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Toasters and air fryers are two popular appliances with important uses in homes.
While both kitchen appliances can prepare a few similar meals, they’re different appliances: hence, the need for this toaster vs air fryer debate.
To help you choose the best appliance to serve your cooking needs, we’ll explore the air fryer vs toaster debate.
Let's find out the details between a toaster and an air fryer.
What Are the Main Differences Between A Toaster and An Air Fryer?
The main difference between a toaster and an air fryer is in their cooking method.
A toaster oven is an electrical appliance that uses radiant heat to toast slices of bread and waffles, etc., to yield evenly heated and browned slices of toast and toasted waffles. While an air fryer is a kitchen appliance with a heating element and a fan for circulating hot air around the cooking chamber to yield crisper dishes without adding oil or butter.
The second major difference between a toaster oven and an air fryer is in their cooking functions.
Toasters are very limited in their functions and can only toast bread: they can only perform this task because of their small size and design. Air fryers, on the other hand, can function as a small versatile oven and perform a wider range of cooking tasks from baking, roasting, broiling, and air frying.
To help you know which of these appliances will be great to sit on your kitchen counter and perform your cooking tasks, we’ll explore both units individually.
What is a toaster? A toaster (not to be confused with a toaster oven) is a small electrical appliance for toasting baked foods such as bread and muffins, etc. Toasting is the only function toasters perform: hence, no no other appliance toasts better than it.
Toasters have a slotted design with coils around the opening (slot). The coils are close to both sides of the opening to give you evenly browned pieces of bread. In addition, toasters are very fast in operation.
Toasters allow you to choose the level of browning you want: you can choose from light toast (which makes toast faster) to an almost-burnt toast (which takes a longer time).
Toasters are small and compact so that it’s only possible to fit a maximum of an inch of an item in them. However, toasters have two- and four-sliced capacities for fitting two or four slices of bread per batch. Also, they’re lightweight, so you can easily tuck them in the cabinet and they won’t take up much space.
What is an air fryer? An air fryer is a countertop appliance that uses convection heating technology to cook delicious, crunchy, and crispy meals with little to no oil. The best way to describe an air fryer is that it’s a mini convection oven.
An air fryer comes with one heating element (located at the top of the fryer basket) that generates hot air of up to 450 F and a high-powered fan that blows the heated air directly onto meals. In addition to this cooking method, their compact sizes make them cook food 20 – 30% faster than conventional ovens to yield crispier results.
The functions of an air fryer include air frying, roasting, broiling, dehydrating, grilling, and baking. It’s also good for reheating leftovers. And since you will be cooking with little to no oil, an air fryer is great for cooking healthy low-fat meals.
Although air fryers may come with trays for stacking your food, there’s an air fryer basket for holding your meal while cooking. Keep in mind that before cooking with an air fryer, you’ll have to preheat your meal (but this isn’t an issue because air fryers cook food very fast).
Another thing worthy of note is that you may have to shake the air fryer since the heating element is located at the top. Also, air fryers can toast bread but they aren’t great at doing this as they don’t work well for doughy or baked items. Air fryers aren’t also great for cooking foods dipped in liquid batter.
So when the food you want to cook and crisp is a vegetable, frozen food, or meat, the appliance to use is an air fryer.
What are the advantages of a toaster over an air fryer?
The advantages of a toaster, when compared to an air fryer, are that it’s a compact energy-efficient appliance with a long lifetime expectancy, that is great for toasting bread.
Best for toasting
When compared to an air fryer, a toaster is the best appliance for toasting baked items.
This is because the toaster was designed specifically for toasting items. Also, it has a slotted design with coils closely placed around its opening to quickly and evenly heat bread, muffin, waffles, bagels, baguettes, and muffins.
Air fryers, on the other hand, are not great for toasting or preparing other baked items: however, they’re great for air frying and reheating frozen foods.
When compared to an air fryer, a toaster has a small size and rectangular shape that doesn’t take up much space on the kitchen counter. Plus it makes it easy to store in the cabinet.
Faster toasting time and longer lifetime expectancy
One of the features that make a toaster an efficient appliance is the short time it takes to make toast.
When set to medium, it takes a toaster between 1 to 4 minutes to toast bread to perfection. Depending on the food you’re cooking, it could take an air fryer anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes to cook your meal.
Also, the average lifetime expectancy of a toaster is six to eight years while air fryers have a lifespan of three to six years. You can extend the lifespan of these appliances by cleaning them often.
When considering the most affordable option, a toaster is cheaper than an air fryer. The price for a toaster ranges from $15 to around $300 while the cost of an air fryer is between $50 and $500.
When compared to an air fryer, a toaster is more energy efficient as it has a lower energy consumption and toasts items faster.
The average energy consumption of a toaster is around 1200 watts per hour: which means it’ll cost you $0.48 to run your toaster for an hour. On the other hand, the air fryer consumes 1500 watts per hour of electricity which amounts to $0.6 per hour.
Toasters actually use a lesser amount of electricity due to the short time they take in toasting bread.
Ease of use and cleanup
Both a toaster and an air fryer are easy to use and clean but it’s easier to clean a toaster.
Simply put your slices of bread in the slots, select the toast level or the time you want the bread to toast for, and start toasting. For an air fryer, most of the processes are automated: however, you may have to stop the gadget at intervals and shake the basket’s content.
Also, air fryers have more moving parts than a toaster, which makes them a bit more difficult to clean.
What are the advantages of an air fryer over a toaster?
The advantages of an air fryer, when compared to a toaster, are that it’s a versatile appliance with a large cooking area for cooking healthy meals.
The primary feature that gives an air fryer an edge over a toaster is its versatility.
While a toaster is designed both in form and function for only toasting items such as bread, waffles, bagels, etc., an air fryer can do a lot more. Air fryers can broil veggies, air fry French fries, roast chicken wings, grill meat, and reheat frozen foods.
These make an air fryer a good countertop replacement for your conventional oven. But keep in mind that air fryers aren’t good for toasting.
Great for cooking healthy meals
One of the primary reasons people transition from using traditional or convection ovens to air frying is because of its healthy cooking.
With an air fryer, you can prepare meals without using oil or butter and the meal will turn out delicious, crisp, and evenly browned.
Although you may need to spray a little quantity of oil on the basket to avoid compromising the non-stick material.
When compared to toasters that only have two- and four-slot models, air fryers have larger capacities.
The problem with the toaster models is that you’ll have to toast bread in multiple batches if you want to feed a large family. This is opposed to being able to easily fit a full-sized chicken or two bags of frozen French fries in a 5- to 8-quart air fryer.
Which One Is more Usable in A Kitchen between A Toaster and An Air Fryer?
An air fryer is more versatile than a toaster in the kitchen because it can perform a wider range of tasks. Air fryers can broil, air fry, roast, and grill foods while toasters can only toast doughy foods.
And if you’re asking, “Is a toaster the same as an air fryer?” No, a toaster is not the same as an air fryer.
A toaster is a compact kitchen appliance for toasting bread, bagels, baguettes, and other baked items while an air fryer is an appliance for cooking a variety of meals using different cooking methods such as broiling, air frying, and grilling, etc.
What foods can you make in a toaster?
You can make the following foods in a toaster;
- Toasted bread
- Cinnamon rolls
- Sweet potato toast
- Kale chips
- Greek veggie
- Huevos rancheros
- Roasted nuts
- Veggie burgers
- Corn tortilla chips
- Pork kebabs
- Blueberry pastries
- Crispy bacon
- Pesto sandwich
- Pizza bagel
- Avocado toast
- Roasted asparagus
- Apple pumpkin bagel
- French fries
- Chicken nuggets
- Ham and cheese toastie
- Brussels sprout
You can find the other uses of a toaster here.
What foods can you make in an air fryer?
Air fryers can air fry the foods that can go in your deep fryer, and they can do more. Here are some of the foods you can make in an air fryer;
- French fries
- Baked potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Chicken tenders
- Tortilla chips
- Hot dogs
- Pre-fried frozen foods
- Zucchini noodles
- Brussels sprouts
- Pizza rolls
- Green beans
- Fish sticks
- Mozzarella sticks
- Cinnamon rolls
- Tater tots
- Tofu nuggets
Avoid putting broccoli, cheese, meals with wet batter, whole chicken, and over-seasoned proteins and vegetables in the air fryer. Here are the different uses of an air fryer.
Can a toaster and an air fryer be paired together?
Yes, you can pair a toaster and an air fryer together in the kitchen as they perform different functions.
Toasters are great at toasting foods such as bread and cookies while an air fryer is used to make foods like chicken and pizza crisper. And even for the foods that both toasters and air fryers can cook, the shape and design of toasters won’t allow them to fit large items. So you’ll still need an air fryer.
What are the instances where you can use a toaster and an air fryer together?
If you know how to use a toaster, you can toast bread and cookies in your toaster while you reheat your frozen French fries in your air fryer.
What are the instances where an air fryer should never be used together?
If you don’t eat lots of toasted bread or toast baked food, you may not need to get a toaster alongside your air fryer. Here’s how to use an air fryer.
What to Consider when Buying A Toaster and An Air Fryer?
Before getting a toaster or an air fryer, these are the most important factors you should consider.
What are the types of toasters and air fryers?
There are two types of toasters; pop-up toasters and countertop toasters.
Pop-up toasters are the most common types of toasters: they come with two or four slots at the top for inserting your baked item. The items then pop up after toasting. These models are affordable, easy to use, and only used for toasting as they have limited cooking space.
Countertop toaster ovens are used as replacements for conventional ovens because of their energy efficiency and ability to perform tasks that traditional ovens can do. This makes them more expensive than pop-up toasters.
On the other hand, there are four types of air fryers; cylindrical basket air fryer, basket-type air fryer, oven air fryer, and paddle-type air fryer.
Cylindrical basket air fryers are compact and have drawers with removable baskets. However, their compact size means they’re only good for couples or someone living alone.
Basket-type air fryers have baskets with holes that allow for hot air to easily get through to your food. However, you won’t be able to cook foods that are too soupy because of the holes.
An oven air fryer is more versatile than a cylindrical basket and a basket-type air fryer. It comes with racks like a toaster oven and can perform a wider range of cooking tasks such as broiling, grilling, and toasting.
Paddle air fryers come with a paddle that can automatically rotate to allow for the even cooking of your meal. You can also remove the paddle to create room for larger items.
What air fryer or toaster size is right for me?
Basically, pop-up toasters come in 2- or 4-slot models which can mostly toast bread. But if you want to toast large items such as bagels, you’ll need a model with large slots. Also, if you have a large family, you can opt for a toaster oven.
For an air fryer, a 2-quart unit will be great for you if you live alone while a 3- to 4-quart model will be great for a couple. If you feed a family of 6 members, go for a model with two or more racks and larger than 7-quart.
How much should I pay for a toaster or air fryer?
Toasters are usually cheaper than air fryers. A pop-up toaster costs between $20 and $100 while a countertop toaster oven will set you back around $50 to $300. The price for air fryers range from $50 to $500. There's an article already covered for the best toaster ovens under 100.
What Are the Best Brands for Toasters?
The five best brands making the best toasters are Black and Decker, Cuisinart, Breville, Hamilton Beach, and KitchenAid.
Black and Decker
Black and Decker is one of the most reputable brands when it comes to making mid-priced kitchen appliances. They make 2- and 4-slice toasters as well as countertop toaster ovens that brown food evenly. Their products have lots of positive reviews.
Cuisinart is one of the best brands making some of the best toasters. Their pop-up toasters and countertop toaster ovens have been met with lots of positive reviews for their ability to toast meals evenly. Their countertop models are very versatile but there are also critical reviews of Cuisinart’s models.
Breville is another brand selling top-of-the-line toasters. Their toasters are easy to use and come with lots of features. However, they are expensive when compared to other models on this list.
Hamilton Beach is also one of the top brands making some of the best air fryers. Their units are affordable without compromising on quality.
KitchenAid is a household name when it comes to making the best kitchen appliances. While their products are highly efficient, they’re priced higher than most of the other brands on this list. Also, their pop-up models tend to perform better than their countertop models.
What Are the Best Brands for Air Fryers?
The five best brands making the best air fryers are Philips, COSORI, Ninja, GoWiseUSA, and Dash.