Disadvantages Of Air Fryer – Are They Actually Worth Buying?
Everyone wishes they could eat delicious fried foods without the health implications. It’s rare that the best-tasting foods are the ones that are healthy for us and fried foods are a prime example of that sad truth.
But that’s exactly why air fryers have blown up in popularity over the past decade or so. Air fryers promise the delicious taste and texture of fried foods without the glut of oil that makes traditional fried foods so unhealthy.
Modern air fryers are also packed with other features and function as other types of cookers like pressure cookers, steamers and more. But before you add another gadget to your already brimming kitchen cabinets you really have to ask yourself if an air fryer is worth the money.
Is an air fryer really the answer to healthier dieting or is it just another kitchen appliance that will get used once and then collect dust on the shelf? That is the quandary that we will be tackling in today’s article.
What Are Air Fryers & How Do They Work?
In a very basic sense, an air fryer is just a glorified convection oven – sort of like the toaster oven that may be sitting on your countertop right now.
It’s a kitchen appliance that is supposed to make fried foods more healthy by eliminating the need to use excessive oil, fat and grease.
It’s important to note that the term “air fryer” is a misnomer. The act of frying literally means immersing food in heated oil. That’s not how an air fryer works. An air fryer works by using a heating element and a fan.
The heating element usually takes the form of an electronic coil. The coil gets very hot, then the fan blows on it to circulate hot air around and on the food. This emulates the effects of frying because it makes the surface of the food crispy and gives it a golden hue.
Overview of the Disadvantages of Air Fryers
The main disadvantage is that air fryers don’t actually fry foods the way we are used to. The results are similar; but not exactly the same. It also takes longer to cook foods in an air fryer as opposed to actually frying them.
Disadvantages of An Air Fryer
- Learning Curve – If you have never used an air fryer before, there is likely to be a bit of a learning curve. You use less oil and the time it takes to cook certain foods may depend on the specific model you buy.
- Limited Capacity – Air fryers typically hover around the 4-quart capacity range which may limit you if you normally prepare large meals.
- Dry Food – Since you are using almost no oil in an air fryer, it can be very easy to leave your food in just a little too long. This usually results in dry food since there is not much oil to keep it moist.
- Different Taste – Again, the absence of an abundance of oil simply changes the way “fried” foods taste. You may also find that even the texture you get with an air fryer is not the same as what you get with deep fryers.
- Cooking Time – Deep fryers cook foods almost instantaneously. That’s not the case with air fryers. The cooking time with an air fryer is usually at least triple that of an air fryer.
- Cleaning – Air fryers typically have multiple parts – most of which have to be cleaned right after you use them. Cleaning all the constituent parts of an air fryer can be time-consuming and difficult depending on the model.
- Noise – Air fryers have to take in air from the outside, circulate it within the cooking chamber with a fan and exhaust it out. All of this creates considerable noise. Noise levels vary from model to model but in general, the sound an air fryer makes is comparable to a hair dryer on the low setting.
- Size – Depending on the air fryer you get, it could take up a lot of space on your countertop. Air fryers are generally larger than toaster ovens.
- Smoke – Just like with other types of cookers, air fryers can generate smoke. This usually happens when debris falls from the food and onto a heated surface within the cooking chamber. It’s common when you are cooking meat and the fat melts and falls to the bottom.
- Can’t Cook All Foods – You know the batter you use to fry chicken? Yeah, you won’t be able to use that in an air fryer. There are certain foods such as toast, cheese, eggs, popcorn and battered foods that you simply can’t cook in an air fryer.
- Can Actually Be Less Healthy – Amazingly, air fryers usually aren’t the healthiest means of preparing meals. Steaming, boiling and even grilling may be healthier because you don’t have to coat the foods in oil.
- Energy Efficiency – Some air fryers are also inefficient with energy. That’s because they require a fan to constantly circulate hot air in order to cook.
- Price – Air fryers will typically be more expensive than deep fryers and many toaster ovens.
- Storage Trouble – Because of the size and usual bulkiness of air fryers, they can be difficult to store.
Health Disadvantages of Air Fryers
Most people buy and use air fryers because they want to eat healthier. But the truth is that you are still using oil to cook in an air fryer – less, but still some.
Air fryers aren’t the healthiest way to prepare meals. Steaming, boiling and even grilling are typically healthier. It all depends on how you use the air fryer and what you cook with it.
Obviously, you won’t be eating very healthy if you use one to make french fries and onion rings every day. So the myth that an air fryer will guarantee a healthier diet is just that – a myth.
There is also the risk of ingesting harmful compounds when you cook with an air fryer. Acrylamide is a compound that has been linked to the development of several serious health issues. It forms when foods are subjected to high-heat cooking methods like deep and air frying.
Benefits of Air Fryers
- Healthier Alternative – If you simply can’t cut fried foods out of your diet, at least air fryers offer a healthier alternative to straight up deep-frying.
- Safer Option – Traditional deep fryers use cups and cups of oil that gets super hot, posing a burn risk. With an air fryer, not only do you use less oil; but it is also contained in an enclosed cooking chamber.
- Other Functions – Modern air fryers have multiple functions so they offer a degree of versatility. For instance, some air fryers also work as pressure cookers, steamers and toaster ovens.
Air Fryer Vs Convection Oven
A convection oven will generally give you more cooking options. For instance, you can bake with many convection ovens.
Air Fryer Vs Microwave
A microwave will never be able to give you crispy foods. A microwave works by vibrating the food particles from within which doesn’t do anything to crisp up foods.
Air Fryers Vs Deep Fryers
Air fryers are much healthier and safer than deep fryers. While deep fryers are generally cheaper than air fryers. A plethora of studies have shown the health risks of eating an excess of deep-fried foods.
Air Fryers Vs Toaster Ovens
Of all the comparisons we have made, a toaster oven is probably the most similar to a toaster oven in how they function. They also use convection but typically don’t have a fan to circulate air. Toaster ovens usually have a smaller cooking capacity than air fryers too.
Why Do People Love Air Fryers So Much?
Mostly because of the perception that people have of them. Air fryers are marketed as devices that allow you to enjoy the fried foods you love without the health drawbacks.
Whether that is true or not, the claims entice consumers of all kinds. Many people cite the functionality and versatility of air fryers as the reasons why they love them.
Many air fryers are combination devices that pressure cook, steam and even toast. In fact, some people use a combination air fryer to replace multiple kitchen gadgets.
Are They Worth Buying Overall?
Yes, but there are some caveats. The most important of which is you have to keep your expectations realistic. Air fryers aren’t the answer to all your dieting woes. They will help you eat healthier; but they are not the cure-all.
Secondly, you have to really commit to using your air fryer for it to be worth it. Make sure you get a model that has all the functions that will make it actually valuable to you. That way, it doesn’t end up collecting dust in your closet.
Air Fryers to Check Out
Instant Vortex 6 Quart Air Fryer Oven
The Instant Vortex 6 Quart Air Fryer Oven allows you to air fry, broil, reheat foods and roast. It heats up very quickly and can reach a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The simple interface makes it very easy to switch between modes and set the temperature/timer too.
- Dishwasher safe basket
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t brown foods very well
Overall Score: 96/100
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Chefman Multifunctional Digital Air Fryer+
The Chefman Multifunctional Digital Air Fryer+ would be a great choice if you have a large family or entertain guests often because it has a 10-quart cooking capacity. It functions as a dehydrator, roaster, rotisserie, air fryer and convection oven.
- 17 presets
- Touchscreen interface
- Parts aren’t BPA-free
Overall Score: 95/100
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Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven
This is a 6-quart air fryer that can also dehydrate foods, bake, broil and roast. The frying basket is dishwasher safe so it would be a solid choice for anyone who wants to cut their cleanup time down.
- Easy to control temperature
- Heats up quick
- Gets dirty easily
Overall Score: 93/100
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Air Fryer FAQs
Q: Is an air fryer really better than an oven?
It depends on your needs but air fryers do tend to be more versatile and definitely more compact.
Q: What are the best foods to cook in an air fryer?
Of course you have the classics like chicken, fries, fish and onion rings but air fryers also brown up vegetables like zucchini, broccoli, brussels sprouts and mushrooms very well.
Q: Can you put aluminum foil in an air fryer?
Aluminium foil is safe in the air fryer as it is not affected by convection cooking.
Q: Can I put frozen food in my air fryer?
You can put frozen foods in an air fryer; but it takes longer to heat them up as opposed to using a microwave.
Q: Can you cook pizza in Airfryer?
Some people use air fryers to achieve a crispy texture for the bottom of the crust.
Q: Can you put a glass bowl in an air fryer?
It is not recommended but Pyrex glass should be safe in an air fryer.
Q: Do you need to preheat an air fryer?
It is advisable to preheat the air fryer if you want a crispy texture.
Q: How do you reheat leftovers in an air fryer?
Preheat the fryer at 400 degrees for 5 minutes and place the food in the basket for 3-5 minutes.
Q: Can you heat a cup of coffee in an air fryer?
No, air fryers aren’t suitable for heating any liquid.
Q: Can I put an air fryer on the countertop?
Yes, tha is the ideal place for them.
Q: Can I put a plate in the air fryer?
Yes, as long as it’s an oven-safe plate.
Q: Are air fryers worth it for vegetarians?
They actually cook vegetables very well so they may be a good buy for vegetarians.
The best way to ensure you get the most from your air fryer is to get one that has multiple functions. They may cost a bit more upfront but they may prove to be more valuable in the end. Also, be sure to keep your expectations realistic in regards to eating healthy with an air fryer.