Convection Oven vs Air Fryer – (Main Key Differences)

Convection Oven vs Air Fryer: You might be thinking that air fryers cook foods by immersing them in hot oil. The fact is that air fryers use the convection baking method to cook anything, which means there is no frying going on inside them. And convection ovens do almost the same thing.


  • Air Fryers are Like Mini Convection Ovens. Both use hot air, not oil, to cook food, making it crispier than regular ovens.
  • Convection ovens have fans to control heat, while air fryers have special baskets for even cooking.
  • Convection Oven cook a lot, are consistent, fast, and easy to clean but can be noisy and risky for burning.
  • Air Fryers: Smaller, healthier (less oil), space-saving, easy to use but a bit noisy.

When you’re frying something, for example, chickens, you’ll need to dip them into hot oil thoroughly, and therefore, they become uniformly crispy. Your food doesn’t get crispy in an ordinary oven because it uses hot air, which is not a good heat conductor as oil.

Convection Oven vs Air Fryer

Besides, convection baking uses a fan to produce hot air that surrounds onto and around the food. Compared to ordinary ovens, convection ovens and air fryers can transfer more heat to the food. As a result, they can make much crispier foods than those of normal ovens.

What Is the Main Difference Between Convection Oven and Air Fryer?

Convection Oven vs Air Fryer - Main Difference
The main difference between a convection oven and an air fryer is their functionality and features. A convection oven heats your food by controlling airflow by using a fan. It combines both heating elements and an exhaust system. In contrast, an Air fryer filters hot air evenly. It comprises a vented heating basket for filtering air.

Regardless of the similarities between air fryers and convection ovens, you’ll find some differences between them in a few factors. In this post, we’re going to talk about those factors plus a couple of brief overviews about both cooking appliances. So, let’s get started!

What is Convection Oven?

A convection oven is an oven that comes with a rectangular shape and a front door opening on a hinge at the bottom. This oven is quite similar to a toaster oven, but it’s equipped with a fan that circulates hot air around the food evenly to be perfectly cooked.

Unlike an ordinary oven, a convection oven has a convection effect (air circulation inside the oven) that results in cooking foods relatively faster due to the transfer of higher temperatures. Compared to ordinary ovens, convection ovens can make food much crispier and browner.

Besides, a convection oven includes an interior rack to fit any sheet pan, like a jelly roll pan, cookie sheet, or baking sheet. As a result, you can keep your foods in a single layer so that you can cook them evenly, heating them from all around.


  • Made of durable material.
  • Provides a larger cooking capacity.
  • Ensures consistent temperatures.
  • Browns foods faster.
  • Offers an easy cleanup.


  • Fans tend to be louder than ordinary ovens.
  • Foods can get burned if the cooking time is not adjusted.

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What is Air Fryers?

Air fryers are relatively similar to convection ovens, especially using the convection baking method to cook foods. However, they’re smaller and more portable than their counterparts, and therefore, they have a less cooking area.

Besides, air fryers come with a closed fan that can produce a high amount of heat around and onto the foods to ensure faster cooking. They’re designed to be taller and slimmer like coffee makers. They also include a removable, handled container to hold a basket with ingredients.

Since the air fryer is smaller than a convection oven, it can only hold less than half the food that a convection oven can hold. Besides, you may periodically need to shake the basket if you’re cooking onion rings or French fries to ensure the foods are evenly cooked.


  • Designed to be tall like coffee makers.
  • Makes healthier foods with little to no oil.
  • Takes a little space to cook various foods.
  • Easier to use than convection ovens.
  • The fan is quite closer to producing heat.


  • Provides a smaller cooking area.
  • Louder than convection ovens.

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Convection Oven vs Air Fryer: Key Differences

In short: Convection ovens are larger and more reliable, but pricier, while air fryers are compact, easier to use, and simpler to clean, making them a good choice for smaller kitchens. Convection ovens can cook faster due to their heating method, while air fryers offer healthier cooking with little to no oil.

Since convection ovens and air fryers cook foods quite similarly, finding the main differences between Convection ovens and Air Fryer is not an easy job. However, we’ve found some essential factors in which they don’t agree with each other.

1. Reliability

Both air fryers and convection ovens can be reliable. However, you have to pay attention to their design, quality, and longevity of the construction material. In our opinion, convection ovens made of stainless steel are relatively more reliable than other models.

2. Size and Footprint

In terms of size, air fryers are small compared to convection ovens. They’re perfect for the kitchens because it takes only counter space. In general, they have a footprint of below 12 inches with a height of 17 inches, which means they’re perfect for most kitchen cabinets.

Convection ovens, however, are larger, taking comparatively much space in the kitchen. When it comes to comparing with air fryers, most convection ovens come with a relatively large footprint, consisting of a height and a length of 20 inches and 22 inches, respectively.

3. Heating

Convection ovens use fans that produce heat and circulate that heat throughout the entire cooking area relatively slowly. On the other hand, air fryers also have a fan that circulates the heat to reach cooking temperatures more evenly because of their compact size.

When it comes to heating throughout the convection oven area, both the top and bottom sides of the oven provide the ingredients with enough heat. In contrast, air fryers only allow heat from the top of them. In this case, convection ovens can cook foods faster than air fryers.

4. Fan Placement

As you know, both convection ovens and air fryers have fans. Convection ovens typically have a fan in the back, either on the left or right side or in the center. However, air fryers usually include a fan directly below the heating element (on the top position).

5. Fan Size and Speed

Typically, air fryers have larger fans than convection ovens, although it depends on different models. It’s estimated that air fryers’ fans are 30% faster than those of convection ovens when it comes to fan speed.

6. Cooking Capacity

Since convection ovens are larger than air fryers, they have a large cooking capacity compared to air fryers. However, both convection ovens and air fryers come with various models with different cooking capacities. So, you can find an air fryer with up to a 5-quart capacity.

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7. Healthiness

Both appliances allow you to cook various foods healthily because they use the hot air circulation method. For example, air fryers only need little to no oil to cook foods. When you’re cooking chicken or steaks, the natural fats will be enough to cook them.

8. Ease of Use

Air fryers are easier to use than convection ovens. You don’t need any prior experience to operate an air fryer because it usually comes with a super-easy controlling system. Some models have simple knobs, and you have to turn them to set cooking time and temperatures.

On the other hand, nowadays, convection ovens feature a digital controlling system, which can be different from one brand to the other. People who are beginners in cooking may feel difficult to figure these things out.

9. Cleanup

Most air fryers typically have a drip tray at the bottom to hold dripping fluids, such as oil, for easy cleanup. They’re quite useful to prevent food from spilling because they remain well-sealed while cooking. So, you can end up your cooking with a clean kitchen.

Conversely, convection ovens are designed to be tough to reach all the corners. Therefore, they’re relatively difficult to clean. Besides, they usually have an exposed heating element located at the bottom where food drippings are stored, which is more tedious to clean.

10. Approximate Price

Convection ovens are typically more expensive than air fryers. For example, you can buy a quality convection oven for between 150 to 400 dollars, depending on the particular model’s features. In contrast, top-quality air fryers usually retail for 100 to 300 bucks.


In a nutshell, if you’re looking for a piece of cookware that allows you to cook a wide variety of foods using little to no oil, you have to prefer a convection oven or an air fryer. Considering the factors above, both pieces of cookware are excellent for convection cooking.

For those looking for a smaller appliance that’s easy to use and clean, a high-quality air fryer is the better choice. However, if you’re after a piece of cookware that enables you to cook a lot of food at once, you should pick a convection oven.

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