Convection Cooker Reviews
We are all looking for ways to reduce our energy usage while still trying to prepare delicious food within a limited time frame, all a result of the times in which we live. Electricity utilities are looking to reduce consumption during the peak hours in the evening when we are busy preparing our evening meals.
So how do we reduce our energy consumption yet still produce perfectly cooked delicious food? The options in the past have been limited to microwave cooking with often less than desirable results in taste and appearance. There has always been gas but this is not available or even desirable for all with many settling for foregoing delicious oven cooked food altogether or even worst, settling for take away.
So how do we save energy and time yet still produce perfectly cooked food in our own kitchens?
The answer is by using convection cooking with convection ovens or hot air cookers or air fryers.
What is convection cooking? Convection cooking uses the circulation of hot air to more efficiently cook at a lower temperature and in reduced time. To understand how circulating hot air is more efficient that radiant heat as found in conventional cookers, think of the effect of wind chill on a cold day and how the moving air can quickly reduce the temperature way beyond ambient. The same occurs when hot air moves past an object causing the heat to be absorbed much more quickly than if the air was still.
Other benefits inlude a constant temperature throughout the oven / cooker from the top shelf to the bottom, even and perfect browning while maintaining moisture, and even baking of breads, cakes, and pastries. Convection cooking produces better tasting vegetables as the sugars begin caramelizing sooner with crisp edges and beatiful moist rich flavors.
Estimates in savings using a convection cooker are 25% less time and 25 degrees lower than stated in most recipes designed for standard cookers. Include the benefit of being able to use all the shelves i.e. you can cook more items in your convection cooker / oven at the same time and you start to accumulate real savings!
Convection cooking is not only found in ovens (fan forced ovens being the most familiar) with benchtop ovens and air cookers / air fryers being commonly available. We review three convection cookers representing what we
believe are the best of the best in their category.
Firstly, we review the Secura Halogen Infrared Turbo Convection Countertop Oven, representing the small and portable end of the market. This oven is ideal for small appartments or for preparing smaller meals where a full oven would be wasteful.
Secura Halogen Infrared Turbo Convection Oven
The Secura Covection Oven pre-heats very quickly saving energy over a standard oven.
The cooker is self cleaning but is dishwasher safe if required.
The cooker can defrost, broil, roast, bake, grill, barbecue, fry and steam replacing many appliances with just one.
No need to add oil or fat as the convection cooker uses the natural juices to produce healthy meals.
Cons: This oven will still require you to have some cooking ability i.e. it is not set and forget. You will have to turn roasts to ensure even browning or at very least monitor as it cooks. We suggest you purchase an additional cook book as the one that comes with the unit is insufficient to use the oven at its best.
The second convection cooker we review is the Breville BOV800XL The Smart Oven 1800-Watt Convection Toaster Oven representing the benchtop midrange oven market. This oven would suit a small apartment or someone who doesn’t require a full size oven for the majority of their cooking. The energy savings alone against most full size convection ovens is 50% and well worth considering.
Breville BOV800XL The Smart Oven
The Breville Smart Oven is attractively constructed from reinforced stainless steel with easy to use controls and a blue backlit LCD display providing information at a glance. One of my favorite features is the ejection of the wire rack for easy removal of hot items.
Other great features include fast heatup, energy efficient operation, an embossed and ribbed top surface that can be used as a warming tray, and a front access crumb tray for easy cleanup.
The oven provides nine pre-set functions that are customizable: Toast, Bagel, Bake, Roast, Broil, Pizza, Cookies, Reheat, or Warm. Temperature and time are preset for each function making this oven / toaster a dream to use. My favorite is the Pizza function which lets you set the diameter of the pizza and whether it is frozen or fresh.
This is a powerful oven so must be plugged into a 20A socket. I would not recommend a power board or extension cord due to the high power of this device.
Cons: This is more than a toaster oven and cannot be mounted underneath the counter like other toaster ovens. This oven requires counter space and at least 4 inches clearance due to its higher capacity. An interior light would be useful.
The third convection cooker we reviewed was a full sized convection oven with induction cook top – the GE Profile : PHB925SPSS 30 Freestanding Induction Range, 5 Cooking Zones, Convection, and Self Cleaning functionality.
GE Profile : PHB925SPSS 30 Freestanding Induction Range
The convection oven in the GE Profile Freestanding Induction Range is large in comparison to the Breville and has a third element around the fan for additional even temperature control. The oven has all the benefits of convection cooking as well as being self cleaning. We have not found a single feature we would change with the oven – it is really that good!
The cook top is an induction style cooker which means that the surface does not become hot. The system works by inducing heat in the cookware and has remarkable heat control in comparison to electric or gas. Boiling water is incredibly fast – the old adage about watching water boil does not apply here!
Because the top doesn’t heat up there are no problems with spills burning onto the surface. Just wipe with a paper towell when you are done and it will be pristine again. To prevent scratching the stove top when using old cookware, lay a piece of paper towell beneath the base of the cookware and the stove top and use it afterwards to wipe up. It will not burn as the heat is induced into the cookware – not on the stove top.
Temperature control is instantaneous and very fine. A boiling pot will instantly cease boiling when turned down to simmer and melting chocolate can be performed very slowly without danger of burning.
All up this is the best cooking appliance we have trialled through the combination of induction top and convection oven.
Cons: these are not cheap but are worth every penny. Being an upright range the controls are placed behind the cooking surface (as is usual with this style of range) and this can make operation tricky when there are a number of pots on the boil. Nothing new here as I’m sure we have all experienced this problem in the past. At least you wont burn yourself on the cooktop!