What Is a Convection Microwave? Are They Worth the Money?

Researched & Written by Craig

Choosing between using a microwave and an oven can be tricky.

However, you might not have to choose. According to many users, a convection microwave combines the best of both worlds.

Since convection microwaves aren’t well know, there are plenty of questions you might have about them. As someone who’s done plenty of research into these unique appliances, I wanted to put together this guide to explain them, including:

  • What even is a convection microwave?
  • How do convection microwaves work?
  • What are the pros and cons of convection microwaves?
  • Are convection microwaves worth it?

The goal is to help you decide whether a convection microwave oven is a good choice for your home.

Ready? Then let’s get started.

What Is a Convection Microwave Oven?

A convection oven is a hybrid appliance. It can work like a traditional microwave oven, heating your food through the power of microwaves. However, it has bonus features: a heating coil and fan. Together, these allow convection microwaves to do things like bake, brown, crisp, and roast foods.

Using certain modes, you can even put metal in a convection microwave. You can bake cookies in a convection microwave on a standard cookie sheet. That makes these appliances impressively flexible.

How Does A Convection Microwave Oven Work?

Convection microwaves cook your food in two ways at once. The combination of microwave and convection cooking is what makes them so powerful.

If you set your convection microwave to just microwave something, then it works like a standard microwave.

The magnetron converts energy into specific, safe electromagnetic radiation known as “microwaves.” These microwaves are broadcast towards the food, and vibrate the water inside it so quickly that it causes friction. That generates heat, and warms up your food.

However, microwaves react poorly to metal, so they can lead to sparks if you use metal trays or leave a fork in your food. Plus, some microwave foods can wind up a little soggy because of the steam that this cooking method creates.

On the other hand, when you use the convection settings on your convection microwave, it works more like an oven. The heating element in the microwave converts energy to ambient heat. The neat trick with convection cooking is the fan: it blows the hot air at the food, to cook it more quickly.

Convection cooking creates the brown, crispy outside coating on foods like roast chicken and baked goods. Even better, it’s completely fine to use metal when only the convection heater is running. 

The best part of convection microwaves is when microwaves and convection are used at the same time. Convection microwaves can be used to quickly cook food while still getting that home-cooked, crispy brown exterior.

In fact, many convection microwaves have special programming included. You can touch a button and it will set the convection microwave to run as a microwave for a certain amount of time before finishing off your food as an oven. This saves you time and guesswork in the long run.

Convection Microwave Pros & Cons

As with every appliance, convection microwaves have their pros and cons. They’re useful devices, but they’re not necessarily for every kitchen.

Pros:

Space-Saving. Dual purpose function allows small kitchens to contain an oven and a microwave at the same time.

Easy Programming. Many convection microwaves have specialized programs to let you balance convection and microwave functions at the touch of a button.

Simplicity. When everything you need to cook is combined in one device, you always know what to use.

Cons:

Small Size. Like traditional microwaves, convection microwaves are compact. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to cook more than one dish at a time in these.

Learning Curve. If you’re not familiar with convection microwaves, you may have to play around to get the best results.

Are Convection Microwaves Worth It?

The answer is that it depends.

If you live in a small space but want to cook more, a convection microwave might be perfect for you. These convenient appliances take up barely more room than a standard microwave. However, they can cook everything from popcorn to a Sunday roast.

On the other hand, if you already have a full-size kitchen, complete with a microwave and an oven that work, a convection microwave isn’t a necessity. However, they can be helpful. If you regularly cook large meals and need a little extra cooking space, a convection microwave is a compact way to increase your kitchen’s abilities.

Convection microwaves are also a fantastic choice for vacation cabins, motor homes, dorms, and small flats. If the space is a little too small to support a full oven, then a convection microwave can widely expand your culinary options.

camping with a convection oven

Yes, you can even bring your convection microwave camping!

Conclusion

Microwave ovens can’t quite do everything, but they can do a lot. They’re great for any space where an oven isn’t the right choice.

They’re one of the few appliances that really seems to be an all-in-one solution. Everyone from college students to vacationing retirees might have use for a convection microwave.

Between the convenient, compact design, the nearly-universal functionality, and the ease of use, these are the multi-tool of cooking methods.

I hope this quick guide to convection microwaves has helped you understand the what and why of these handy appliances. If it’s helped you, please consider supporting use by checking out some more of our articles.

Thank you for reading, and have a great day!

-Craig