Air Fryer vs Microwave Oven – Which is Better for Cooking?

By Consumer Advise Team
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Cooking is fun, isn’t it? Who doesn’t like the delicious tastes of the fried momos, French fries, and chicken strips! They’re amazing. Some cooking accessories can cook lip-smacking meals in no time, while others are really time-consuming. Air fryers and microwave ovens both have some well-defined characteristics.

An air fryer is a popular kitchen appliance used to make fried foods such as French fries, pakodas, cutlets, potato chips, etc. It works wonders in frying foods with a fraction of oil. The advanced cooking styles of these modern-day fryers make them a “healthier” alternative when compared to traditional deep fryers while delivering similar taste, fragrance, and texture, what’s more!

Similarly, a microwave oven is perfect for a range of uses- reheating, defrosting, baking, and grilling. Convection microwave ovens are pretty beneficial when it comes to all-around cooking.

But, both air fryers and microwave ovens have certain advantages and disadvantages. So, let’s dive deep into the topic to compare air fryer vs. microwave oven and know which is better for your requirements.

air fryer vs microwave

What is an air fryer?

An air fryer is a convection kitchen oven, where the meal is prepared by circulating the hot air. Air fryer focuses on making the food crunchier and crispier without using excessive oil.

It is placed at the countertop area of your kitchen without compromising the large space that a microwave oven needs. Food lovers can enjoy a variety of delicious burgers, patties, paneer tikka, gobi Manchurian, tandoori aloo, banana chips, onion pakoda, etc., using the best air fryers. They can also have track of their calorie consumption.

Types of air fryers

  • Manual or Analog Air Fryer: This is the most basic type of air fryer available at a budget price. This type of air fryer has two control knobs- one for temperature and another for the timer. They do not have any advanced control option.
  • Digital Air Fryer: Built with a LED display and touchscreen control panel, digital air fryers have advanced features like preset cooking menus, preheating, keep warm, etc. Some of these air fryers also include options for baking, grilling, and roasting.
potato fries fried in an air fryer

Air fryer benefits

  • Air fryers are electric kitchen appliances that ensure users’ safety from heat and splattering oil.
  • Since air fryers use a minimal amount of oil in the food, the cleaning procedure is relatively easy and fast after the cooking period.
  • As air fryers can prepare your meal using a very small quantity of fat, you can enjoy your favorite fries and dishes with less oil.
  • Air fryers are comparatively small in size, saving space on your countertop.
  • One of the preferable advantages of an air fryer is it is easy to use. Even if you are not pro in these technologies, you can use an air fryer with the practice of one or two times.
  • You will get more nutrients from the food you cook in an air fryer.
  • Air fryers make the food with the circulation of hot air. Therefore, there is no chance of contacting microwave radiation while using an air fryer.

Limitations of air fryer

  • Since air fryers use a tiny amount of oil in food, it compromises the taste of the food a bit.
  • The absence of sufficient oil prevents air fryers from making food as crunchy as deep-fried food.
  • Some high-end air fryers could be a little expensive.
  • They usually take a little more time to cook compared to traditional methods.
Read More: Advantages and Disadvantages of Air Fryer

When should you choose an air fryer instead of a microwave oven?

If you prioritize health over a little extra cooking time, it is high time you decided to get an air fryer for your kitchen. As air fryers use less oil for cooking food, they are pretty beneficial.

From the budget point of view, air fryers are cheaper than convection microwave ovens but costlier than solo and grill microwaves. So, if you are a health-concerned person, have the budget of an air fryer, and cannot turn away from the fries and kebabs, you should step in into the decision of making an air fryer a part of your life. 

Philips Daily Collection HD9218 Air Fryer has a capacity of 4.1 liters to fry, roast, bake, grill, and reheat your foods. You can cook in this air fryer with 90% less oil and control the temperature up to 200-degree Celsius.

Fresh fries, aloo tikkis, roasted chicken, drumstick, grilled vegetables, and cakes can be made using the inbuilt 7 preset menus. Air roasting capacity, baking, air broiling, dehydration capability, toasting capacity, and functionality add to this model’s function and let it stand ahead in the competition.

PHILIPS Digital Air Fryer HD9252/90 with Touch Panel, uses up to 90% less fat, 7...
  • Philips Airfryer HD9252/90 (Large, 4.1 L) lets you cook great tasting food with up to 90% less fat*
  • Patented Rapid Air technology with unique starfish design pan ensures evenly fried results without flipping the food
  • Fry. Bake. Grill. Roast. And even reheat!
  • Touch screen with 7 presets and Keep Warm Function. Try new recipes at the touch of a button.
  • Auto-shut off function when the basket is removed

What is a microwave oven?

A microwave oven looks similar to an oven toaster griller (OTG) that uses high-frequency microwave radiation to cook a meal. It comes in a comparatively larger size than air fryers. Thus, the heat only works in the food and inside the oven, without harming any nearby person or object.

Types of microwave ovens

  • Solo Microwave Oven: Ideal for bachelors/ small families for reheating and defrosting foods.
  • Grill Microwave Oven: Perfect for tandoor and grilled food lovers with a wide capacity range. It can also reheat and defrost foods of your choice.
  • Convection Microwave Oven: It is the most advanced microwave oven that can bake foods and perform the functions of grill and solo microwave ovens. The best convection microwave ovens come with wide capacity range and decent performance.
Read More: Solo Vs. Grill Vs. Convection Microwave Ovens
using microwave oven

Advantages of microwave oven

  • Besides the functions of cooking and reheating, a convection microwave oven can also bake cakes and defrost frozen foods, which an air fryer cannot.
  • As microwave ovens use microwave radiation to heat the food from inside, it takes very little time to make it ready for serving.
  • Microwave ovens ensure no burning and change in the taste and nutrition of the food. 
  • This type of oven comes with the automated on/off feature, which means if you set the duration and temperature, the oven automatically shuts off after the time or when the heat level is reached.
  • If you have children in your home, choosing a microwave is the best option as it comes with the child lock feature.
  • Most microwave ovens have pre-loaded cooking menus that allow you to select your preferable dish for cooking.

Disadvantages of microwave ovens

  • Microwave ovens cannot cook food as crunchy as done by air fryers.
  • The quality of reheated food in a microwave oven is controversial. While some researchers claim that microwave radiation is harmful, we can conclude it is not as good as air fryers that use minimal oil and hot air to fry foods.
  • As the heat rises at a higher temperature, moisture content reduces from the food. Therefore, your meal might be felt dried out. 
  • Although microwave ovens allow you to try different dishes every day as per your choice, it has certain restrictions.
  • While cooking in a microwave oven, you must be careful about the choice of containers or bowls you use, as only borosilicate material is compatible with it.

When should you use a microwave oven instead of an air fryer?

If time is a significant factor in daily routine, getting yourself a microwave oven will be the best choice. Besides cooking like an air fryer, it can also reheat, defrost, bake, grill, and roast various vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

Though you can find options for baking, grilling, roasting and reheating in a digital air fryer, the analog air fryers lack them. Moreover, the capacity of air fryers is significantly low compared microwave oven’s. So, if you need a versatile kitchen appliance for cooking, a microwave oven is your ideal choice rather than an air fryer.

LG 28 L Charcoal Convection Microwave Oven┬áis a fantastic microwave oven for baking, cooking, grilling, reheating, and defrosting. No matter your taste- barbecues or cakes, it’s an oven that will satisfy your expectations. The charcoal lighting heater, motorized rotisserie, auto cook menus, keep warm feature, and low oil frying aresome of the benefits you will get from this convection microwave oven.

LG 28 L Charcoal Convection Microwave Oven (MJ2886BWUM, Floral, Diet Fry)
  • 28L Capacity: Suitable for large families
  • Convection: Can be used for baking along with grilling, reheating, defrosting and cooking
  • Warranty : 1 Year for Product and 4 Years on Magnetron
  • Brand does not provides starter kit with this product.
  • Control: Tactile buttons to set the temperature/timer that are simple to use with a long life

Microwave Ovens vs Air Fryers- What is the Difference?

Kitchens are packed with conventional items like a microwave oven, a toaster, and a conventional oven. Many people often lack knowledge of other useful gadgets and appliances. In this context, an air fryer is a great utensil that makes cooking effortless. The compact device allows you the cooking delicious fried foods like crispy chicken, fish, or French fries without the involvement of deep frying in oil.

With the massive popularity of air fryers among some households and eating places, the demand for a microwave is gradually decreasing.

Here you’ll get the idea about air fryer vs microwave oven.

1. Heating Methods

The heating method is a crucial aspect that creates differences. 

Microwave ovens produce microwaves. Air fryers use convection heating. Sounds simple? But that’s not enough. You must know the differences in depth. 

  • The vibration of the water molecules in the food with the microwaves is the end objective of the microwave ovens. On vibration of the molecules, heat gets generated for the adequate frying of the foodstuffs.
  • On the other hand, the air fryer is designed in the manner that it operates the inbuilt heating coil to get heated up which allows the fan to blow the heat. The result is noticed with the even cooking meals within the frying basket.
  • It’s essential to note that each appliance uses a different cooking technique that provides benefits in their ways. Now the problem often faced with air fryers is that it takes a lot of time to cook food.
  • At the same time, since the cooking time is huge, you will get crispy and flavorful food. Microwaves are better in terms of the pace of cooking food incredibly. But you must keep in mind that the time shortening technique leads to the reduction of flavours. 

Also Read: Microwave and OTG differences

2. Role of Temperature

Hot air circulation is an important characteristic when comparing cooking devices. 

  • Regular and advanced convection microwave ovens distribute hot air evenly. The technique is based on the adjustment of the temperature automatically. With this technique, it becomes easy for the user to cook a variety of dishes.
  • Due to their large size, they often cook big courses. With convection microwave ovens, you’ll get the different culinary experiences without ever facing problems of food ending up undercooked. What’s the fascinating part is that the adequate delivery of heat to the middle and the edges cook the food adequately.
  • On the other hand, when it comes to the air fryers, most of them implement the culinary innovation. With this accessory, you can limit the amount of oil. The basket added in these setups to place the food helps in reaching the peak performance level in frying. The added advantage is the ability to place the food on the kitchen counter. Compact designs allow it to stay on the counter without occupying much space easily.

The verdict is, in the battle of air fryer vs microwave convection microwave oven, the factor” temperature” plays an impressive role. Air fryers work to reach the needed higher temperatures, which leads to the preparation of delicate meals. Most people use it for the preparation of desserts. On the contrary, convection microwave ovens are often a failure when it comes to the cooking of delicate dishes and desserts.

So, if you ask us about which is better, “air fryer or microwave oven?” the answer is air fryers are more convenient, especially when you focus on the aspect of counter-top placement. At the same time, you must remember that convection ovens like convection toaster oven is a perfect countertop alternative as well.

3. Power Consumption

  • An air fryer is different from other appliances as it takes time to reach the required cooking temperatures. In Air fryers, the powerful heating runs for less time and so, energy efficiency is an aspect that is quite appreciated. It ranges somewhere between 1200-1500 watts. However, there are differences when it comes to the choice of the 1200 watt and a 1500 watt air fryer.
  • On the other hand, when you lay your focus towards the modern microwave oven, you will see that it consumes around 1200 watts for 30 minutes a day. Besides, using energy during cooking or heating, it uses 2 to 7 watts of additional power when it is kept in standby mode.

According to most homeowners, air fryers are a better alternative when it comes to the air fryer vs microwave power consumption criterion because it doesn’t consume power in its standby mode. 

4. Health and Hygiene

These devices make the cooked and fried foodstuffs extremely healthy. Hot air circulation in both the cooking accessories makes the convection microwave ovens and air fryers engage in a similar technique. These systems use fans to produce and regulate the hot airflow. Unlike conventional ovens, these systems do not incorporate heating with the help of heating elements because it limits temperature regulation.

  • Convection microwave ovens cook anything the way you want, and that’s evident. It serves the convenience in the manner that unlike frying pans or some other models of the deep fryers; you will have to add only a small amount of oil.
  • The inbuilt technique ensures cooking by extracting the juices of the food instead of adding oils. So, now stay away from the problems of coping with the excess oil in food. Cooking the slices of meat is now effortless with the convection ovens if you want natural gravy.

However, it is good to remember that the air fryers are a healthier choice which can be bestowed to the fact that they do not require the addition of oil at all. Baking, frying, or anything else doesn’t require the addition of extra oils for retaining some moisture when it comes to cooking with the air fryers. They possess the ability to reach higher temperatures to decrease the time involved in the cooking process. A lot of nutrients remain intact when you use this cooking process.

5. Technological Superiority

When we try to set comparison in the manner of air fryer technology vs microwave, we have to point out the radiation factor specifically. Air fryer “radiation” can be bestowed by the fact that the system uses radiated heat to cook the foodstuffs. So, the harmful electromagnetic radiation does not pose any threat to the food. Most people consider it a better alternative than microwave ovens since the latter uses electromagnetic radiation in cooking foods.

Thus, in our opinion, air fryers are safe, which works on proven technology.

6. Cooking Capacity

The choice of any buyer is dependent upon this criterion. The size of the unit and the capacity are the two factors that matter the most. The kitchen supplies that limit movement are the worst nightmare for the person who has to cook all day. 

  • Convection ovens are big. Well, everyone knows that already. The placement is not countertop for most of the models. This factor lets most people opt for air fryers. Moreover, bending to place the food, regulating the cooking process makes the task an uncomfortable one. Since air fryers are small, they are easily stored in place.
  • One must note that the bigger the size better is the cooking capacity. Convection microwave ovens have higher cooking capacity. The techniques used in these ovens help to break down the bigger chunks and cook them without manual labor.
  • You can use proper utensils to bake cake in a microwave oven. Whereas, only digital air fryers can bake bakes.

Air fryers with smaller cooking capacities also hold deep chambers to cook large amounts. For this reason, it’s easy to fry French fries.

You May Also Like: Air Fryer vs OTG
microwave or air fryer- which is better

Which is better- Air Fryer or Microwave and Why?

Understanding technology helps to understand which can be a better option. 

Point of DifferenceAir FryerMicrowave Oven
Cooking TimeCooking in an air fryer takes a higher time than in a microwave oven.Microwaves cook faster than air fryers.
Quality of Cooked FoodFood cooked in an air fryer is crispier.A microwave oven does not cook crispy food as much as an air fryer.
Cooking CapacityThe cooking capacity of an air fryer is quite less than a microwave oven.Microwaves are giants compared to air fryers.
Power ConsumptionAir fryers consume comparatively lower energy than microwave ovens.Microwave oven’s electricity usage is slightly high.
Health And HygieneAir-fried food is healthier than cooked in a microwave oven.Food cooked in a microwave oven contains more oil.
TechnologyThe food is cooked using heated air generated by a coil. It does not produce electromagnetic radiation to cook food.Microwave ovens produce electromagnetic waves to cook food which is not as good as an air fryer.

The functions and uses of a microwave oven are much different than an air fryer. Radiation in microwave ovens used to cook food often is considered a negative aspect. Since lots of energy is already packed in this process, it gives the benefit of cooking food fast. When compared to other cooking techniques and models, microwave ovens cook about six times faster.

On the other hand, the patented Rapid Air Technology lets the air fryers cook significantly well. The texture of the food is crispy and crunchy, which makes it popular among food-savvy people. Moreover, using 70-80% less oil makes it a better option over conventional gas burners and microwave ovens.

Eating fried foods cooked in the air fryers is a popular choice among people who are in love with fried foods. The “Easy to clean” feature also makes it an advanced appliance for a household.

So, if you want to eat healthier, choose an air fryer. On the contrary, if cooking capacity is a priority, it’s better to buy a microwave oven.

Alternatives To Air Fryer And Microwave Ovens

Oven Toaster Griller (OTG)

OTGs or Oven Toaster Grillers are the sorts of smaller conventional ovens with additional features of toasting and grilling. The best OTG ovens come with a rotisserie to rotate and heat the food uniformly while cooking.

Oven toaster grillers are the best appliances to bake cakes at home, even better than convection microwave ovens. Apart from it, OTGs are lightweight compared to microwave ovens but heavier than air fryers. 

Deep Fryer

If you are fond of food and always ready to experiment and taste different food continuously, deep fryers should be your choice. Deep fryers use plenty of oil, making the food soft and locking the moisture. They cook the food evenly without leaving any part of the food heated or cooked unevenly.

Therefore, you should get a deep fryer if you do not feel guilty about having deep-fried oily delicious meals and have enough time to make and taste different foods.

Built-in oven

For decades, kitchen appliance brands have been manufacturing more developed ovens. Built-in ovens are large-sized ovens usually installed under the countertop and are ideal for baking cake and cookies at your home.

Therefore, choose the best built-in oven if you love baking, rather than an air fryer or ordinary microwave oven. Over the range microwave ovens are a type of built-in oven installed at eye level, so there is no need to bend down to check them while cooking. 

Air Fryer vs Microwave – Conclusion

After going through this article, you can easily compare and understand the pros and cons of air fryers and microwave ovens. An air fryer is indeed a healthier option than a microwave oven when it comes to frying.

On the other side, microwave ovens are more versatile to reheat, defrost, and bake but less efficient for frying. Therefore, choose appropriately as per your desired preferences and cooking styles. Also, do not forget about your budget at all. If you go through the product specifications and make a choice, we can promise you that you won’t have to regret the decision.

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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