I think I understand what convection does, and (some) of the benefits, such as eliminating hot/cold spots, and being more efficient overall. Does this mean that I should always take advantage of it? If not, which circumstances are better for convection, and which are better for regular bake/broil?
We have a convection oven and almost always use it. I can't remember the last time we didn't use convection. Our model automatically decreases the temperature, so if you set it for 300, then it will heat to 275. Not sure if that is a magic 25 degree number, but it seems to work. Almost all recipes cook time wise as they would with a non-convection oven. Our also has a single and multi-rack mode, and it circulates the air differently in that case. We have NEVER had any problems with the food drying out more with the air circulation as they say that is a common negative.
I am sure the effectiveness varies oven to oven, but in our case, we always use it (except for broiling of course).
Anytime you're in a rush, the convection oven's a big help.
Wikipedia had this to say:
I sometimes feel like it dries things out a little more than a traditional oven, but that may just be a function of it being easier to overcook things due to the speed.