Convection ovens are nothing short of amazing. Convection oven cooking is all about versatility. They can cook, bake, broil, roast, warm and do it almost as fast as a microwave but with evenly cooked, delicious results. If you are comparing a convection oven vs conventional, convection ovens create heat that surrounds the food and there is virtually no flavor transfer when different types of foods are cooked together. Foodservice professionals the world over depend on the convection oven’s speed, efficiency and consistent performance. A convection oven is no small investment however, so today we’re going to take a look at the most important technical specifications to help guide you in the decision making process. To understand what is convection, take a look at the GIF below:
1. What’s Up With BTUs?
To understand what convection is you have to understand the BTU. BTU is short for “British Thermal Unit” and it’s a measure of heat energy. One BTU is the amount of energy it would take to raise the temperature of one pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. In other words, if I wanted to heat 1 pound of 45 degree water to 47 degrees, it would take 2 BTUs. Keep adding more BTUs and that water will eventually boil. More BTUs means more heating capability. Heaters, air conditioners, furnaces, and refrigerators all use BTUs to measure their output (well, refrigerators make the air cooler so the BTU is measuring displaced heat).
2. How Strong of a Convection Oven Should I Buy?
All these things considered, which convection oven is going to give you the biggest bang for your BTU buck? I compared three of our most popular double deck convection ovens to see exactly how many BTUs consumers can expect and ultimately, what kind of performance you will get. The results were a bit surprising.
First up was the Vulcan VC44GD Gas Convection Oven. This is a fabulous place to start if you’re new to the world of double decker convection ovens. It’s economical, Energy Star rated and has 88,000 BTUs total or 44,000 per section. In addition to all standard convection oven features, it features a rapid cool down switch and “no sag” insulation.
The Southbend SLES/20CCH SilverStar Convection Oven was next. This was the clear winner in the BTU department. For only a small increase in price over the Vulcan the BTUs are raised to 72,000 per deck, making the total strength on the SilverStar a whopping 144,000 BTUs! Both standard depth gas and electric models are Energy Star qualified and have energy saving high efficiency glass windows. Not only that, but there are loads of options available, like heavy-duty casters and a correctional facility package.
Finally, we look at the Garland MCO-GS-20-S Convection Oven. While this model is the most expensive of the three, it came in second with 60,000 or 120,000 total BTUs. But what it lacks in BTUs, it makes up in horsepower. The previously mentioned Southbend and Vulcan convection ovens both have ½ HP fans to circulate the heat. However, the Garland MCO-GS-20-S has a ¾ HP fan. So while the oven may not get as hot as the Southbend SilverStar, it puts the power behind the blower to do what convection ovens do best– circulate heat and cook food quickly, evenly and efficiently.
3. What Matters Most to Me?
You can’t go wrong with any of these double decker convection ovens. The Southbend SLES/20CCH is ideal if you want max heating capability. That being said, the Garland MCO-GS-20-S will give you the best convection performance of the three, so if you are cooking a lot of different foods at once this would be ideal. Overall, they’re all great reliable ovens that will make a fantastic addition to your commercial kitchen for years to come.