"Always start out with a larger pot than
what you think you need."
— Julia Child

Are Air Fryers Just Toaster Ovens

Paul Gonzalez
• Thursday, 19 November, 2020
• 8 min read

In fact, I have meant to create this post for a while now because I come across comments such as “that’s one outstanding toaster oven” thrown at air fryer models all the time. With that in mind, before getting to the main section of the post and differentiating the two appliances, let us start by creating a standardized base upon which we will build on.

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(Source: hip2save.com)


The appliance has been fitted with very powerful fans that will circulate high-speed hot air in order to deliver crispy meals with fried textures. I think the fact they can replace deep fryers explains why air fryers boast a massive following among chicken lovers.

An Air Fryer comes with a removable bucket that houses the basket that will sit on top of the drip tray. Since the appliance’s heating elements are only placed on the top side, you may need to shake the basket a couple of times to make sure that your meal will be cooked evenly.

These appliances also retail with front doors that you can either open downwards or sideways and have been fitted with high-quality elements at both the top and bottom. That said, Air Fryer’s fans are more powerful, which means the appliance will circulate the heat way more rapidly compared to convection toaster ovens.

A toaster oven uses a pretty basic strip of heating elements placed both at the top and bottom of the appliance. An air fryer, on the other hand, has slightly stronger heating elements, usually designed in coil forms.

But as I stated earlier, the thing that makes the biggest difference is the air fryer’s powerful fan. And even if you pick a toaster oven with the convection setting, it still won’t be as powerful as an air fryer.

fryer toaster air oven know
(Source: www.didntknowiwantedthat.com)

The fact you will not need any oil to prepare your meals makes the non-stick drip pan of the appliance really easy to wipe clean. The most strenuous part of cleaning a toaster oven is using sponge ad detergents to get rid of all the oil, while at the same time trying to ensure that you do not come into contact with the heating elements.

An air fryer, on the other hand, can prepare the same meals in approximately half the time, thanks to the powerful fan and fact they have a smaller area inside. You will usually need to acquire a larger capacity air fryer to match the cooking space offered by a standard toaster oven.

That said, thanks to technological advancements, recent air fryer product lines have hugely balanced out this difference. You can now acquire an air fryer that matches the size and cooking capacity of a standard toaster oven, but you can rest assured that it will cost more.

Compared to air fryers, toaster ovens boast little insulation and as a result, their exterior surfaces heat up too fast. In fact, when using one of these appliances, experts recommend that you do not place any flammable materials or plastic objects next to a toaster oven to avoid any hazardous fire situations.

With air fryer’s, on the other hand, the cooking basket is usually placed in a perfectly insulated bucket. That said, the difference isn’t that big and won’t be easy to notice on your power bill at the end of the month.

fryer toaster air oven cu ft cuisinart wayfair ovens appliances toa
(Source: www.wayfair.com)

Add to that the insulation advantage an Air Fryer offers and you will realize perhaps it is even more, energy efficient. When comparing standard toaster oven and air fryer models, it was clear that air fryers will generally cost more.

After reading the post, feel free to check out the appliances on Amazon and you will realize that the cheapest toaster ovens lie in the $25-$40 range. Air fryers, however, cook even quicker than convection ovens thanks to the placement and size of their fans in addition to many other factors we address below.

Its heating elements are typically located on the top of the unit and paired with a large fan. The convection setting works in tandem with a fan that is usually located in the back of the oven.

Its fan can be turned off to bake like a traditional oven, which is ideal for more delicate tasks like cookies and cake. Convection ovens do not normally come with any special accessories, although some manufacturers sell crisper trays to mimic air frying.

Size Air fryers are countertop appliances while convection settings are built into full-sized ovens and toaster ovens. The countertop size allows air fryers and convection toaster ovens to heat quickly.

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Some convection ovens and toaster ovens now include an air fry setting, too, as do certain pressure cookers and microwaves. They include air fryer baskets, trays, racks, spits for rotisseries, and skewers for kebabs.

The downside of air fryers is they can't cook as much food at one time as you can in an oven. Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping Institute Senior Testing Editor & Producer Nicole is a recipe developer trained in classic culinary arts and culinary nutrition who specializes in testing and developing kitchen appliances; she currently runs the Good Housekeeping Kitchen Appliances Lab.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. The egg-shaped ovens are everywhere and fans love them for making everything from chicken tenders to banana bread.

If your countertop already houses a toaster oven, consider this the ideal more-than-2-for-1 upgrade. For one thing, the shape is sleek and angular, meaning it will fit more easily into a corner and sit flush against your backslash.

I have wanted to do this for a while, because I often see comments such as “it’s just a posh toaster oven” leveled at air fryers more often than I would like! Please note: To view any of the products mentioned in this article on Amazon, simply click the picture.

air fryer oven cuisinart toaster into appliance countertop combines ovens fryers convection gadgeteer dry
(Source: the-gadgeteer.com)

An air fryer also has a pretty standard heating element, although it is usually stronger than in a toaster oven and in a coil form. The thing that makes a big difference is the powerful fan found in the air fryer.

If you want a toaster oven more in line with an air fryer, you could buy a slightly more expensive one with the convection function (meaning it has a small fan inside). This still won’t be as powerful or offer the fried food style of the air fryer though.

This makes the air fryer a much more flexible kitchen appliance over the typical toaster oven. Potential Mechanical Problems & Safety An air fryer is a fairly new kitchen appliance which uses a more complex and powerful heat source to cook the food inside, whereas a toaster oven is a much simpler device that has been around for decade.

In general, this means that the air fryer is far more likely to have mechanical problems than a toaster oven. Don’t get me wrong, if you invest in a good quality air fryer it is not likely to break down.

The intense heat used inside an air fryer makes it more likely to have safety issues as well. Air fryers are safe appliances when used correctly, but are more likely to have safety issues when put alongside the toaster oven.

fryer oven air toaster cuisinart toa cook fryers skinny
(Source: www.skinnycook.com)

Whereas, for most food types, an air fryer will cook in around half of this time. The only cooking style that might be faster and/or easier in a toaster oven would be toasting (hence the name I suppose).

Power Usage When you look at the typical Hamilton Beach toaster oven shown above, you can see that it is rated at 1400watts. For a generally more powerful cooking appliance, that isn’t much of a wattage bump for the air fryer in my opinion.

And the better insulation will probably make an air fryer more energy efficient than a toaster oven. You would definitely have to buy a large capacity air fryer to get the same level of cooking space available in a toaster oven.

However, the recent introduction to the market of oven air fryers has helped to balance out this difference. You can now get an air fryer in the form factor of an oven, with the large capacity seen in toaster ovens.

You would be lucky to find an air fryer oven close to the $100 mark. These air fryer ovens are usually more expensive, but are also more premium and offer the large capacity some are looking for in their kitchen appliances.

toaster fryer oven air cu ft cuisinart kitchen ovens appliances
(Source: www.wayfair.com)

Although, as stated above, the air fryer’s increased insulation does make it much easier to store. So the flexibility and ease of storage that the air fryer brings is the best solution for me.

As far as I can see, the only reasons someone would choose a toaster oven over an air fryer is if they want to spend less money and if they mostly prefer to toast rather than fry food. But, from my layman’s point of view, I think both these kitchen appliances would be similar when it comes to health.

You might even argue that a toaster oven is healthier, as you can cook mostly without adding any oil. Whereas, for a lot of food in the air fryer, it is recommended to spritz the surface with oil to help it get crispier.

For me personally, after being introduced to air fryers, I would never go back to even thinking about buying a toaster oven. At this price point, you might as well get the extra power of an air fryer oven.

The Air Fryer Bro can’t be an expert at everything, so we welcome input from other knowledgeable people in the community I think the funniest thing now, is that the lines are starting to get even more blurred between toaster ovens and air fryers.

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(Source: www.ebay.com)

But it is still not as powerful, and can’t give the fried effect, like an air fryer. If you want something more like an air fryer, you need something with a more powerful heating element and fan.

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1 www.goodhousekeeping.com - https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/cooking-tools/cookware-reviews/
2 www.consumerreports.org - https://www.consumerreports.org/cookware/best-cookware-sets-of-the-year/
3 www.consumerreports.org - https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cookware.htm
4 www.nytimes.com - https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-cookware-set/