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Air Fryer Or Microwave: What to Choose?

Updated on Jul 14, 2022 by Jessica Parker
air fryer or microwave

A microwave or an air fryer can be a confusing choice. An air fryer is a countertop oven that uses hot air convection for making deep-fried, crisp foods without using any oil. It allows you to make restaurant-quality dishes at home with ease and comfort.

A microwave is an electric oven that uses hot air to bake its contents and cook food to perfection. It has a separate heating chamber with a rotating turntable in the center to heat food evenly. This cooking equipment is popular because of its versatile cooking programs and easy-to-use interface.

How Does a Microwave Work?

A microwave works on the principle of using electromagnetic waves to heat food particles. It uses high radio frequency waves that transmit through a tube called a magnetron. The energy used is equivalent to 2,450 megahertz, making it efficient to cook and heat food.

How Does an Air Fryer Work?

The best-reviewed air fryer works on the principle of convection, where hot air circulates inside its chamber via a high-speed fan. This air sucks out the moisture from foods, forming a crispy layer. It forms a deep-fried browning effect on the foods with the reactions like caramelization and the Maillard effect. This makes the food taste like fried ones.

Difference Between Air Fryers & Microwaves

The major difference between microwaves and fryers is that microwaves can heat and reheat food, whereas air fryers alter the way the food is cooked. You'll need a microwave if you're looking to heat or cook food. The air-fryer can be your preferred choice if you plan to cook and get fryer-quality food items. We have listed the notable differences between the two appliances to help you decide which one should you buy.

Cooking Technique

An air fryer uses an inbuilt coil to produce heat. This, in turn, uses a fan to circulate the hot air within the chamber. A microwave has a heating element in the form of a tube called a magnetron. It blows out the heat produced by microwaves or high-frequency, short-length radio waves.

Cooking Time

An air fryer takes more time to cook the food as compared to a microwave. For example, if you decide to cook chicken wings in an air fryer, it might take you 15-20 minutes. It may take you around 3- 4 minutes when you cook the same in a microwave. Our genuine reviews show that the longer cooking time often results in a better infusion of flavors. That is why air fryers offer even and flavor-packed cooking.

Size

Microwave Sizes:

Countertop microwaves are the best choice for convenient cooking. Figuring out what size you require is not that convenient, especially in the case of installing the microwave between cabinets. The majority of microwaves have between 1 and 2.2 cubic meters of internal space. The dimensions of the exterior differ based on the microwave model. 

There are different types of microwaves in the market that offer distinct benefits. It doesn't matter if you are looking for an over-the-range microwave, countertop, air fryer oven, or built-in microwave, follow this guide on microwave sizes to find the ideal size.

TYPE OF MICROWAVEHEIGHT (IN.)WIDTH (IN.)DEPTH (IN.)CAPACITY (CU. FT.)
Small Countertop Microwave10" - 11"15" - 18"12" - 16"0.5 - 0.9
Standard and Large Microwave12" - 15"21" - 25"16" - 20"1.0 - 2.2
Over-the-range Microwave17" - 10" (low profile)30" - 24" (compact)15" - 18"0.8 - 2.1
Built-in Microwave17" - 22"24", 27" or 30"20" - 25"1.0 - 2.2

Airfryer Sizes:

If you are unsure about what size of air fryer you should purchase? We're here to help you decide with this easy Air fryer size guide! No matter if you're a single person or have a family, we have the solution to your needs. 

Different sizes of air fryer

Versatility

Air Fryers are versatile cooking appliances. They can cook seafood recipes like crab cakes or vegan favorites like tofu, potato nuggets, potato wedges, etc. Microwaves can do all that and more. It can cook wet batter fish that you cannot cook with an air fryer.

Power Consumption

An air fryer uses less power than a microwave. Some models use around 1500 watts, with certain models using up to 1700 W. Based on customer reviews, a microwave uses 1200W for approximately 30-40 minutes of cooking with an additional power of 2-7 watts for other purposes like reheating

Health Factor

You can cook without oil in Air Fryers and that is why they are a healthy option. Some amount of oil is still required for the modern microwave models to cook larger batches of food. The electromagnetic radiation in microwaves can put your food and health at risk. The air fryers use rapid air technology to cook the food.

Capacity

The capacity of microwaves is more than air fryers. You can cook larger batches of food at once in microwaves by placing borosilicate bowls to warm the food. On the other hand, an air fryer is used to cook smaller batches of food. For example, while cooking churros in air fryers, you can place only 5 to 6 churros at a time whereas in microwaves you can place 10-12 churros at once.

Materials You Can and Cannot Use in Microwaves and Air fryers:

Material in Microwave

Advantages and Disadvantages of Air fryers and Microwaves

Advantages of Air fryers

Air fryers offer a crispier taste than microwaves because hot circulating air cooks it evenly from all sides. This eliminates the need for flipping the food over and over again which usually leads to the loss of some essential nutrients. For example, while cooking in microwaves, proteins get denatured due to extreme heat exposure.

  • You can cook food using a little amount of oil.
  • It takes less time to cook the food.
  • An air fryer is easy to use, clean, and store.

Disadvantages of Air Fryers

Air fryers are not suitable for heavy-duty cooking because it takes longer cooking time as compared to conventional techniques. It can not cook larger batches of food at once.

  • Airfryer is more expensive than a microwave.
  • It has an outer surface made of metal which becomes hot when in use. This makes it dangerous to touch.
  • This appliance only comes with a limited number of pre-set cooking programs, whereas microwaves have almost all options like reheating, defrosting, grilling, browning, etc.

Advantages of Microwaves

Microwaves are safer than air fryers as they only emit heat from the inner surface covered by glass. This allows you to touch them while cooking, unlike air fryers. They are also easy to clean because of their smooth surfaces that don't require scrubbing.

  • Microwaves are affordable and easily available.
  • Food cooked in microwaves takes lesser time than in air fryers.
  • You can use microwave ovens to cook large batches of food at once.

Disadvantages of Microwaves

  • They heat up the food from one side only and create a cold spot in the center of it.
  • Microwave emits non-ionizing radiation which is dangerous for humans and extracts away essential nutrients like proteins while cooking.
  • Food cooked in microwaves may taste chewy due to improper distribution of heat throughout the food.

How to Decide Between an Air fryer Vs Microwave?

The final selection depends on your cooking requirements. You can look for a top-rated microwave in our featured section if you need more cooking capacity. The air fryer gadget is best for its various legion of tastes. Both microwaves and air fryers are modern kitchen appliances that make your life easy and convenient. You can consider either of them on the basis of their specific usage.

Air fryers and grills are popular kitchen appliances with distinct advantages and features. Knowing the difference between Air Fryers Vs Grills will help you select the right model.

Buy the Best Air Fryer or Microwave

Ultrean 5.8 Quart Air Fryer

The Ultrean 5.8 Quart Air Fryer is good for those who want to enjoy fried foods without all the oil. This cooker uses hot air to cook food and comes with 10 presets to make cooking easier. The digital LCD touch screen makes it easy to navigate, and the nonstick basket ensures that your food will come out cooked to perfection. With a 1700W power rating and UL listed, this air fryer is a great addition to any kitchen.

Ninja AF101 Air Fryer, 4 Qt

The Ninja AF101 air fryer is the perfect kitchen appliance for those who want to enjoy fried foods without all the oil and mess. This unit features a 4-quart capacity and comes in black/gray. It uses Rapid Air Technology to cook food quickly and evenly with little to no oil, and it comes with a detachable dishwasher-safe basket for easy cleaning. Additionally, the Ninja AF101 has a digital display with pre-set cooking functions, making it easy to choose the perfect settings for your food.

Panasonic NN-SD78LS Microwave Oven

The Panasonic NN-SD78LS Microwave Oven is a great addition to any kitchen. This 1.6 cubic foot oven has a sleek stainless steel design that will look great in any kitchen. The NN-SD78LS has 10 power levels and a child lock available to keep your family safe. This microwave also has a defrost function to make sure your food is cooked evenly. The Panasonic NN-SD78LS is a great oven for any family.

Toshiba AC25CEW-BS Digital Toaster Oven

The best-rated Toshiba AC25CEW-BS digital toaster oven is a versatile and convenient appliance that is ideal for any kitchen. With seven preset cooking functions, an easy-to-clean interior, and a sleek black stainless steel design, this toaster oven is both stylish and functional. This model has a capacity of 1.2 cu.ft and it features a variety of cooking modes, a child lock function, and a stainless steel design.

FRIGIDAIRE FGBM19WNVF Over The Range Microwave

Reviews of Frigidaire's FGBM19WNVF over-the-range microwave show that it is a great choice for your kitchen. It has a 1.9 cu. ft. capacity and 1000 watts of power, making it great for cooking or reheating large meals. The sensor cooking feature ensures that your food is cooked evenly, and the 300 CFM exhaust fan helps keep your kitchen air clear. The stainless steel finish looks great in any kitchen, and the unit is easy to install.

Cosmo COS-3016ORM1SS Over the Range Microwave Oven

You can go with top-quality Cosmo COS-3016ORM1SS if you are looking for a powerful and easy-to-use over-the-range microwave oven. This unit has 1.6 cu. ft. of capacity and 1,000 watts of power, making it perfect for cooking up your favorite meals quickly and easily. The 10 power levels give you plenty of options for different types of food, and the child lock function ensures that little ones can't accidentally start the oven.

Conclusion

Microwaves use radio frequencies and electromagnetic waves while air fryers use just the hot air to cook food. Both gadgets have their distinct advantages and features. Make sure you check our informative air fryer oven buying guide before making any final purchase.

You can also look for verified reviews on countertop microwaves before buying. BestViewsReviews recommends and reviews the best-selling air fryers based on design, ease of use, and build quality.

BestViewsReviews rates and reviews the best over-range microwave ovens on the basis of quality, convenience, and durability.

Rank #1 in Air Fryers

Ultrean Air Fryer 4.2 Quart
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Created with Raphaël 2.1.29.9010

Rank #0 in Air Fryers

Ultrean Air Fryer 4.2 Quart
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Created with Raphaël 2.1.29.9010

Rank #1 in Countertop Microwave Ovens

Galanz GLCMKA07BER-07 Retro Microwave Oven
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Created with Raphaël 2.1.29.7010

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