Air Fryer Cook

What is the difference between an air fryer and an air fryer toaster oven?

Whether you are looking to buy your first air fryer or looking to upgrade your air fryer to an air fryer toaster oven, there’s no doubt that there are a few questions that come to mind. This is why this comparison of an air fryer vs air fryer toaster oven will give you a great summary and answer some of your questions.

Key Takeaways: Air Fryer vs Air Fryer Toaster Oven

  • Air Fryers are more compact than Air Fryer Toaster Ovens.
  • Air Fryer Toaster Ovens are more versatile than standard Air Fryers.
  • Air Fryers perform better than Air Fryer Toaster Ovens in the air frying function.
  • Food air fried in an air fryer is noticeably crispier.
  • Cleaning and maintenance are more straightforward with Air Fryers.
  • Entry-level prices for Air Fryers are more budget-friendly.
air fryer vs air fryer toaster oven

What are Air Fryers?

Air fryers have become increasingly popular as kitchen appliances in recent years, and this trend is not slowing down. This handy, compact appliance uses hot air to cook food – a cooking method known as air frying. Its primary goal was to provide an alternative to deep frying with a healthier spin, as it does not require any oil to create crispy and crunchy food.

Based on my own experience with the air fryer, I agree that it does crisp the food well. This is achieved by circulating hot air around the food, resulting in a perfectly crispy exterior while keeping the inside moist and tender. However, it should be noted that it is an excellent alternative to deep fryers, but it does not create the same results as a deep fryer. For instance, I would not recommend cooking food covered in the batter as you will end up with a mess and uncooked food.

There is no denying that its compact nature makes it appealing for small kitchens. Another perk of air fryers is their versatility. Some models come with multiple functions, allowing you to bake, roast, grill, and even dehydrate in addition to air frying. Lastly, air fryers cook faster than conventional ovens because they heat up rapidly.

Air fryer toaster ovens are toaster ovens with an air frying function. There are usually two heating elements installed at the top and the bottom of the interior. The convection fan aids this process by distributing the heat uniformly throughout the oven. A major advantage of air fryer toaster ovens is their multiple cooking functions. Besides toasting and air frying, these appliances often include features such as baking, broiling, and roasting. This versatility makes it convenient to cook various meals using one appliance.

Chefman Air Fryer, 4.5 QT (4.3 L) Basket air fryer
COSORI Air Fryer Toaster Oven, 26 QT (24.6 L)

Air Fryer vs Air Fryer Toaster Oven

Air Fryer vs Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Design and Size

When it comes to design and size, the air fryer comes in a lot more designs and sizes than the air fryer toaster oven.

Air Fryer Design and Size

The air fryer has one distinct feature, and that is its drawer-style basket. This is where your food will be placed while air frying inside the appliance. This basket has a handle that is pulled out and pushed in. So say “Goodbye” to your oven gloves as you will not need them to pull out your food while it’s hot. Depending on the size of your air fryer, the basket will have some depth, which means it may be tricky to lift cooked food out of the basket without being burnt (if the basket is still hot). However, some foods like fries can simply be tipped over while holding the basket handle.

Although air fryers come in the drawer style, there are typically two shapes that they are designed in. One is the oval-egg-shaped form, and the other is the square-shaped form. The oval-egg-shaped air fryer is unique and will fit into odd spaces like a small countertop corner. In contrast, the square-shaped air fryer is ideal for uniform spaces.

best places to put an air fryer

As air fryers are designed to be compact, they take up less counter space, making them ideal for smaller kitchens. However, this does mean that the capacity of food that they can hold is designed for regular family meals.

ex large air fryer

Air Fryer Toaster Oven Design and Size

With regards to the air fryer toaster oven design, there is one common design, and that is the conventional rectangular toaster oven. They generally come in a stainless steel casing with a glass window so that you can see the food cooking.

The food is placed on air-frying meshed trays allowing the circulating air to heat the food in all directions. The air fryer toaster oven door has a handle across it which is used to pull down the door and slide the meshed trays in and out of the appliance. This is a mini-version of the conventional oven, so it may be handy to use oven gloves when pulling and pushing the meshed trays into the appliance to avoid burns. This design does make it easier to take food out of the trays as the trays are usually shallow.

The design of the air fryer toaster oven naturally makes it bigger in size. Which means it will take up a fair bit of countertop space. But, it can cook more food in one cooking session due to its bigger capacity, and it can cook in multi-levels (you can generally place two trays into the unit in one session). 

So if you have a compact kitchen, you could decide whether you want a combined appliance that can replace two or more appliances in your kitchen because the air fryer toaster oven offers other cooking functions. Or, if you like the air fryer toaster oven but have limited kitchen space, the Ninja SP101 Foodi may be your solution. This air fryer toaster oven has a unique design as you can store the unit upright if it is not cooking setting it apart from other air fryer toaster ovens.

Air Fryer vs Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Functions and Modes

Both air fryers and air fryer toaster ovens are versatile regarding functionality, but the air fryer toaster oven is the winner in this category.

The standard drawer-style air fryer was designed mainly to air fry. However, they do come with a few preset modes to offer versatility in cooking. The functions or preset modes available differ between the different air fryer sizes. For example, mini air fryers like the Mini Instant Vortex Air Fryer (2Qt) offer air frying as well as baking, roasting, and reheating as other preset modes. I’ve noticed that the bigger the air fryer, the more functions or preset modes are available. The common preset modes that come with a basket air fryer are roast, bake, grill, reheat, and dehydrate. All these functions or modes use the heating element and the fan. Therefore, the different functions or modes are preset that vary the settings between the heating element and the fan to achieve the desired cooking result.

As the food is cooked inside the air fryer basket, the space available to perform certain cooking modes can be tricky. For instance, you would still be able to toast your bread in an air fryer, but first, you would first need to determine the correct settings so that you don’t burn your toast. Then you may need to toast your bread slices in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.

Air fryer toaster ovens combine the functionality of a traditional toaster oven with an air frying feature. Their unique cooking function is air frying and toasting. Plus, they offer many more functions or preset modes than the standard air fryer. Air fryer toaster ovens have both top and bottom heating elements that can be used independently or simultaneously, depending on the cooking modes selected. Some of the preset modes include roasting, baking, grilling, reheating, dehydrating, and broiling.

Mini Instant Vortex Air Fryer
2 QT (1.9 L)

NuWave Bravo Air Fryer Toaster Oven, 30 QT (28.39 L)

Air Fryer vs Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Performance

Let’s look at a few key performance factors of an air fryer versus an air fryer toaster oven. Both appliances utilize hot air circulation to cook food with a crispy texture, but their designs and functionalities can impact their overall performance in various ways:

1. Even Cooking: Air fryer toaster ovens have an edge when it comes to even cooking. The convection fan in these appliances helps distribute hot air evenly throughout the cooking chamber, leading to consistent results. This can be particularly advantageous for achieving uniform crispiness and doneness.

2. Cooking Times: Cooking times can vary between the two appliances, with air fryer toaster ovens potentially taking slightly longer due to their larger capacity. In some recipes, you may need to preheat the air fryer toaster oven because of its larger cooking space. However, the even cooking provided by the convection fan often offsets this difference, ensuring that food is cooked thoroughly and consistently.

3. Energy Efficiency: In terms of energy efficiency, both appliances are generally more energy-efficient than traditional ovens. Air fryers, being smaller, tend to consume less energy, but the difference may not be significant enough to sway your decision.

difference between air fryer and air fryer toaster oven

4. Ease of Use: Both air fryers and air fryer toaster ovens are designed to be user-friendly, with adjustable temperature settings and timers. For air fryers and air fryer toaster ovens that offer other cooking functions or preset modes, both appliances have made it convenient for users to select these options.

5. Temperature control: The air fryer toaster oven comes up on top where you need temperature control. Air fryer interfaces can come in analog or digital. Depending on the adjusting temperature intervals, this could make temperature control challenging, especially for analog interfaces. In contrast, air fryer toaster ovens come with a digital interface. And most of them allow a 1-degree temperature interval adjustment.

6. Simplicity: Standard drawer-style air fryers are simpler than air fryer toaster ovens as they offer fewer functions or reset modes. There are even some air fryers that only offer air frying, like the Ninja Mini Air Fryer, which is set at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204.44 degrees Celsius) and only allows the timer to be changed. These models aim to only focus on air frying and are generally offered in the mini or small air fryer categories.

Air Fryer vs Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Taste

As taste is a personal preference, I was curious as to what others had to say about the taste differences between the food air fried in these two appliances. Here’s what unfolded and my take on the results based on my own air fryer experiences with my Consori Air Fryer Pro Gen 2 and Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer. The following results are based on air-fried frozen fries, chicken wings, and Brussels sprouts, as these are popular food that are air fried.

1. Crispiness and Texture: There was a slightly more crisp and crunchy texture with the air fryer. This was especially more noticeable with the frozen fries and the chicken wings. I totally agree with this result as I noticed that the outer layer of my French fries air fried in my Consori air fryer had more crunch. When I bite into them, the outer layer resembles the fries from Maccas. As for chicken wings, I have noticed that the skin on the chicken wings from my Consori air fryer was crispier than that from my Breville Smart Oven. The crispiness and texture of the Brussels sprouts were similar, and no noticeable difference was noted.

what's better air fryer or toaster oven

2. Moisture Retention: The air fryer is better at moisture retention than the air fryer toaster oven. I noticed that this was true when it came to the chicken wings. There is a fine balance between getting the desired crispiness and keeping the food moist with the Breville Smart Oven. After many tries, I managed to get it close to what my Consori air fryer could do, but I still prefer my Consori air fryer for chicken wings. It is still worth noting that the air fryer toaster oven chicken wings are still a lot more moist and crispy than cooking them in the oven.  The frozen fries and Brussels sprouts, however, did not show much difference between the two appliances.

should you get an air fryer or an air fryer toaster oven

3. Evenness of Cooking: Air fryer toaster ovens come out on top here as the food is placed on level meshed trays so the hot air can surround the food from every angle. From my experience, this is true if you don’t lay your food in a single layer and allow a small gap between the food in the air fryer. Also, there is no need for me to flip the food in my Breville Smart Oven as the hot air circulates right under the food as well. Whereas, in my Consori air fryer, there is only a small gap between the inner food basket and the bottom basket for the air to circulate. So if I want to achieve even browning, I would have to flip my chicken wings or shake my fries or Brussels sprouts.

which is better air fryer or air fryer toaster oven

4. Cooking Time: The air fryer takes the lead in cooking time. It’s a smaller appliance which means that it heats up a lot quicker and requires less effort to maintain the temperature for cooking, which helps with moisture retention. This is another reason I use my Consori air fryer to cook my chicken wings because it does them about 8 minutes faster than my Breville Smart Oven. Frozen fries take 4 minutes faster, and Brussels spouts take 3 minutes faster using my Consori air fryer.

Extra-Large Philips Air Fryer 7 QT (6.6 L)

Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven

Air Fryer vs Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Cleaning and Maintenance

It’s no surprise that cleaning and maintenance of air fryers and air fryer toaster ovens are made easy. But how does this differ between the air fryer and air fryer toaster oven, or is there even a difference? The short answer is that the air fryer is easier to clean and maintain.

Cleaning an air fryer generally involves removing the air fryer basket after every cooking session. Then wash it in warm soapy water by hand or put it in the dishwasher if it is dishwasher safe. Most of the splatter should have been contained within the air fryer basket; however, regular residue removal on the inside is recommended. Some models come with nonstick coatings, making it easier to clean the basket and avoid stuck-on food residue. To clean the inside of the air fryer, use a damp cloth dipped in warm soapy water, focusing on removing food particles that may be stuck to the heating element or surrounding surfaces. Don’t forget to clean the drip tray, as this area often collects grease and crumbs.

On the other hand, air fryer toaster ovens usually have removable trays or racks that need cleaning after each use. Wash these trays in warm soapy water or place them in the dishwasher if they are dishwasher safe. The air frying tray is usually a mesh tray, so food can be stuck to them that requires a little scrub to get them off. This is where silicone liners or air fryer parchment paper can reduce food stuck to the tray. It is also worthwhile to note what material the mesh tray is made of. Some materials are prone to rust if not dried completely, so it’s important to ensure the trays are dried completely.

After every use, use a damp cloth or sponge with some mild detergent should be enough to wipe clean any spills or debris. The oven’s interior can also be cleaned with a damp cloth, paying extra attention to the heating elements and walls. As with air fryers, nonstick coatings may be present in some models, making the cleaning process more manageable.

difference between air fryer and air fryer toaster oven

Air Fryer vs Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Price

The price difference between an air fryer and an air fryer toaster oven can vary based on brand, size, features, and overall quality. Generally, air fryer toaster ovens tend to be priced higher than standard drawer-style air fryers due to their added functionalities and larger cooking capacity. Here’s a rough breakdown of the price ranges you might expect:

Standard drawer-style air fryers are typically more affordable and can range in price from around $37 to $200, depending on the brand, size, and features. Basic models with only the air frying function and smaller capacities tend to be on the lower end of the price spectrum, while larger models with advanced features might be priced higher.

Air fryer toaster ovens are often more versatile and have a wider range of cooking functions. As a result, their prices usually range from approximately $100 to $400 or more. The price can increase based on the cooking capacity, additional cooking modes, and brand reputation.

Extra-Large Ninja Air Fryer
10 QT (9.5 L)

Consori Air Fryer Toaster Oven, 32 QT (30.28 L)

Air Fryer vs Air Fryer Toaster Oven : Pros and Cons

Let’s wrap things up by having a quick look at the Pros and Cons of air fryers vs air fryer toaster ovens.

Air Fryer PROS Air Fryer CONS
Compact Size: Air fryers are smaller and more space-efficient, making them suitable for smaller kitchens and countertops.
Fewer Functions: Typically have fewer cooking modes compared to air fryer toaster ovens, limiting versatility.
Affordability: Generally more budget-friendly than air fryer toaster ovens, making them a cost-effective option.
Size Constraints: Larger food items or multiple batches may require more cooking time due to limited space.
Quick Cooking: Due to their smaller size, air fryers can heat up quickly and cook food faster.
Ease of Use: Simple controls and minimal settings make air fryers user-friendly and great for those seeking convenience.
Portability: Lightweight and compact, air fryers are easy to move and store when not in use. They can also be handy to take on camping trips.
best air fryer
Air Fryer Toaster Oven PROS Air Fryer Toaster Oven CONS
Versatility: They offer more cooking functions than the standard air fryer.
Bulkier Design: Larger size might be less suitable for compact kitchens or limited countertop space.
Larger Capacity: Accommodates larger dishes and greater quantities of food, suitable for families or entertaining and an cook in multi-levels.
Higher Price: Generally more expensive than standalone air fryers due to added features and functions.
Even Cooking: Convection fan ensures more even and consistent cooking results across the entire cooking chamber.
Cleaning Challenges: Larger interiors and more components can make cleaning a bit more involved.
Replacement for Multiple Appliances: It acts as a toaster oven and an air fryer in one, saving counter space and reducing clutter.

Extra-Large Instant Vortex Air Fryer 8QT (7.6 L)

Chefman Air Fryer Toaster Oven, 21.13 QT (20 L)

Should you get an air fryer or an air fryer toaster oven?

In modern kitchen appliances, choosing between an air fryer and an air fryer toaster oven has never been more tantalizing. As we’ve explored the ins and outs of the air fryer vs air fryer toaster oven, we’ve dissected every angle to uncover their unique offerings.

When it comes to design and size, both options have their merits. The compact nature of air fryers is perfect for those with limited kitchen space. In contrast, the expansive capacity of air fryer toaster ovens caters to larger households and entertaining.

Regarding functions and modes, air fryer toaster ovens emerge as true multitaskers, effortlessly switching from various cooking functions and modes. Whether you’re baking, toasting, or air frying, these appliances prove their versatility time and time again.

air fryer or air fryer toaster oven


The performance takes center stage as we consider the even cooking and accurate temperature control of air fryer toaster ovens. While air fryers hold their own with faster cooking times. Both appliances are energy efficient and have a user-friendly interface.

As we dived into taste, the air fryer delivers noticeably crispier exteriors and succulent interiors. While the air fryer toaster ovens provide even browning throughout.

There is less mess and less cleaning with both options, although air fryers may have the upper hand in terms of simplicity due to their smaller size. On the flip side, the extra features and functions of air fryer toaster ovens may require a little extra elbow grease during cleaning.

Last but not least, the question of price is worth mentioning. Air fryers win the budget-friendly battle, making them an accessible choice for those looking for efficiencies in their cooking without breaking the bank. Meanwhile, the added capabilities of air fryer toaster ovens come at a slightly higher cost, a trade-off for the versatile cooking experience they bring to the table.

With a comprehensive list of pros and cons in hand, the decision between these two types of air fryers becomes a matter of personal preference and lifestyle. I recommend the standard air fryer if you want to keep everything simple and need a compact appliance. For me, the air fryer toaster oven is a nice-to-have that gives you more versatility options.

Related Products

Insulated non-skid protector mat for kitchen countertop protection
Air fryer silicone mats for countertop protection
Scroll to Top