An Air Fryer is a countertop appliance that’s supposed to be great at cooking foods from frozen and boasts the ability to make “fried” foods without the need for hot oil. But do you really need one?
You don’t really need an Air Fryer if you have an oven that is calibrated properly and offers fan-assisted heat. Unlike a convection oven that can fit multiple trays once, Air Fryers take up counter space, but can only hold limited quantities of food, so, they’re not ideal for larger families.
If you’re thinking of jumping on the Air Fryer bandwagon, read this first! You might just change your mind and save a little bit of money.
Are Air Fryers Worth It?
Air Fryers are not worth it if you have limited counter space and multiple mouths to feed. The appliance is large and will take up a lot of room, but the basket is too small to cook a whole meal at once. This means you have to cook in rounds, which is inconvenient and time-consuming.
Air Fryers are available between as small as 2 and up to 10+ quarts, much like a slow cooker. But their price and size are larger, as you can see in the examples below:
COSORI Air Fryer Max
11.8 x 14.3 x 12.7 inches
DASH Electric Air Fryer
12.2 x 12.1 x 10 inches
9.4 x 15.1 x 14.8 inches
Maxi-Matic Electric Slow Cooker
12 x 12 x 10 inches
The appliances have different dimensions, but in both cases, the Air Fryer is larger, heavier, and over twice the cost.
And if you have a smaller kitchen, you need to take into account that it’s not something you would put away after every use. Do you really want to lose all that counter space?
Slow Cookers Can Make Entire Meals
Though the sizes between Air Fryers and slow cookers aren’t dramatically different, you need to take into account what each appliance can do.
A slow cooker can make an entire meal, start to finish. You can make stews, chili, soups, pulled pork, roast chicken and veggies, and even desserts in one go.
In contrast, if you wanted to make a chicken dinner with veggies and potatoes, you would need to make each component separately. The basket is too small to allow for more than a couple of portions, which means the chicken will go cold waiting for the veggies to cook!
Not super convenient.
Air Fryer Alternatives
If you’re looking for a smaller alternative to an oven that will cook food from frozen, you’d be better of buying a countertop convection/toaster oven.
They cost around the same as an Air Fryer, have more features, and can cook more than one item at a time.
Here are a few great options:
Elite Gourmet Double French Door Countertop Convection Toaster Oven
The Elite Gourmet Toaster Oven is larger than your average Air Fryer, but it also has so many more features.
- 47 QT capacity which is enough to cook 18 slices of toast and two 14-inch pizzas.
- Dual doors allow for easier access.
- Convection heat cooks just like an Air Fryer.
- Independent heating from the top and bottom.
- Multiple cooking options, such as:
At just over $125, this would be a far better investment than the larger Air Fryer model.
Toshiba Digital Toaster Oven with Convection Cooking
The Toshiba Digital Oven is a smaller option that is closer to the size of an Air Fryer but still offers a few more cooking options.
Key features include:
- 26 QT capacity which is enough for six slices of bread and a 12-inch pizza.
- Temperature range between 150°F and 450°F for maximum options.
- Convection heat and rotisserie options.
- Multiple cooking functions, including:
At just over $75, it will give you far more options than a smaller/cheaper Air Fryer.
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1
Instant Pots run around the same size as an Air Fryer or larger slow cooker, but they offer many more choices.
Available in 3, 6, 8, and 10 QT it has a simple touch screen interface with clearly labeled options to make cooking easier.
In the Instant Pot, you have the following options:
- Pressure cooker
- Rice cooker
- Slow cooker
- Yogurt maker
- Sauté pan
- Food warmer
The largest size is less than $150 and the smallest runs under $50.
If you’re thinking you need an Air Fryer because you’re seeing so many recipes and bloggers telling you to buy one, just wait!
I recommend going into a store and seeing one for yourself before you head over the Amazon to make your purchase.
I guarantee you’ll be shocked at the size of the basket and you’ll quickly see that making dinner for a family of four would be a challenge.