Air Fryer Vs. Electric Skillet: Which One Is Better?

All food enthusiasts wonder which appliance is best suited for their kitchen, but there are so many kitchen appliances to choose from that we end up getting confused. For instance, have you ever been confused about which one is a better choice, an air fryer or an electric skillet? We are sure you have. Well, wonder no more because we will help you differentiate between the two items so you can make a better choice for yourself.

What is the difference between an air fryer and an electric skillet?

The main difference between an air fryer and an electric skillet is that an air fryer uses hot air to cook the food, i.e., the convection method. In contrast, an electric skillet comes with a heating element and uses electricity as its power source. The resistor converts the electric energy to heat energy, which cooks the food.

Electric skillets are suitable for deep-frying, pan-frying, and sautéing. They maintain a constant temperature throughout the cooking process.

What is an air fryer, and how does it work?

An air fryer works like a better countertop convection oven and is mainly used for frying food without oil. An air fryer comes with a heating coil and fan on the top that circulates hot air to cook the food and make it crispy.

When the air fryer fan is turned on, hot air circulates and cooks the food that’s in a perforated basket. The force of air causes convection. This cooks the food in the basket, making it brown and crispy. At 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit, an air fryer takes 5 and 25 minutes to cook.

An air fryer is a highly versatile kitchen appliance that offers many uses. For instance, one can use an air fryer as a dehydrator.

What is an electric skillet, and how does it work?

An electric skillet is like a normal skillet, but it is heated by plugging into an outlet instead of being placed on a stove. It works by running a high voltage current through a resistor. The resistor resists the flow of electricity and converts electric energy into heat energy which then flows up to the skillet’s surface.

Electric skillets come with a thermostat that maintains a constant temperature throughout. The main benefit of electric skillets is that they provide heat over a wide surface with reasonable temperature control.

What is the difference between an Air fryer and an Electric skillet?

Both air fryers and electric skillets are compact. Therefore, they are perfect for small apartments, dorm rooms, RVs, studio apartments, etc. Both of them are pretty versatile as well. Apart from their similarities, there are many differences between the two appliances, which are mentioned below:

 Air fryerElectric skillet
Working mechanismAn air fryer uses the convection method. It uses a coil to warm the air and circulates it using a fan for cooking food.Electric skillets work by converting electrical energy into heat energy. The heat is then evenly distributed all over the skillet’s surface and cooks the food.
Temperature controlAir fryers do not come with a temperature regulating device like a thermostat to regulate the cooking temperature. You can set the temperature and time initially.Electric skillets have a thermostat that helps you control the cooking temperature. Electric skillets provide a constant temperature throughout the cooking process.
Cooking varietyAir fryers can be used to cook meats, vegetables, and baked goods and can reheat as well.Electric skillets can deep fry, shallow fry, make breakfast, and reheat food.  
Need of oilAn air fryer gives deep frying effects without using oil. Hence, it doesn’t need oil to cook the food.Electric skillets use oil for cooking food. They deep fry food using oil.
CapacityAir fryers are comparatively smaller, so they cannot cook food in larger quantities.Electric skillets come in various sizes. You can use larger electric skillets for cooking buffets.
Cooking methodsThe different approaches air fryers use to make food are; Deep frying (without oil)BroilingSautéingBakingDehydratingElectric skillets use various approaches to cooking food, like; sautéing, pan-frying, braising, pan-broiling, deep frying.
Energy consumptionOn average, air fryers use almost 1500 watts of energy.On average, an electric skillet uses about 3000 watts of energy. However, most electric skillets use 1000 watts of energy.
MaintenanceAir fryers are easy to maintain.Electric skillets are a little difficult to maintain.
Cooking processAir fryers heat up really quickly. Although this feature of air fryers reduces the cooking time, it also increases the risk of burning food easily.Electric skillets maintain a steady temperature, therefore reducing the risk of burning the food. The cooking time is more than an air fryer, though.

Air fryer vs. Electric skillet: Which one to choose?

Air fryer or electric skillet; which one is better? Well, both the appliances have their advantages. Although air fryers are easy to clean and maintain, they are not as versatile as electric skillets. If you want to save some bucks from your gas bill, then buying an electric skillet might do that for you.

Air fryers are better if you want to cut extra fat from your food. Hence they are a much healthier choice. Although electric skillets need more maintenance and care, they are less costly than an air fryer.

So, if you want to go for a healthy option, choose an air fryer, but if you look at the cost factor, an electric skillet is the one for you.

Is air frying better than pan-frying?

Yes, air frying is healthier than pan frying as it cuts the calories by 70% to 80%. Air frying also reduces the harmful effects of frying food in oil.

What cannot be cooked in an air fryer?

You should not cook foods with wet batter like corndogs and tempura shrimps in an air fryer.

Can you cook hamburgers in an air fryer?

Yes, you can cook fresh and frozen hamburgers in an air fryer. It will take a little more time, though.

Final thoughts on Air fryer vs. Electric skillet

Both the appliances have their own merits and demerits. If air fryers can defrost food, so can an electric skillet, but both differ in their cooking method, working mechanism, and time is taken.

If you are a laid-back person, then air fryers might be the option for you, but if you often want to cook food in large quantities, electric skillets are your friend. It all comes down to what you want and what is better suited for you and your kitchen.

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Immad Amir
Hey there, I'm Immad! I'm an SEO and appliance fanatic. Amna, my fiance, and I combined our interests and came up with RavvyReviews to help you all with our well-researched kitchen appliance reviews and foodie informative articles. We aim to learn more along the way and keep bringing you authentic trustworthy articles so all of us can have fun in the kitchen! We love interacting with you guys, do share yours thoughts in the comments. Get in touch with me through

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