Air Fryer vs. Deep Fryer

Let's face it. Most people love fried food. Some eat fried food every day, while others only indulge once in a while. There is no denying that most fried foods are very tasty, but with more and more people looking at healthier ways to prepare their meals, many fried foods have been relegated to occasional treats. That was until air fryers hit the market place. These great little kitchen appliances need little or no oil and can produce food that has fried texture and taste, but without the artery-clogging fats and oils. But do they really live up to all the hype? We’ll take a look at the air fryer and how it compares to a deep fryer so you can decide for yourself.

How Does An Air Fryer Work?

Have you dreamed of frying your food without fat? If you have, you’re probably already curious about an air fryer and would love to know how it works. Technically speaking, you can't fry without out, so when you cook in an air fryer, you aren't really frying. In simple terms, an air fryer works with the aid of heat and air, hence the air fryer description. The hot air circulates around the food very fast to create a crisp crust around whatever food you are cooking. You usually only need the tiniest amount of oil with a quick spray generally sufficing.

How Does A Deep Fryer Work?

A deep fryer is an appliance with a heating element and no fan. You fill the deep fryer’s chamber with oil, heat it to a relatively hot temperature and then place your food in a basket before submerging it all in the hot oil. The way it cooks the food is by being so hot, it expels the moisture from the food while frying the outside. The idea is to have the oil at a very high temperature. That way, when you drop the food in the oil, the extreme heat quickly seals the outside of the food. This minimizes the absorption of the cooking fat into your food. It then continues to cook the food until done. You then remove the basket of food from the oil and allow the excess oil to drain off for a few minutes.

Air Fryer Pros And Cons

Some people find air fryers to be a marvel, while others think they are overrated. To help you decide which side you’re on, we’ll look at the pros and cons of air fryers.


  • Easy To Use – A definite advantage of air fryers is that they are easy to use. For most models, you simply place the food in the basket, slide it into the central part of the unit and set the temperature and timer. That's it. For some foods, you may need to give the basket a bit of a shake halfway through cooking, but that's about it.
  • Save Space In Your Kitchen – Air fryers are quite tiny compared to many other kitchen appliances and they don’t take up a lot of counter space. This makes them perfect for people with holiday homes, students in dormitories or people who live in tiny apartments with even smaller kitchens.
  • Time And Energy Efficiency – Air fryers work well because the heat is contained within the unit. They also need mere minutes or no time at all to heat up. The heat is pushed around the food quite fast, so meals can be cooked in half the time of other cooking methods and sometimes even less. This means they will save you lots of time and use less electricity.
  • Versatility – The real magic of air fryers is that you can utilize them for more than one cooking method. Depending on the model, you can fry, bake, roast, grill, reheat your food and more. This eliminates the need for many other appliances, which is a huge bonus where space is limited.
  • Healthier Meals – Cooking with air fryers needs a tiny tablespoon of oil. That means your meals will have fewer calories and they will generally be healthier. Most regular users of air fryers use oil sprays and simply give their food a light spraying. The supercharged hot air does the rest.


  • They Take Time To Get Used To – As simple as air fryers are to use, you will need to experiment with different cooking times and temperatures. That means, in the early days, your food may be overcooked or undercooked.
  • They Take Up Space – Although their compact size is considered a space saver, air fryers still take up space. If you have a smaller one, you may be able to stash it in a cupboard when you’re not using it, but if you don’t have the cupboard space, you’ll be stuck with an air fryer taking up permanent real estate on your counter.
  • Not So Great For Large Families – One thing you shouldn't do is overcrowd your air fryer with food. The whole concept of air frying requires the hot air to circulate around all of your food. If the airflow is impaired due to overcrowding, your food won’t cook evenly. This means you may need to cook your family’s food in smaller batches and this means it will take you longer to cook a simple meal.
  • Product Quality – Most air fryers are made with cheap materials with the housing being made from plastic and the inner baskets and other parts from inexpensive metal. The plastic may lose its integrity and shape over time and the metal parts can rust, or the Teflon coating will flake off.

Deep Fryer Pros And Cons


  • Food Cooks FastMost foods cooked in deep fryers cook fast. The foods we usually deep fry are french fries, fish or chicken pieces, crumbed snacks and small pastries. These foods are usually quite small and, when submerged in hot oil, usually only need a few minutes to be fully cooked.
  • Food Tastes BetterFood that is deep-fried is delicious. The outside is often really crispy, with the inside being fluffy or tender, depending on the type of food being fried.
  • Easy To UseDeep frying food is incredibly easy. You place your food in the deep fryer basket and drop it in hot oil. Give the basket a shake once in a while and take it out when the food is cooked.
  • CostDeep fryers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are also simpler than others and this will account for the many different price ranges of deep fryers. Most deep fryers don’t cost a lot and they will generally last for quite a while.


  • Greasy FoodThe idea of deep-frying food is to get the oil hot enough to seal the outside of the food and limit the amount of oil the food will absorb. Even when everything is done right, the food will still absorb a considerable amount of oil. Greasy food is seldom appetizing and it’s also very messy.
  • Fried Food Isn’t HealthyDeep fried food can have triple the calories of food that is air-fried or cooked using other methods. The excessive fats and oils used are bad for heart health and can result in an increase in cholesterol levels. The other thing to consider is that food loses a considerable amount of nutrients during the deep-frying process.
  • All That OilDeep fryers require the use of a whole lot of cooking oil. That can make deep frying food more expensive. This also poses an environmental problem. What do you do with all the oil when it’s no longer usable? Sadly, most people will pour it down the drain to end up in waterways.
  • Hot Oil Is DangerousCooking food in a deep fryer means you need to heat the oil almost to the point of smoking. When you place the basket of food in the boiling hot oil, it will splutter. Any hot oil that comes into contact with your hands is going to burn and cause a lot of pain, so caution is a must. Hot oil is also flammable so you must keep an eye on it at all times to ensure it doesn't ignite.  
  • Cleaning – Unless your deep fryer comes with a removable oil compartment, it’s going to be quite challenging to clean. If you have an all in one unit, you need to tip the oil out of the deep fryer and then fill it with hot, soapy water and rinse it a few times to get it clean.
  • Taste And Texture ComparisonBoth air fried and deep-fried food can taste great. Both can produce a nice crispy shell with fluffy or tender centers. Some foods, however, can become drier in an air fryer while being too greasy when cooked in a deep fryer. Some experimentation with cooking times and temperatures is necessary with both cooking styles.

Air Fryers Vs. Deep Fryers At A Glance

Secura Air Fryer XL 5.3 Quart

Air Fryer

Deep Fryer

Little or no oil

Lots of Oil

Easy to clean

Difficult to clean

Lower calories

Higher calories

Cost more

Cost Less

Food cooks longer

Food cooks faster

The Bottom Line

If you love fried food, then a deep fryer is a must. However, if you love fried food but are worried about the effects they will have on your health, then you cooking in an air fryer may be the best solution for you. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference and you should also consider how often you would use either one of these appliances.

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