a convection oven.

On the other hand, if you need to cook larger portions of food, frequently bake casseroles, or want to use your appliance for baking or hosting parties, a convection oven might be a better option. They have more space and can cook a wider variety of foods.

It’s essential to consider your budget as well. While air fryers can be inexpensive, they can only partially replace a full-sized convection oven.

Ultimately, choosing between an air fryer and a convection oven comes down to your preferences and cooking needs. Consider the size of your household, the types of food you like to cook, and your budget before deciding. Both appliances can help you create delicious and healthy meals with less oil and fat.

It’s important to note that both appliances can be used in conjunction. For example, you can use an air fryer for cooking appetizers while using a convection oven to roast the main course.

Ultimately, deciding between an air fryer and a convection oven depends on your cooking needs and preferences!


Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

Leave a Comment