Air Fryer Vs. Toaster Oven: Analyzing Vital Differences

Air fryer and toaster oven are conventional kitchen appliances that take up only a fraction of space, hence are perfectly suitable for dorm rooms, RVs, or studio apartments. Both the appliances cook almost the same type of food items.

If you are confused about which one is better, an air fryer or a toaster oven, and want to know the differences between an air fryer and a toaster oven, then keep reading.

What is the difference between an air fryer and a toaster oven?

The main difference between an air fryer and a toaster oven is that an air fryer uses forced air convection to cook food. In contrast, a toaster oven has coils at the top and bottom to cook food directly.

Convection toaster ovens come with a fan, which also circulates hot air.

What is an air fryer? How does it work?

An air fryer is like a better version of a countertop convection oven. It also resembles a deep-fryer but uses hot air instead of oil to fry food. The heating mechanism and a fan present on the top section of an air fryer circulate hot air, cooking the food and making it crispy, just like deep frying but without oil.

The food is placed on a perforated basket, and when the air fryer fan is turned on, hot air circulates and cooks the food. The force of air produces a convection effect. This cooks and turns the food present in the basket brown and crispy. The cooking time of an air fryer ranges from 5 to 25 minutes at 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The air fryer makes food crispy and can also increase the shelf life of your fruits and vegetables as it can be used as a dehydrator.

What food items can be cooked in an air fryer?

There are multiple food items that an air fryer can cook. The list is endless. Below are some examples:

  • Chicken wings, fish, steak, hard-boiled eggs
  • Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Leftover food items, like a day-old pizza or fries
  • Cinnamon rolls, cookies, and even cakes

You can even reheat croissants in an air fryer!

What is a toaster oven? How does it work?

Toaster ovens are countertop appliances used to heat or toast food. However, toaster ovens can also be used to cook certain food items in place of a regular oven. They warm food quickly and therefore can broil and bake food too. The toaster oven converts electrical energy into heat energy, hence working on radiant heat.

Toaster ovens usually have a metal coil at the top and bottom. When the toaster is turned on, it heats the metal coil and produces radiant heat.

An oven toaster without the upper heating element is not helpful for baking. When used as a toaster, the internal timer automatically shuts off to prevent burning once toasting is done. When it is used as an oven, there is no automatic timer. The user needs to shut it off by themselves. Therefore, convection toaster ovens exist, which bake thoroughly by spreading hot air throughout the chamber.

What are the differences between an air fryer and a toaster oven?

There are many differences between a toaster oven and an air fryer. The primary and core differences between the two appliances are summarized in a table form below.

 Air FryerToaster oven
Working principleThe air fryer comes with a fan that circulates hot air to cook food. Hence, an air fryer works through the convection method.Toaster ovens usually don’t come with a fan. The fan is generally at the back if they have one. They work by converting electrical energy to heat energy and radiating heat through the top and bottom coils.
CapacityAir fryers are smaller in size and are not suitable for huge courses. However, they can cook a variety of foods quickly.Toaster ovens are a little larger than air fryers and hence can cook more food in them. We can cook foods like chicken and lamb chops in a toaster oven, something which can’t be done in an air fryer.
SizeDue to the air fryer’s small size, it can be squeezed into smaller spaces, like studio apartments, dorm rooms, RVs, or tiny kitchens.A toaster oven comparatively occupies much more space than an air fryer.
Heating timeSince air fryers are compact and come with a better heat distribution system, they quickly heat up and reach high temperatures.Toaster ovens reach high temperatures later than an air fryer. Those toaster ovens that come with automated temperature adjustment features can regulate the level of heat inside.
Cooking timeAir fryers reach higher temperatures faster; therefore, they cook the food quickly, reducing the cooking time.Toaster ovens take some time to reach higher temperatures, increasing the cooking time.
Oil requirementAir fryers cook food without oil, reducing the extra fat from your diet.The variety of foods that can be cooked in toaster ovens is more than in an air fryer. However, toaster ovens require a bit of moisture or little oil to cook food.
Ease of cleaningAir fryers are small in size and come with a nonstick pan. Therefore they are easier to clean.Toaster ovens require a little more maintenance than air fryers. However, it is not very difficult to clean a toaster oven.
Power consumptionThe power usage of air fryers is more.Toaster ovens comparatively use less power than an air fryer. However, the power usage difference between the two is not much.
CostAir fryers are more expensive.Toaster ovens are less costly than an air fryer.

Air fryer vs. toaster oven: Which one to choose?

Air fryers might be a better option if you eat fast food regularly. However, keep in mind that air fryers cannot cook food in huge quantities. They are costly as well. They are really easy to maintain and do not occupy much space owing to their compact size. Since they don’t require oil to cook food, they reduce the extra fat from your food. Hence they are a healthier choice too.

On the other hand, toaster ovens can cook a wide variety of food, so if you want to cook food in large bulks, then go for a toaster oven with a convection function. Although less costly than an air fryer, a toaster oven requires more cooking time and maintenance.

What is the disadvantage of air fryers?

Air fryers reach a higher temperature quickly, thus increasing the risk of easily burning the food. Burned food items may be carcinogenic.

Are air fryers cancerous?

Air fryers are a healthier choice. They do not cause cancer. The risk of cancer depends on the type of food and how the food is cooked in an air fryer.

Do air fryers produce acrylamide?

Acrylamide is a toxic, carcinogenic chemical. Cooking in an air fryer can produce acrylamide.

Final thoughts on air fryer vs. toaster oven

Both the appliances have their pros and cons. Air fryers’ ease of use might make customers deviate from them. However, the versatility that toaster ovens offer cannot be ignored. Choosing which appliance you want to buy depends on what you are looking for, so choose wisely!

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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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