Air Fryer VS Smoker

Cooking at home is a great way of saving money and eating healthier, but there are too many cooking appliances to choose from. Two popular options are air fryers and smokers, both having their own benefits and drawbacks. So which one should you buy? Let’s find out the answer to air fryer vs. smoker!

The main difference between an air fryer and a smoker is their ways of cooking. An air fryer uses hot air, which is circulated by a fan, to cook and crisp the food, while a smoker carefully increases the temperature of the air to cook the meat to give it flavor.

What is an Air Fryer, and how does it work?

An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that uses air and pressure to cook food. It circulates hot air around the food; this way, it is able to replicate the crispy texture of deep-fried dishes without using large amounts of oil.

The air fryer usually has a basket in which the food is placed and adjustable temperature and timing settings.

What is a Smoker, and how does it work?

A smoker is an outdoor cooking appliance that uses wood chips, charcoal, etc., to produce smoke, which is then used for cooking food.

The food is placed in a cooking chamber, and the smoke and heat circulate around the chamber to cook the food. This smoke gives the food a unique flavor.

Smokers also come in electric and gas versions, where no charcoal or wood is required to generate the smoke.

Differences between Air Fryers and Smokers

The main differences between air fryers and smokers are as follows:

 Air FryerSmoker
Working mechanismCirculates hot air to cook foodUses smoke and increases the air’s temperature to cook food
Use of oilUses a small amount of oil to cook and brown the foodDoes not use any oil for cooking the food, but it does require some oil on the surface to generate smoke
Cooking timeCooks food faster than a smoker by quickly reaching high temperatures, i.e., within minutesTakes a very long to cook, about 6 to 24 hours
SafetySafe to use if the manual is followedLess safe to use than an air fryer
UsesBake, grill, fry, defrost, dry, and broil foods using less oil than deep fryersGive food a smoky flavor and preserve it
Caloric countA little more than smokersBarely uses any oil, so the caloric count will be less than that of an air fryer
CleaningEasy-to-clean dishwasher-friendly partsUsually larger than air fryers, so difficult to clean
Resulting food crustCrunchier crust with browningSofter meat

Air fryers vs. Smokers: Which one to buy?

When deciding what to buy between an air fryer and a smoker, you should consider the following factors:


Although there is little difference between the quantities of oil used in both appliances, foods made in a smoker are slightly healthier than those made in an air fryer. Therefore, a smoker is better health-wise.


Food cooked in a smoker usually results in a soft crust and a smoky flavor. On the other hand, food cooked in an air fryer has a crispier crust and a tender interior. However, the smoker is the way to go if you love that smoky flavor.


Smokers are usually more expensive than air fryers because of their size and mechanism. If you’re looking for something which is a bit less heavy on the pocket, go for an air fryer.

Cooking time

As mentioned earlier, an air fryer cooks food faster than a smoker due to the use of hot air and high temperatures. On the other hand, a smoker slowly cooks over a period of hours.


Smokers are usually less safe to use than air fryers due to their use of fire. The air fryer has a lid and just circulates hot air, so it is comparatively safe. However, make sure to handle a working air fryer with care.

Maintenance and cleaning

Both air fryers and smokers are easy to maintain and clean. However, a smoker may be slightly more challenging to clean because of its bigger size. Remember that an air fryer does require a thorough cleaning after a couple of uses since the oil and grease can build up on the heating element and the fan.


An air fryer can be used to cook a wide variety of foods and is hence more versatile, while a smoker is mainly used for slow-cooking meat and giving it that unique smoky flavor.

Ease of use

Both air fryers and smokers are easy-to-use appliances. Some people may find smokers harder to use since some models require burning charcoal before cooking, but all of it depends on your specific model and the features it offers.

Air fryer vs. smoker- conclusion 

In conclusion, an air fryer and a smoker are both useful kitchen appliances that can be used to cook different kinds of food. The ideal choice for you depends on your needs and preferences.

If you are looking for a safe, quick, and versatile kitchen appliance, go with an air fryer. Otherwise, if you are looking for a healthier option and prefer the smoky flavor, go with a smoker.

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Amna Muqeem
Hi! I'm Amna and I love cooking and eating different cuisines. My fiance, Immad, and I started this website to share our knowledge of food and kitchen appliances, and to learn more along the way! Here, we try different foods, learn about them through extensive research, and share our experiences with you. Same goes for kitchen appliances and the reviews we craft for you. I hope you enjoy our articles and get to learn from them. Do share your thoughts in the comments, we always read them! You can contact me through

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