Are you considering the purchase of an air fryer? You’ve likely heard the buzz about these small appliances and wondered if one is right for you. In this post, I’ll provide you with 20 air fryer pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision before purchasing!
In recent years air fryers have grown in popularity. There are numerous air fryer recipes to choose from. These days it seems you can make virtually anything in an air fryer. However, with so many different types on the market, with additional features, you may have more questions than answers!
That’s where this post comes in handy. I’ve been using air fryers for years, and in that time, I have learned the ins and outs and had hands-on experience with various types of machines. Let’s launch into the pros and cons of air fryers, and the different appliances available so you can make an informed choice.
Air Fryer Pros
There are numerous benefits to using an air fryer and making it part of your cooking routine.
Some health benefits of using an air fryer include reducing the overall fat and calories in some of your favorite dishes by using less oil!
Using an air fryer reduces the oil you need to add to your recipes, creating healthier meals with fewer calories. Whether you use the air fryer as a substitute for deep frying or roasting in the oven, you only need a little oil to achieve a crispy finish.
Compared to roasting, the excess oil on your food drops to the bottom of the basket instead of sitting in the oil and getting absorbed.
In addition, deep-frying causes your food to absorb a great deal of oil, while air-frying creates a crispy finish without the need to submerge your food in oil.
Using an air fryer cuts down on cooking time. When cooking in your oven you need to preheat your oven and wait for it to reach the recommended temperature. With an air fryer, you can place the food in the basket, and immediately place it in your air fryer. You can achieve high temperatures in a short amount of time!
In addition, using an air fryer cuts down on total cook time. The smaller space and circulation of hot air cook the food more quickly.
These small appliances are convenient in the summer months. Instead of turning on your traditional oven or stove top, preparing your foods in the air fryer doesn’t heat the whole house, using less energy. In addition, the energy cost to prepare a meal in your air fryer as opposed to using your oven is much less because it is a small appliance that plugs into the wall.
You can prepare many different foods and recipes in the air fryer from snacks, to veggies, pizza, and so much more. You are not limited to French fries, nuggets, and chicken wings! You can prepare virtually any type of food you can think of in the air fryer. It also has many functions. For example, you can reheat food, bake, broil, roast, grill, and steam food. My favorite way to use my air fryer is to create vegetable-side dishes and appetizers.
An Extra Oven
Having an air fryer is almost like having an extra oven! If you enjoy entertaining and have multiple recipes and courses you’re preparing simultaneously, having an air fryer helps free up oven space! While more significant recipes are cooking in the oven, easily prepare an appetizer or side dish in the air fryer.
These small appliances work great when an actual oven is absent—for example, a dorm room, hotel room, RV, small kitchen, and campsite. Most air fryers are about the size of a blender or food processor but much less heavy. They are easy to pack and take with you on the road!
Easy to Use
Air fryers are designed for simplicity of use. Set the temperature and the time, and you’re good to go! Many recipes recommend shaking the basket halfway through cooking time. This helps cook and crisp the food evenly.
Some air fryers come with pre-sets, which are great if you make those foods often but aren’t necessary.
While there are high-priced air fryers, most are affordable, between $50-$100. The first-ever Dash Air Fryer I purchased was $49. I still have it, even though I upgraded later to a larger Ninja Foodi. My husband and kids prefer to use the smaller Dash when preparing food.
Air fryers work by rapidly removing moisture from the food’s surface. As the hot air circulates the food, it helps to evaporate the moisture, allowing the exterior to become crispy. The reduced moisture content also contributes to a more satisfying texture of air-fried foods.
Air fryers often have safety features such as automatic shut-off timers and heat-resistant handles. These features help prevent accidents and make the cooking process safer overall.
Unlike deep frying, air frying produces less odor. The enclosed cooking environment and the absence of excessive oil help minimize lingering smells in your kitchen.
My Favorite Air Fryers
Air Fryer Cons
While there are numerous pros to buying and using an air fryer, there are cons of an air fryer too. They are not for everyone, and they may not meet your needs.
1. Some Don’t Last
When deciding which air fryer to buy, not all are created equal. There have been quality issues with some appliances. While I have not had any problems with the air fryers I have owned, after reading some reviews, it is easy to see that others have had problems with the heating elements or fans breaking after repeated use. If this happens, your unit is done, and you’ll need to purchase a new one.
In addition to these quality concerns, others have reported the baskets of their air fryers flaking. This could be caused by using cooking spray in your air fryer, which I never recommend. Cooking spray will break down the enamel of your air fryer, causing the basket to flake. Instead, only use oil. Replacing the basket or pans in your air fryer is much easier than fixing the fan.
2. Take Up Space
As with any small appliance, it will take up additional space in your kitchen, whether that’s precious counter space, or an area in your cabinets. You’ll need to have a designated spot for it on your kitchen countertop or find a place to store it in your cabinets or pantry. While they are not huge or heavy, they are still rather tall. I had to rearrange my kitchen to find a place where it would fit in my kitchen cabinets.
3. Not Ideal for Large Families
Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to make your recipes in batches. The air fryer basket on many appliances does not give you enough space. As a result, you need to cook your food in several batches. If you are single, a couple, or have a small family of four, this shouldn’t cause much of a problem. However, if you have a large family, you’ll need to find an air fryer with a large basket or cook your recipes in batches.
4. Learning Curve
While air fryers are easy to use, not all cook at the same rate. That’s where getting to know your air fryer comes into play. Many recipes will tell you at the end that the cooking time will vary depending on your unit’s type and size. After some trial and error, you should better understand whether your air fryer tends to cook foods more quickly, more slowly, or as recommended.
5. Limited Capacity
While an air fryer offers quite a bit of versatility, from the types of foods and recipes you can create, to the cooking technique you can utilize, the basket size has limitations regarding what food will fit.
For example, I have struggled to fit some of my baked potatoes in the basket simply because they were too large. This causes you to have to cook in batches, which is not ideal if you want all of your food served warm simultaneously.
6. Fan Noise
Air fryers can be noisy during operation due to the fan and heating elements. You don’t want to use it when you need a quiet kitchen.
You must clean the inside of your air fryer basket each time you use it, whereas you don’t need to clean the inside of your conventional oven after each use. If you use cooking spray, a film can develop inside your cooking basket, damaging the outer coating. Refrain from using cooking spray, and instead, use regular oil.
8. Uneven Cooking
Air fryers use rapid hot air circulation to cook food, which can result in uneven cooking. Some parts of the food may become overcooked or undercooked, requiring frequent shaking or flipping during the cooking process.
9. Longer Cooking Times
While air fryers are generally faster than traditional ovens, they often require longer cooking than deep frying. This can be a drawback if you’re looking for quick meal preparation.
While air fryers come in various price points, it is an extra cost and something to consider before purchasing. A small low-end air fryer costs about $50, while a high-end one can cost up to $300.
Frequently Asked Questions
An air fryer is a small countertop kitchen appliance. It works like a convection oven with a fan at the top of the device and a heating mechanism that pushes down the air and swirls the heat around the food in the basket. This rapid air circulation creates crisp foods!
Air fryers do not work as traditional deep fryers. You can not place wet battered foods in the air fryer. The reason is that the batter will drop off the food and sink to the bottom of the air fryer. Instead, you can use frozen fried and battered foods to create a crispy finish. The purpose of an air fryer is to create crispy food without the need for extra oil. The heat combined with the hot air cuts down on cooking time and crisps the outside of the food while keeping the inside moist and flavorful. While the effect is similar to a deep fryer, their uses differ.
Air fryers are great for single people, couples, and small families. They are also ideal for college kids, seniors, or anyone living in a small space that doesn’t have access to an oven. There are so many little ways you can use it daily! They work great for preparing small meals, side dishes, and appetizers. They are not ideal for large families that want to use them to prepare main dishes without cooking in batches. However, if you decide that the pros outweigh the cons, buy the kitchen appliance that works best for your needs.
What to Consider Before Purchasing
Before buying an air fryer, consider the following:
- How many people are you cooking for?
- How big of a basket do you need?
- Do you want preset functions?
- Do you want any additional special features?
I went with a basic small 2-quart Dash when I got my first air fryer. Before I spent a lot of money on a larger unit with unique features, I wanted to make sure I liked the results it produced and used it regularly.
I found that the starter air fryer created nicely crisped food in minutes. The challenge was it was too small for my needs. It was ideal for 1-2 people, but not a family of 4. The basket was too small to fit some types of food.
As a result, I upgraded to a Ninja Foodi with multiple functions in addition to air frying. The Ninja Foodi is more extensive and heavier. But it allowed me to clear out some of my other small appliances, such as my instant pot, rice cooker, and slow cooker.
Before you buy, consider how you plan to use your air fryer, the size of your family, and whether you want it to have multiple functions.
Our Air Fryer Top Picks
Best Small Air Fryer: Dash Compact 2 QT
As mentioned above, the Dash Compact Air Fryer is my top pick for a small appliance. I have had this air fryer for years, and with caring for it according to the user’s manual recommendations, I have had no problems with quality. It has a small basket, cooks evenly, and creates a crisp finish. This air fryer is ideal for single people or couples.
Best Air Fryer For Large Families: Ninja Double Basket Air Fryer
This air fryer has two separate baskets, allowing you to cook two different types of foods at different temperatures simultaneously. Each basket has a 4-quart capacity. You can make roasted broccoli on one side and fries on the other and have them both warm and ready to eat simultaneously. Or use the double basket to make double the recipe so you don’t need to cook in batches.
Best Air Fryer with Presets: Cosori Pro II
The Cosori Air Fryer has a decent size basket at 5.8 QT and 12 presets. Those presets include; Steak, Chicken, Seafood, Shrimp, Bacon, Frozen Foods, French Fries, Vegetables, Root Vegetables, Bread, and Desserts. This is a well-known brand that has stood the test of time.
Best Air Fryer with Multiple Functions: Ninja Foodi 12 in 1
The Ninja Foodi is more than an air fryer. It’s a pressure cooker! But it can also steam, sear, sauté, slow cook, broil, bake, roast, and dehydrate. It has an 8-quart basket making it the most significant air fryer, ideal for large families and entertaining. This appliance is larger and heavier than the ones above, but it could save you space if you don’t need your other small devices anymore!
Bottom Line: Do You Need An Air Fryer?
If you are looking for a quick way to create crispy and delicious food without turning on your oven, then yes, I think an air fryer is worth the price. They offer versatility, and convenience. Once you get to know your machine, you can create consistent results, and will come back to this small appliance time and time again every week. If you do decide to make the purchase, be sure to take into consideration which air fryer model is best for you and your family.