Convection ovens cook foods by circulating air throughout the cavity. Also referred to as a fan oven, convection ovens have become increasingly popular as a primary cooking method in commercial kitchens over the last decade. Convection ovens have replaced standard radiant ovens in many restaurants across the country because of the benefits to flavor, juiciness and crispiness of the foods it cooks.
There are many aspects to choosing the right convection oven for your purposes. The best convection ovens on the market are made with heat-treated glass and stainless steel exterior. Inside, many units are of porcelain and enamel, which are best for easy cleaning. The horsepower of the fan can also be a determining factor when choosing your convection oven. Average HP for these ovens ranges from 1/2 HP to 2 HP. Space, heat source, and capacity usually drive the decision. Let’s look at those now.
Convection ovens for commercial kitchens come in both countertop and floor models. Space is another important consideration when it comes to choosing the right style for your kitchen. It is worthwhile to measure the depth, width, and height of the space you have in order to determine which size model to go with.
Countertop Convection Ovens
- Easy to install
- Will still require proper ventilation
- Capacity can fit from small baking trays to half-size sheet or roasting pans
- Excellent for small delis, convenience stores, concessions stands, or food trucks
Floor Model Convection Ovens
- Half Size or Full Size
- Requires proper ventilation
- Saves space over conventional radiant ovens
- Can be stacked for high volume kitchens
- Popular with bakeries, as foods don’t burn as easily with even temperature flow
- Excellent for roasting meats, high volume kitchens, and cafeterias
A convection oven cooks by heating the air it pushes into the cavity. It goes to figure then, that you must still have a heat source. If you are equipped for a gas model, you will still need a power source to run the fan. Perhaps you are looking for an electric model that heats an element before pushing the heated air into the oven chamber. Either way, you will need an electrical outlet available.
- 120 Volts
- 208 Volts
- 208/240 Variable Volts
- 240 Volts
- Natural Gas
- Propane (LP)
For gas models, it’s also important to choose the right amount of heat energy or BTUs the oven will produce. One BTU is the measurement of the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1° F. Gas ovens are heated by flames that ignite from various spouts places just beneath the oven’s floor. When determining which gas oven is right for you, a higher BTU rating means more heating efficiency per hour.
An effective way to consider the right sized oven based on cooking capacity is based on the number of sheet pans it will hold. Countertop and floor model convection ovens are useful for many cooking uses, including roasting meats, baking potatoes or vegetables and a plethora of baking applications. Convection ovens are available for 3 sheet pans all the way up to 10 sheet pan capacities. Staggered pan placement is possible with units commonly referred to as being Bakers Depth. Convection ovens are offered in single and double deck models for even more capacity. Double deck convection ovens offer numerous benefits, without taking up extra width in your kitchen. Double deck models offer more efficiency, as well as withstanding greater amounts of wear and tear.
Popular Manufacturers of Convection Ovens
The convection oven is a piece of cooking equipment that is continually evolving. New controls, features, power-saving measures and advances have caused a flurry of reputable companies to manufacture commercial convection ovens. Top brands include Southbend, Vulcan, TurboChef, Blodgett and Cadco.