Even with newer vegan diets and recipes, we still rely on the same old conventional kitchen appliances. These include the oven, a valuable tool to warm up your food till it’s perfectly cooked.
Most people have a traditional or full oven in their houses, but that isn’t a necessity written in stone. There are loads of people who consider mini ovens or toasters but options for their kitchens. The question is: which is cheaper to run?
Mini vs Traditional Oven
It can help us appreciate the physics of these two appliances work before getting into, which is the cheaper option. Mini ovens combine radiation and convection in their cooking process. They use waves with high frequencies to warm up the water in the food.
This process cooks the food from the inside out, allowing the air surrounding the food to stay at room temp. So, mini ovens essentially warm up all the food in one go. This tactic minimizes cooking time as well as energy consumption, specifically when involving smaller food portions.
In comparison, a traditional oven uses convection as its heating principle. The air around the food gets hot, which creates a temperature difference between the two mediums. As the food’s exterior aspects start heating up, the warmth creeps inwards to raise the food’s internal temperature.
Are they Cheaper To Run?
Well, in a nutshell, yes. Mini-ovens are much more affordable to operate compared to their conventional counterparts. Here are some reasons explaining why:
Mini ovens don’t need any setup or assembly. You unpack the product, place it on the tabletop, and plug it in. You may even move it from one spot to the next, depending on how crowded your kitchen is.
On the other hand, full ovens require professional installation, primarily since they use gas fuel if it’s a wall oven. Electric devices, particulars you set up between your cabinets, also need professional help to ensure your range has proper levelling, connectivity, and ventilation.
Wall ovens require specifically designed cabinets to support them, which might require alterations in your kitchen to get the ideal spacing for the stove. These ovens are easier to set up and typically slide into place easily.
Mini ovens come in a wide range of price options, beginning at $40 for a straightforward model. If you wish to get the mini oven as a substitute for an entire oven, many premium models will come for prices ranging from $200 to $300.
Conventional ovens generally come for $500 to $2,000, whether it’s a range of the wall-mounted model. The price also depends on the additional features and fuel sources. Installation of these ovens costs around $162 if you need to replace your previous range, but this can skyrocket to about $275 if it’s a double-wall model, bringing your total from $662 a whopping $2,275.
A toaster oven costs about $0.03 an hour to run, a gas oven $0.07, and an electric oven $0.16, making toaster ovens more energy efficient. Deciding to use a mini range over a conventional oven can result in about 80% less energy utilized than 30% from an oven. As an extra win, a mini oven doesn’t warm up your kitchen during the summer heat while cooking like an oven, reducing air-con costs.
For better energy savings and cooking time, most people prefer convection ovens, heating food by circulating hot air via a fan through the stove. The air circulation heats the food more consistently and rapidly using lower temps.
Both traditional and mini ovens use convection as their heat source. Both these models are more expensive than ones without convection, starting at $150 for mini ovens and $2,000 for traditional ones. So, mini ovens are better bargains for people who prefer convection baking and cooking.
It’s best to visualize a potato cooked by both ovens to understand oven size and its effect on cost. Cooking some medium-sized potatoes would take around 15 minutes in a mini range. Now try cooking those same potatoes in a traditional oven, and you’d be stuck waiting for over an hour. So mini ovens use less energy and time in that regard.
However, this isn’t always the most effective way of cooking. If you’re making multiple dishes with large serving sizes, using a conventional oven once is better than making small batches with a mini range.
How To Run A Mini Ovens Even Cheaper
You can improve the energy productivity of a mini oven using some tips and tricks. For example, set up your range at a distance from the fridge.
The heat produced by the mini oven will cause your fridge to heat up and use more electricity, which isn’t suitable for the bill. If you need to place such appliances close to each other because of space restrictions, keep a sheet of foam between the two devices.
Also, don’t keeping opening oven doors repeatedly to check if your food is ready. This repeated opening releases heat from the oven, reducing the temp by 25 degrees, so the range has to work hard to produce it back. That’s why mini ovens come with inner lights or timers
Preheating a mini oven is generally useless and only wastes more energy. Just make sure to use the appropriate cookware, and you should be good. Ceramic or glass dishes need lower temperatures to heat up than metal ones, so opt for those while cooking with a mini oven.
How To Use A Mini Oven For Maximum Efficiency
You can’t have energy efficiency if you don’t use a mini oven right. These appliances are most effective for heating or defrosting small batches of food. Mini ovens are not ideal for cooking since the cook can be uneven and don’t brown food.
Mini ovens have consistent energy efficiency. Typically, a small one, with 600 to 800 wattage, is more efficient than a bigger model with 850 to 1650 wattage. So, don’t get a mini-oven larger than is needed.
Newer models now come with temperature probes to improve energy efficiency. They can sense controls that indicate moisture levels in food when cooked and come with different power options for more energy saving.
So, what’s the conclusion? Well, ultimately, it all comes down to your cooking style and needs. That said, if you want small and quick cooking, you can’t run cheaper than a mini oven.