Home > Comparison > Air Fryer vs Microwave: Which is Better?

Air Fryer vs Microwave: Which is Better?

Which is better: an air fryer vs. a microwave?

Both the air fryer and the microwave are excellent kitchen tools that make cooking easier and quicker. However, you may be concerned about which one to purchase for your culinary needs.

If you’re curious, this blog is for you. We’ll discuss each appliance, how they perform, their similarities and differences, their advantages, and when to use them in this article.

Keep reading to learn more!

What is An Air Fryer?

The air fryer is a more powerful convection oven claiming to recreate deep-frying effects by cooking dishes with hot air. They are made up of four major components:

  • The heating section
  • The fan system
  • The food chamber
  • The control panel

The heating process is critical in radiating a very hot temperature. The fan system generates a quick airflow to the heating mechanism to circulate super-hot air throughout the food chamber.

The switches panel will assist you in selecting the time and temperature appropriate for each meal type due to the different cooking operations. Depending on what is cooked, the temperature of the air fryer may reach 482 F for 5 to 25 minutes.

air fryer

Types of Air Fryers

When it comes to air fryers, there are four major types available on the market:

Basket Air Fryers

Basket air fryers have a detachable basket that holds the food being cooked. This permits hot air to travel around the food, quickly frying it.

Air Fryer Ovens

This air fryer often has many operations such as baking, broiling, etc.. As a result, they are great for chefs searching for multi-functional devices.

Cylindrical Air Fryers

The cylindrical basket air fryer design comprises drawers with changeable baskets. The heat comes from the top part of the air fryer, and a fan blows down the hot air, evenly heating the food.

It also heats up faster than other varieties, usually within two minutes. It only contains 3 quarts or less, which is ideal for individuals or small parties.

Paddle-type Air Fryers

This air fryer enables the user to remove the paddle, provide extra frying space, and handle larger foods.

It also makes it easy for the user by automatically rotating the food over. The paddle within the basket travels across the basket, allowing hot air to circulate more evenly around the meal.

What is a Microwave?

Microwave ovens cook meals using microwaves, a kind of electromagnetic energy linked to radio waves.

The magnetron, which generates microwaves, converts the transformer’s high-voltage electricity into microwave energy to heat the meal. Microwaves heat meals in three ways:

  • plastic
  • glass
  • paper materials

Metals reflect them, and the foods absorb them. Many microwaveable foods have a cooking temperature of about 212 F. This is the maximum temperature that microwave ovens can reach.

3d microwave

Types of Microwaves

Microwaves are available in a number of designs, including:

Solo Microwave

This microwave can only be used for one purpose: to heat food.

Convection Microwave

Convection microwaves circulate hot air around the food to cook it evenly from all sides, while other microwaves solely utilize electromagnetic radiation to heat food.

Countertop Microwave

This is a free-standing microwave that fits effortlessly on a flexible surface and is simple to move.

Built-in Microwave

This is a small microwave enough to fit within a wall or existing cabinets.

Grill Microwave

In addition to electromagnetic radiation, this microwave has a grill element. This grill is ideal for browning or crisping food.

Smart Microwave

This microwave has Wi-Fi capabilities, such as voice control and other smart features.

Under-counter Microwave

This microwave oven fits into a low cabinet and opens with a sliding door.

Similarities Between Air Fryer And Microwave

Air fryers are relatively new equipment when compared to microwaves. Despite their distinct roles, they have certain similarities. Let’s look at some of these similarities.

Safety Features

Air fryers and microwaves both have numerous safety measures. Among these features is an automated shut-off mechanism, which activates when the air fryer or microwave senses an abnormality.


Air fryers and microwaves are simple to operate and do not need a culinary degree to master. With only a glance at the handbook, you should be an expert in no time.

Both built-in feature timers will alert you when your meal is ready. They also feature a plethora of culinary settings to make cooking even simpler. You have to choose the setting, and the air fryer or microwave will handle the rest.

Portable and Compact

Both air fryers and microwaves come in a variety of sizes. You should have no trouble finding one that will fit properly in your kitchen.

They are also incredibly light and easily transported from one location to another. This feature is ideal for those who like traveling or camping vacations. Air fryers and microwaves are also extremely simple to store when not in use.

Simple to Clean

Air fryers and microwaves are relatively simple to clean, and you won’t have to scrape them for hours. Detachable parts and dishwasher safe design make air fryers and microwaves simple appliance maintenance tasks.


Both are reasonable and will not break the bank when purchased. Microwaves and air fryers are also very energy-efficient, which means you will save significant money on your utility costs.

Differences Between Air Fryer And Microwave

When comparing air fryers with microwaves, keep in mind that they work differently and are very different equipment. Here are the differences between air fryers and microwaves.

Cooking Technique

Air fryers use convection heating, in which the heating coils are preheated and the hot air is distributed uniformly throughout the cooking vessel by a fan.

This technique takes a respectable amount of time. On the other hand, microwave ovens use electromagnetic radiation to heat water molecules already in the food.

Consequently, when heated, the water molecules begin to vibrate and create heat, allowing the food to be properly prepared. Despite being faster than an air fryer, this approach does not provide crisper food.

Cooking Time

Microwaves cook much faster than air fryers. This is because microwaves cook foods from the inside out. Air fryers have to heat up before they can start cooking, which takes some time.

Furthermore, the hot air method takes time to cook the meal evenly. If you are in a hurry, a microwave is a preferable alternative.

Cooking Capacity

Most microwaves are larger than Air fryers. This allows them to store more food and cook bigger servings. Air fryers have a limited cooking capacity and are often used to prepare small meals or snacks.

Aspect of Health

Air fryers can cook without using oil, making them a healthier alternative. Modern microwave versions still need some oil to cook bigger amounts of food. Microwave electromagnetic radiation may endanger your food and health.


While both the microwave and the Air fryer are affordable. However when it comes to cooking healthily, the investment in an air fryer is definitely worth the extra money.


Air fryers use quick air technology to cook a range of foods. Proper air fryer operation produces food with the crispness of a deep fryer but without the hassle of cooking in oil.

On the other hand, microwaves employ electromagnetic radiation to stimulate the water molecules in your meal, which causes it to warm up. Although both machines can warm food, an air fryer is the better option for cooking raw food.


Microwaves are measured in cubic feet and typically vary from 0.50 to two cubic feet.

Quartz is used to measure air fryers. The smallest are roughly two quarts in size, while the biggest is up to eight quarts. As a result, air fryers are more compact and simpler to store than microwaves.

Power Consumption

A microwave consumes less electricity than an air fryer. Some types utilize roughly 1500 watts, while others use up to 1700 W. According to feedback, for around 30-40 minutes of cooking, a microwave needs 1200W; for other tasks such as reheating, an extra 2-7 watts is necessary.

You may like: Speed Oven vs. Microwave: 9 Key Differences You Need to Know

How to Use an Air Fryer

The air fryer, like other kitchen equipment, includes operating instructions. Because it has numerous purposes, you must understand how your air fryer operates.

Step#1 Fill the Food Chamber With Your Food

Depending on the size of each variety, the air fryer may hold up to 10 quarts. To maintain proper food ventilation, keep the basket open.

Before placing food into the basket, preheat your air fryer for a few minutes. Place your machine in a well-ventilated and safe area.

Step#2 Setup Temperature And Time

The duration and temperature may be adjusted depending on the kind of food being cooked. The temperature may reach 400 degrees Fahrenheit, ranging from 5 to 25 minutes.

To avoid food from burning, pick the right cooking time and temperature by carefully reading the directions.

Step#3 Allow Cooking

Turn on the air fryer and let it do its thing at this stage. To help the food crisp up beautifully, you may need to flip or turn it halfway through the cooking time.

Step#4 Clean Afterwards

It is critical to thoroughly clean the pan after cooking. Whenever you use the air fryer, thoroughly clean the detachable pieces, such as the basket and drawer.

Restriction on Materials

You should avoid using paper or plastic carriers in air fryers. The heat will scorch the paper and melt the plastic. As a result, your meal will absorb it.

You may like: How to Reheat Steak in Air Fryer?

Benefits of Air Fryer

Air fryers are quite popular due to their many advantages. One of its primary benefits is that it can cook a broad range of meals with little or no oil, making it a healthier alternative to deep frying.

Other advantages of using an air fryer include the following:

  • It has basic settings that make it simple to prepare various foods.
  • It is small and convenient to store.
  • It aids in weight reduction by reducing calories by up to 80%.
  • It uses less energy than typical cooking appliances.

How to Use the Microwave

Cooking with a microwave oven is rapid, particularly when you want to warm your items. However, you cannot guarantee that you will utilize it securely and successfully. Here are specifics on how to use your microwave oven correctly.

Step#1 Setup Stage

The microwave should be placed in a dry and level location. Do not place it near gas or electric lines to guarantee safety and ventilation. Avoid putting hot items on the microwave’s top.

The circular glass tray and roller ring must then be secured. If they can’t rotate around smoothly, the food will pour out.

Step#2 Cooking Process

Some kitchen items, such as glass bowls and ceramic plates, are excellent food carriers because they absorb microwaves efficiently.

To avoid food splattering, wrap the meal with a technical plastic film designed for microwaves. Place the meal in the middle of the turntable to heat it quickly.

Note: 5-day-old food cannot be microwaved again. Heating it would transmit germs to the microwave, infecting new goods since bacteria would now call it home.

Step#3 Maintenance

Cleaning is always required before using any kitchen appliance. When cleaning the microwave, do not immediately spray water or use cleaning gel within the food case; instead, wipe it with a moist cloth and blot any food or dust remnants.

Restriction on Materials

Paper, porcelain, silicone, plastic and glass may all be used in microwave ovens. They may both protect food and aid in the cooking process.

If you’re wondering if you can use aluminum foil in your microwave, although the answer varies depending on the scenario, the general response is no. The same is true for metal and wood. This is because these items will be burned or melted throughout the cooking process.

Benefits of Microwave

Microwaves, like air fryers, have their own advantages, making them a popular cooking tool. One of the primary benefits of microwaves is their speed and convenience, making them an ideal alternative for busy individuals who don’t have the time to prepare conventional techniques.

Microwaves also provide the following advantages:

  • It is reasonably priced and easily accessible.
  • It cooks meals quicker than traditional ovens and makes no mess.
  • It is readily capable of handling enormous amounts of food.
  • It can defrost food.
  • It is simple to use and clean.

What Is An Air Fryer Microwave Combo?

An Air Fryer Microwave Combo has a built-in air fryer, allowing you to cook meals with little or no oil. To cook food uniformly and rapidly, air fryer microwaves combine the hot air technology of an air fryer with the speed of a microwave.

The air fryer microwave combination is one of the most recent kitchen equipment intended to make cooking quicker and simpler. Someone should pat themselves on the back for coming up with this combo.

What’s more, the microwave air fryer combines all the usual microwave features. Other advantages include defrosting, reheating, and cooking.

Benefits of Air Fryer Microwave Combo

Here are some advantages to utilizing an air fryer microwave combo:

  • It enables you to effectively airfryer and microwave meals.
  • It cooks food quicker than an air fryer or microwave.
  • It assists in weight reduction by allowing you to enjoy fried meals without deep-frying them.
  • It uses very little energy.
  • It is very simple to use, clean, and maintain.
  • It reduces the possibility of acrylamide contamination.

Final Thoughts

Both devices offer various benefits and features. Microwaves employ radio frequencies and electromagnetic waves to cook food, while air fryers use just heated air.

An air fryer is a terrific solution if you want to cook small amounts of food quickly and easily. A microwave is a way to go if you require an appliance that can handle larger amounts of food or if you want to cook from scratch. Thanks for reading!

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

Leave a Comment