Convection cooking uses a fan at the back of an oven to circulate warm air throughout a unit. In traditional ovens, warm air simply radiates from the top or bottom of the unit toward the food. Using a fan to circulate warm air around food cooks food more thoroughly and more evenly. Two types of convection ovens exist: true and other. True convection ovens contain three heating elements -- one at the top of the oven, one at the bottom and one around the fan. Other convection ovens contain two heating elements, one at the top of a unit and one at the bottom. No true under-cabinet convection ovens exist.
Companies such as General Electric and LG produce under-cabinet microwaves with convection technology. Convection microwaves use traditional microwave heating technology combined with a fan to circulate warm air within the unit. These units generally allow users to turn convection technology on and off within the unit for a greater range of functionality. Some companies describe convection microwaves as compact convection ovens. However, because these units employ microwave cooking technology, they differ from actual convection ovens.
At least one company -- THESP, based in China -- manufactures a convection toaster oven for under-cabinet installation. Convection toaster ovens contain a fan located at the back of the unit. Heat comes from one or two heating elements, placed at the top or bottom of a unit, and circulates throughout the oven. Convection toaster ovens differ from non-true convection ovens only in name; they use the same technology to generate and circulate heat used to cook food.
Companies use a number of names for under-cabinet cooking appliances, including generic terminology like over-the-cabinet and over-the-range. Some brand names also exist, such as Black & Decker’s “SpaceMaker” line of products. All of these names and brands refer to the same basic type of product, one that hangs over a counter or stove-top space.
Homeowners with a working knowledge of carpentry and other contracting or building techniques can install a standard compact convection oven, microwave or toaster oven under a cabinet. While these units aren’t designed for such installation, there are various methods of doing this.