Toaster ovens and air fryers have some similarities but also many differences. When considering which kitchen appliance to purchase, you’ll want to know the pros and cons of each. Since these are both countertop appliances, few people will have space for both.
Let’s take a look at the key differences between toaster ovens and air fryers.
Difference Between an Air Fryer and a Toaster Oven
The main difference between the two appliances is that an air fryer is mostly suitable for making fried or frozen foods, while a toaster oven is much more versatile. Toaster ovens tend to cook more evenly since foods are spread out in an even layer, whereas an air fryer has them piled atop each other.
How Do They Work?
Both air fryers and toaster ovens use hot air to cook the food inside. While a fan is always used in an air fryer, it is an optional setting with most toaster ovens.
An air fryer has three main parts: a heating element, a fan, and a perforated basket. Foods are placed in the basket and when turned on, the fan blows the heated air around the food.
Air fryers can make foods that you might typically deep-fry, like french fries, but without using so much oil. When cooking with an air fryer, you can control how much oil you use, generally just a tablespoon or two. You can cook in the air fryer without oil, though results will not always be as good.
You are limited to making certain types of food in an air fryer. They are best designed for frozen foods, breaded meats or fish, and potatoes. When it comes to baking a cake or making cookies, you probably won’t get a great finished product.
While you technically can make toast in an air fryer, it’s more difficult than using a toaster oven. If your bread is sliced thinly, it will be so light that the force of the air will move it around inside the air fryer.
A toaster oven is powered by electricity that runs through heating coils. Some toaster ovens have a top and bottom heating coil, while others just have a top coil. As the coils heat up, the air inside the toaster oven gets hot, which then heats the food.
Some toaster ovens have a convection setting. Convection toaster ovens have a fan that circulates the heated air throughout the oven. This helps the food to cook faster and more evenly.
All toaster ovens have the ability to reheat, bake, cook, broil, and toast foods. Many toaster ovens come with additional features that allow you to rotisserie foods or to defrost them. Other toaster ovens have preset functions to bake cookies or make pizza.
Read my complete guide on toaster ovens to find out more.
Toaster Oven vs Air Fryer: Pros & Cons
Let’s review the pros and cons for both toaster ovens and air fryers.
|Inexpensive.||Takes longer to heat up.|
|Multipurpose – can cook, bake, broil, and more.|
|Rectangular size allows it to fit into the corner of a countertop.|
|Can cook a wider variety of foods.|
|Uses less oil than a deep fryer.||Expensive.|
|Heats up and cooks food fast.||Food will burn if the air fryer is too full.|
|The circular shape makes it awkward to store.|
|Limited to certain foods due to perforated basket.|
|Usually need to cook food in batches due to limited size.|
Should You Get an Air Fryer or a Toaster Oven?
When it comes to choosing between these two kitchen appliances, consider what each one can do. A toaster oven can make pretty much anything an air fryer can and it also toasts!
Air fryers are not really fryers at all, but just another version of a convection oven. The claim that you can cook with less oil is not unique to an air fryer. A toaster oven also lets you have control over how much oil you put on your food.
There are also appliances called air fryer toaster ovens, which essentially combine these two appliances. While it sounds like a good idea in theory, the only real difference between this and a toaster oven is that it’s usually larger. Toaster ovens already let you air fry your food since air frying is basically convection baking.
The Verdict is Clear!
Overall, the toaster oven is a much better option for your kitchen than an air fryer. Its multipurpose functionality and ability to cook a range of foods make it the best choice. Toaster ovens are inexpensive, easy to clean, and can make everything you need.
Can a Toaster Oven Replace an Air Fryer?
A toaster oven can absolutely replace an air fryer. Any foods that can be cooked in an air fryer can also be cooked in a toaster oven. Plus, a toaster oven can do things that an air fryer can’t–like toast bread!
Can an Air Fryer Replace a Toaster Oven?
An air fryer is not a good replacement for a toaster oven. With an air fryer, you are limited to making small batches of food and only certain types. Air fryers are not as good as toaster ovens when it comes to making baked goods, broiling foods, or making toast!