Air fryer vs deep fryer: Which is better?
Find out everything you need to know about air fryers vs deep fryers, including price, taste and healthiness.
Unfortunately, our kitchens aren't infinitely spacious wonderlands in which we can throw any and every appliance that takes our fancy. And our wallets certainly aren't bottomless either. If you want to spruce up your kitchen with a new frying gadget, you're likely to enter into the air fryer vs deep fryer debate.
If you can't decide which appliance should be your next culinary toy, here's a comprehensive run-down of what you need to take into account when choosing between these 2 kitchen tools. For more information, check out our guides to the best air fryers and deep fryers in Australia.
Air fryer vs deep fryer: Taste and texture
The most important question for many consumers is a simple one: which will make my food taste better? To answer, let's take a look at how air fryers and deep fryers work.
Deep fryers work by flash-cooking your food in a bath of hot oil. This means it is cooked very quickly, consistently and deliciously. The deep golden brown produced is a result of broken-down sugars and protein. Deep frying also works to remove water from the outer layer of your food and trap it all inside. That's why deep-fried chips are brilliantly crispy yet perfectly fluffy on the inside.
Air fryers use super-heated air to cook food. Air is pushed down from a top fan and bounces all around the inside of the fryer. They can operate with a very small amount of oil, or none at all. This results in food generally coming out dryer. Air fryers do produce crispy food, but not to the same degree as deep fryers.
Though everyone's taste in food is different, deep-fried food just tastes better than the air-fried equivalent. The rapid air heating of an air fryer really can't compete with the consistency produced by the heat and moisture of a deep fryer. If you want proof, take a look around any commercial kitchen. You're likely to see a lot of deep fryers, but you'll find their air-based counterparts unrepresented.
Air fryer vs deep fryer: Health
The other factor most of us consider when we're in the kitchen is the impact of our food on our bodies. Health freaks probably don't need much convincing to choose the air fryer over the deep fryer. Oil is 100% fat, and we're all well aware of the risk of too much fat in our diets. It raises cholesterol and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and a host of other health problems.
It's possible to use some air fryers with no oil at all, while deep fryers typically require anywhere from 6 to 19 cups of oil to function. Obviously, only a small amount of that ends up in your food, but it's still a stark difference.
There's no debating that air fryers are a much healthier option than deep fryers. If you have your heart set on deep frying, reduce your health risks by using healthier oils such as olive, canola and flaxseed, and don't use the appliance excessively.
Air fryer vs deep fryer: Speed
Unsurprisingly, submerging your food in extremely hot oil is a more expedient cooking method than waiting for hot air to circulate around your meal. Deep fryers can cook foods that take air fryers 10–20 minutes in 3–5 minutes.
However, you do need to allow time for your deep fryer to get its oil up to temperature, which can take around 20 minutes. Meanwhile, most air fryers take around 3–5 minutes to preheat. They're also much easier to clean when you're done cooking.
In terms of overall cooking time, the air fryer vs deep fryer debate is pretty much a wash, but once your food is in the appliance, deep frying has the clear edge.
Air fryer vs deep fryer: Versatility
If you're constantly whipping up different kinds of meals, air frying is likely a better option for you. An air fryers can be used like an oven. With certain accessories, it can be used to grill or roast foods.
Deep fryers are generally only used to fry foods such as chips, chicken wings, dumplings and fritters. And given the health consequences of deep frying, it certainly shouldn't be used on a daily basis. So if you're looking for a do-everything appliance, the air fryer has the deep fryer beat.
Air fryer vs deep fryer: Cleaning
Certain deep fryers allow you to preserve oil to use in future via a drainage spout. Otherwise, you will need to wait for the oil to cool down before emptying it. Both the frying basket and oil bowl are often dishwasher-safe, but be sure to verify this for your brand of deep fryer.
Air fryers are comparatively easier to clean. In most cases, air fryer trays are also dishwasher-safe. Depending on what you've cooked, residue should be easily removed. Ultimately, cleaning either of these appliances isn't exactly back-breaking, but not having to deal with a bath of oil after cooking gives air fryers the edge here.
Air fryer vs deep fryer: Price
A premium air fryer is going to set you back a good deal more than a deep fryer. Even an entry-level air fryer is likely to cost you at least $100 while you can pick up a Swan deep fryer on Amazon for just $44.70. High-end air fryers can go all the way up to $600 while domestic deep fryers tend to top out around the $250 mark.
Deep fryers easily win this round. However, keep in mind that all the extra oil that goes into your deep fryer will add up over time.
Hopefully, you now have a good idea whether the air fryer or the deep fryer is right for you. If you're health-conscious and prefer versatility in your gadgets, get your hands on an air fryer. You can enjoy perfectly-textured fried food on your next night out.
But if you're happy to trade out the wellness benefits of the air fryer for more delicious food and a bit more time at the gym, or you're on a tighter budget, a deep fryer should be your next purchase.
Best deals on air fryers
Here are the best deals available online in Australia on air fryers.
Versatility is the name of the game for this 6-in-1 air fryer, which also dehydrates, roasts, bakes, broils and reheats.
Buy now for $199 (was $269)
Best deals on deep fryers
If it's a deep fryer you crave, take advantage of one of the deals below.
Keen for more information to help you pick out your next home or kitchen appliance? Head over to Appliance Finder.