Convection Microwave Oven - experiences?

Anyone had much experience using a combination convection + microwave oven? My mother is thinking of getting one to replace both the broken microwave and the dodgy oven. She’s been reading up about them but it’s always good to get first-hand reports. So how about it, Dopers? Love 'em? Hate 'em? Had one for years and never used it? Any feedback welcome.

We have had one for about 10 years now. It works very well. Most of the time we use it just as a microwave because we have a full size convection oven as well. Sometimes if we need two ovens we will use it as just a convection oven. The combo of nuke and convection is great for things like baked potatoes… put them on combo for about 10 minutes and the skin is crispy and the inside fluffy. The only bad thing is if you use the convection part and then need a microwave you have to wait for it to cool down first.

We have one. We mostly use it as a microwave but it comes in handy during holidays and things where we suddenly need more oven space. I don’t think I would want to use it as the only oven because of the cost of electricity around here. It’s installed as an over the range hood with fans/lights on the bottom. I think it would be too big as a stand-alone counter appliance.

It’s not a complete replacement for an oven because you don’t get an infrared, just hot air, which slows browning. It’s kind of like baking a steak, instead of broiling one.

Thanks for the replies. Looks like these are not hugely popular appliances, which is interesting in itself.

Balthisar, what do you mean about an infrared? Is that something ovens normally have? (I don’t know anything about ovens)

I’ve heard they are popular in RV’s.

Infrared (IR) is direct radiation. It’s why gas ovens are often inferior to electric ovens for certain applications. Gas oven broilers or roasters use a flame to heat up iron/steel, which then can give off infrared radiation, albeit at much lower levels than an electric heating coil. Some gas ovens (e.g., a slide-in range I used to own) do have electric heating coils to make up for this deficiency.

There are several ways to introduce heat to a food when cooking, and they all produce different results. Conduction, e.g., your steak is directly on a hot surface. Convection is when you boil something, or put it in a hot oven, or put it in hot oil (a “convection oven” really means “forced convection,” since even a hot oven cooks via convection). And radiation is direct application of energy from a source to the food.

Infrared can be much more intense than convection in an oven. For example, you can stick your hand in a 500°F oven for possibly 20 seconds before it’s too uncomfortable, but if you put your hand near a red-hot broiler element for even 3 seconds, you risk burning yourself.

IR helps browning, too, because its intense heat removes surface moisture so fast. Consider that while food is moist, regardless of the oven temperature, it will never exceed 212°F, the boiling point of water. You need to remove all of that moisture before it can be replaced in order for browning to occur, and IR aids that greatly.

Ah, okay, so convection microwaves aren’t as good at browning. But maybe similar to a gas oven.

Owned one for years. To my knowledge, we used the convection part exactly once. Waste of money.