Air Fryer Cook

Should I get an air fryer if I have an oven?

If you’re considering getting an air fryer, you may be wondering if it’s worth the extra expense if you already have an oven. The answer is…maybe! An air fryer can do some things that an oven can’t, but there are also a few things to keep in mind before making your decision. Keep reading for a breakdown of the differences between an air fryer and a convection oven.

Air fryer vs oven cooking method

Both the air fryer and the convection oven use convection heat in their cooking process however the food is cooked differently.

An air fryer uses hot air circulated by a convection element and a strong fan to cook food. The circulating hot air surrounds the food which allows the food to be cooked quickly and evenly. As the air fryer is a lot smaller in size compared to the oven, higher temperatures are reached a lot quicker therefore pre-heating is not necessary.

A convection oven, on the other hand, has a heating element and a fan too but the food is cooked by the heat generated from the heating element. Since the oven is a bigger appliance, pre-heating is required to get the right temperature before cooking.

air fryer vs oven

Air fryer vs convection oven features and functions

The air fryer is a compact appliance that sits on the countertop. There are different air fryer sizes. For more information on air fryer capacity check out our guide on “Which size air fryer do I need?“. The food is placed into a basket to be cooked by the hot circulating air. The features of an air fryer make setting the temperature and times straightforward.

The control panel is usually digital however there are some models with analogue dials. With the digital control panels, there are usually some pre-programmed settings for cooking different types of foods. Some additional features may come with the air fryer.

The basic air fryer usually comes with functions like grill, roast, broil, dehydrate, and bake. Then there are the multifunctional air fryers which have a rotisserie, toaster oven, or pressure cooker function.

The oven, on the other hand, is usually installed in the kitchen which means no additional countertop space is required. The food is placed on a tray or pan which sits on a rack for cooking. The temperature and the time are manually set with dials on the oven. Therefore, you will need to know the temperature and time for each recipe.

The oven can be used to grill, roast, broil, and bake as well but there is no option to make rotisserie and pressure cooker meals in it.

So far, it looks like the two appliances cook in a similar way but would you be able to taste the difference between food cooked in an air fryer vs the oven? Let’s have a look at the cooking results of common foods, that a normal household will cook on a daily basis, when cooked by these two appliances.

Due to the food being cooked by the hot circulating air, food cooked in the air fryer is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Therefore, the air fryer is good for making crispy foods.

  • French fries and chicken nuggets have a crunchy texture outside while being tender inside.
  • Chicken wings and drumsticks come out with a bit of crispy skin and the meat is soft.
what's an air fryer
  • Steaks are juicy and tender and are done to your preference as the temperature can be accurately adjusted with the digital interface.
  • Seafood is succulent and evenly cooked through (this is good where fillets are uneven like salmon fillets) without being overdone.
  • Vegetables tend to be crispy and crunchy as well.

Food cooked in the oven doesn’t have the crispy outer layer but it can still be tender if the right temperature and time are used. The oven is good for making roasts and baking. Let’s have a look at how food comes out when cooked in the oven.

  • French fries and chicken nuggets are soft on the inside and not crunchy at all.
  • Chicken wings and drumsticks are soft on the inside but the skin is not crispy.
taste the difference air fryer
  • Steaks can be easily overdone depending on how thin the steak is and generally, it comes out on the tough side.
  • Seafood comes out soft but where the fillet is uneven (like salmon fillet) it is difficult to achieve even cooking. Some spots may be overcooked while other spots are undercooked.
  • Vegetables are soft with no crunch to them so this is a better option for those who prefer softer vegetables.

Is air-fried food healthier than oven food?

That’s the question on everyone’s mind ever since air fryers became a popular kitchen appliance. And the answer is that it is still uncertain. However, there are a few things that makes using the air fryer healthy.

Air frying is a great way to cook food with little or no oil. In addition, most models can collect the food fat in the bottom basket so that the food is not cooking in its fat. In this way, it may reduce fat and calorie intake.

The main way that nutrients can be lost is through contact with oil, water, or heat. This means that all cooking methods will cause a loss of nutrients in food so it’s the retention level that is key.

Seeing as the food cooked in the air fryer can be cooked with no or little oil and it does not submerge the food in water, the main way of nutrition loss is with the heat. Food that is exposed to high temperatures for a long period would lose more nutrients. So, the air fryer has good nutrient retention because it cooks faster than the oven thereby reducing the number of nutrients lost.

Air fryer vs convection oven cooking experiences

You may be wondering what are air fryers like when using them to cook? Well, it is super easy! This appliance was built with an aim for simplicity and convenience.

Easy settings: Simply place your food in the basket and press a few buttons and wait for the food to be cooked. Some air fryers have pre-programmed settings or even record your settings so all you need to do is press one button.

Minimal supervision: There is no need to flip the food (unless you want to) and minimal monitoring is required. Some foods cook so quickly in there that I don’t even need to check on it as it’s ready in a few minutes. When I need to check on the food, all I need to do is pull out the basket and have a quick look. Even when I want to flip the food or give it a shake, all I do is pull out the basket and slide it back in when it’s done. I don’t need to put on the oven gloves and open a hot oven (letting out hot air) to take the food out.

Kid safety: The air fryer sits on the countertop so when it comes to safety around the home for little kids, I find this a lot safer than the oven. My little boys have a habit of pulling on door handles and touching everything. So, I am a lot more comfortable with the air fryer being out of reach from their busy hands.


Easy cleaning: We all know what a chore it is to clean the oven, especially when there has been a grease build-up from the splattering oils. Cleaning the air fryer is a lot easier. The detachable parts are dishwasher safe so you can either hand wash them or put them in the dishwasher. You can also deep clean the air fryer regularly to prevent grease build-up on the inside. Have a look at our blog “What you need to know about cleaning an air fryer” for tips on how to clean your air fryer.

Air fryer size or capacity: The size or capacity of the air fryer is important if you don’t want to spend time making many batches of food. Be sure to select the right size that will suit your needs. Refer to our guide “What capacity air fryer do I need?” to help you with your selection.


Air Fryers best for cooks

An air fryer is a countertop appliance that cooks with hot air circulation which means it cooks faster than an oven and has better nutrition retention. This air fryer technology is also good for making crispy and crunchy food with tender and juicy insides.

It comes with similar functions to the oven like grilling, roasting, broiling, and baking. However, there are multifunctional air fryers that give you an option to make rotisserie meals, or pressure cooker meals, and even combine the toaster oven functions.

The air fryer is easy and quick to use. There’s little monitoring required during the cooking process. Clean-up is a breeze as the detachable parts are dishwasher safe so you can save time by throwing them in the dishwasher or hand washing them.


So, should you get an air fryer? Well, I guess it depends on your lifestyle. It’s designed to make cooking faster and convenient. And, it’s a far better option than deep frying if you crave crunchy foods. Therefore, it’s not a bad idea to get one to help out on busy days when you a pressed so you can just make quick meals. Especially when you have countertop space. There are also so many makes and models on the market so you are bound to find something you like within your budget range.

Check out our top-picks air fryers to help you make a decision on which air fryer is best for you.

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