Air Fryer Vs Microwave – What Are The Differences?

Both of these appliances have become necessary equipment in the 21st century. One just cannot do without a microwave, as it makes life so much easier and hassle-free! And with the increased risks of heart attacks, air fryers have found their significance.

Sure there are days when you come back from a tiring day at work and have literally no energy to go and make food for yourself with the gas oven. Whereas with the microwaves you can easily make the food with 2-3 clicks. 

Everywhere you look around these days, everyone is on a diet. An air fryer is a savior for these people as they can have their favorite foods without gaining any pounds!


What Is An Air Fryer?

An air fryer is a countertop appliance that lets you have fried food without any guilt because it doesn’t actually fry your food. This extraordinary appliance gives you deep-fried food with nothing more than hot air and only a few drops of oil only!

Nowadays, this appliance has found its place in most households, and more so because of the increased health consciousness that has arisen in the minds of people. Air fryers can be used to have any kind of fried food, from french fries to sweet cookies.

How Does An Air Fryer Work?

Some might have a doubt that how does an Air Fryer actually work? How can it make the same fried foods with the same taste with just a few drops of oil? Well, the answer is that the top section of the air fryer holds a heating mechanism and also a fan.

There is a basket in which you put the food in, and put it inside. When you turn the device on, the hot air comes rushing down and it is this hot air that gives the food a fried taste without actually deep frying.

Now, some may also have the question of how to use an Air Fryer-

  1. There will be a food basket in which you are supposed to place your food. Depending on your Air Fryer’s size, it should be anywhere between 2 quarts to 10 quarts. Just put 1-2 teaspoons of oil to brush the food.

  2. Set a specific time. Air fryer cooking time generally ranges from about 10-30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  3. Now, wait for the food to finish its cooking. Once the food is done, take out the basket and serve!

What Is A Microwave?

A microwave is a small oven-like structure, that is used to cook food quickly and can be also used for reheating foods. Unlike gas ovens, which use heat to cook food, it uses electromagnetic radiation.

The radiation or the waves penetrate through the food and heats up any moisture inside it. Microwaves have several modes, convection, baking, etc. They are multipurpose devices found in almost everyone’s home.

How Does A Microwave work?

Microwave ovens cook food by injecting them with microwaves, which are electromagnetic in nature, invisible to the human eye. There is a device called a magnetron inside the guts of a microwave.

It channels electrical energy from a power outlet to a heated filament, creating a flow of electrons that transmits microwaves into the cooking chamber through the antenna. Microwaves bounce around in the chamber and cook the food by radiation heating.

Difference Between Microwave And Air Fryer

The main difference between an air fryer and a microwave is that microwaves can be also used for reheating and heating food. Whereas air fryers are only useful in making fried foods. But there are some other differences too, which make them stand apart.

Air Fryer Vs Microwave

  1. Cooking Technique 

    Air Fryers have a built-in coil that produces heat, and eventually, the hot air is transferred into the food to make it crispier. But in a microwave, the heating element magnetron makes the electrons flow which in turn transmits to the microwaves, which cook the food.

  2. Heating Method 

    Air fryers have a heating mechanism and a fan. When the device is turned on, the built-in coil starts to heat first. After that, the hot air rushes down and it makes the food crispy and fried. On the other hand, microwaves have waves called the “microwaves” which are responsible for making food. These microwaves are electromagnetic waves, invisible to the human eye.

  3. Cooking Time 

    It is seen that a microwave takes less time to cook compared to an air fryer. You can see the results for yourself, the same food which can be prepared in 20 minutes in an air fryer, would take about 3-4 minutes in a microwave. It is also a debatable topic that the longer cooking time in an air fryer results in a better infusion of flavors.

  4. Size

    The majority of the microwaves take about 1-2.2 meters of counter space. An air fryer is a rather compact device that can be fitted in one corner. The food basket of the air fryer has a size that ranges from 2 -10 quarts.

  5. Power Consumption

    Air Fryers consume less power than microwave ovens. However, some models do require more power. Microwave ovens use 1200 watts of power. For heating purposes, microwaves use about 2-7watts of power.

  6. Capacity 

    Air fryers have lesser capacity than microwaves. Microwaves can be used to prepare multiple batches of food at once, but since the basket provided by the air fryer is relatively small, only small batches of food can be made in an air fryer.

  7. Cooking Capacity 

    Microwaves can cook for a large number of persons at one, like a dinner or lunch meal, but air fryers due to their small sizes are only suitable for smaller quantities.

Advantages Of Air Fryers

Air Fryers give a crispier and fried taste to microwaves because it is the hot air that makes them crispy. Air Fryers can be quite beneficial if you are someone who is a health freak and with the rising concerns about health, almost everyone is now shifting to low-fat foods. The advantages of using an Air Fryer are as follows –

  1. Food can be cooked without oil or almost without oil.

  2. Air Fryers take less time to cook fried foods.

  3. Air fryers are compact and are easy to clean, store and use.

Disadvantage Of Air Fryers

Though they are advantageous, there are some disadvantages to using air fryers too:-

  1. It cannot cook large batches of food at once.

  2. Air fryers can be more expensive than other traditional methods of cooking.

  3. The outer surface of the appliance is made of metal so it becomes dangerous to touch.

  4. It can only be used for a few cooking programs.

Advantages Of Microwaves

Microwaves are safer than Air Fryers as they emit heat only from the inner surface covered by the glass. Air Fryers can be dangerous to touch when the food is cooking but the same is not with microwaves. The advantages of microwaves over air fryers are –

  1. Microwaves are more affordable than air fryers.

  2. Same food cooked in Air Fryers can be cooked in a microwave with less time.

  3. It can cook large batches of food at once due to the large cooking space.

Disadvantages Of Microwave

Despite the advantages, microwaves can have some disadvantages-

  1. Microwaves emit radiation which is not good for the human body and also they take away essential proteins from the food while cooking.

  2. Food cooked in microwaves is sometimes not cooked evenly due to the uneven distribution of heat.

  3. They heat food from only one side so cooking may be uneven sometimes.


Is An Air Fryer Safer Than A Microwave?

Air Fryers do not use electromagnetic radiation like microwaves. Food cooked in an Air Fryer is very less oily and healthy too. Also, when the food is cooked in microwaves, important nutrients like proteins are extracted from the food. Keeping in mind all these factors, air fryers are safer to cook in rather than microwaves, though it can take a longer time to cook the foods.

Can I Cook A Whole Chicken In An Air Fryer?

Yes, cooking a chicken in an Air Fryer is very easy. You just have to place the chicken into the air fryer breast down the side and cook for about 40 minutes. Then flip the chicken and cook the other side for 15-20 minutes. Once it is done, switch it off and let it sit for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Why Shouldn’t You Use An Air Fryer?

Despite so many advantages, there can still be reasons which stop you from using an Air Fryer. The first may be the price factor. Air fryers are very costly. Secondly, air fryers are dangerous to touch when the food is being cooked. Third, Air fryers are small in size so they cannot be used for cooking large batches of food. If one is planning to cook for a large number of people, air fryers are not the perfect choice. And lastly, it can only perform a few functions only. So if you are looking for a versatile appliance, Air Fryers are probably not the ones you should use.

Do I Need A Microwave If I Have An Air Fryer?

The main difference between an air fryer and microwave is that microwaves are used for heating foods because air fryers are not suitable for heating all types of items. So the answer is yes, you may still need a microwave oven even if you have an air fryer.

What Appliances Can An Air Fryer Replace?

Air fryers can literally make any fried food with 1-2 teaspoons of oil. Some models are even capable of baking cakes. So an Air Fryer is capable of replacing quite a few kitchen appliances like regular fryers and OTG.


No doubt that both of these inventions have proven beneficial for mankind. Though both of them are powered by electricity and not gas, there are certain features that make them stand apart. In this article, we have tried to make those differences clear. In addition, we have also pointed out the pros and cons that each of them carries with them so that you can decide for yourself which one will suit you better. Hope this helps!

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