Air fryer vs. microwave – Which one is better? Both air fryer and microwave are great helpers in the kitchen, making the cooking process simpler and faster. But, you may be concerned about which is ideal for you and your culinary cases.
If you had only one choice to take one of them, what would you buy for your kitchen? You still wonder about it, then this blog is for you.
This article lets you know inside out these two pieces of equipment. I will present to you all things about air fryers and microwaves in my post below. Let’s check it out.
Table of Contents
The air fryer is a more powerful convection oven that promises to replicate the effects of deep-frying using heated air for cooking foods. They basically come with four main parts: the heating section, the fan system, the food chamber, and the switch panel.
The heating mechanism plays an important role in radiating an extremely hot temperature. The fan system above creates a rapid airflow to the heating mechanism to circulate super-hot air around the food chamber.
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Due to multiple cooking functions, the switches panel will help you choose the time and temperature suitable for each food type. The temperature of the air fryer can reach up to 482oF for 5 to 25 minutes, depending on what is cooking. (1)
How To Use An Air Fryer In The Right Ways?
Like other kitchen appliances, the air fryer has its guidelines to operate. Since it has multiple functions, you need to understand your air fryer to use it correctly.
Put Your Food Into The Food Chamber
The air fryer can hold approximately up to 10 quarts, depending on the capacity of each type. Do not overcrowd the basket to ensure food ventilation.
It is necessary to preheat your air fryer for a few minutes before putting food into the basket. Place your machine in a safe and ventilated zone.
Set Up The Temperature And Time
The time and temperature can be set differently based on each kind of food. The temperature can go up to 400oF, and the time range is about 5 to 25 minutes.
Read the instructions carefully to choose the correct time and temperature to prevent food from burning.
In this step, just turn on the air fryer and let it do its job. To assist the food crisp up nicely, you may also have to flip or turn it halfway during the cooking period.
After the cooking process, it is important to clean it well. The removable parts like the basket and the drawer should be cleaned carefully every time you use the air fryer.
Do you want to be a master at using an air fryer? If so, don’t miss this illustration.
You should avoid using paper and plastic carriers to put into the air fryers. The heat will burn the paper to dust, and melt the plastic. Thus, your food will absorb it.
The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Air Fryers
There are many reasons to love air fryers. Meanwhile, no machine is perfect at all, air fryers can’t run away from this. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of using an air fryer:
There are many reasons that make air fryers popular. Read through this to see how much you love it:
- Easy usage: The air fryer is for everyone. You don’t need to be professional. Just read the attached guideline to know how to use it.
- Safe usage: Normal frying method is dangerous because you have to work with exposed hot oil. The air fryer, without using oil, will get you away from this issue.
- Versatility: A single air fryer has several cooking functions, such as grill, steam, bake, and rotisserie.
- Compact: It comes with a space-saving design, making your kitchen tidy.
- Less time consumption: In some cases, you need to unfreeze your food first. But the air fryer can help you do it during cooking time.
- Healthy food making: The oil-free frying process can make food with less fat content than normal.
There are also some limited sides of an air fryer you should take note of before getting one for your kitchen:
- Power consumption: The large-capacity air fryer requires more electricity to run.
- Non-stick surface: This problem makes the cleaning process difficult because some ingredients get stuck into the basket.
- Annoying sound: Since the fan system works so hard to release a rapid airflow, it can create a noisy sound.
- Limited capacity: Small air fryers can not be a good choice for big families.
- Food flavor quality: The food taste will somehow not be tasty to some people.
Variants Of Air Fryers
From the debut time until now, air fryers have developed into many kinds. But there are three types most available in the marketplace: basket-type, oven-type, and paddle-type air fryers. Every version has the same main function and some techniques to meet clients’ demands.
A Basket-Type Air Fryer
This air fryer is the most popular gadget. The removable basket helps you easily take it out to clean up after usage. Also, the basket has many holes underneath to fry food evenly.
An Oven-Type Air Fryer
Trays and racks are additional parts to the oven-type air fryer for more cooking functions like rotisserie, toasting, and baking. The food volume is larger than others that fit large families.
A Paddle-Type Air Fryer
When you buy a paddle-type air fryer, you also have a rotatable mechanism. This version can help you to stir food automatically during cooking time.
Microwave ovens use microwaves, a kind of electromagnetic energy related to radio waves, for cooking foods. The magnetron, producing microwaves, takes high voltage power supplied by the transformer and turns it into microwave energy to heat the food.
There are three ways that microwaves can cook foods; they can pass through the plastic, glass, paper materials, they are reflected by metals, and the foods absorb them.
Many microwaveable foods can reach a cooking temperature of approximately 212oF. This is the highest degree that microwave ovens can get. (2)
How To Utilize A Microwave Oven?
A microwave oven is quick to cook, especially when you want to preheat your foods. Yet, you may not ensure to use it safely and effectively. Keep reading to know exact details on how to run your microwave oven in the right ways.
The microwave’s position should be in the dry and flat areas. Don’t put it near gas or electric zones to ensure safety and ventilation. Avoid placing hot things on the top of the microwave.
Next to check is to secure the glass round tray and the roller ring. If not, they can’t spin around smoothly, causing the food to spill out.
Some kitchen accessories, like glass bowls and ceramic plates, are great food holders because these materials easily absorb the microwaves to heat the food.
You should use a technical plastic film for microwaves to cover the food so that it can prevent food from splattering. Place the food in the center of the turntable for rapid food heating.
In addition, 5-day old food items are impossible to microwave again. Because bacteria would now call it home, heating it would transfer them to the microwave, contaminating new items.
Cleaning process is always a must for using all kitchen devices. As for the microwave, do not directly spray water and use cleaning gel inside the food case, clean it with a wet towel, and blot any food and dust leftovers.
There are things you can put into the microwave ovens, such as paper, silicone, ceramic, glass, and plastic. They can protect food and benefit the cooking procedure.
If you are wondering whether you can place aluminum foil in your microwave, while the answer depends on different situations, it mainly is no. The same goes with metal and wood. It’s because these things will get burnt or melted during the cooking process.
The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Microwaves
Although the microwave oven is a friendly gadget in your family, you must accept that everything always comes with two sides. In this section, I will tell you all of the pros and cons of using the microwave oven.
In this stage, several good sides the microwave brings to society that makes it become a popular kitchen gadget:
- Fast working: Using the radio waves to create heat, both cooking and rewarming processes are less time-consuming than those in other devices.
- Various cooking programs: The machine is versatile in its functions. You just set up, turn on the microwave, and wait.
- Easy cleaning afterward: With the simple design, all you need is to use the damp cloth to wipe food leftovers in the food case.
- Defrosting function: This notable benefit fastens the unfreezing step before food preparation.
- Safe usage: The microwave does not produce too high cooking temperatures, so there is no burning issue.
- Heat settings: Microwaves have a variety of temperature settings, allowing you to choose the degree and power level for your meal.
- Unchanged food taste: By not using or using less oil, food flavors and nutritions are healthy and unchanged after cooking.
Besides, there are five disadvantages when using a microwave for cooking. Notice all these things to learn more about your microwave.
- Drying food: Microwave ovens dehydrate food that makes it easily dried if overheated.
- Soggy food results: The overtime cooking can cause food to be soggy.
- Material restrictions: You should not put metal, aluminum, and wood things into the machine.
- Poisoning risk: If the food is uneven after cooking, there is a chance of being poisoned.
- The leak of radiation: This is the most dangerous issue of using a damaged microwave oven because the radiation harms human health.
Is using a microwave dangerous for our health? Check this out to reveal the truth!
How Many Types Of Microwaves?
In general, there are three most typical microwave ovens you can find at the retailers: solo, grill, and convection microwave ovens.
Solo Microwave Oven
The solo microwave is a basic form of microwave perfect for prewarming, defrosting, and cooking food. But, it is unable to bake or grill. Solo microwaves are often friendly-cost and power-saving, with no particular features.
Grill Microwave Oven
In addition to defrosting, warming, and cooking, the grill microwave also can grill, sear, and brown meals. On the other hand, it is not as good at baking as the convection microwave. This is the version lying between solo and convection microwaves.
A Convection Microwave Oven
The true nature of a convection microwave is a microwave that can do more than just reheat or cook food. Besides regular functions, it can bake and grill. Despite the high price, this model has multiple functions and capabilities.
In this section, I will show you the contrasts and similarities between air fryers and microwaves in detail. This will help you decide which one is suitable for you to buy. Check the brief comparison table below:
|Cooking Technique||Use hot air circulation from fan and heating mechanism||Use microwaves from magnetron|
|Design||Cylindrical, oven-like, and paddle-shaped.||Rectangular shape.|
|Versatility||More flexible (Good at frying)||Less versatile (Excellent at boiling soups and liquid-based items)|
|Power Consumption||More energy-efficient||Less energy-efficient|
|Cooking Temperature||Up to 400oF||212oF|
|Capacity & Size||Smaller||Bigger|
|Food Results||Crispy status Oil-free content||Soggy status Still needs oil to cook|
|Cleaning & Maintenance|| |
The Resemblances Of Air Fryers And Microwaves
In the first aspect, there are some similarities between the two modern cooking machines that are clear to recognize. Keep reading to see what factors they are sharing.
Easy & Safe Usage
With the control of switches, you can just put food into the devices, set up time and temperature for foods, press start, and wait for the clock to notify.
Moreover, they use no oil (or less oil) for cooking, which helps you get away from oil-burning accidents. The closed design is also child-safe.
In comparison to traditional ovens, air fryers and microwaves provide significantly healthier cooking results. Two appliances dehydrate food to cook without using oil, avoiding health diseases related to excessive oils.
The Distinctions Between Air Fryers And Microwaves
Going together with the similarities, numerous noticeable differences occur between two popular kitchen gadgets. You should take notes carefully to learn more about them.
Air fryers have a heating coil that warms up initially. After the coil releases the heat, the fan system begins to whirl to make a rapid airflow, circulating that heat around the basket to fry food.
However, inside a microwave oven, an electron tube known as a magnetron generates microwaves – or electromagnetic radiation.
Microwaves are reflected inside the oven’s metal interior, where the food will absorb them. Then, they force the water molecules in the food to vibrate, which produces heat to cook the food.
The air fryers come out in 3 shapes: cylindrical air fryers, oven-type air fryers, and paddle-type air fryers. Meanwhile, the microwaves are only rectangular shapes.
When you compare an air fryer to a microwave oven, it is apparent that the air fryer is more lightweight and compact than the microwave oven. But, it does not have the same cooking capacity as the microwave.
You can cook many foods in the microwave. But most food types will be cooked best in the air fryer, such as bacon, chicken, steaks, crab cake, tofu, potato wedges, etc.
The microwave, in some cases, is excellent at boiling soups and liquid-base foods. It would be energy-inefficient to use air fryers to cook these items.
The microwave consumes less time to cook than air fryers. It only takes a few seconds to minutes to finish warming food in the microwave. In reverse, the air fryer takes more than 15 minutes.
For instance, cooking chicken wings in air fryers may take 15 to 20 minutes. When you cook the same items in microwaves, it will take only 3 to 4 minutes to finish.
Some air fryers (like Ultrean Air Fryers) use up to 1700 watts for a long cooking period, so air fryers are more energy-efficient than microwaves. There is no standby mode, and you can adjust the time and temperature on air fryers.
A microwave uses approximately 1200 watts for around 30 minutes of cooking. When in standby or reheat mode, the microwaves will additionally consume a negligible amount of energy from 2 to 7 watts.
On the one hand, the cooking temperature could reach more than 400oF to air fry food. Depending on the food you’re cooking, the temperature will be different.
On the other hand, most microwaveable meals may attain a maximum temperature of roughly 212oF. This is the highest degree that microwave ovens can reach. (3)
Capacity & Size
Microwaves have a larger capacity than air fryers. You can cook a bigger batch of food in the microwave, while the air fryer has a smaller food case. On average, microwaves have a capacity of 45 liters. But the 5 liters capacity is the maximum for air fryers.
The microwave is bigger on the exterior (depending on the version). Therefore, it is suitable for wide kitchens. The lightweight size of the air fryer makes it easier to move and place than the microwave, and they would fit for small kitchens.
Air fryer requires more time to cook food, but the final result is a crispy and flavorful dish that would make you desire more. Microwave oven, in contrast, cooks food faster than air fryers, yet the meal is a bit soggy.
In terms of retraining more nutrients for food, air fryers are better than microwaves. They need very little oil in the cooking process, so the food is always healthy after cooking.
Microwaves, however, still require a small quantity of oil. Also, cooking food in microwaves may increase acrylamide, affecting nutrient content in food.(4)
Cleaning & Maintenance
The air fryer requires a cleanup after use to make sure the accessories are well-cleaned for later use, while the microwave just needs cleaning after a few days’ use.
Due to their compact size, air fryers are easy to clean. You also don’t have to frequently check the fan and heating element’s lifespan because they are guaranteed to work for years.
However, microwaves are more difficult to clean. You can’t use strong chemicals to clean it due to the combustibility, so you have to put so much effort into cleaning up the big food case.
There are no removable parts in microwaves except for the turntable. This makes you have to reach deep into the food case to wipe off all the dirt.
After cleanup, it is important to wipe the excess water thoroughly in the microwave. Food leftovers may be stuck on the oven interior’s surface. If you don’t clean it well, it will absorb heat when you cook other meals, which may harm your microwave.
Moreover, the turntable and light bulbs need frequent maintenance. If necessary, you must buy new ones to replace them.
If you are not sure how to clean your microwave properly, check this demonstration.
If you want to cook bacon, beef, fish, and chicken, you should opt for an air fryer. Moreover, although there are still some gaps between an air fryer and a dehydrator, you can still dehydrate fruits and vegetables with your air fryer.
The air fryer is suitable for those living alone or in pairs because it is money-saving. And it is best for people who tend to eat clean, oil-free, and healthy food.
Unlike air fryers, microwaves can dissolve butter for baking, defrost frozen foods in a short time, warm up food leftovers, and even boil water to make instant noodles. In those cases, microwaves are your best option.
In some models, the microwaves have steam-powered sanitized trays that help you destroy all bacteria in bottles and other kitchen tools. Also, microwaves are power-efficient for big families.
Let this illustration guide you on making instant noodles in your microwave.
Some say the best choice lies in choosing the finest air fryer microwave combo. But for those who just want one of these two tools, I’ve made a list of the best air fryers and microwaves that you can find available at stores.
The Ninja DZ2O1 Foodi Air Fryer includes a simple control of switches and two 4-quart separate baskets, a perfect air fryer with large capacity.
The device allows you to dehydrate, fry, grill, roast, and reheat food. It also has DualZone Technology, which lets you cook two distinct items at the same time.
This is the best air fryer with the price under $100. It has a 7-quart and three stacked racks and multi functions, ideal for large families.
The huge control panel has a complete touchscreen menu with 8 cooking settings, making it simple to select functions, set an alarm and temperature.
The solo microwave offers overheating safety, ideal for individuals who live alone or in pairs. An automatic shut-off mechanism prevents the microwave from overheating, which can cause electrical or mechanical damage.
The Galanz Toastwave is more than just a microwave; it even functions as a convection oven, a toaster, an air fryer, and a normal oven. Besides, it features a sensor cooking mechanism, ensuring that your food is evenly cooked.
I understand that you have many further questions related to these two cooking devices. Check this section to answer your questions.
If you ask me to pick one over the other, it would be hard for me to decide. Air fryers and microwave ovens are all great at their techniques. It is wonderful to have both gadgets in my kitchen, which motivates me to cook every day.
After reading through my post, what is your decision? Anything you want to share with me. Just notify me in the section below. Big thanks to you.
- En.wikipedia.org. 2022. Air fryer.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2022. Microwave Ovens.
- En.wikipedia.org. 2022. Microwave oven.
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. 2022. Effect of Microwave Heating on the Acrylamide Formation in Foods.