As the Air Fryer Bro, I have been using air fryers for a long time! And not only that, I have tried pretty much any kind of air fryer you can imagine…. expensive air fryer, cheap air fryer, air fryer oven! You name an air fryer and I have probably used it! Therefore, I feel that I am in a good place to talk about the pros and cons of air fryers. I love air fryers, but they are not all sunshines and rainbows. There are downsides too 🙂 So let’s go over all the details together!
8 Pros of Owning an Air Fryer
1. Healthy Alternative to Deep Frying
The whole reason why air fryers exist is as a healthier alternative to a deep-fat fryer. This is why the traditional air fryer follows a similar form factor as an electric domestic deep-fat fryer.
Is the air fried taste exactly the same as the deep fried taste? No! But it is close enough to give you a replacement for deep fried food. If you are trying to cut deep fried food out of your diet for health reasons, you could do a lot worse than switching to an air fryer.
The only thing to note is that you can’t use an air fryer to cook wet batter, as I found out in my fried fish experiment. So things such as onion rings can’t be made from fresh. In an air fryer, you need to use a dry rub style batter only. The only way to get that type of food out of an air fryer is to use pre-made frozen versions.
Regarding health, some people like to say that an air fryer adds dangerous carcinogens to your food, but there is no research that directly confirms this. As long as you take care to not burn your air fried food, you should be fine, in my opinion. I have an article that goes into more detail on this if you are interested.
One of the things I love about my air fryer is its compact nature. I have a small kitchen and I can easily move my air fryer around the kitchen when needed. It can even get stored away in a cupboard when not in use. I can’t think of another kitchen appliance that offers such a wide range of cooking styles in such a compact form factor. If you have a small kitchen, it’s a must!
The flexibility of an air fryer is immense. It is able to air fry, roast, broil, grill or even dehydrate in some cases. In my air fryer, I regularly make roast chicken alongside home made fries and even cakes! It’s pretty amazing stuff.
In fact, my air fryer gets used daily in my household. I have no need for a regular oven, a deep-fat fryer or even a microwave (yes, I can reheat food in my air fryer too!). I have replaced multiple other kitchen appliances with one compact air fryer.
4. Easy to Clean
Most air fryers are designed in a way that are easy to clean. Most of the time a quick rinse and wipe with a damp cloth with do. Compare this to the cleanup needed for a regular oven or a deep fat fryer, and I know which one I would choose.
The only caveat to this is that a lot of air fryer baskets come with a wire mesh on the bottom, which can be slightly annoying to clean if it is finer in nature. And with the rise of the air fryer oven, these can be slightly harder to keep clean!
I have a whole article talking about the best way to clean your air fryer, if you need more details.
5. Fast Cooking Times
In my ‘Bro Meals’ section of the website, I often cook frozen items in my air fryer to find out the best cooking method. If you read these articles, you will see that often when following the cooking instructions on the frozen food, I can use a cook time almost half of what is needed for a fan assisted traditional oven. This gives you an idea as to how much faster an air fryer will cook when compared to other popular home cooking methods.
A deep-fat fryer is slightly faster, but way unhealthier and will require a vat of smelly oil!
6. Instant Heat
A lot of other kitchen appliances need to be preheated before use. A traditional oven needs to be pre-heated for twenty minutes or so and even a deep-fat fryer needs the oil to get to temperature before cooking. With an air fryer, no pre-heating is required, so as soon as you press the ‘go’ button on your air fryer, it is cooking.
7. Growing Popularity
Air fryers used to be a niche item that no-one had heard of. I can remember when I bought my first air fryer, I really had no idea what it was! These days the popularity of air fryers is growing immensely.
This increasing popularity has several benefits. You probably know multiple people that own one, so you can have fire side chats about the different things you like to cook in it, etc. Also, the range of air fryers you can buy is increasing all the time. There are now multiple big brands producing high-quality air fryers, and we now have the invention of air fryer ovens and even air fryer microwaves. So there really is an air fryer for every need these days.
8. Won’t Stink Up your House!
I can remember the deep-fat fryer from my childhood house. You knew whenever someone was using it, as your whole house would be filled with an oily smell. Not only that, but this oily smell would stink up your clothes and anything else it comes into contact with. With an air fryer, there is little to no smell, and nothing like the oily smell you get from deep fat frying.
As an added bonus, you also don’t get oil residue all over your kitchen like you do with a deep-fat fryer!
8 Cons of Owning an Air Fryer
1. Some Quality Issues
Although this has been improving gradually, you still have to do your research thoroughly before buying an air fryer. Unfortunately, there are lower quality air fryers out there that have issues with peeling non-stick coating and other terminal issues that might happen within the first year of ownership.
My tip would be to read a lot of user reviews on an air fryer before you buy one. This will give you an idea whether that particular air fryer has any quality issues. Don’t just walk into a shop and impulse buy a random air fryer! Big no-no!!
2. Can’t Cook Light Items
An air fryer uses a powerful stream of hot air to cook your food. The downside to this is the fact that any light food you place inside your air fryer will simply fly around the cooking compartment (literally!). At worse, your food won’t get cooked; at best, it could get stuck in your air fryer’s heating element and cause a potential fire hazard!
If you want to cook light food, you need to find a way to pin it down. I like to put it between two wire racks personally.
3. Can Be Noisy
Some brands of air fryer can be quite noisy when in use, due to the high-powered fan required to push the hot air around your air fryer. For me, this is not such a big deal, as I just do research to find some that are on the quieter side. As air fryer technology gets better, they will start to get quieter in general. In my own research, I found my air fryer to have a similar noise level to a kettle, so it really isn’t that bad in most cases.
4. Smaller Cooking Capacity
I love the fact that my air fryer is compact in nature, but the downside is that it also has less cooking space. Add to this the fact you can’t stack or overlap food in an air fryer (to let the hot air flow around your food evenly), then you may have to start batch cooking food if you need to air fry in larger quantities.
When air fryers first came out, they were pretty small, often being around 3 quarts in size. Thankfully, you can buy much bigger air fryers these days that are three of four times this size, which does somewhat relieve this cooking capacity issue.
I have a full guide on different air fryer sizes, if you are worried about this issue.
5. You still need Oil
Some people are attracted to air fryers when they hear it is oil free cooking. However, in a lot of cases, you still need a little oil to spray on your food to make it crisp up better and not end up dry and bland! It is still only a teaspoon of oil at most, and you can choose a healthy oil for your air fryer if you are health conscious.
6. Possible Fire Hazard
I will start off by saying that if an air fryer is used as intended, it is NOT a fire hazard. However, they are powerful cooking appliances and, when used incorrectly, they might become a potential fire hazard. For example, I have seen people that don’t clean their air fryer well and have a massive buildup of oil residue inside their unit. This might be a potential fire hazard. I know a lot of people are worried about this issue, so please read my full article explaining whether air fryers are a fire hazard or not to get all the details. This is something that has been overblown and is not an issue if you know how to use an air fryer properly.
7. Prone to Smoking
Most air fryer owners have come across the smoking issue (I know I have). When you cook food that is particularly fatty you might see some white smoke coming out of your air fryer. This can be annoying, especially when you have smoke alarms that will be set off by this white smoke. Luckily, there are things you can do to stop this white smoke problem. I have another article explaining this in detail.
8. Not Suitable for a Dishwasher
Although a lot of air fryer companies say that their air fryers are dishwasher safe, I personally wouldn’t risk putting any item from my air fryer into a dishwasher. As stated above, air fryers do sometimes have issues with non-stick coating peeling, so I don’t want to aggravate this further by using a dishwasher.
A lot of people like the convenience of a dishwasher, so not being able to put their air fryer accessories into one could be seen as a major downside for them.