Air Fryer Basket Vs Tray Comparison [Which Is Better]

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Making Food In Air Fryer Without Using Bakset

If the plan to buy an air fryer is hovering over your mind, you will notice that two main types of air fryers are available in the market.

First, there are basket-style air fryers, and second, there are air fryers with racks, also known as oven-style air fryers. Both look and work amazingly, but it does not mean you can buy any of them. You have to choose one or even both according to your needs.

Air Fryer Basket Vs Tray Comparison [Which Is Better]

The main difference between an air fryer with a basket and a style air fryer with a tray is their design. In the former, food cooks in a pull-out basket, whereas, in the latter, food items are arranged on racks or trays for cooking food on multiple layers.

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Below I present some factors you can consider when comparing Air Fryer with Racks Vs. Basket and make a decision suiting your needs.

Cooking Space

Air fryer with racks offers more space because it has at least two shelves to cook food on. There is often space to insert a third rack, but that does not come with the unit, so you must buy it separately.

Whereas in a basket-style air fryer, food generally goes to the basket bottom; it does not come with any rack. Therefore, the space is limited.

Cooking Space Comparison Air Fryer With Racks Vs Basket

Cook Multiple Recipes

The benefit of racks in an air fryer is that you can stack more food. Food that needs a higher temperature can be placed on the top shelf. Similarly, food that requires slow cooking and less temperature can be stacked at the bottom rack.

This type of air fryer can cook multiple dishes or items in one go. On the contrary, Air fryers with ceramic baskets or steel baskets can only cook one type of food.

Better Airflow

An air fryer with racks helps you arrange food more evenly. You can place the food on the shelves, evenly spacing out all the items, which is impossible in a basket air fryer. As a result, food gets better airflow.

Air Flow in Air Fryer with Racks compare to Basket

Whereas in a basket-style air fryer, there is always a chance that food items will stick to each other and block the airflow, and some items may not cook properly.

Food Stacking

Racks make stacking and cooking food much easier. Also, there is often no need for batch cooking, which is usually the case with an air fryer with a basket.

Stacking Food in Air Fryer with Racks and Shelves

However, when it comes to shaking food, an air fryer with baskets is much better. It is very easy to shake food such as French fries midway. Just take out the basket and shake it to move the food.

But when food is placed on racks, you must turn every item individually.

Cooking Method

Both air fryer types cook food through the same convection mechanism. A basket-style air fryer has only one heating element at the top and a powerful fan over it. It means food placed near the heating element might cook faster.

Whereas in an air fryer with racks, the unit generally has two heating elements—one at the top and one at the bottom. You can choose to turn on both or one of the heating elements when cooking food.

Cooking Versatility

Ultrean Air Fryer Touch Control Panel

Due to more space in an air fryer with racks, you can make more food and bigger items. For instance, you can make whole rotisserie-style chicken using the rotisserie rack.

Though you can make a whole chicken in a basket-style air fryer, the process is trickier. You need to change the side of the chicken a few times during cooking so that it cooks through and from all sides.

Size and Compactness

Basket Air Fryers are Compact

When it comes to size, an air fryer with racks is generally larger and takes up more space. It might not fit in a standard kitchen cabinet.

It is more suitable for a kitchen with ample area on the countertop, where it will always stay. Due to its overall space, this air fryer is ideal for a large family.

On the contrary, a basket-style air fryer is compact and more suitable for a small kitchen.

It is easy to carry around the kitchen. You can even store a basket-style air fryer in your kitchen cabinet.


Weight is often a consideration in many households when buying an appliance. Keeping the size the same, Air fryers with ceramic baskets or steel baskets usually weigh less than air fryers with racks because of more parts and a bigger body. So, if weight is your priority, you should go for a basket-style air fryer.

Air Fryer with Racks is Big and Bulky

For a large family, go for the best air fryer for large families with more than 8 quarts of capacity. On the contrary, if weight is not your priority, an oven-style air fryer is suitable for cooking more food.

Ease of Cleaning

Cleaning Air Fryer Basket and Heating Element

Whether you have an air fryer with racks or baskets, cleaning can be challenging, especially if soiled accessories are left unwashed after cooking. Food residues and oil can stick in the grooves and holes on the wire racks and the basket.

However, you have more accessories to clean with an air fryer with a grill and racks. Cleaning the interior is also trickier because of the grooves. In a basket-style air fryer, you only have to wash the basket and the crisper plate. So, cleaning an air fryer with racks and trays may take longer.

Oven Style Air Fryer OR Basket Style Which Is Better

This question has no correct answers; it depends on your cooking needs. You can buy air fryers with racks and shelves if you want oven functionality and to cook more food. A basket-style air fryer is suitable for cooking less food and keeping it in a smaller kitchen.


What is the purpose of racks in the air fryer?

Racks provide extra layers to cook multiple or more foods and avoid batch cooking. Racks also help with stacking food with ample space between each item.

Do you need a special rack for the air fryer?

No, you can use any rack that does not block the airflow, fits inside your air fryer easily, and helps with even cooking. Some air fryers come with racks; for others, you need to buy them separately.

Wrapping Up!

Comparing an Air Fryer with Basket Vs the one with trays is a tough debate. Both have their own purposes. However, it is clear that an air fryer with racks is bigger, cooks more food, and is suitable for large families. Whereas a basket-style air fryer is perfect for smaller families. Both can cook similar types of foods. The only limitation of a basket air fryer is rotisserie chicken. An oven-style air fryer is your only option if you want to enjoy perfectly cooked rotisserie chicken.


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