Air Fryer vs Toaster Oven: Which One Should You Get?

Shopping for kitchen appliances is always a tough decision. With so many products on the market, it’s hard to know which one is the best for your needs. But when it comes to choosing between an air fryer vs toaster oven, the decision can be even tougher.

While both air fryers and toaster ovens have a relatively similar use – cooking food – they have some key differences. To help you make the best decision for your kitchen, we’ve put together a handy guide comparing air fryers and toaster ovens.

Below, we’ll go over air fryers, toaster ovens, and what sets them apart. Read on to find the right companion for your cooking needs.

Air Fryer: What Is It & How Does It Work?

An air fryer is a small countertop appliance that uses hot air to cook food. It’s one of the hottest (both literally and figuratively) kitchen gadgets on the market right now, and it’s not hard to see why.

An air fryer toaster cooks food quickly and evenly, and they’re perfect for a variety of recipes – from fried chicken to French fries. Plus, they’re super easy to use. Just load your food into the air fryer basket, set the timer, and let it do its thing.

Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food in the basket. This process cooks the food quickly and evenly, without needing oil. As a result, air-fried foods are usually healthier than their deep-fried counterparts.

Users may have to shake the air fryer basket occasionally to ensure even cooking, but other than that, there’s very little hands-on time required.

The compact yet powerful nature of air fryers makes them an excellent choice for small kitchens, apartments, and dorm rooms. Plus, nutritionists and dietitians love them because they offer a healthier way to enjoy typically unhealthy foods.

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Convection Toaster Oven: What Is It & How Does It Work?

A toaster oven is a small oven that uses radiant heat to cook food. It’s similar to a regular oven, but much smaller in size and doesn’t require as much energy to operate

A staple in many kitchens, toaster ovens are versatile appliances that can be used for various tasks – from toasting bread to baking cookies. And like air fryers, they’re relatively easy to use. Just pop your food in the oven, set the timer, and wait for it to be done.

The working mechanism of toaster ovens is a lot like that of regular ovens. Radiant heat is produced by heating elements, and this heat is then circulated around the food in the oven cavity. Unlike regular ovens, however, toaster ovens don’t have a fan to circulate the hot air.

This lack of a fan means that toaster ovens can take longer to cook food than regular ovens. But it also means that they’re better at cooking smaller items, like toast and sandwiches.

Toaster ovens come in multiple sizes, but they’re typically smaller than regular ovens. This makes them perfect for small apartments or kitchens where space is at a premium.

What’s the Difference?

Now that we’ve covered the basics of air fryers and toaster ovens, let’s take a closer look at some of the key differences between these two appliances.


Believe it or not, size can be a dealbreaker when choosing between an air fryer and a toaster oven.

Air fryers are typically small and compact, making them an excellent choice for small spaces. Unlike traditional ovens that occupy a lot of countertop real estate, air fryers can easily be stored in a cabinet or pantry when not in use.

Toaster ovens come in various sizes, but they’re generally larger than air fryers. This means that they might not be the best choice for small apartments or dorm rooms. However, their larger size also means they can accommodate more food, so they might be a better choice for large families or groups.

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Another important consideration is capacity. How much food can you fit in the appliance, and how many people will it serve?

Air fryers typically have a smaller capacity than toaster ovens. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your needs. If you’re cooking for one or two people, an air fryer might be all you need. But if you’re feeding a large family or group, you might want to opt for a toaster oven.

Toaster ovens also come in different sizes, so you can easily find one that’s large enough to accommodate your needs. The same can’t always be said of air fryers.


When it comes to functionality, there’s really no clear winner. Both air fryers and toaster ovens can be used for all sorts of tasks, from cooking and baking to toasting and broiling.

The main difference is that air fryers are specifically designed for frying food. The name itself should give you a clue. Toaster ovens, on the other hand, are more versatile.

If you’re a fried food lover, an air fryer might be the way to go. But if you want an appliance that can do it all, a toaster oven is probably your best bet.

Cooking Time

Cooking time is a crucial factor when deciding between an air fryer and a toaster oven. After all, late-night cravings don’t always happen when we have hours to spare.

In general, air fryers cook food faster than toaster ovens. This is because they circulate hot air around the food, which cooks it evenly and quickly. Toaster ovens, on the other hand, rely on radiant heat to cook food. This means that they can take longer to cook food, especially if the food is large or thick.

Additionally, toaster ovens lack fans, which means that they don’t circulate hot air as effectively as air fryers. This can make a big difference in cooking times, especially if you’re in a hurry.


Cost is always an important consideration when choosing any appliance. But it’s especially important when choosing between an air fryer and a toaster oven.

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Air fryers are typically more expensive than toaster ovens. This is because they’re a newer technology and offer many features that toaster ovens don’t. With prices ranging from $100 to $1500+, they’re not exactly cheap.

Toaster ovens, on the other hand, are more affordable. You can find a decent toaster oven for under $100, and even the high-end models rarely cost more than $500.

So, if cost is a major consideration, a toaster oven might be the way to go. But if you’re willing to spend a little extra, an air fryer could be worth the investment.

Ease of Use

Finally, let’s talk about ease of use. Neither air fryers nor toaster ovens are particularly difficult to use. But there are some subtle differences that could make one or the other easier for you.

Air fryers typically have fewer controls than toaster ovens. This means that there’s less to learn, and they’re generally easier to use. Additionally, air fryers often have digital displays and control panels that are easy to navigate.

Toaster ovens, on the other hand, often have more controls. This gives you more options and flexibility when cooking, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. Additionally, toaster ovens often have knobs instead of digital displays, which can be harder to use.

Depending on how familiar you are with appliances, one or the other might be easier for you to use. If you’re unsure, it might be a good idea to try both before deciding.

The Bottom Line

So, which should you get? An air fryer or a toaster oven?

There is no clear winner. Both have their pros and cons, and the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

If you’re looking for an appliance that can do it all, a toaster oven is probably your best bet. But if you’re specifically looking for a way to fry food without taking up a lot of space, an air fryer might be the way to go.