Air Fryer Basket Vs Tray Oven Style Air Fryer

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When planning to buy an air fryer, you will notice that two main types of units are available in the market.

Firstly, there are basket-style air fryers, and then, there are air fryers that come with racks and trays, also called oven-style air fryers.

Both are incredible options; however, choosing between them depends on various factors we are about to discuss.

The main difference between basket air fryer and tray style is their shape and functionality. A basket-style air fryer comes with a basket with limited functions. In contrast, an oven-style air fryer looks similar to an oven, has dedicated grooves to place racks or trays for food placement, and has a variety of cooking functions.

Air Fryer Basket Vs Tray Oven Style Air Fryer

Below are some factors you can consider when comparing an air fryer basket vs a tray, making a decision that suits your needs and lifestyle.

| READ NEXT: Air Fryer Ceramic Vs Stainless Steel

Offers More Space For Cooking

Cooking Space Comparison Air Fryer With Racks Vs Basket

An air fryer with a tray offers more cooking space due to the presence of at least two cooking levels.

Additionally, some models may have the option to insert a third rack, which can be bought separately.

In contrast, in a basket air fryer, food is generally arranged on the air fryer basket, which means it has limited cooking space.

Therefore, batch cooking is often mandatory for cooking more food.

Cooks Multiple Recipes

An air fryer with trays can stack more food, enabling you to cook multiple dishes or items in one go.

This feature helps you strategically place the food items on various cooking layers.

Food that needs a higher temperature can be cooked on the top shelf, whereas those requiring less temperature can be stacked at the bottom rack.

On the contrary, air fryers with ceramic or steel baskets can only cook smaller portions of the same ingredient at one time.

Ensures Better Airflow

An air fryer with racks helps you arrange food more evenly, ensuring the food gets better airflow.

You can place the food on the air fryer racks and evenly spread it, promoting consistent and thorough cooking.

Air Flow in Air Fryer with Racks compare to Basket

Whereas basket-style countertop air fryers always risk food items sticking to each other and blocking the airflow. Consequently, some items may cook unevenly.

Offers Convenience of Use

It is easier to arrange food items on cooking racks and trays, offering easy use during cooking.

However, when it comes to tasks like shaking food, an air fryer with a basket offers more convenience.

With such an air fryer, you can simply take out the basket and toss and turn the food items with jerking motions by hand.

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

Efficiency Of Cooking

While both air fryer types use the same convection mechanism for cooking food, the number of heating elements present in them can be different.

An air fryer with a basket typically has only one heating element located at the top, accompanied by a powerful fan over it.

Consequently, the food placed near the heating element may cook faster.

Whereas in an air fryer with grill and racks, the unit generally has two heating elements—one positioned at the top and the other at the bottom.

You can choose to turn on both or one of the heating elements, depending on where they want to concentrate more heat during cooking.

Cooking Speed

The compact size of an air fryer with a dual basket or single drawer offers the convenience of cooking food within minutes.

In contrast, as the cooking chamber of an oven-style air fryer is more expansive, the recipe times are often longer.

Size and Compactness

An air fryer with trays is generally larger, takes up more countertop space, and may also not fit in a standard kitchen cabinet.

The upside is that it can replace many cooking appliances, making space for itself.

Due to its size, it is more suitable for kitchens with ample space on the countertop for permanent placement, making it ideal for larger families.

On the contrary, a drawer-style air fryer is compact and perfectly aligns with the space constraints of a small kitchen.

In addition, it can easily be stored in kitchen cabinets.

Ease of Maneuvering

An air fryer with ceramic or steel baskets typically weighs less than air fryers with trays and racks due to their smaller size.

This feature makes it easier to maneuver around the kitchen.

In contrast, air fryers with trays can be a challenge to carry around due to their larger size and weight.

Ease Of Cleaning

Cleaning Air Fryer Basket and Heating Element

Cleaning an air fryer with a tray may be trickier because of the grooves in the interior, and you may need to wash more accessories.

Whereas, 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.


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.

Final Words

Choosing between an air fryer basket vs racks and trays can be challenging as each serves its unique purpose. However, it is clear that an air fryer with racks has a larger capacity, cooks more food, and is suitable for large families.

In contrast, a basket-style air fryer is perfect for smaller families, with a smaller cooking capacity and portability. By keeping these factors in mind, you can make an informed decision to choose the best air fryer for your kitchen.

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