The Air Fryer craze is still on. They are still a trendy thing on social media platforms. And that might get some of the potential buyers of toasters to have second thoughts. Even we were unsure if an oven is the best bet for perfect mozzarella sticks and crispy wings.
That is when we started digging further into the topic of air fryer vs. toaster oven. We even put both of these cooking devices head to head to determine what made one different from the other.
Well, the conclusion that we came to was indeed not something that we were expecting. And we believe you will even get amazed after knowing the things we learned after extensively comparing both of these cooking devices.
Toaster Oven Vs. Air Fryer (In-depth Comparison)
We firmly believe that fried foods taste better than regular foods. And we certainly had the best time of our lives when we tested and compared air fryer and toaster oven.
Nonetheless, you are here to know about the things that make one different than the other, right? So, let us get into that without wasting any more of your time.
Size and Capacity:
When it came to the size, we had a mixed feeling about the air fryers. They are pretty small in size, which is a plus point if you think about not overcrowding your countertop with appliances. However, the small size also leads to small capacity. If you plan to prepare loads of food, you need to cook them in small batches.
Now, when it comes to preparing foods in small batches, there is a chance that the previous one might start to cool down before the next batch is done preparing. However, this problem will not be that noticeable and will impact if you are handling a small quantity of food.
On the other hand, toaster ovens are comparatively larger than air fryers. By 'comparatively larger,' we are not saying that the toaster ovens are huge. They are still significantly smaller than the full-sized oven. But in comparison, the air fryers are more countertop-friendly than the toasters.
And, as the toaster ovens are comparatively larger than the air fryers, they can accommodate large amounts of food. So, you might not have to opt for the small-batch preparation method for this one.
The most surprising thing about air fryers is that even though it has “fryer” in its name, it does not actually fry foods. Instead, the food that you put into the perforated basket gets cooked through the hot blowing air. There is a fan that will make the air circulate around the surface of the food and make it brown. The fan also keeps the temperature consistent throughout the cooking time.
In comparison, the latest convection toaster ovens will utilize three types of heat transfer system for cooking the food. One is radiant heat, where the heat will emit directly from the metal walls and heating elements. The second one is the convection fan, which will circulate the warm air around. And lastly, there is conduction heating system (where the heat transfer directly from the baking pan to the food inside the pan or rack)
Features and Functionality:
Usually, a typical air fryer comes with several perforated accessories. Those perforated accessories will make the foods cook quickly. And the best thing about these accessories is that they can fry up the foods with a small amount of tossing or flipping.
In terms of functionality, it will basically depend on the model. However, some things are similar for all of the models. There will be a setting that will let you change the temperature.
That being said, the number of accessories that come with a toaster oven is not that many. But most will come with a standard rack, a drip tray, and a crumb tray. The higher-end models might bundle with other accessories such as a toaster rack puller and toaster oven liner.
When it comes to functionality, the same trend of air fryers is prevalent here. The modes and features depend on the models. Our one was pretty versatile. It had multiple settings and is capable of cooking a plethora of dishes. Some of the models might have knobs, but the one that we purchased had buttons.
Both the cooking device has a temperature setting. That means the cooking time will depend on the dish you are making and how properly you have adjusted the temperature. However, when we cooked a whole pizza at 400 degrees, the air fryer took about 12 minutes.
In comparison, the oven took about 15 minutes. Also, you need to consider that the oven could accommodate a whole 12 inches pizza, while we had to do two batches for the air fryer. So, that is something that you need to consider if you compare the cooking time of the cooking devices.
If we consider insulation, the toaster ovens will lose a couple of points. Most of these ovens have very little insulation. That is why most of the foods will take a little bit longer to cook. However, we have seen higher-end models that prioritize more on insulation. They can adequately keep the heat inside.
On the other hand, the air fryers are appropriately insulated. For that reason, the outer surface around the air fryer never got hot for us. Also, the cooking basket sits tightly on the compartment, which helps significantly to keep the heat inside.
Air fryers are a relatively new technology. And they use complex and intricate power source design. And the intense heat that the air fryers produce inside is most likely to raise some eyebrows. So, they need to be handled correctly, or else you can get yourself hurt.
Contrastly, the toaster ovens are probably the cooking device that your mom has seen her mom use. They have been around for an extended amount of time. And over time, all the issues were addressed and solved. Also, the safety concerns dialed down a lot throughout the time.
The amount of energy uses of any kitchen appliance is highly depends on the specific model and its size. However, we found that, a toaster oven is more energy efficient than an air fryer. According to BC hydro, if you run a 1200 watts toaster oven with its highest temperature setting (450°F) for about 50 minutes, it will use only 0.9 kWh. On the other hand, a 1500 watts air fryer will consume 1.5kWh electricity. However, due to better insulation, the air fryers are generally more efficient to prepare dishes in a small amount of time.
The air fryers are small in size, and they have detachable parts. Also, most of the parts are dishwasher-safe, which means you will not have to go through that many hassles in terms of keeping it clean.
Oppositely, not all of the parts of a toaster oven are detachable. So, you will need to invest a good amount of time and effort into cleaning the toaster ovens.
As we have mentioned earlier, air fryers are still a new thing. For that reason, even the lower-end models cost around $50. In contrast, the lowest-end toaster oven will cost about $20. So, when it comes to affordability, the toaster ovens take the lead.
Few Similarities Between Air Fryer And Toaster Oven:
Both the cooking devices have some similarities in between them. For example, they both are tabletop or countertop machines. They will utilize a high-powered fan for cooking and preparing foods. And it is possible to cook foods in them by using little to no cooking oil.
Who Should Go for a Toaster Oven?
If you are looking to prepare a large amount of food in one go, the toaster oven is surely the best option for you. Also, as the cooking area is wider, toaster ovens are ideal for cooking pizza and large-sized dishes.
Who Should Go for an Air Fryer?
It has a smaller footprint and has the ability to cook and prepare foods exceptionally fast. And thanks to the smaller footprint, it is not only easier to set the device on the countertop, but it is also easier to store. If these are your priorities, air fryers are for you!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1: Which one is healthier between the toaster oven and air fryer?
According to us, the air fryer is healthier. Do you know why? You still need to use a small amount of oil for certain dishes if you plan to cook them in a toaster oven.
Q2: Is a toaster oven air fryer worth it?
If you want to enjoy the perks of both the toaster oven and air fryer, they are definitely worth it. However, these hybrid devices will have a higher price point. You can read our updated post about the best toaster oven air fryer here for more insights.
Q3: What about a convection toaster oven and air fryer?
The convection toaster oven is reasonably larger than the regular toaster oven. And the rest of the things are pretty similar to the regular ones. Considering that, the same comparison applies to this case too.
In A Summary:
So, the main takeaway from this discussion about air fryer vs. toaster oven is that both are solid options if you want to make foods more healthily. However, due to the small size and quick cooking time, the air fryer has a little bit of edge over the toaster oven.