Air Fryer Vs Oven Differences Which Is Healthier & Better?

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An air fryer cook food by rapidly circulating hot air and oven uses still air to preapre the food. Read on to learn more differences.

Cooking food in traditional ways, which is often more time-consuming. So air fryers and ovens perfectly correspond to our cooking needs.

But should you have both of these appliances? Knowing what an air fryer is and how it differs from a convection oven is important if you intend to buy one or both soon.

Air Fryer Vs Oven Differences Which Is Healthier & Better?

The main difference between the air fryer and oven is the size and cooking time. An air fryer is a countertop appliance, and a convection oven is much bigger. The latter is ideal for making large amounts of food at one time compared to an air fryer which adjusts smaller portions and often needs cooking in batches.

Air Fryer Vs Oven Differences Which Is Healthier & Better?

What Is Air Fryer

An air fryer is a countertop appliance that is compact and attractive in design. Air fryers are often hailed for their ability to cook healthy food because using oil in the air fryers is not mandatory.

The air fryer heating source is a combo of heating elements and a large fan located above the food compartment. It uses a convection mechanism to blow high-speed hot air through food which evenly cooks the food.

For cooking, the food goes into a perforated air fryer basket, ensuring heat circulation from all sides. Hot air gives the food a crispy and crunchy texture, keeping it tender and juicy from the inside. In most cases, air fryers do not need preheating. They heat up pretty quickly, and the cooking mechanism also starts immediately.

What Is Convection Oven

Convection ovens are similar to air fryers in the way they also use a convection mechanism for cooking food. In ovens, heating elements are present at two locations— above and below the chamber.

The fan is located in the back of the oven, unlike an air fryer’s fan above the cooking compartment. Cooking food in an oven requires you to put the food on a wire rack or tray. So, the heat might not circulate around the food evenly.

When we first looked at both of these appliances, we felt both were the same things, with the air fryer given a catchy name only.

But it was, after testing both of these appliances, cooking in them, and discovering their ins and outs, we concluded that there is a lot that differentiates one unit from the other.

Below we are comparing these appliances for your convenience and easy decision-making.

Air Fryer Vs Oven Time Comparison

Air Fryer Vs Oven Cooking Time Comparison

An air fryer is much smaller than a convection oven. It heats up quickly and, in most of the recipes, doesn’t need preheating either. Due to its smaller size, the air fryer basket accommodates less food than a convection oven cooking rack. Hence, air fryers cook food much faster than an oven.

The rule of thumb is when cooking an oven-based recipe in an air fryer, reduce the cooking time by 20% and the cooking temperature by 25°F.

But if you are using a dedicated air fryer recipe, then there is no need to make any changes. So, as far as cooking time is concerned, cooking food in an air fryer is much speedier than in an oven.

Even though air fryers are faster, you will need to open the drawer a few times and shake the food during cooking. So, you may have to linger around your air fryer throughout the time of cooking.

Air Fryer Cooking Time Chart

RecipeAir Fryer TimeConvection Oven Time
Chicken Wings15-20 mins at 400F35-40 mins at 375F
Chicken Breast22-25 mins at 375F23-27 mins at 400
Chicken ThighsApprox. 25 mins at 400F35-40 mins at 400F
Steak10-15 mins at 400F20-25 mins at 350F
Meatballs7-10 mins at 400F15-20 mins at 350F
Salmon10-13 mins at 400F25-30 mins at 375F
ShrimpApprox. 10 mins at 375FApprox. 12 mins at 400F
Bacon10-12 mins at 400F10-15 mins at 380F
Baked Potatoes40-45 mins at 400F55-60 mins at 400F

Air Fryer Vs Oven Taste Comparison

While both air fryers and convection ovens employ the same convection mechanism to cook food, the fan-blowing air in an air fryer is much faster and stronger than in a convection oven.

Contrary to the cooking racks in an oven, the air fryer perforated basket allows for better heat circulation.

We found that an air fryer cooks food more evenly. The powerful fan gives it an exterior that you achieve in deep drying. So, we can say that food cooked in an air fryer is much closer to how it would taste in a deep fryer, hence much better than in a convection oven.

Below are our cooking results for french fries and chicken:

Air Fryer Vs Oven Cost Comparison

The normal price range for an air fryer is between $70 to $250. You can easily find a good-quality air fryer for under $200. As for the convection oven, it can cost you between $100 to $350.

The price of a good-quality oven with ample cooking power is around $150. However, the air fryer’s quick and healthy cooking places them in a much-advantaged position compared to a convection oven.

Air Fryer Vs Oven Size Comparison

Air Fryer Vs Oven Size Comparison

Both air fryers and convection ovens come in various sizes.  The size of an air fryer is smaller as it is meant to be kept on the countertop.

An air fryer is even smaller than the smallest convection oven. But the real issue is that they take a fair share of counter space in your kitchen. Air fryers often get hot from all sides and have a heat vent at the back. Therefore, you cannot keep them closer to other electronic appliances.

You must leave space around the unit when placing it on the kitchen countertop. But on the bright side, you can store your air fryer in the kitchen cabinet when not in use.

On the contrary, convection ovens are much larger. They are often built into the kitchen wall with a dedicated oven compartment. But you might be in a difficult situation if your oven is not built into the kitchen design.

In this case, you will have to keep it on the countertop all the time, which will take up much more space. You cannot keep it in a cabinet either.

Air Fryer Vs Oven Cleaning Comparison

Air fryers come with several accessories; cleaning them after cooking food might be a hassle.

You might have to clean up the food drippings too.

But the good news is that in most cases, the crisper plate and the air fryer basket come with non-stick coating, which is often dishwasher safe.

Cleaning Oven vs Cleaning Air Fryer

So you can quickly clean all the accessories in the dishwasher. As for the convection oven, you might have a little relief as there is only a cooking rack to clean after cooking.

For easier cleanup, you can use aluminum foil in the air fryer as well as in a convection oven.

Air Fryer Vs Oven Fan Comparison

Air fryers and convection ovens differ regarding the placement of the fan. In the air fryer, the fan is located at the top, above the food basket, and below the heating element.

In a convection oven, you will find the fan in the back, towards the right, left, or center.

Air Fryer Vs Oven Fan Comparison

The fan in the air fryer is larger and operates with more power than the fan in a convection oven.

Some manufacturers even claim that an air fryer’s fan is 25 to 30% much faster than a convection oven. The fan is also closer to the food; therefore, it circulates heat through the food much faster and speeds up the cooking process. 

Conversely, the fan in the convection oven does not help much in speeding up its heating mechanism as it is much smaller and less powerful. Moreover, the low-strength fan also does not help much in crisping up food.

Is an air fryer healthier than an oven?

Air fryers are healthier than convection ovens because food does not stay in the pool of oil through the cooking process. The food cooks in a perforated basket, so all the excess oil and grease drips through it on the metal or the foil spread over it.

In the case of a convection oven, food cooks on a rack, so it sits with all the grease and food juices throughout the cooking. Hence, a lot of the oil gets absorbed by the food. When you use a drip tray in a convection oven, the food’s healthiness might be the same in both cooking appliances.

Can an air fryer replace an oven?

No, an air fryer cannot replace a convection oven because both have their utility. A convection oven is a superior option if you frequently cook food in greater quantities for a large family, thanks to its larger size. However, its cooking is not as quick as in an air fryer.

An air fryer is more suitable for quickly prepping meals in smaller quantities. Due to its smaller size and quick heating technology, an air fryer heats up much faster without any preheating. For cooking in smaller quantities, setting up a large-size oven is not wise.

Wrapping Up

Comparing air fryers with convection ovens helps you make an informed decision for your future purchase. An air fryer is worth buying if you want to cook food faster without using oil. The smaller size of the air fryer makes it more convenient to handle and store in the kitchen. A convection oven is more suitable when cooking in large quantities. Often you get the best of all worlds if you get your hands on the Best air fryer oven combo.