Air Fryer VS Deep Fryer: The Truth!

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Welcome back to Air Fryer Bro. Today, we are looking at something which hits right at the core of the air fryer’s existence. Comparing an air fryer versus a deep fryer. How are they the same? How are they different? Air fryer vs deep fryer taste…..which is better? Can an air fryer replace a deep fryer?

what is better? air fryer or deep fryer?

We hope that, by the end of this article, you can clearly see the pros and cons of owning an air fryer or a deep fat fryer!

Please note, you can view any of the products from this article on Amazon by clicking on the image.

Air fryer VS Deep Fryer: 6 Key Points to Consider

After careful consideration, these are the points we will be using to compare these two kitchen appliances:

1. Cost

When looking at the cost, there are two main areas I will look at. The cost of the actual kitchen appliance and the cost to run it. 

Appliance Cost

When looking at similar sized air fryers vs deep fat fryers, the deep-fat fryer is clearly cheaper. It is a much simpler machine, essentially just needing to heat up and maintain the temperature of a vat of oil. Most popular deep dryers are selling for around the $30-60 dollar mark.

Looking at comparably sized air fryers, you are looking more at $60 being the minimum you would pay for an air fryer (and it would probably be one of sub par quality). A decent air fryer is more likely to set you back around the $70-120 mark.

All of this makes me wonder what the actual cost of manufacturer is for these appliances. Are air fryers really higher in value (in terms of material and production costs), or are we just paying a “trendy appliance” tax?

Running Cost

I am no electrical engineer, but this is my rather crude approach to thinking about running costs. If we do have any energy experts reading this, please correct me in the comments section below 🙂

air fryer vs deep fryer cost

When looking at appliances of similar size, deep fryers are generally of a higher wattage rating than air fryers. A 4 quart size, for example, often sees deep fryers at a wattage of around 1700-1800w. A similarly sized air fryer is more often than not around the 1300-1500w range.

Then there is the fact that you need to preheat the oil in a deep-fat fryer. An air fryer offers instant heat, with no preheating required (read our other article on that if you don’t believe me!). 

All in all, you will use more electricity running a deep fryer than an air fryer.

A deep-fat fryer also has an additional running cost, which is not even necessary for an air fryer. Oil! To maintain a better performance for your deep fryer, you need to regularly change the oil used inside. Depending on the quality of oil you use, you could be looking at a cost of around $4-$8 per oil change you do. Much less oil is used in an air fryer (just a simple spritz to crisp up some food types), so one small bottle of oil would last you easily a year with such a thin coating of oil.

2. Convenience


When looking at the cooking convenience of an air fryer versus a deep fryer, there isn’t much in it. Let us look first at the subject of cooking time. A deep-fat fryer will cook faster than an air fryer, but an air fryer doesn’t require any preheating. All in all, you will probably spend less time cooking with a deep fryer, but not by much.

Where an air fryer excels is the flexibility and versatility it offers. As well as being able to offer an alternative to deep frying, it can also operate like a regular oven. You can cook a whole roast chicken in an air fryer, for example. You can even use an air fryer as a dehydrator if you want. I even roast veggies in my air fryer! This flexibility is a great plus for an air fryer. It also means you need fewer kitchen appliances, freeing up more counter top space in your kitchen.


The air fryer wins this area hands down. The hardest thing I have to do when cleaning my air fryer, is to soak it in hot water and give it a light scrub. This is as bad as it gets, and even this only takes a few minutes.

which is easier to clean, an  air fryer or a deep fryer?

On the other hand, a deep fat fryer needs regular oil changes. This means you have to dispose of the old (and smelly) oil, clean out the appliance and fill with new oil. A much more labor intensive process!

Also, any accessories you use in a deep fryer will get very oily (big surprise there!), something that will be much harder to clean. A lot more scrubbing in hot water is required!

3. Safety

This is also another clear win for the air fryer. A boiling vat of oil is never going to be the safest option. Yes, electrically controlled appliances have made this much more manageable, but I would still much prefer to deal with hot air than a bunch of boiling oil!! 

If a small child pulls an air fryer cord, the most they will get is a bump on the head and maybe some minor burns. With a deep fryer, they will probably get hot oil dumped on them in some fashion.

which is safer? air fryer or deep fryer?

There have been some wild accusations going around the internet about air fryers burning your house down, but (as long as you buy a good quality air fryer) this is unlikely to be a problem!

4. Health

When you cook with a deep-fat fryer, the oil you are using to cook will naturally soak into the food you are cooking.

To get a good result in the air fryer, you only need a spritz of oil at most. 

Therefore, it is pretty clear that an air fryer would cook much healthier food than an air fryer.

Again, there have been some people on the internet accusing air fryers of causing cancer and all manner of health issues. As far as I am concerned, all of this is scaremongering.

A great example is the fact that my wife loves chicken wings. She still loves the air fried variety, something we can enjoy on a more regular basis, as the amount of oil used means the batter on the chicken wings doesn’t get soaked with oil!! One of my household’s favorite snacks just got a boost 🙂

5. Taste

When comparing an air fryer to a deep fryer, it is important to think about the different end results they give. Basically, the taste! Will those french fries turn out the same when air fried rather than deep fried? Will that fried food crisp be the same?

we all love the taste of fried food!

This is a massive area for some people, and one that I will always be honest about. I will never gloss over this section and pretend an air fryer is something it is not.

Can an air fryer provide the same level of taste as a regular deep fryer? The answer for me is a categorical no. If you want to experience the exact same level of taste, please don’t buy an air fryer. You will be disappointed!

Having said that, the taste you get (when using an air fryer properly) is certainly in the same ballpark. There have to be some major trade-offs when changing to a healthier air fryer, and this is the main one for me.

What I will say is I have grown to love the air fried taste, and would rather opt for this than the much more unhealthy method of deep fat frying. For my everyday cooking, an air fryer is what I would opt for every time.

Think of those air fried french fries as convection oven cooked fries on steroids (not literally!!) An air fryer has a more intense style of cooking than a regular or convection oven, so what you will get out in similar to that but with more crisp. And less oil has been used in the process!!

the air fryer versus deep fat fryer chart image

6. Smell

Anyone that has owned a deep-fat fryer will know that it will stink out your kitchen with that frying oil smell (Kentucky Fried Chicken style!!). An air fryer shouldn’t produce a smell any worse than an oven when used properly. This would be a big factor for those wishing to keep their house odor free.

Final Conclusion

Clearly, you might think that the Air Fryer Bro might be a little biased here, and I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that! However, it is impossible to give a clear winner. In fact, that is not the point of this article!

Everyone has their own needs and wants, and the most important thing is that you find the kitchen appliance that best suits these. By offering these main points of comparison, we hope to be a help in that decision.

For the Air Fryer Bro, it didn’t take long for me to switch to the air fryer. To be honest, I hadn’t touched a deep-fat fryer for many years anyway, air fryer or not! A deep-fat fryer is just too smelly and annoying to clean (in my opinion). Not to mention all that excess oil hanging around my kitchen is a fire risk!! So, after trying an air fryer, there is no turning back! Less oil is the way to go for me!

What do you think? We would love to hear your ideas and opinions in the comments section below! Do you have an air fryer or deep fryer? Which one do you choose to cook in more?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Air Fryer to Replace a Deep-Fat Fryer?

If you are directly looking for a deep-fat fryer replacement in your air fryer, I would recommend you get a traditional style bucket air fryer rather than an air fryer oven. Air fryer ovens are great for things like rotisserie chicken and they can air fry well. However, I find that the larger size of these ovens slightly takes away from the rapid air technology used inside an air fryer. They don’t quite have the technology to keep the true air fried intensity within an oven, in my opinion. It’s close, but if you want to replace the deep fried food crisp, then a regular air fryer would get closer.

At the time of writing I would recommend the Ninja double basket air fryer below. It has awesome cooking performance, is from a well-known air fryer brand and has enough space to air fryer for a whole family (what with the duel baskets and all). No need to batch cook those yummy fries after your chicken wings! Air fry them at the same time! What a great choice 🙂 This is what I would replace a deep-fat fryer with right now 🙂 Click the image below to view it over at Amazon…

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