Modern Ovens vs Air Fryers: A Comparison of Cooking Appliances

We compare modern convection ovens and air fryers, highlighting their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision about which appliance best suits your culinary requirements.

In today’s fast-paced world, cooking appliances have evolved to provide convenience and efficiency in the kitchen. Two popular options for preparing meals are modern ovens and air fryers. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, catering to different cooking needs and preferences. Let’s firstly take a look a the rise in popularity of the air fryer.

What factors have contributed to the popularity of air fryers?

Air fryers have gained immense popularity for several compelling reasons.

Healthier Cooking

One of the primary factors contributing to the popularity of air fryers is their ability to cook food with significantly less oil than traditional deep frying methods. They use hot air circulation to create a crispy texture, which reduces the fat content of fried foods. Health-conscious consumers appreciate this as a way to enjoy their favorite fried foods while reducing calorie and fat intake.

Convenience and Speed

Air fryers are known for their speed and convenience. They preheat quickly and cook food faster than traditional ovens. This makes them appealing to busy individuals and families who want to prepare meals more efficiently.

Crispy Results

Air fryers can achieve a crispy exterior on a wide variety of foods, including french fries, chicken wings, and even vegetables. The ability to achieve a desirable texture without submerging food in oil is a significant selling point.


While air fryers are known for frying, many models are versatile and can handle other cooking tasks such as baking, roasting, grilling, and even reheating leftovers. This versatility appeals to consumers looking for a multifunctional appliance.

Compact Size

Air fryers are typically compact and take up less counter space than traditional ovens or deep fryers. This makes them suitable for smaller kitchens or for people looking to conserve space.

Ease of Use

Most air fryers come with simple controls and presets for various cooking modes. This ease of use makes them accessible to both experienced and novice cooks.

Reduced Odour and Mess

Compared to traditional deep frying, air frying generates less cooking odor and produces fewer splatters and mess in the kitchen. This is especially appreciated by those who want a cleaner cooking experience.

Energy Efficiency

Air fryers are generally more energy-efficient than conventional ovens, which is an appealing factor for those looking to save on energy costs.

Cooking for Smaller Groups

Air fryers are well-suited for cooking smaller portions or meals for one or two people, making them a good fit for single individuals or small households.

Social Media and Marketing

The marketing efforts and the buzz generated on social media platforms have played a significant role in the rapid rise in popularity of air fryers. Many people share their air fryer success stories, recipes, and cooking tips on platforms like Instagram and YouTube, further promoting their use.

Air Fryers: In summary

Air fryers have become popular due to their ability to provide healthier, quicker, and more convenient cooking options while still delivering satisfyingly crispy results. The energy crisis has helped as air frying can be much more energy efficient if you are cooking small amounts of food. Their compact size, versatility, and ease of use have made them a staple in many kitchens around the world.

Is an air fryer better than a convection oven?

The key differences between air fryers and fan assisted ovens.

Is a convection oven an air fryer?

Convection ovens or fan assisted ovens use a powerful fan the circulate hot air around the oven. This helps decrease cooking times, create uniform browning and consistent quality of results.

Air fryers are based on the same principles, only within in a much smaller space. So effectively, if you have a fan assisted oven, then you have a very large air fryer.

With a fan assisted oven, you’ll need to coat your food with oil to achieve even distribution and use a perforated rack but with an air fryer, as they are so small and the basket contains much less food, you’ll need a much smaller amount of oil.

The flexibility of an oven

The main benefits of an oven over an air fryer is versatility. Modern ovens offer a wide range of cooking options, including baking, roasting, grilling, steaming, microwaving and convection cooking. They are ideal for preparing large dishes, roasts, casseroles, and baked goods.

Size matters

Ovens come in various sizes, with larger models accommodating more extensive meals or multiple dishes simultaneously. This makes them suitable for cooking for larger gatherings or families. With an air fryer, you may have to cook in multiple batches to cater for more people.

Even Cooking

Both ovens and air fryers distribute heat evenly throughout the cooking chamber, resulting in consistent and well-cooked dishes. This ensures that food is cooked thoroughly without hot spots.

To ensure the crispy results you are looking for, with an air fryer, you don’t have as much space so remember not to over fill the basket to allow reasonable airflow. You may also need more regularly turn food or shake the basket in an air fryer for best results.

Combination cooking

Many ovens allow combination cooking that means you can use multiple methods of cooking at the same time, Microwave and grill or Convection with Steam. Using steam with convection is a great way to cook fish and vegetables for example. You can’t achieve this with an air fryer.


Because air fryers are smaller, they are faster to come up to temperature than an oven. They also create a more intense heat which means food is typically cooked faster. You’ll also need to reduce the temperature by around 20 to 30C to avoid burning food.

Which is best for me?

Let’s discuss which is the right choice for your lifestyle.

Both air fryers and ovens have proven to be invaluable culinary tools in the home. Therefore it maybe not so much about which one to choose,  it’s about when to use one or the other.

For example, you may already have a convection oven and be considering if you should invest in an air fryer.

When using an air fryer is a sensible choice

  • If you want to save on energy costs.
  • If you are cooking smaller amounts of food.
  • You have plenty of counter top space.
  • You want quicker cooking or reheating results.
  • You fry lots of food and want a healthier option.

When using an oven is a sensible choice

  • You are cooking for families.
  • You want more space to cook different items at the same time.
  • You want more professional results or want to use combination cooking.
  • You don’t want to clutter your counter top space with appliances. Even the smallest air fryers can take up a fair bit of space.
  • You don’t want noise pollution. Some air fryers can be noisy, whereas modern ovens are relatively silent.
  • You don’t want another appliance to hand wash. Some air fryers can be difficult to clean and not every part of an air fryer is dishwasher safe.

There’s definitely a place for both if you’ve got the budget and space, providing you with all sorts of flexibility to start enjoying more food than ever.

Useful Links

Ninja Air Fryers

Breville Air Fryers

Neff Ovens

Siemens ovens

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