In recent years, toaster ovens and air fryers have become a must-have for your kitchen. They add an entirely new dimension to your culinary efforts and cooking options.
But have you ever wondered how similar these gadgets are and what sets them apart? You may have even come across products that offer both of these functionalities in one device.
But the question is, If you have a toaster oven, do you need an air fryer?
This article answers these questions and more by comparing toaster oven vs air fryer over a few important key points.
In short though, for most people, an air fryer is synonymous with deep-fried delicacies while a toaster oven evokes thoughts of baked bread.
However, these appliances have much more to offer. And thanks to innovation, there are plenty of models in the market.
Before you venture into the market looking for either of these, it is important to understand what they are.
Toaster Oven vs Air Fryer Guide
Let us look into these two products individually. While they are quite different in terms of their uses, they are similar in the sense that they both can be used without utilizing much oil.
What Is an Air Fryer?
An air fryer is a compact kitchen gadget that uses convection air currents to cook food.
It is fitted with powerful fans that circulate high-speed hot air to produce crispy food with a fried texture.
It is no surprise that air fryers have a cult following among chicken lovers since they substitute for deep fryers, but use literally no oil at all.
Also Read: Best Toaster Ovens for Frozen Pizza
Air Fryer Method of Cooking
The air fryer has a removable bucket which has a handle that houses a basket. The basket sits on top of a drip tray.
To start the cooking process, you are required to place your items in the basket, and then push the bucket back inside.
The air fryer has a timer and temperature controls to allow precise cooking.
Since heating elements are located at the top of the air fryer, you might need to shake the basket regularly to ensure that your food cooks evenly especially if they are stacked together to allow the air to cook from all sides.
Also Read: Best Budget Toaster Ovens
How About a Toaster Oven?
A toaster oven is a small scale conventional oven that can be used not only for toasting but also for cooking other types of food.
It retails with front doors that can open sideways or downwards. Toaster ovens are fitted with heating elements at the top and bottom.
In a toaster oven, radiant heats emanating from the heating elements, warm air within the oven, and conduction from the baking pan are the main sources of heat.
Also Read: What are Toaster Ovens?
What About Convection Toaster Ovens?
Convection Toaster Ovens employ the same heating mechanism as Toaster Ovens but are supercharged by a fan.
We established earlier that Air Fryers also primarily use the convection technique to cook the food. This leads us to the next question: how is an Air Fryer different from a convection toaster oven?
Basically, both the air fryers and the convection toaster ovens use a fan in order to circulate the air inside.This results in even as well as faster cooking.
However, an Air Fryer circulates the heat much more rapidly thanks to its more powerful fans. Furthermore, it includes a basket that allows a small amount of food to fit inside that is often stacked together.
The smaller and more confined space in an Air Fryer allows the fan to cook by focus heating in a small space.
The fans facilitate the circulation of warm air inside the oven.
Also Read: Best Toaster Ovens with French Doors
Useful Points to Consider
While in the above section we looked at how the two differ in their functionalities, here we will look at some of the key points in Toaster Oven vs Air Fryer comparison.
1. Cooking Options and Style
Toaster ovens have a versatile cooking option. These options are similar to normal ovens and include defrosting, broiling, baking, and roasting.
A toaster oven should invoke the though of bakery cooked items.
On the other hand, an Air Fryers, as the name suggests, are often used as an alternative for deep fried and crispy cooking.
Therefore, whether it is crispy deep-fried chicken, chicken nuggets and wings, fish fingers, onion rings, etc you can use this instead.
Although it can prepare a variety of meals, its cooking capacity is limited.
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2. Size and Cooking Capacity
Toaster Ovens are bigger than Air Fryers. If you are hosting friends or cooking for a large family, then a Toaster Oven would be the ideal gadget.
But if you want one or two servings at a time, the Air Fryer would be a good fit.
An air fryer is also an appliance to consider if you lack sufficient counter space. It is small and more compact. Air fryers can fit into kitchen cabinets easily, creating counter space when not in use.
Toaster ovens use relatively big counter space but can also be put into storage once they exhaust their heated use.
Also Read: Best Toaster Ovens for 12 Inch Pizza
Toaster ovens have little insulation, and therefore the exterior heats up quite fast. It is advisable not to place plastic objects or flammable materials near toaster ovens to avoid hazardous situations like fires.
It is also advisable to have sufficient ventilation from all spaces when using a Toaster oven.
A typical Air Fryer has a cooking basket that sits in a well-insulated bucket. The air fryer is highly insulated and holds most of the heat. This makes air fryers the best option for hot weather.
Insulation is a particularly important feature when kitchen space is small. With the surface of the Air Fryer barely getting heated up, you can pack into storage as soon as you finish cooking.
With a toaster oven, you will have to wait for the exterior to cool down.
4. Cleaning and Maintenance
If you do not take pleasure in cleaning, then you will appreciate an Air Fryer would as the best pick.
The non-stick drip pan is easy to wipe clean. Both the interior and exterior are made of an easy-to-clean material. And thanks to their small size, they are also quite quick to clean.
For toaster ovens, you need to roll up your sleeves and get in there. Racks, crumb trays, and baking pans need washing under the sink and using detergents and sponge to clean the exterior and interior, taking care not to come into contact with the heating elements.
If there’s a build-up of stains, you have to scrub gently so as not to scratch the walls.
While many toaster ovens also come with non stick enamel coating, cleaning the stubborn crevices is still time consuming.
Also Read: What is Oven Self Clean Feature
5. Air Fryer Toaster Oven
Why not have a combo! New kitchen gadgets are coming into the market every other day, and guess what, we are always striving to own them! But owning too many gadgets can result in a congested kitchen.
Therefore, the experts have found a way of combining two or more gadgets into one to perform either their individual or combined tasks.
A very good example is the air fryer toaster oven. As the name suggests, this device gives you the pleasure to toast, bake, dehydrate, defrost, broil, and sometimes rotisserie your food and also air fry.
When shopping for an air fryer toaster oven, it is important to consider factors such as functions, capacity, accessories, ease of use, and price.
Of course, a Toaster Oven Air Fryer is more expensive than either of the individual products.
Features notwithstanding, we all want an appliance that works efficiently and provides good value for money.
Toaster ovens and Air fryers can be useful additions to your kitchen appliance arsenal. We cannot emphasize enough the fact that your final decision should be guided by the foods you have in mind.
Here we looked at a succinct comparison between Toaster Oven vs Air Fryer. We looked at both their uses as well as how they function.
We hope that this guide will help you choose the right product.