What Are the Pros and Cons of an Air Fryer?

Have you heard the buzz about air frying, and wonder if these appliances are worth the expense? Everywhere you turn you see information about the health benefits, their efficiency and ease of use. But is this appliance right for your family?

It can be hard to sort through the excitement on the internet to find out the real benefits and downsides to having an air fryer! I am going to walk you through the Top 5 Pros and Cons to Air Frying.

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What is Air Frying?

First, a quick explanation of what air frying is and isn’t. They don’t actually fry food at all. They are more like a self-contained convection oven than a deep fat fryer. Most units have one or more heating elements, along with a fan or two to circulate the hot air. These appliances quickly heat and circulate the hot air around and through the food in the tray.

This cooking method takes advantage of the heat and the drying effect of the air to cook foods quickly, leaving them crisp and browned on the outside but still moist inside. While the results can be similar to using a deep fryer, they are not identical.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of An Air Fryer?

While the enthusiasm about these products may be a bit overblown, there are some solid benefits to using an air fryer, as well as some major downsides.

Pros of an Air Fryer

1. Healthier Meals

You do not need to use much (or any) oil in these appliances to get your food crispy and browned! Most users just spritz a little oil on the item and then proceed to the cooking cycle. The hot air takes advantage of the little bit of oil, and any excess oil just drains away from the food. This makes these devices ideal for making fresh and frozen fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, chicken wings and nuggets.

Unlike a traditional oven, air frying items are cooked faster and the excess oil doesn’t soak into your food. So the claims that they use less oil and make healthier meals are true!

2. Quicker, More Efficient Cooking

Air fryers take just minutes to preheat, and most of the heat stays inside the appliance. Foods cook faster than in an oven or on a stove top because this heat is not lost to the surrounding air. Even frozen foods are quickly cooked because the effect of the heat is intensified by the circulating air.

These units are also more energy efficient than an oven. Using a fryer will not heat up your house in the summer, and the cost of the electricity used is just pennies. Since the cooking cycle is also shorter, you can see that using a fryer makes most cooking faster and more efficient than traditional appliances!

3. Versatility

You can use them to air fry, stir fry, reheat, bake, broil, roast, grill, steam and even rotisserie in some models. Besides the fries and nuggets, you can make hot dogs and sausages, steak, chicken breasts or thighs, grilled sandwiches, stir-fried meats and veggies, roasted or steamed veggies, all kinds of fish and shrimp dishes, even cakes and desserts. If your unit is large enough, you can even bake a whole chicken or small turkey, or do a beef or pork roast. They really are more than just a fryer!

4. Space-Saving

Most units are about the size of a coffee maker. Some models are small and super-compact, making them perfect for small kitchens, kitchenettes, dorm rooms or RVs. An air fryer can replace an oven in a situation that lacks one, and can be more useful than a toaster oven or steamer. If you use it frequently you will likely be happy to give it a home on your kitchen counter!

5. Easy to Use

Most fryers are designed to be really easy to use. Just set the cooking temperature and time, put your food in the basket and walk away. Of course, you will get better results if you shake your food once or twice during the cooking cycle, especially for things like fries, chips, wings and nuggets. This ensures even browning and perfect results. Many air fryer enthusiasts have even taught their children to use them for making after school snacks or quick lunches!

Cons of an Air Fryer

1. Quality Issues

Air fryers are mostly made from plastic and inexpensive metal parts. They may or may not bear up after months or years of use. The heating elements, controls and fans tend to go out eventually, and once they do your unit is useless.

The metal cooking baskets and pans do not tend to last very long and often need to be replaced. Print on the dials or control panels can wear off. Even expensive units can have these issues, and some brands seem to have a lot of reported problems. These are not sturdy, long-lasting kitchen appliances overall.

You can avoid some of these problems by buying a fryer from a well established company. Phillips is the top manufacturer of air fryers, and is known for their high quality, long warranties and great customer service. There are other reliable brands like Cozyna and Secura that make less expensive but quality units. Every brand has its issues, so you should consider purchasing an extended warranty for extra protection.

2. Takes Up Space

Ok, I had “Space Saver” listed as a pro…how can it be a con as well? Easy! They do take up space, either on your counter or stored away in a cabinet. If you use it frequently this might not be a problem…but if you only drag it out to make the occasional batch of wings then the loss of space might not make it worth it to you. It really depends on how and if you use it. Some units are actually fairly heavy as well, and might not be very easy to move around. They have the potential to be just another appliance you use a few times and then sell at a yard sale.

3. Not Ideal for Large Families

You will see some fryers advertised for “large families” but what does that actually mean? Most air fryers are best suited to making food for 1-4 people (depending on the capacity). There are very few that can handle making food for more than 4, and they often still require cooking in batches. For large families, a true convection air frying oven would probably be a better choice.

A medium sized fryer with a capacity of 3.5 quarts can usually handle a main dish for two, or a main and side dish for one. A large unit with a capacity of 5.8 quarts can handle a main dish like a whole chicken…which theoretically means enough to serve 4 people, as long as you cook the rest of the food in another appliance. So these are really ideal for smaller families or single users, or for a dorm or office snack maker.

4. Learning Curve

They ARE easy to use, but there is still a learning curve. Each unit has its own peculiarities that you will have to figure out. They come with cooking guides and recipes, but those are more recommendations rather than firm instructions. It may take a few trials before you get the results that you want. Luckily the internet is filled with users who have shared their experiences, so finding tips is pretty easy.

5. Limitations

For all their versatility, air fryers have limitations as well. You are limited by the size and shape of the basket. Your frozen taquitos may not fit into some models, and you might be limited to a 6-inch pie pan in another. Food sometimes gets stuck to the cooking pans, meaning a more difficult clean-up for you.

Even with accessories like elevated cooking racks and kabob skewers, you will still have to cook in batches or use another appliance if you are making food for multiple people. You also have to wait for the unit to cool off before cleaning and storing it away. For some people, these limitations might be too much to make an air fryer worth it.

Air Fryers Are Not For Everyone

They are ideal for single users and small families. Busy single parents, college students, seniors and people living in small spaces may really benefit from having an air fryer. If you decide that the pros of having one outweighs the cons, then be sure to pick the right unit for your needs. Get one with the capacity and design that most suits your planned use, and chances are you will love your purchase!

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33 thoughts on “What Are the Pros and Cons of an Air Fryer?”

  1. I very much appreciate your pros and cons. As I get older, or more senior, I don’t rush into purchasing newer appliances. I love to cook and you have helped me considerably. I am not purchasing. My stove still works fine as does my oven.

  2. Our airfryer sucks. Our neighbour recommended getting one (even though I made the most FANTASTIC, tasty, unbeatable, smothered-in-oil chips in my deep-fryer). He insisted that air-frying is just as good, and tasty, and quick, and easy and healthy and all his kids could make their own snacks in it. There is no way chips made in an airfryer taste better than chips deep-fried in oil. (My family were so disappointed in my cooking downgrade.) Air-frying has nothing to do with “frying” (which is baddish for you, but tastes awesome). Why do people feel the need to lie about this to promote their health agenda? Why can’t they just say, “This will be healthier, but won’t taste as good.” It also took longer than the deep-fryer and the results were uneven. It was worse in every way. I have an oven, I have a stove-top, and I have a deep-fryer. There is no way this ugly contraption replaces any of these, and certainly not all of them, as some people claim. (Deep-frying is at least twice as quick as air-frying.) People who rave this makes tasty food haven’t tasted food made the traditional unhealthy way. I need to find someone I dislike enough to gift this to.

    • You must consume heaps of chips., but surely you do eat pork belly, roast lamb . ? Vegetables? We cant find enough uses for our unit. Did need. to buy a larger capacity to further enrich the economical use

    • Thank-you for this review! my deep fat-fryer element broke yesterday, I was considering a healthier option like an “air-fryer” but I do love my home made deep-fried chips! (once a week) but…after your comments I feel I’ll stick to my beautiful home made “deep-fried chips!” after all…once a week ain’t too bad is it?

  3. There is a funny taste to the food after it cooks and that taste is in all of the food I cooked in the air fryer. I don’t like the taste so I don’t use it anymore. Has anyone else noticed the funny taste?

  4. Thank you for providing the pros and cons! My hubby and I found it extremely helpful. We just purchased an air fryer but will be returning it. As Joan stated, our stove and oven work fine too. Besides I typically use very little grease whenever I fry chicken, which isn’t often. Thanks again!!

  5. So glad I read these pros and cons. My husband recently passed away, so I am cooking for one. I love to cook—have wonderful appliances—a great oven with my cook top. I just love gadgets, and I realize that my excitement would probably be at the time I purchased it, and then I would have something else to find a place for. I cook pretty healthy with my “old timey” ways! I may need a new iron more!!

  6. I was considering purchasing an air dryer but after reading the comments, cooking food in plastic at high temperatures is not what I would consider to be healthy regardless of the convenience and speed.

  7. thank you for your article. this really enlighten me about air fryers. it is modern but traditional way of cooking can never be beaten. God Bless to everyone.

  8. Thank you for this. I was going to buy it for my brother for Christmas. With him being a bodybuilder and we always eat healthy, I can’t see wasting money on plastic. Then I read the review about the taste. I believe that I’ll pass on this purchase. Thank you.

  9. Thanks for your pros and cons. I like the traditional ways of cooking, even if less healthy. Saved me from my tendency to buy new gadgets.

  10. We love ours and have had no experience with food tasting bad. We reheat food from restaurants like grilled cheese or French fries and it’s wonderful so we waste very little. That alone is worth the price. The best is heating cinnamon rolls up ina couple of minutes and they’re done perfectly.

  11. We received a high-quality air fryer for Christmas. I have not stopped using it. I have cooked frozen foods (cheese sticks, loaded tater skins, bagel bites…) and fresh foods (hamburgers, kielbasa…) We have enjoyed everything we made. I’m sure we will wear the machine out before soon.

  12. Almost all my employees (seniors) have an air fryer and rave about them. I managed to find a brand new one at Goodwill and bought it (Bella). I love it for cooking frozen chicken that is already fully cooked and convenience types of foods, etc., however, to cook raw chicken or for a family takes so much time because the basket is too small to cook everything at once. I am very happy with my purchase neverthless and also bought my son one that was on sale at Sam’s Club (Copper Chef). He loves his too! Simple to clean and simple to use.

  13. I purchased an air fryer with my Christmas gift vouchers from KMart and I love it. I have to admit that I love kitchen gadgets and have some in the cupboard which haven’t used for ages. I am trying everything in my new fryer and find it simple to use and easy to clean. Had no failures yet and prefer to cook food from scratch rather than prepackaged or frozen. Looking forward to the future in the kitchen. I am a senior cooking fod two.

  14. I found this article and position interesting. I always like to hear the pros and cons of the latest “gotta have it” gadget. I have been apprehensive about air fryers because they’re like little ovens and I’m not sure it’s really a necessary appliance. I don’t have a deep fryer because 1. I don’t want to deal with all the grease (especially after the food has been cooked) and 2. I don’t fry often. But, I was intrigued by “frying” with minimum oil. I decided to replace my toaster oven with an air fryer/toaster oven instead. I’m learning to use it. My “grilled cheese” sandwich wasn’t greasy, but it was good. My roasted veggies were good. I’m enjoying using the air fry feature. My only complaint is you have to unplug it after use rather than turning it off.

  15. I have a power airfryer pro plus I made hamburgers and they didn’t cook right and there was a mess in my kitchen I had grease and blood all over my floor and it was a mess. Did this ever happen to anyone

  16. Thanks for the review. At this stage I do not think I will invest in one. My oven, cooktop and deepfryer( which is why I was researching ) will be fine for now.

  17. Thanks soo much for sorting this “Air fryer” problem for me! I was almost convinced to buy one but thanks to you I remembered I have a perfect oven and a cooktop! 😉 Thanks again!


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