Air Fryer vs Microwave: Which One To Get?

Whether you want to reheat food or are looking into cooking food quickly, a microwave will surely be highly useful. But lately, air fryers have been gaining popularity as a healthier alternative to these.

So air fryer vs microwave… which one should you get for your kitchen?

Generally, it’s best to have both an air fryer and a microwave. This is because each appliance has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, microwaves are better at reheating food evenly, while air fryers are better at producing crisp food.

However, if you had to choose just one appliance, it really depends on what you’ll be using it for most.

Below, we compare air fryers and microwaves across a few different categories to help you decide which appliance is right for you.

Air Fryers: At a Glance

An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that uses rapid air technology to cook food. It’s similar to a convection oven, but it also circulates the hot air around the food using a fan. This helps to cook the food evenly and gives it a crispy, fried texture.

Air frying has become increasingly popular in recent years because it offers a healthier alternative. In fact, as of 2020, around 40% of American households own an air fryer.

As delicious as it is, deep-fried food is not the healthiest choice. This is because it’s cooked in oil, which can be high in saturated fat and calories. Air fryers, on the other hand, use little to no oil. This means food cooked in an air fryer is generally healthier than deep-fried food.

The main selling point of this nifty appliance is that it can make healthier versions of your favorite fried foods. So if you’re a fan of fried chicken, french fries, or mozzarella sticks, an air fryer is definitely worth considering.

Air fryers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small enough to fit on your countertop, while others are larger and require storage space.

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Microwaves: At a Glance

A microwave is a kitchen appliance that uses microwaves to heat food. Microwaves are a type of electromagnetic radiation, and they work by causing water molecules in the food to vibrate. This causes the food to heat up quickly.

Microwaves have been around for decades, and they’re one of the most commonly used kitchen appliances. In fact, this kitchen staple can be found in more than 90% of American households.

One of the main reasons microwaves are so popular is because they’re very convenient. You can use them to heat food quickly and easily, which is perfect for busy weeknights or rushed mornings.

But that’s just the beginning. Microwaves can also be used to cook food, not just heat it. In fact, microwaves are great for cooking things like vegetables, rice, pasta, and eggs.

The working mechanism of a microwave oven is relatively simple. It has an electromagnetic field that produces microwaves. These microwaves are directed into the cooking chamber, bouncing around until the food absorbs them.

Air Fryer vs Miocrowave: How Do They Compare?

Now that you know a little about air fryers and microwaves, let’s compare them across several categories.

Cooking Time

No one likes to spend hours in the kitchen cooking. So if you’re looking for an appliance that can help you get food on the table quickly, a microwave is your best bet.

Microwaves cook food much faster than air fryers. This is because they use microwaves to directly heat the food, which cuts down on cooking time. A microwave can heat food in as little as a minute.

Even if you’re cooking something from scratch in a microwave, it will still be ready faster than if you were to cook it in an air fryer. For example, a frozen pizza will take about 3 minutes to cook in a microwave, whereas it would take around 15 minutes to cook in an air fryer.

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Meanwhile, when it comes to air fryers, it really depends on what you’re cooking. For example, french fries will take around 10 minutes to cook in an air fryer. But if you’re cooking something like chicken wings, it could take up to 30 minutes.

Energy Efficiency

Another important consideration is energy efficiency. After all, you don’t want your appliance to be a money pit. So which one is more energy efficient: a microwave or an air fryer?

When it comes to energy efficiency, air fryers win hands down. This is because they use less energy than microwaves. Most models use around 1200 watts of power, whereas microwaves may use upwards of 1800 watts for the same amount of time.

Since air fryers don’t have a standby mode and allow users to adjust the temperature and time more precisely, they’re more energy efficient. Microwaves, on the other hand, have a standby mode where they consume a small amount of power even when they’re not in use.

While it can be tempting to save money by using a microwave, it’s important to keep the long-term costs in mind. Over time, an air fryer will save you more money than a microwave.


When it comes to versatility, microwaves definitely have the upper hand. This is because you can use them for more than just heating food.

Microwaves can be used to cook food from scratch, reheat leftovers, or even defrost frozen food. Whether it’s a quick snack or a full meal, microwaves can handle it. And since microwaves come in various sizes and power levels, you can find one that’s perfect for your needs.

Meanwhile, air fryers are a more niche appliance. They’re great for cooking quick and easy meals but are not as versatile as microwaves. As the name suggests, air fryers are mainly used for frying food.

Sure, you can use an air fryer to roast or bake food. But if you’re looking for an appliance that can do it all, a microwave is your best bet.

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Do you live alone or have a small family? If so, you might not need a large appliance. But if you have a big family or entertain often, you’ll want an appliance with a larger capacity.

When it comes to capacity, both microwaves and air fryers come in a variety of sizes. However, microwaves tend to have a larger capacity than air fryers. For example, the average microwave can hold up to 6 quarts, whereas the average air fryer only holds 3 quarts.

That said, you can easily find air fryers with a larger capacity. Some models can even hold up to 8 quarts, which is perfect for large families or entertaining.


Last but not least, let’s talk about price. After all, you don’t want to break the bank on a new appliance. So when it comes to air fryer vs microwave, which is more affordable?

Microwaves are definitely the more affordable option. They start at around $30, whereas air fryers start at around $60. Of course, you can find more expensive models, but microwaves are generally more affordable than air fryers.

If you’re on a budget, a microwave is the way to go. But if you’re willing to spend a little extra, an air fryer is worth the investment.

As we mentioned earlier, when it comes to long-term costs, an air fryer is more affordable than a microwave. So even though air fryers have a higher upfront cost, they’ll save you money in the long run.

The Bottom Line: Air Fryer vs Microwave

So, which one should you get: an air fryer or a microwave? The answer depends on your needs.

If you’re looking for an energy-efficient and versatile appliance, a microwave is your best bet. But if you want an appliance specifically designed for frying food, an air fryer is the way to go.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which appliance is right for you. Keep in mind your needs and budget, and you’ll be sure to find the perfect option for your kitchen.

Happy cooking!