What is the Difference Between Air Fryer and Oven?

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The air fryer and the oven can be called as the fraternal twins of kitchen equipment. Why? Because they tend to do most of the same things but, with regards to the process, they are different. Here is the million dollar question, what is the difference between air fryer and oven? Hopefully, we can finally give this never-ceasing question a rest.

What is the Difference between Air Fryer and Oven?

We are going to differentiate one from the other using these factors:

Impact on Health

The air fryer is known for being the best option if you want to make healthier or less fatty food. It is healthier since you can cook with less or even no oil. In theory, the lesser the cooking oil, the healthier your food.

In the oven, on the other hand, you can still use less oil, but you cannot cook using an oven that is absent of oil or an oil substitute. More often than not, if you fail to do so, your food would not cook properly.

The winner of this factor: Air Fryer

Technology Used in Cooking

The air fryer uses rapid air frying technology wherein the air would swiftly enter the chamber, once combined with heat, it would eventually cook your food. Most cooking functions of air fryers are roasting, grilling, baking, and of course, frying.

The frying technique of the air fryer amounts to a very crispy and crunchy texture of food. One might even mistake the result to that of using a deep fryer.

When it comes to cooking, the oven is the master of heat. What happens is that the heat is circulated all over the oven chamber and it provides the constant temperature to cook your food evenly every single time. It has a lot of cooking functions that include baking, grilling, steaming, roasting, etc., but most definitely not frying.

If you try and fry something in the oven, without deep frying it first, you would have a mushy mess.

The winner of this factor: It is a draw.

Cooking Capacity

The air fryer is compact to fit a countertop. Although there are some that can hold up to six servings, the cooking capacity of an air fryer is quite small compared to an oven. Also, the air fryer could not cook two or more different dishes at the same time.

On the contrary, the oven could be used for big batches of food. A regular sized oven can even have the cooking capacity of up to 20 servings.

The best thing about using an oven is that you can cook different dishes at the same time. You can have a roast chicken on the bottom rack, while at the top rack you are steaming vegetables or baking a cake. These features are very convenient for the user because it allow them to save a lot of cooking time.

The winner of this factor: Oven


In the case of air fryer, it is relatively small compared to an oven. It being from newer technology, more and more air fryers are coming out that also have the same cooking functions as with the oven.

A lot of people have turned in their ovens in exchange for the space saving air fryer, so the ease of use plays an important part. In terms of reliability, the air fryer is a good contender because newer models already have the roast, bake, saute, and steam functions. Who would not want to get the features of an oven in a compact machine right?

For the oven, it is still the number one choice for people who are really good in the kitchen. It is very reliable in terms of preparing a feast since you only need to prepare everything and then put it all in the oven. Now that is one thing that you could not do with an air fryer.

At the same time, the oven is also more durable as a lot of ovens are made of metals such as steel and iron compared to the air fryer that has plastic material.

The winner of this factor: Oven

Which is Better?

Maybe there is some truth in “oldie, but a goodie,” because the winner is the oven. Although the oven does not really do much to the health factor, it makes up for it in terms of functionality.

You would not use an air fryer to prepare your entire Thanksgiving dinner, right? If you do, then maybe you are just preparing a meal for two perhaps?

In all honesty, the air fryer only lost due to its design. If only, it had been a bit bigger to accommodate more food, and also perform different functions at once, it would have won. At the same time, it is still good to know that there is a healthier option when it comes to cooking food.

Now, when someone asks you what the difference between air fryer and oven is, you just have to keep in mind the four factors that we discussed, and you would not lose your way. Remember, they are just like fraternal twins.