Convection Microwave vs Microwave Differences: 7 Pros And 4 Cons
What’s your favorite sound in the kitchen?
For me, it’s the beep of a microwave!
Whether you need to melt some butter, defrost meat or reheat a few leftover pizza slices, a microwave oven comes to the rescue. It is without a doubt the most reliable kitchen appliance you can own. But here’s something even better – the microwave with convection mode! You may know the air fryer microwave combo, but a convection microwave not only nukes your midnight snacks with a sweet humming sound but also cooks your food from the inside out.
So, which one is more convenient? Keep reading to find the right fit for your kitchen!
What is a Convection Microwave?
To keep it simple, a convection microwave oven is basically a two-in-one kitchen appliance. Besides the capabilities of a regular microwave, it comes with additional functionalities of browning, roasting, baking, broiling, grilling, and crisping up your favorite food items, just like a traditional oven.
How Does a Convection Microwave Work?
Now, let’s talk science.
Microwave ovens are designed to generate microwave radiation, which is passed through the food and produces heat that cooks it. On the other hand, a convection microwave comes with an additional heating element and built-in fans that work together and distribute heat evenly throughout the cavity. This convection airflow upgrades your regular microwave into a miniature oven and lets you prepare a variety of deliciously baked and roasted goods.
So, thanks to its versatility, now I can host large family dinners or holiday parties with ease and show off my culinary skills to everyone!
Convection Microwave vs. Standard Microwave: 4 Key Differences
Still, confused between the two? Don’t worry – I’ll break it down into 4 differences, and you will see the 7 Pros and 4 Cons of convection microwaves later.
Whether you are cooking for yourself or feeding a large crowd, you want the best home-cooked results possible. Good food leaves a lasting impact on the palate as well as on the mind. Thus, to find the right fit for you, first, you need to identify which appliance goes best with your cooking styles, methods, and preferences.
These are a few elements to consider:
- Heating Method
Microwaves and convection microwaves generate and circulate heat differently. A traditional microwave heats food by exposing it to electromagnetic radiation. Whereas, a convection microwave uses fans to push hot air all around the oven to cook food more evenly.
- Cooking Times
Due to combination (convection plus microwave) cooking, foods like meat, poultry and vegetables tend to cook a lot faster, with better results. Foods with a high water or fat content cook faster.
- Power Levels
Let’s compare the power levels. A regular microwave can only reheat or defrost your food items. On the other hand, a convection microwave cooks food all the way through, like a traditional oven, by providing a higher heat capacity as well as browning or caramelizing it from the outside.
- Precautionary Measures
If you put metal in a regular microwave, it is most likely to react electrically to the radiation, causing a spark and damaging the inner walls. Whereas most convection microwaves can handle aluminum foil and a metal rack, but only when you switch to the convection setting.
7 Advantages of a Convection Microwave
Here’s a detailed analysis of how a convection microwave may be a one-stop solution for all your cooking needs:
#1: Faster Speed: Time is important when it comes to working in the kitchen. A convection microwave may be your best ally when you are short on time because its added functionalities and heating element speed up the cooking process, even at a lower temperature. A convection microwave makes your meals more fun and convenient by cooking everything from fluffy muffins to juicy roasts in no time.
#2: Even Cooking: Due to its convection settings and hot air circulation throughout the cavity, the food is cooked and browned more evenly in this type of microwave.
#3: Multi-functional: Of course, you can make popcorn, small portions of rice, mac and cheese, and eggs in a regular microwave. But a convection microwave allows you to use a variety of cooking methods. From roasting poultry and green veggies to baking bubbly casseroles, it can do it all. Moreover, many convection microwaves come with multiple racks that allow you to cook more than one dish at a time.
4#: Preheating: Most recipes, especially in baking, call for preheating for optimum results. A convection microwave works just like an oven. Thus, if you want to make a cake, you can set the convection microwave on preheating mode, with temperatures up to 240°C and start baking!
#5: Automatic Features: One of the best features that make a convection microwave superior to a traditional one is that it is equipped with auto-cooking programs. In a regular microwave, you need to set the right temperature and cooking duration all by yourself. Whereas, a convection microwave comes with preset menus. All you have to do is select the item and start cooking. What’s more? It automatically calculates the power levels and how long a dish needs to be cooked. This feature is best for all the busy bees out there who don’t have enough time and energy to cook for themselves.
#6: Better Affordability: Convection microwaves are way more affordable than standard ovens in terms of their price and the amount of electricity they consume.
#7: Safety Features: This often goes unnoticed, but many convection microwaves are fitted with robust safety features such as auto-shut-off and child lock functions. The auto-shut-off function turns the heating element off when the temperature gets too high and reduces the risk of accidents.
4 Disadvantages of a Convection Microwave
Despite of being a complete package, a convection microwave has a few downsides. They might be insignificant compared to their many benefits, but before you invest in one, make sure to know about these cons:
#1: Costlier than Regular Microwaves: Convection microwaves are cheaper than ovens but their prices are much higher than the traditional microwaves which can only reheat and defrost food. Their versatility is what makes them costlier. So, invest in them only if you are clear about the intended purpose of use or love to carry out kitchen experiments.
#2: Less Spacious: A convection microwave may be a smart choice for kitchenettes, studio apartments and other small spaces. But they have a much smaller internal cavity and are not as spacious as a regular oven which might not be adequate to bake a large cake or a roasting a whole chicken. You will have to make batches when cooking up a feast.
#3: Difficult to Clean: Mess is an inevitable part of the cooking process. But cleaning the cavity of a convection microwave is quite a task. Grease and residue from fatty foods is often left behind and need to be cleaned right away. If they get baked on with each use, these food particles become stubborn and difficult to remove. The stainless-steel interiors need to be wiped out with warm soapy water.
#4: Unable to Bake a Few Items: Although there’s tough competition, there are still a few limitations when baking in a convection microwave. For instance, cookies baked in an oven have a better texture than those baked in microwaves with a convection setting. You also have to avoid using it for more complex and delicate recipes like soufflés because they might rise unevenly or become a bit dry.
Moreover, most convection microwaves do not have a base element, which means they are not so good at browning and crisping up pastries and pizzas at the bottom.
Best Convection Microwave Combo
It is obvious to feel a little overwhelmed with the plethora of available options out there. But worry no more! I have handpicked a purposeful kitchen appliance i.e. Toshiba’s 3-in-1 Countertop Microwave Oven, which is guaranteed to make your life easier.
Appearance-wise, its sleek black and silver color and compact design blend well with every space. With its auto bake and auto roast menus, you can feast on everything from cheesy pizza to juicy turkey breast. The large and clearly labeled buttons, bright LED light display, easy-to-grip handle and energy efficiency mode takes the user experience to another level.
Unlike any other similar models, this microwave also allows you to turn off the beeping noise whenever you want to work quietly. And the best part? It’s super convenient to clean! Just a few wipes and all that post-baking food residue will be gone forever.
You will be surprised to know how pocket-friendly it is, considering its ample features and dynamic performance. Overall, a small, yet powerful unit to have in your kitchen.
How to use a Convection Microwave
You must be familiar with reheating leftovers or cooking one-pot meals in a regular microwave. Now, it’s time to familiarize yourself with convection cooking. But there’s no need to get intimidated! Using a convection microwave is a breeze. I’d recommend you follow the product manual of your specific model for better guidance. However, here are a few guidelines that work for all convection microwaves:
First, determine your purpose for using the appliance. For reheating or defrosting, or cooking items like packaged instant noodles, use the normal mode or microwave settings.
If you want to bake some goodies, cook up a roast, or make something that needs to be browned or crisped, switch to convection mode. Convection microwaves typically come with a round convection rack to place your dishes on. It allows air to circulate all around the food for even cooking.
Once you place the empty rack inside, preheat your microwave just like an oven. Then, place your food in the preheated microwave, set the timer and press start.
Since a convection microwave has a high heat capacity, make sure to keep an eye on your food to avoid overcooking or burning.
When Should You Choose the Convection Microwave Oven
A convection microwave works best for items that need a longer time duration to be cooked. For instance, switch to convection mode when you want to:
- Roast an entire chicken
- Bake delicious pies and cookies
- Bake something on a metal cookware
- Roast some green beans or asparagus to pair them with your main course
- Make some crispy and fatty bacon for breakfasts
- Melt or brown cheesy garlic bread
- Roast up some marshmallows for an indoor s’mores party
- Roasting garlic bulbs for a variety of dishes
Also, you should be choosing a convection microwave over a traditional oven if you have a small family and a small kitchen space. They also come in handy for holiday homes and caravans.
When Should You Choose the Microwave Oven
Most people choose microwaves as a go-to kitchen appliance for just reheating leftovers. But owning a microwave only pays off if you use it to its fullest potential.
A microwave is a wonderful appliance for anyone who doesn’t have enough time or money on his hands. It is highly economical and efficient. It can cook everyday meals like rice, eggs, soups and potatoes quickly and safely without creating a mess. If you are a college student living in a dorm or a stay-at-home mum, a microwave will do the job for you.
Contrary to the popular belief, a microwave oven retains most of the essential nutrients in food better than stovetop cooking. Hence, you can choose a microwave when you want to enjoy healthy, delicious and oil-free food.
Furthermore, microwaves are also great if you are living on your own in a small space and do not have to prepare large quantities of food.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the main differences between a convection microwave and an air fryer?
Air Fryers are trendy these days for all the right reasons. Whether you are preparing a healthier version of French fries or toasting up a lazy midnight sandwich, they always come in handy. Both convection microwaves and air fryers use fan technology to circulate hot air around the food. However, the convection microwave has a larger cooking capacity than a regular air fryer. When it comes to versatility, it combines grilling, baking and regular microwave functionality. Thus, if you can buy only one new kitchen appliance, the convection microwave is the way to go!
What’s the difference between an inverter microwave and a convection microwave?
Both convection microwaves and inverter microwaves warm up your food with their standard microwave technology. It only comes down to the power levels, cooking time and energy efficiency. The inverter microwave offers a steady stream of heat, preventing hot and cold spots in microwaved foods. On the other hand, the convection microwave utilizes built-in fan technology to distribute even heat around your food and gives it a baked texture. Since a microwave with inverter technology uses a steady amount of voltage throughout the cooking process, it lowers the cost of electricity bills.
What’s the difference between an advantium oven and a convection microwave?
Advantium is a powerful technology that basically utilizes both halogen lamps and microwave energy. Advantium ovens cook food much faster and better while retaining all the natural moisture and nutrients. Similar to some convection microwaves, advantium power lets you pre-program your own recipes so you don’t have to worry about the temperatures and cooking times every time you make something.
What’s the difference between a speed oven and a convection microwave?
Unlike traditional ovens, speed ovens feature 3-in-1 technology, including a microwave, convection, and grill element. Besides their ultimate cooking versatility, they are an excellent choice for designer kitchens due to their sleek and modern look.
A speed oven can perfume all the functions of a convection microwave, which makes them similar to a great extent. The only difference is that speed ovens are a bit faster and are slightly bigger in size
Microwave ovens have been around for decades and they are one of the most used appliances in the kitchen. The addition of a convection element has further enhanced their durability. The beauty of a convection microwave is that it can play the role of a convection oven, all while heating, reheating, or defrosting your food items. It is, therefore, worth your money.
So now, it’s up to you. Bake, Grill, or Roast — just use it to its fullest potential! Prepare complete meals without feeling the need for any other appliance and don’t forget to invite me over for dinner.
My love for food was influenced by my brother, a chef at a 2-star Michelin restaurant, and we often exchange food knowledge together. It’s been 12 years since I first stepped into the kitchen, and with my vast experience and expertise, I will share many ideas on how to make dishes more delicious!