Air Fryer Vs Grill: What’s The Difference [Which Is Good?]

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Air Fryer Vs Grill Which Is Good For You

The major difference between an air fryer vs grill is that the former cooks with hot swirling air and the latter uses direct heat to cook food. Grilled food results in smoky flavor and has char grill marks.

An air fryer and a grill hold particular prominence among all the cooking appliances. Both are great and cook a variety of food. That is why when it comes to choosing between an air fryer Vs. Grill, it is not as cut and dry.

The only way to decide between buying an air fryer and grill is by looking at their cooking methods, differences, benefits, and suitability for a household. Before we get deep into the debate about both cooking appliances, let’s look at their primary difference.

Air Fryer Vs Grill: What’s The Difference [Which Is Good?]

ParametersAir fryerGrill
Cooking quantityCooks less foodCooks more food and saves you from batch-cooking
Even cookingCooks more evenly, thanks to the convection methodSometimes cooks unevenly and gives charred or undercooked food
VersatilityComes with more cooking options and functionsLimited cooking functions and options
Use of oilAir-fried food is healthier as using oil is not mandatoryNecessitates using oil, therefore, gives comparatively less healthy food
Food TasteFood tastes great food but has no unique flavourGives food a distinctive smoky and charred flavour
Food textureCrispy exterior and succulent exteriorCharred and caramelized exterior and moist and soft interior
Unique featuresAuto-shutoff, intelligent heating system, automatic stirringBasic cooking functions
Ease of cleaningMuch easier to clean due to a removable basketDifficult to clean
Heat outputDoes not exudes much heat, so, great for summer useMakes the surroundings hot

| ALSO READ: Air Fryer Vs Deep Fryer Detailed Comparison

Cooking Capacity Of Air Fryer Vs Grill

An air fryer is a petite countertop appliance designed for use indoors and has limited space in its cooking chamber. Therefore, you cannot cook large food in it. Even though there are some large size air fryers available but still the quantity of cooked food is less than the grill.

On the other hand, a grill is generally bigger than an air fryer, aimed for outdoor use. Its large space allows it to cook more food and feed a large group in one go. Therefore, a grill is an ideal cooking appliance to avoid batch cooking.

MY VERDICT: A grill helps you cook more food than an air fryer.

Both Appliances Have Different Cooking Process

An electric indoor grill cooks food with the help of radiant heat produced by a heating element that is located under the grill grates.

The heat rises up and cooks the food from below. Due to this, you need to preheat your grill before putting ingredients on it.

On the other hand, air fryers cook food using the convection method. A heating element above the cooking chamber produces heat, and a fan circulates the heat around the food.

This cooking method ensures that the food is cooked evenly from all sides. Unlike a grill, an air fryer does not need preheating to cook food.

MY VERDICT: Both have different cooking methods, so choosing one is difficult. As far as the evenness of the cooking is concerned, an air fryer is a clear winner.

Air Fryer Is More Versatile Than Grill

Air fryer is a smart appliance that can cook many things other than meat and vegetables. You can roast a whole chicken, bake bagels, cakes, and cookies, and air fry crispy French Fries, nuggets, buffalo wings, etc.

Conversely, grills have limited functions; they can grill, roast and smoke veggies, meat, and even fruits. While grills excel at providing a range of flavors, such as charred and smoky, and provide grilled textures, their versatility is nothing compared to an air fryer.

MY VERDICT: If you want a versatile cooking appliance, an air fryer is definitely more versatile.

Oil Consumption Of Air Fryer Compared To Grill

Air fryers swayed people’s hearts and minds due to their ability to cook healthier meals without oil. Even in recipes that necessitate using oil, you require no more than a few tablespoons to achieve the desired crispiness. So, it is totally up to you want to use oil in air fryer or not.

On the other hand, a grill uses more oil to achieve the charred and caramelized flavor associated with grilled food. The oil helps prevent the food from sticking to the grill grates, enhances flavor and adds moisture to the food.

MY VERDICT: Grill uses more oil than an air fryer; hence it’s a more efficient and healthier cooking option.

Which One Gives You A Crispy Exterior

Air fryers are famous for bequeathing a crispy texture to your food. An air fryer bestows a crisp deep-fried-like texture to your food by removing excess moisture from the surface.

An air fryer is particularly famous for creating crunchy exteriors on foods like French Fries, chicken wings, nuggets etc.

A grill can also make your food crispy, but that crisp is quite different from what you can achieve through air frying. A grill makes your food crispy by creating charred and crunchy edges. However, this type of crisp is not similar to a deep-fried texture.

MY VERDICT: Air fryers make the exterior of the food crispier.

Taste Comparison Of Air Fryer and Grill

One thing that significantly differentiates the taste of the food from an air fryer to a grill. Grilled food has a unique smoky, caramelized, and charred flavor. Grill grates leave beautiful grill char marks on the food that impart crustiness and taste.

Air-fried food is undoubtedly delicious, but the taste is not as unique as you get on a grill.

There are air fryer grill combos in the market. But even with the best air fryer grill combo, you can only achieve good taste but not the deep char grill marks of an outdoor gas grill or electric grill.

MY VERDICT: When it comes to uniqueness, grilled food is distinctive in taste from air-fried food.

Note: Some people prefer the taste of air-fried food, and others are more inclined to enjoy food cooked on an outdoor grill. So, when it comes to taste, your personal preference matters a lot.

How Is Air-Fried Food Different From Grilled Food

A few comparisons of the food cooked in an air fryer vs grill are:

Air Fried Vs Grilled Chicken

The chicken cooked in an air fryer has a crispy outer layer and a flavorful and succulent inside. 

The hot air fryer engulfing the food from all sides mimics the deep fryer minus the oil. Compared to air-fried chicken, grilled chicken has char marks and a smoky flavor.

Air Fried Vs Grilled Steak

An air fryer cooks steak with minimal fuss. The hot air imparts a crispy texture while keeping the inside of the meat moist and juicy.

However, you don’t get the sear and the smoky flavor, and a rich and savory taste on your steak when cooked in an air fryer, which is the signature taste of an authentic grilled chicken.

Cooking Time Comparison

Cooking on a smokeless grill takes longer than an air fryer. The major reason is that you have to preheat the grill so the food does not stick to the grill grates.

As the heat is coming from below the grill grates, it takes longer to reach the food. The time for cooking on a grill also depends on the thickness of the food.

The thicker parts of the meat or veggies take longer to cook than the thinner parts.

On the other hand, preheating the air fryer is not necessary. Put the ingredients in the basket, insert the basket in the chamber, set the time and temperature, and let the air fryer do the rest of the job.

Overall, a grill takes longer to cook than an air fryer. But the difference is not huge.

Ease Of Cleaning

No doubt, the taste of grilled food is exceptional, but before indulging in the taste of grilled food, you must consider its cleanup.

Cleaning the drip tray in the grill can be a major challenge. Like a grill’s, its drip tray is prominent, too, so its cleanup is more extensive. There is an expansive grilling grate, which can keep residue from previous cookouts. 

Compared to a grill, cleaning an air fryer is much easier thanks to its comparably small size. Instead of a drip tray, there is a drawer that houses the air fryer basket. Cleaning an air fryer is a breeze if done right after cooking.


Which air fryer has a grill?

A variety of air fryers come with a grilling function. Companies that make the best air fryer with grills include Ninja, PowerXL, Tefal, Nuwave, Chefman and Cosori. Their air fryer grills are versatile, have a high-quality build, and come with a heavy grill plate that lasts long and leaves deep and beautiful char marks on the food.

Can an air fryer replace a grill?

Drawing from our experience, no air fryer cannot replace a grill. It is because there is a stark difference between air-fried and grilled food. Air frying makes food crispy, while grilling makes the food juicy and imparts a smoky flavor. If you want a win-win situation, buy an air fryer with a grilling function. But a grill is a must to get the original grilled food flavor.

Can you grill meat in airfryer?

Yes, you can grill meat in an air fryer with a grilling function. However, unlike a full outdoor grill, an air fryer grill cooks a limited amount of food, requiring batch cooking.

Wrapping Up!

Comparing an air fryer vs grill for the purpose of buying one is a hard nut to crack. Both differ significantly based on their cooking capacity, taste and texture of the cooked food, ease of cleaning, etc.

Whether you want to buy an air fryer or a grill, you must look at your taste preference, personal needs, and space in the house. For an outdoor grill, you definitely need a dedicated place, as it can not be pushed into a kitchen cabinet. Whereas an air fryer offers convenience in that way, as it can be placed on the kitchen counter or kept in a cabinet when not in use.


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