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The Ultimate Cooking Equipment Debate on Air Fryer Vs Toaster Oven

Are you in the market for a new appliance to help you cook your food? If so, then it makes sense that you would be considering an air fryer vs toaster oven to pick the best one.

We all know that there are several models of appliances nowadays; however, sometimes it can get challenging to choose the best suited for your needs. Both are great appliances that can make cooking easier and more enjoyable.

What’s The Main Difference Between An Air Fryer And A Toaster Oven?

Toaster ovens use hot air and infrared radiation to cook food, while an air fryer uses heated oil (or water) circulated around the food by a fan.

Toaster ovens can be used for more than just toast! They’re perfect for roasting veggies, making grilled cheese sandwiches, baking cookies, and so much more.

Air fryers are great for healthier versions of your favorite foods-you’ll never know the difference between fried chicken made with an air fryer instead of frying it! Plus, all that extra fat has been removed from the equation.

Which one sounds better? Read on as we compare the two and see what might work best for your needs! We will also discuss some common uses as well as their pros and cons. Finally we will look into the various aspects such as cooking method, speed, and maintenance to understand the difference between the working of an air fryer and a toaster oven. So let’s get started!

Working Method Of The Two Appliances

An air fryer will radiate the heat to cook and warm your food with the help of heating elements. These elements heat the air within the appliance and promote the conduction of heat throughout the baking pan. The air fryer has powerful fans, so you do not need to flip food repeatedly.

Air fryers
Air fryers

On the other hand, the toaster oven uses coil, ribbon, or strip elements to radiate heat inside it. Moreover, the heat comes from the top direction; hence, the food needs to be covered and flipped for proper cooking.

Another difference between the two appliances is that the air fryer heats a smaller area, so it attains a higher temperature quickly. Therefore, the air fryer vs toaster oven working method is similar in function but different in the time needed for cooking. For instance, the air fryer will cook food evenly while toasting bread at the same time. The heat circulates around a metal mesh pan of food, so every area gets just enough cooking, plus it’s easy to do different things like toast bread – because there are usually separate timers for each task that kick off based on when you choose them. This means it will work perfectly as an all-in-one appliance if you need more than one function.

Black&Decker toaster oven
Toaster oven

Cooking Methods

You may use the toaster oven for roasting, baking, and grilling. If you choose a rotisserie oven, it will add more cooking features to the appliance. In comparison to a toaster, an air fryer will also help you air fry and dehydrate the food along with other basic functions.

Cleaning and Maintenance

The time you may need to clean the two appliances may depend on the recipe and frequency of cleaning. Air fryer wins when it comes to easy cleaning as it does not use too much oil in cooking. Besides, it has a non-stick drip pan to ensure the residue remains in one place. You can also clean the removable components of the air fryer in a dishwasher.

Overall, the small size and easy-to-clean parts make the maintenance part easier. Now comparing toaster oven vs air fryer, the former is easy to clean. But, you will need to use a sponge and detergents to remove oil from the insides. Moreover, you will need to ensure not to damage the heating elements.

Cooking Speed

A toaster oven will require regular time to cook your meals. Meanwhile, an air fryer will do its magic in approximately half the usual time. You may choose a toaster oven if you just wish to toast your bread quickly. However, invest in an air fryer if you wish to reduce the time you will spend cooking.


An air fryer has less basket space in comparison to a traditional toaster oven. Fryers come in various sizes to choose the one that will be suitable for your family. Moreover, it will have a better cooking capacity as you choose a larger size. Note that a larger model will be more expensive in comparison to smaller ones.

Heat retention with insulation

In comparison to air fryers, toaster ovens have little insulation. This leads to hotter exteriors, which may need you to be cautious when using it. Besides, you need to use the toaster oven with good ventilation to prevent any fire accidents. On the other hand, air fryers cook inside an insulated basket and do not emit much heat. Due to this reason, they are a better fit for hotter climates.

Power usage

The high-intensity cooking of air fryers implies that it uses more power in comparison to toaster ovens. However, the cooking time is reduced and may not add as much to the electricity bills. Overall, air fryers will be more efficient in the long run.

Pros and Cons of Air Fryers Compared to Toaster Ovens

Now that you know the difference between a toaster oven and air fryer functions, here are some pros and cons to consider before picking one.

Pros Of Air Fryers Over Toaster Ovens

  • Air fryers are faster in cooking than toaster ovens.
  • Moreover, they cook uniformly without leaving food uncooked in different areas.
  • Air fryers will not heat up the kitchen while cooking.
  • They have a smaller body and do not need much space to operate.
  • Air fryers are convenient to clean and maintain.
  • Food requires less oil and flipping in an air fryer to reach a crispy texture.

Cons Of Air Fryers Over Toaster Ovens

  • Most air fryers do not come with a window to see the food cooking inside. This may not help you in checking the doneness of your food.
  • Some may find air fryers to be more expensive and difficult to use.
  • There are several air fryer models; therefore, it may be a bit confusing to choose the best one.
  • You will need to follow specific recipes to cook in an air fryer.

Which Appliance Is Good For Cooking Specific Food Items?

Air fryers are versatile in use. Once you learn how to use them, you can cook almost everything in them. You can fry vegetables, chicken, bacon, beef, fish, and frozen food items in the fryer. It has a nonstick basket that does not need much oil to cook. Therefore, you may slightly drizzle the oil or use a cooking spray. Even with limited oil, you can enjoy crispy food with fewer calories.

The only limitation for the air fryer is that you cannot use wet batter food or dripping raw materials. The basket will start leaking and result in a huge mess. This may even damage the air fryer. So, skip cooking corn dogs and tempura shrimps in your air fryers. Overall, you can indulge in french fries, chicken nuggets, and sweet potato fries using the air fryer, and don’t worry about gaining weight.

One advantage of a toaster oven is that you can preheat it for specific recipes. For example, you can cook a full chicken or toast bacon in the toaster. It also works for cooking cornbread, beans, sausages, and pepper. Moreover, a toaster oven is efficient in heating the leftover food. While cooking with a toaster oven, remember to turn the food at regular intervals as it may cook unevenly.


A toaster oven is an excellent option if you want to bake, broil or toast anything. It’s also perfect for baking cookies and loaves of bread with evenly distributed heat because it has an even surface area throughout the entire interior of the appliance. If all you need is something to cook your food quickly without any other bells and whistles, then go ahead and buy yourself an air fryer. They’re quick, easy-to-use appliances that won’t take up too much space in your kitchen! 

Besides, you will consume fewer calories when cooking with an air fryer. When deciding which one to purchase, consider what you’ll be using it most often for – does cooking frozen foods more than once a week sound like something that would make sense? You might want to get an air fryer instead of a toaster oven. Research different models when considering an air fryer vs toaster oven for your kitchen. 

Moreover, pick an appliance that will serve your cooking needs for a long time to make it worth your investment. We hope this article will help in clarifying some things about these two kitchen appliances so they don’t seem as confusing anymore- but again, it’s up to you! Keep on reading to find more about cooking appliances and product recommendations.

Photo Credit: Air Fryers by Aaron Yoo; Black & Decker Toaster Oven By 1Day Review.

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