Welcome back to Air Fryer Bro, the place where we give you the lowdown on air fryers! Today, we are looking at another one of my pet peeves! The whole air fryer versus halogen oven thing! Are they the same? Are they different? Which one is better? Should I buy a hot air fryer or a halogen oven? Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have a better idea!
I say it is a pet peeve because I hear people telling me that an air fryer is the same as a halogen oven, when I know they are actually quite different 🙂 This is still a thing in 2023, so let’s settle this once and for all – Halogen oven VS air fryer! Let’s Go!!
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is like a supercharged version of an oven. Air fryers use a heating element in combination with a powerful fan. This powerful fan will aggressively circulate the very hot air coming from the heating element around the air fryer. This circulation of very hot air is what cooks the food. Hence the name air fryer! Pushing very hot air around food cooks it! Newsflash!!
The air fryer manufacturers like to dress this process up into something fancy sounding, but this is essentially what it is. A way to cook food with hot air! For example, Philips like to refer to their hot air circulation as their Turbostar Technology!
If you look inside an air fryer, you will see that the heating element isn’t anything fancy, just a coil heating element you would see in many other kitchen appliances.
What types of air fryers are there?
There are two main types of air fryers on the market today. I would define them as the following:
The Bucket Style Air Fryer
This was the first type of air fryer that was first released onto the market by Philips. They mimicked the deep oil fryers they were trying to replace.
I call them bucket style, as the main cooking compartment is in a bucket style, and the cooking basket will lift up and out of this compartment.
This Ninja Foodi air fryer is a typical example of a bucket style air fryer. Click the image to go look at it further on Amazon.
The Oven style Air Fryer
A recent edition to the world of air fryers has been the oven style air fryer. It was an obvious step for air fryer makers, as it helps with the capacity problem a lot of early adopters were having. Bucket style air fryers limit the amount of cooking space you have to cook, and unless you have one of the larger ones, you will probably experience times when you have to cook your food in batches. Especially if you are cooking for a decent size family.
With the oven style, the racks really help to alleviate this problem. Laying out food on racks is much more space efficient. You still have the same cooking style of a bucket style air fryer, just in the form of a tabletop oven.
A typical example of an oven style air fryer would be this Innsky model below. If you want to find out more, click the image to go view this on Amazon.
The Microwave Style Air Fryer
Yes, you heard me right! In 2023 we have the hybrid microwave and air fryer combo. A microwave that offers some of the air fried goodness from the world of air fryers. More often than not, they are more microwave than air fryer, but can still do the job for light air fryer users 🙂 Below is a typical example of a microwave air fryer combination appliance. If you are interested in finding out more, I do have a whole article dedicated to the subject of air fryer microwave combination ovens.
What is a Halogen oven?
Way before I ever got into using air fryers, I had experience using halogen ovens. I have lived in Asia for quite some time, a part of the world where built-in ovens are not often common. These halogen ovens were my first attempt to add an oven like appliance to my kitchen setup.
Most halogen ovens you will see are based around a big glass bowl. The lid of the glass bowl has the heating element (AKA halogen bulb), and a fan built in. You simply place the food you want to cook into the glass bowl, or on a rack placed there.
You may be sitting there thinking, “aren’t these the exact same things as air fryers then?”. Well, the simple answer is no. The whole reason they are called halogen ovens it they use a halogen bulb as the main source of heat, from the infrared rays it emits.
The heat from this halogen bulb is pushed around the glass bowl with a small fan, and thus the halogen oven cooking process is born!
It is quite a surreal experience using a halogen oven, as the food you are cooking will be lit up by the halogen lamp in the appliance. Great for cooking a small turkey at Christmas 🙂
Now that we have talked about what both of these kitchen appliances are, let’s now move onto discussing how they compare. I feel like I am in a good position to do this, as I have got good experience with both devices. Of course, some of the factors I used to compare are subjective and may vary depending on your situation or opinions on cooking food 🙂
Air fryer VS Halogen oven: 10 Things to Consider!
Here are my nine key points of comparison. You know you can trust me when we didn’t just round up the list to ten for the sake of it 🙂
1. Halogen ovens are generally bigger than air fryers.
As someone who has used air fryers a lot over the past few years, the cooking capacity of an air fryer is generally quite low. The biggest air fryers are around the 13 quart mark. I believe this is because of the limitations of air frying technology. They need to maintain a very intense heat source to be able to achieve the air fried effect, something that is harder to achieve the bigger the cooking space used. This is why the first air fryers were pretty small, being around 3 to 4 quarts. They have now been able to improve this somewhat, but it can still be limiting for larger families. This is helped with the introduction of air fryer ovens, but the problem is still not completely solved.
A halogen oven, on the other hand, is quite a big appliance when compared to an air fryer. I have seen halogen ovens as big as 19 quarts, and some models even come with extender rings to increase the oven’s capacity even more. It is simple to fit a whole chicken into a halogen oven (for example), whereas it is always a bit more of a squeeze in most air fryers! Even cooking a small chicken can be a challenge for a lot of air fryers!
2. Air fryers give something closer to deep fried.
The downside of the size advantage that halogen ovens have is the fact that they cannot offer a cooking style as strong as that offered in the air fryer. An air fryer is supposed to compete with deep fat fryers, so they can crisp up and air fry food much better than a halogen oven. Yes, you can get some form of crisping, but it is not to the level of an air fryer.
3. Halogen ovens are easier to clean.
As stated above, pretty much all halogen ovens consist of a glass bowl with the heating element and controls placed into the lid. This makes them really easy to clean. Simply wipe the lid with a cloth and take the glass bowl over to the sink to wash with soapy water. Generally, glass is much easier to clean than the metal found in most air fryers!
Don’t get me wrong, most air fryers are not hard to clean either! Just harder than a typical halogen oven. Also, the heating element on an air fryer is almost always exposed. This means food can get onto it and require cleaning. Whereas the halogen lamp is always hidden away in a halogen oven, and has an easy to wipe covering.
Although both usually claim to be dishwasher compatible, you have a lot less chance of problems putting the glass bowl from a halogen oven in a dishwasher than the sometimes delicate non-stick coating peeling air fryer basket 🙂
4. Air fryer has a wider range of cooking styles.
From my experiences with halogen ovens, I would just use them like a small regular oven. Whereas an air fryer often allows you to do such things as dehydrate and air fry foods. You can’t dehydrate in a halogen oven, as there is no venting system to let the cycled air escape. If you want a wider range of cooking methods, the air fryer would be better. With a halogen oven, you are just stuck with the convection cooking process like what you see in a fan-assisted traditional oven.
5. Air Fryers cook faster than halogen ovens.
I have owned two halogen ovens and two air fryers in my lifetime, and for me, the air fryer always cooked things faster. My experience with the halogen oven is that its cooking times were more in line with a fan assisted regular oven, whereas my air fryer can sometimes cut these times in half. This makes a big difference when you need to rustle up a meal quickly. So if you like using your appliance’s built-in timer less, go for an air fryer 🙂
6. Halogen ovens are often cheaper.
When you compare the commonly used air fryers and halogen ovens, the halogen ovens are usually cheaper. These halogen ovens usually range from around the $40 to $60 dollar mark. Yes, there are more expensive models on the market, but rarely does a halogen oven break $100. There is certainly no need to buy a halogen oven at this price.
When buying a typical air fryer, you are much more likely to touch or exceed $100. For example, the current best-selling air fryer is around the $130 mark.
7. Halogen ovens don’t have the peeling basket problem.
One of the big problems that air fryers have come in the form of the non-stick coating peeling. Both the cooking compartment and cooking basket of an air fryer are often covered in such a coating. Unfortunately, a large amount of current manufacturers struggle to make an air fryer where this non-stick coating doesn’t start peeling off within the year!
As a halogen oven deals with mostly glass, they don’t have any such problems. You could say that glass is a cleaner material to work with than metals with non-stick coatings applied. Just look at non-stick frying pans. They too can suffer from a similar problem!
8. Halogen oven uses less plastic.
Another benefit of a halogen oven is the fact that the mostly glass approach steers this kitchen appliance away from plastics that a lot of consumers dislike. An air fryer often has a plastic casing, and when you look online at reviews, you see a pretty large number of people complaining about their air fryers’ plastic smell. Even the fact that this plastic smell is transferring onto their food and making it taste funny. You are much less likely to get any such problems when using a halogen oven.
9. Air fryer is much sexier!
If you are someone that strives to have a stylish kitchen, an air fryer will be the way to go! I mean, having a glass bowl with a “funny” lid in your kitchen isn’t exactly inspiring. And the design of most halogen ovens is pretty basic and nonadventurous. The air fryer, on the other hand, looks like a space age deep fryer! They have much sleeker and sexier (in my opinion anyway) designs. If someone sees an air fryer on your kitchen worktop, they are far more likely to show interest in it, that’s for sure!
Yes, halogen ovens have been around for longer, but they have never had the surrounding buzz that air fryers have. This has been made more obvious by the fact that halogen oven makers have even started trying to label them as air fryers to get in on this buzz! Looking at the all time Google trends charts for both appliances, it is obvious which one is getting more of the public’s attention.
10. Halogen Oven = no Teflon!
Teflon is a massive issue for a growing number of people these days, what with all this talk about ‘forever chemicals’ and the fact that Teflon apparently has them (whether they are released into food is where the debate lies though!). With its big glass bowl, Teflon isn’t an issue for the typical Halogen oven. So if you hate Teflon you will probably love the Halogen oven 🙂
Which kitchen appliance would I buy, Air fryer or Halogen oven?
With these verses articles, it always ends up being which appliance would best suit your set of requirements. As I can’t know everyone’s requirements, I am just going to talk about the reasoning for my own personal situation. I have owned both an air fryer and a halogen oven over the years, and when I compare them both, this is what I came out with!
For me, the halogen oven is too much like a regular oven and doesn’t offer enough over and above that. The type of cooking offered is not intense enough to give an “air fried” taste. For me, this trumps all the other factors talked about above. They don’t make enough of a difference to me to warrant moving over to a halogen oven. When compared to a full on air fryer, the halogen oven feels like a watered-down version for me. If you want something more inline with a small oven, the halogen oven might be your choice, but this is not the case for me.
If you disagree with me, I would love to hear all about your opinion in the comments section below. Your use case might be totally different from mine! At the end of the day, I hope I at least gave you the main factors you need to consider when purchasing one of these kitchen appliances. You can then weigh up in your head, which works best for you.