Conventional Oven Vs. Microwave Oven – What’s the Difference

Ovens are one of the most convenient and fastest cooking appliances you can have in your home. But because they come in different types, sizes and perform different functions, you need to figure out the one you need most.

The conventional and microwave oven are 2 of the most usually confused oven types, and this is because, at a glance, you can mistake one for the other.

The two offer the advantage of cooking faster and will less preparation time.

However, the two differ from how they work to the cooking methods they offer. But now the big question remains – how will you choose between the two now that both are highly functional?

Don’t worry; we’ve got your back. In this post, we’ve included the differences between the 2 models as well as their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

A Comparison Chart for Conventional ovens and Microwave Ovens

FeatureConventional OvenMicrowave Oven
Heat distributionUneven distribution of heatMicrowaves distribute
heat more evenly.
Cooking timeFaster cooking timeTakes the least time to
heat food – very fast.
Energy efficiencyConsumes more energyVery energy-efficient
Power supplyElectricity or gasElectricity
Heating elementThermal heatElectromagnetic waves
Moisture of the foodRetains the moisture
of the food
Kills the moisture
of the food
Price A little expensiveFairly priced

Conventional Oven Overview

Conventional Oven Vs Microwave Oven

Conventional ovens also referred to as traditional or regular ovens, have two heating elements located at the top and bottom of the appliance.

The heating element at the bottom is used for cooking and baking, while that at the top is used for broiling.

In a conventional oven, the dish closest to the heating cooks the fastest, unlike in a convection oven where heating is even.

These ovens have been around for years hence popular in most kitchens. They come with menus settings that are easy to operate hence very user-friendly.

A conventional oven is heated either by gas or electricity.

Advantages of a Conventional Oven

  • Temperature Control

You can control with ease how hot a conventional oven gets. This is why this appliance is pretty good for baking.

  • Versatile

You can use your conventional oven for baking, grilling, and toasting, among other forms of cooking. It even comes with a top heating element for broiling.

  • Even Cooking

Modern conventional ovens come with a switch that enables you to switch from traditional to more efficient convection mode.


  • Uneven Heating

Traditional conventional ovens do not distribute heat evenly throughout the oven. This means that it’s easy to spot hot and cold spots in food prepared in this oven.

  • Expensive

Full-size conventional ovens come with a high price tag and may even require additional installation costs.

Microwave Oven Overview

Microwaves have been in use since the late 1960s. Since then, improvements in technology have made these appliances the staple of every kitchen.

Step into any kitchen, and you’ll most likely spot one on the counter.

Unlike conventional ovens, microwaves use a very different approach to make food. This is because they don’t cook with heat from traditional heating elements.

Instead, these appliances use electromagnetic waves from a built-in magnetron. The waves cause the water molecules in your food to vibrate and produce heat, which then cooks your food to perfection.

Microwaves are known for their super-fast cooking ability. And when cooking with these ovens, rarely will your food get burnt.

Microwaves provide a cleaner and more hygienic cooking method as they are quite easy to clean after use. They are also extremely user-friendly.

Advantages of a Microwave Oven

  • Affordable

Most microwave ovens come at an affordable price. They are actually cheaper than conventional ovens. The best part is that it’s very easy to get one within your budget range because they come with varying price tags.

These appliances don’t require extra setup costs. They are also energy-efficient.

  • Faster cooking time

Food warms quickly in a microwave oven. In fact, most foods and drinks take less than 5 minutes to get hot.

  • Even heat distribution

Microwave ovens send out evenly distributed microwaves. This leads to even cooking and great cooking results.

  • Easy to use

To use a microwave oven, you just need to switch it on and select the right cooking time, and you’re good to go. Some more advanced models even come with pre-set buttons to help you prepare different types of foods fast.

Disadvantages of Microwave Ovens

  • Lacks Versatility

Although some microwaves come with advanced features and settings, there isn’t much you can do with them. These appliances are not ideal for making crispy foods or baking.

Also, though you can cook in a microwave, your food will most likely turn out dry and chewy.

  • Uneven cooking of thick foods

One thing to note about microwaves is that they only penetrate to a depth of at most 1.5 inches. If your food is thicker than this, the chances are that you’ll get undercooked food.

If you really want to cook with a microwave, ensure you get one that comes with pre-set buttons; otherwise, you’ll be in for a rude shock.

Which is Better, a Conventional Oven or a Microwave Oven?

Difference Between Conventional Oven and Microwave Oven

The two ovens work great, and you’ll enjoy having them in your kitchen. Actually, if you can, get both. This is because they carry out completely different functions.

With a microwave oven, you can only reheat, defrost and cook food. In fact, the quality of food cooked in a microwave is not that great. Most of the time, you’ll get too dry food if you use a microwave for cooking.

On the other hand, a conventional oven will help you bake, roast, brown and crisp food, tasks that are totally impossible to carry out when using a microwave oven.

But then, the best of the two will be the appliance you need most. A microwave oven might turn out to be the best option for you if all you need is an appliance to help you prepare quick breakfasts before rushing for work in the morning.

On the other hand, the conventional oven might turn out to be your best option, especially if you like baking.

Frequently Asked Questions

01. What can you cook in a conventional oven?

Use your conventional oven to prepare delicate pastries, cheesecakes, flans, cakes, cookies, soufflés, and macarons, among other foods. You’ll get the best results.

02. What can you use a conventional oven for?

A conventional oven is mostly used for cooking, baking, and broiling. It comes with two heating elements to make this possible, one at the top and the other at the bottom.

03. Is a convection oven a microwave?

No. A conventional oven is an oven that bakes, roasts, browns, and crisps food. You can’t do that with a microwave.

04. Is the food cooked in a conventional oven healthy?

Food cooked in a conventional oven is healthy. However, you need to understand the food you can cook in the oven to avoid eating meals high in fats and calories.

05. How long should a microwave last?

On average, a microwave oven lasts about 7 years with normal use. However, heavy use and poor maintenance might not last more than 5 years.


Conventional and microwave ovens are two equally important kitchen appliances that serve different purposes. If you want an appliance for instant cooking and reheating, get a microwave.

However, if you’re into baking cakes and cookies, a conventional oven will do the deal.