Does a portable oven use less electricity?

A portable oven uses less electricity than a regular oven. As electricity prices rise, this makes portable ovens a popular choice for cooks and bakers. Saving energy is good for both our pockets and the planet. So what are the pros and cons of owning a portable oven? 

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What is a portable oven called? 

A portable oven goes by many names, some of which you will already be familiar with. Portable ovens are sometimes called a countertop oven, mini oven, or toaster oven. 

They have all these features; they are portable and can be plugged into a normal plug socket, they are usually kept on the kitchen countertop (although a portable oven can also be used for camping), they are mini versions of conventional ovens and they have toaster elements or grill elements. 

A portable oven with a convection setting can also be used as an air fryer, according to the NY Times, as an air fryer is essentially a mini convection oven. In fact, it can be more convenient than an air fryer which is often a round shape making it tricky to fit food into it. A portable oven is the standard rectangular shape for trays. 

Do portable ovens use less electricity? 

The short answer is yes, portable ovens use less electricity in comparison to a regular oven. According to Direct Energy, a regular electric oven uses between 2,000 and 5,000 watts and averages at the 3,000 watt mark. With a cost of 12 cents per kWh, that’s 36c per hour to use it. 

A portable oven uses between 1,000 and 2,000 watts. Any less than 1,000 watts and it will not be suitable for most tasks apart from toasting. Portable ovens with 1,000 or 1,200 watts are most often used for camping. 

RV campervan generators will have to supply air conditioning, appliances and tech gear so a lower wattage portable oven is preferable. Portable ovens for camping that run on propane gas are also available. 

A portable oven with a higher wattage e.g. 1,800 watts are most often used in the home. The cost to run a portable oven of 1,000 or 1,800 watts is 12 cents or 22 cents per kilowatt hour respectively, saving you one third to two thirds of your bill. That is, unless you leave it on for longer periods of time. 

Portable ovens with a convection setting circulate the hot air in the oven, giving you a more consistent spread of heat which is great for baking. It also reduces the amount of time that is required to cook, just like a fan assisted oven.

Pros & cons of a portable oven

A portable oven saves energy use and reduces your energy bill. They cost less than a conventional oven, depending on the model chosen & they don’t need to be installed by an electrician. You can simply plug it into the wall. 

A portable oven costs anywhere between $100 and $1,000. Freestanding ovens cost between $500 and $1,600 and fitted ovens between $600 and $4,700 (Home Advisor). 

However, a regular freestanding oven can last an average 13 years (Repair Aid) and a wall oven can last as much as 20 years (Sears Home Services). A portable oven is not expected to last more than 5 years (AHS). Still you could buy 3 x $200 portable ovens and still be on track to beat the lowest price regular oven and you would save on electric bills. 

A portable oven can be relocated. You can take it camping in the RV or you can take it outdoors and use it near the barbecue or on the patio, provided there is a plug point. 

The cons of a portable oven are the size, it is not big enough to cook for large crowds but it makes a handy additional cooker during the holiday season. A portable oven takes up countertop space. 

Some portable ovens are not compatible with some materials, e.g. coffee cups, aluminum foil, metal trays, etc. Care should be taken with glass and ceramic dishes, just like with a regular oven. Sudden temperature changes such as taking a dish from the freezer and putting it under a hot grill can cause them to shatter. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Can you bake in a portable oven?

Yes, you can bake in a portable oven. As long as the dish or tray fits, you can roast and bake in a portable oven. They are perfect for cakes and muffins. There is one caveat here. Choose a good quality portable oven. Cheaper models are basically toasters with grills. More expensive models with convection air fans are better for baking as they provide consistent heat. 

Can a portable oven replace a regular oven? 

A portable oven can replace a regular oven, but more often it is chosen to supplement a regular oven. A portable oven will not have the space that a conventional freestanding or wall fitted oven will have. If you have a family to feed, you are likely to use the portable oven for smaller meals and snacks and the regular oven for dinners. 

On the other hand, if you are cooking for one or two a portable oven can easily replace the regular oven. If you cannot afford a regular oven or want to reduce your energy bills, investing in a portable oven instead will help. 

Is a portable oven worth it?

A portable oven is worth buying if you are keen to reduce your energy bills and you will use it. Tap Warehouse surveyed their UK customers and found that the five least used kitchen gadgets cost the buyers £311 on average. Conversely, the most likely to be used appliance was a slow cooker. A portable oven is only worth it if you will get use out of it, as using it instead of the regular oven will be the thing that saves you money. 

Portable oven ideas

Look for a portable oven with convection wherever possible. Look for quality manufacturers and get a warranty or guarantee. Like all electronic goods, portable ovens can fail so you want to be sure of great customer service when that happens.

The Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven was recommended by the NY Times. It is an 1,800 watt portable oven with options for making pizza, baking, broiling, toasting sandwiches, warming waffles and bagels, etc. An Exact Heat™ sensor ensures even temperatures for cooking and baking and Always Even™ toast control ensures evenly browned toast. It can fit a 13 inch pizza or 9×13 inch baking pan. It comes with a pizza stone, racks and baking pans. It has a limited 3 year guarantee. 

The Breville Smart Oven Pro is also an 1,800 watt portable oven. The oven has Element IQ® which are quartz elements to spread heat evenly. It is a convection oven with cooking features including toasting, baking, roasting, broiling, making pizzas, reheating, warming and slow cooking. It fits a 13 inch pizza, a whole roast chicken or a 9 muffin tray. Accessories include broiling racks, baking pans, pizza pans and a recipe book. It has a 1 year guarantee with the option to extend. 

Portable oven savings

A portable oven can save you money and energy bills. It can cost less to buy, doesn’t need an electrician to install it and uses less electricity per hour. A portable oven can replace your regular oven if it has convection heating and is a quality product. 

Portable oven savings will only work if you actually use the oven and don’t leave it sitting on the counter wasting space. Using a portable oven for small meals instead of the regular oven will save energy and that’s beneficial for your pocket and the planet.