Convection Bake: Does it Save Energy?

Our contest for the past two weeks tested our Facebook fans’ knowledge of the convection bake function on their toaster ovens.  Long touted by toaster oven manufacturers as a way to reduce cooking times and save energy, convection bake was put to the test.  We tested the difference between energy usage in a 10 minute period between convection bake and regular bake among the top 20 most popular toaster ovens sold in the US (note: not all of these top 20 had both options), and we asked you – was there a difference?

And the answer…. No.  Convection bake and regular bake use just about the same amount of energy within a 10 minute time period.  So whoever guessed closest to 0% is this week’s winner.  We’ll get in touch with the winner and let you know who that is soon.

But this still begs the question – does convection bake save energy?  We found that manufacturers either recommended reducing cooking times by 30% or reducing oven temperatures by 25 degrees.  If either of these recommendations result in a quality product – your oven should save energy…right?  Maybe.  Since toaster ovens use the vast majority of their energy over short cooking times to pre-heat the oven, small reductions in temperature or cooking time at the end of the cycle make little difference in the energy consumption.

After baking many batches of French Meadow Bakery Chocolate Chip cookies from MOM’s Organic Market, we can say with confidence that cookies baked using convection were “fluffier,” to use a technical term, and tastier in our view.    Every machine is different and we could find no standard time difference or temperature reduction.

We’d like to hear from you …have you used convection bake on your toaster oven and do you find it saves time?

3 thoughts on “Convection Bake: Does it Save Energy?

  1. I have found that convection baking does reduce a few minutes of cooking time. However, with some food items, my convection oven tends to dry foods out a bit. Convection or non-convection it is still a better choice to use your toaster oven vs the regular conventional oven whenever possible, especially in the summer time. The A/C doesn’t have to work so hard to combat the heat generated from the large oven and it takes a significant less amount of energy to preheat and maintain temperatures with a toaster oven.

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