More than half of the stoves sold on the market today are advertised as "convection ranges". But what does it really mean?
The convection function simply circulates the hot air inside the oven using a fan. This ensures that all areas of the oven are heated evenly and helps to eliminate hot spots. It also shortens the cooking time, as the heat is circulated better. Sounds amazing, right?
Well, it doesn't end there. This function has its weaknesses too. The hot air blowing inside the oven can dry out what you're cooking, and isn't optimal for all foods. Baked goods in particular, such as breads, will likely do better in a non-convection setting, as they thrive on the humidity created in the still oven air. Also, while the hot air may reduce your cooking time, you'll need to reduce your cooking temperature. Some convection functions will do this automatically, but if yours doesn't, you'll need to play around with the temperatures and keep a close eye at first to prevent overcooking your food. Most cooks recommend reducing the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit when using the convection setting, and planning on a cooking time that is 1/3 to 1/2 of the original duration.
User opinions show that the stoves with the best convection ovens are electric and have large capacities (at least 5 cubic feet). On average, convection stoves cost about $400 more than regular stoves, though there are several inexpensive options available. Likely due to the added cost, users feel that convection ranges are of slightly lower value compared to non-convection models.
That extra cost does have an upside, however, as users also report that convection ovens perform better than non-convection models on average and are typically of much higher quality.
Among the various brands, Whirlpool receives the best scores for its convection stoves.