Home » Can You Use a Convection Oven as an Air Fryer (The Difference)

Can You Use a Convection Oven as an Air Fryer (The Difference)




The big question; can you use a convection oven as an air fryer? I am going to help you answer that question for you and a few others along the way.

The answer to that question has to do with scale rather than function. What do we mean? You can use a convection oven as an air fryer because an air fryer is simply a smaller convection oven.

Air Fryers don’t actually fry food but cooks it by convection. What is convection, you may ask? Convection is when you cook food by circulating air in an oven using a fan.

What is a Convection Oven?

I’ve already touched a bit on this but a convection oven, in the simplest of terms, is an oven that has a fan that helps circulate air in the oven helping food to cook faster and evenly.

In comparison to a regular oven, it is a more efficient way of cooking. My first encounter with a convection oven was about 18 years ago when I was working for a bakery.

Instead of using traditional ovens, we used convection ovens. Not only are they energy-efficient, but they also allow you to bake large quantities of confectionery evenly and in a shorter space of time than ordinary ovens.

There are big industrial convection ovens like the ones I was initially introduced to and there are other smaller industrial and domestic units that fit well into the requirements of just about any user.

Domestic convection ovens have been around for many years and have been tried and trusted by many a mother over the years. They are well known for the great results that they bring out time and again.

What Is an Air Fryer?

As already mentioned in this article, an air fryer is simply a small convection oven which can be very much at home on your countertop beside your Instant Pot, Vitamix, and other kitchen appliances.

Even though it is called an Air Fryer, it doesn’t actually fry food. It operates just like a convection oven by circulating heat using a heating element and fan.

Not only does food cook faster and evenly, but it is also a healthy way of cooking. With all the hype around healthy eating these days and the general consciousness towards health and wellbeing, the Air Fryer has taken its place among the must-have go-to kitchen appliance for the health-conscious.

Instead of frying your chicken wings, French fries, and other frozen foods, you can simply air fry them where you only need to thinly coat your food with oil instead of immersing it in it.

The Major Differences between a Convection Oven and Air Fryer Now that we’ve established that the 2 are more or less the same thing, let’s look at a scenario where you are trying to decide on whether to go for a convection oven or simply go for the air fryer.

I am going to assume that you are looking to get one or the other for home use.


The biggest difference, in my opinion, has to be the cooking capacity of the two. Generally, convection ovens tend to be bigger in size and can hold larger amounts of food when cooking.

If you are preparing food for one or two people, the air fryer will serve you just fine whereas the convection oven will allow you to cook larger meals.

My favorite convection oven and the one I usually recommend to people is Breville Smart Oven Pro (See the current price on Amazon) I mostly like the features and incredible functions this oven possesses.

Breville Smart Oven Pro Toaster Oven,...
  • The Breville Smart Oven Pro with Element iQ System is a high performance...
  • Element iQ System: Using 5 independent quartz elements, smart algorithms...
  • Convection Powered: The Smart Oven Pro's convection setting reduces cooking...

Use of Oil

With ordinary convection ovens, you will usually need to use some oil when cooking. In air fryers like the Phillips air fryer, for example, you can get away with using little to no oil at all. This is one of its biggest attraction points to health-conscious people.


Air fryers can reach much higher temperatures in comparison to convection ovens. There are certain dishes, like specific desserts, which come out better in an air fryer than a convection oven because of the higher temperatures.

Final Thoughts

So, to wrap it up, a convection oven can, in principle, be used as an air fryer. Coming up with the right choice for you simply boils down to your particular needs. I hope this article has gone some ways into helping you to come to that decision. As always, I appreciate your comments and questions.

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