How does an oven work?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How does an oven work” with an in-depth analysis of how an oven works. Moreover, we will have a brief discussion about the types of ovens.

It’s all about heat and how it transforms things when it comes to cooking. However, the method for infusing the heat into the meal varies. Air is used to transfer heat in ovens: gas is burned or an element is heated at the bottom of the oven, and hot air rises into the oven, cooking your food.

So if you are in search of an answer to how an oven works, then you need not worry as we are going to answer all your questions.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How does an oven work?

Different types of electric ovens have different working principles. Conventional, fan-assisted, and digital electronic with PCB and NTC sensors are the three fundamental types of ovens, and below we have discussed the working principle of each of them.

Conventional oven

The typical oven is the most basic oven on the market, with a selector switch, a thermostat, a cooling fan, a bake element at the bottom of the box, and a broil element for broiling at the top of the oven chamber.

The bottom element regulated by the thermostat will turn on to warm up the oven when the selector switch is set to bake. The top element may also come on in tandem with the bottom element, but only for short bursts, to smooth out the heat and cook more evenly throughout the oven cavity.

A bake selection, which turns on the bottom element alone and is likewise regulated by the thermostat, is available in some oven types. This selection can be used for specific cooking when it is more useful, such as baking a casserole.

The top broil element is only activated by the broil selection on the switch, which is also regulated by the thermostat. Some ovens may have a dual top element and two broil selection settings, one for the outer element only and the other for both of the dual top elements.

A cooling fan on the outside of the oven at the top with its thermostat keeps the electronics from overheating by blowing the heat out from inside.

The bake (or bottom) element, which sits on the oven cavity’s floor, isn’t always visible. The bottom element of some brands and models of ovens is hidden beneath the oven’s floor. This makes cleaning spills and food particles that might otherwise have embedded themselves around the element or its supporting legs a lot easier.

Another consideration is the top or broils element, which is frequently a dual element assembly, as previously indicated, with the outer section of the dual element activated while baking on certain models to smooth out the heat distribution in the oven cavity.

Fan assisted oven

The fan-assisted oven includes a bake element (bottom), a broil element (top), a thermostat to control both, and a cooling fan to keep the top cold, but it also has a fan with another element on the rear wall to circulate the heat from all three elements, making it much more even throughout the oven.

It still features a selector switch, a thermostat, a timer with a relay for auto cooking, a bake element, a broiling element at the top of the oven cavity, a fan, and an element in the back wall to generate and circulate heat in the oven, and a cooling fan on top of the oven box to protect the electronics.

The thermostat still regulates all of the heater elements, but it does not affect the oven fan’s performance. Here are some details on the cooking options:

All three elements are triggered on the convect bake setting, but at specified fixed intervals, each in turn, since the oven fan never stops running.

On the bake mode, all three elements are turned on, but only at predetermined times and in order, with the oven fan never operating. All three elements are triggered on the convect roast option, but at programmed intervals and each in turn, as the oven fan never stops running.

On the broil setting, only the broil element is turned on, and the fan is turned off.

If the convect baking and convect roast settings appear to work in the same way, the convect roast setting allows the meat probe to govern the oven’s operation rather than the thermostat.

Electronic oven with PCB

The electronic oven with PC board consists of an oven with a PC board/timer assembly with relays on the board, each of which controls one of the heater elements, fans, or other components based on the signal received from the NTC sensor, which replaces the temperature-sensitive capillary tube in other oven types. 

Depending on which cycle it is on, the electronic timer circuit dictates what is turned on and off. In terms of cooking and baking, the oven has the same layout and performs similarly to any other fan-assisted oven.

You can read the difference between bake vs broil vs roast in the oven here.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How does an oven work” with an in-depth analysis of how an oven works. Moreover, we also have a brief discussion about the types of ovens. 


Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.