Biggest air fryer cons to be aware of
I do really like air fryers a lot. But I want to tell you about some of the downsides of air fryers, especially when you want to buy a new air fryer.
Because, just like any other product, air fryers do have a couple of disadvantages. I experienced these myself during the use of my air fryers since 2015.
I have currently 12 air fryers, because I test and review them for my Dutch site. So I have quite some knowledge on the downsides of these air fryers.
Here are ten reasons for you to (maybe) not buy an air fryer.
- Air fryers are difficult to clean
- Air fryers are more expensive then deep fryers
- Air fryers have longer cooking times compared to conventional deep fryer
- Air fryers are too small for larger families
- Burnt, dried and failed air fryer dishes
- Air fryers can be loud and noisy
- Air fryers require space and are bulky
- Air fryers can smoke and smell
- Air fryers contain a short power cable
- Difficult to choose the right air fryer for you
1. Air fryers are difficult to clean
Cleaning an air fryer is the biggest complaint I come across when researching air fryers. It is true that cleaning an air fryer is more easy to do in comparison with a conventional deep fryer. But still, people ask me frequently how to clean an air fryer properly.
The reason people have difficulties with cleaning their air fryer is because, I think, they use their air fryer just like their old deep fryer. This means that after usage the owner stores the air fryer away, just like they did with their old deep fryer, without cleaning it.
Yes, an air fryer is an alternative for deep fryers. But you have to see an air fryer more like any other pan in your kitchen. After using a pan or pot you clean it before you store it away in one of your cabinets, right? You basically have to do the same thing with the parts of an air fryer. This means that it is recommended to clean all the parts, such as the frying basket and the pan, thoroughly so you can use a clean air fryer the next time you want to use it.
When you don’t make it a habit of cleaning the air fryer after each and every usage, it will be very difficult to clean the parts. Food residues and fat accumulates at the parts of your air fryer and can turn black after a while. These scorched and burnt on food residues are very difficult to remove and they are unhealthy for you.
So, try to clean you air fryer after every usage. Just pour in some warm water and dish soap in the pan, right after you served your dish. Then let it soak for a while and cleaning will be an easy task. I do recommend to clean the parts by hand, this keeps your air fryer in the best condition. But you can also opt to clean the parts in the dishwasher, but that is completely up your own risk. An disadvantage of using the dishwasher is that the parts of an air fryer are fairly large, so you need a fairly large dishwasher so you have enough space.
2. Air fryers are more expensive than deep fryers
Yes, this is completely true. But can you also prepare a steak, fish, vegetables, bread, cake, eggs or a whole chicken in your deep fryer? I don’t think so.
Again, an air fryer is a more healthy alternative for a deep fryer. But it is also an alternative for a small oven, a wok pan and baking pan. This makes an air fryer a versatile kitchen appliance that can prepare all kinds of foods. This makes it, in my opinion, worth the extra money you have to pay for an air fryer compared to a deep fryer.
I have to agree that some air fryers are quite expensive. Think about the Philips Airfryer XXL, most people can’t justify for themselves to pay over 200 dollars for a ‘deep fryer’. But I do think especially Philips Airfryers are worth the extra money. That is because the Philips Airfryer is the original air fryer. It is the machine that offers the best air frying results, has the largest selection of accessories and has a big community of air fryer fans all over the world where air fryer recipes and experiences are shared daily.
But, when you just want to buy a new deep fryer for deep frying your food. You don’t really see the advantage of the health benefits and don’t want to use all the extra possibilities of an air fryer. Then you are better of buying a more budget-friendly deep fryer that uses oil instead of hot air. It is up to you of course.
3. Air fryers have longer cooking times compared to conventional deep fryer
Frying food with air takes a bit longer than frying food with oil in a traditional frying pan. Both type of frying pans need to be preheated and I think an air fryer does this the quickest. Once the machine is on its set temperature the deep fryer wins when frying french fries for instance. Fries take up around 20 minutes in an air fryer, while a deep fryer can do the job in around 10 minutes.
The time it takes to fry your food in an air fryer really depends on the brand and type of air fryer. From my experience cheaper and lower quality air fryers do require more time to cook food in comparison with higher quality air fryers from Philips. For the fastest results you need a powerful air fryer that reaches its temperature quick and also stays on its set temperature. From my experience I see that some air fryers can’t stay on their set temperature properly. This means that the air fryers loses heat during air frying which results in longer baking times.
4. Air fryers are too small for larger families
I have all kinds of air fryers at home to test out. I have small ones, medium sized ones and also the larger XXL air fryers. And I have to say that it is true that even the large XXL air fryers are too small to make food for a larger household of around five persons. I think a Philips Airfryer XXL has a maximum cooking capacity for around 3 to 4 people. When you only make fries or make a whole chicken, you might have enough for maybe 5 persons. But when you make a whole meal with the air fryer, you have enough for 3 to 4 people max.
Sadly air fryers can’t get any bigger than the ones that are currently on the market. A larger capacity pan than we are used to now will downgrade the cooking results. The reason for this is that the air circulation will lose its power to fry your dish the way it does in a smaller capacity pan. This is also one of the reasons why there are no professional or commercial air fryers on the market right now.
Sometimes I use more than one air fryer in the kitchen. I use one air fryer for making grilled cauliflower and another air fryer to make some baked potatoes and some chicken. But be aware that air fryers require quite a lot electricity, so make sure your wall outlets can handle multiple turned on air fryers at once.
5. Burnt, dried and failed air fryer dishes
Air frying your food is trial and error. Especially in the beginning. One of the most asked questions I receive is how to use an air fryer for the first time and how to make crispy french fries. On the internet and in air fryer recipe books you can find a lot of information about how to set your air fryer for a particular dish or recipe. But there are a lot of air fryers from different manufacturers, this means that every air fryers prepares food a bit differently compared to the other.
So, it might happen that your dish gets burned, gets dried out or just fails. I also experience this when trying out things in my air fryer. I am always experimenting with my air fryer. I am just curious to know what happens inside the air fryer when frying different types of vegetables, fruits and meat for instance.
Once I tried to dry fruits, such as slices of banana, mango and strawberries. The first time I tried it, I used my Philips Airfryer XXL and the standard frying basket with the mesh bottom. Well, the strawberries became very soft and got stuck between the mesh bottom of the basket.
Then I also wanted to make my own granola. So I poured in some oats and cereal inside the baking pan and turned on my air fryer. Well, that didn’t go as expected. Because of the air circulation all the ingredients were flying around inside the air fryer. Stupid as I am, I opened the pan and all the ingredients flew around in my kitchen as well. Yes, it is right around those moments you think by yourself ‘why am I so stupid?’, and the only thing you can do is just blame your air fryer for it.
Last example was that I wanted to grill some mozzarella slices. So I put the slices inside the air fryer, turned it on and came back a few minutes later. I was expecting grilled cheese slices, but in reality I made a grilled cheese frying basket. All the cheese got stuck between the meshed pattern of the frying basket and this was a daunted task to clean afterwards.
It is really annoying when your dish fails. But it is also interesting to know what your air fryer can and can’t do. Most of the time you are doing something wrong. You set the temperature to high, so your product gets burned. Or you sprinkle spices inside the air fryer without any oil, so the spices can’t stick to anything and will make a mess inside the pan.
What I try to say here is that you really have to test things out and based on trial and error you will understand what you can and what you can’t make with an air fryer. When one brand of fries fails, just try another brand or set your air fryer to another temperature level. After a while you know how to use your air fryer for fries, chicken, meat, vegetables and other types of foods. It is fun to try it out, but don’t be afraid to fail every once in a while.
6. Air fryers can be loud and noisy
Air fryers use a ventilator to suck in air which circulates inside the pan of the air fryer when it leaves the air fryer though the rear exhaust. This makes quite some noise, and the amount of noise an air fryer makes differs between the models. But I can say that you can definitely can hear an air fryer when it is turned on.
You can compare the sound of a turned on air fryer with the sound of a hair dryer, a vacuum cleaner or an extractor hood. I don’t find the sound an air fryer makes very annoying, but it is something to be aware of. Especially when you want to use your air fryer in an open kitchen or when you want to talk with someone in the same area where your air fryer is located.
When you do find the produced noise a bit annoying, you can always place your air fryer in a closed off area. Such as your garage or scullery when you have one in your home.
Some digital air fryer also make loud beeping noises. I have a few air fryers that produce very loud beeping sound when you adjust the timer, temperature or other settings. This noise is also produced when the air fryer has reached the desired temperature, or when the timer is finished.
7. Air fryers require space and are bulky
Some people are a bit shocked when they unpack their Philips Airfryer XXL or other large sized air fryer. Because an air fryer can be quite large and also quite heavy. So before you order your air fryer, make sure you have enough space on your kitchen counter to place the air fryer on. Also think about a spot where you want to store your air fryer, when you don’t want to leave it on your kitchen counter permanently.
When cleaning an air fryer you can also experience that some parts can be quite big. Especially when you want to clean the parts in the dishwasher. When you place the pan, frying basket and a possible accessory inside your sink or dishwasher, you will see that XXL air fryer require a lot of space. So this means that your dishwasher can become full more quickly.
I do think it is worth it to opt for a large size air fryer. Because the extra space inside the frying basket makes it more convenient and easy to air fry your food. You will get used to the larger sized parts very soon. I don’t bother it at all, but I wanted to mention this disadvantage since quite some people do complain about the large size of some air fryers.
8. Air fryers can smoke and smell
Just like with cooking with a normal pan, an air fryer can produce smoke and nasty odors when something gets burned or gets over cooked. The first time your air fryer starts smoking it can be a bit stressful. That is because it looks a bit like your air fryer is on fire from the inside. But don’t be afraid, it is completely normal that an air fryer starts smoking. Luckily it this doesn’t happen a lot, it only occurs with certain types of food.
I experience a smoking air fryer when I air fryer meat or other food with a lot of fat in it. Think about burgers or bacon. This fat melts during the process of air fryer and the fat gets splattered around inside the frying basket because of the circulating air. This small drops of fat and oil can splat against the heating element, which is red hot. When this happens the fat burns and produces the nasty smelling smoke.
A smoking air fryer can also occur when an ingredient touches the heating element. Once I wanted to make my own crisps with thin slices of potato. Because these slices are so thin and light, they were blown around because of the circulating air. The ventilator above the heating element sucked the slices against the element, so they got scorched. This also ended up with a smoking air fryer.
You can prevent a smoking air fryer by placing a lid over your frying basket. Philips offers for instance an accessory that you can place over your dish, this prevents ingredients from flying around and it also works as a splash shield for splashing oil drops.
9. Air fryers contain a short power cable
I sounds a bit stupid, but most of my air fryer are equipped with a very short power cable. Most of the air fryers come with a cord that is only 35 inches (or 90 cm) long. For some this is long enough, but when your wall outlet is too far away from the spot you want to place your air fryer, you will need an extension cable every time you want to use your air fryer. And this is quite annoying, I think.
Like I already mentioned, think beforehand where you want to place your air fryer and check if there is a wall outlet nearby. Most people, including me, like to place their air fryer near their stove, since this is the place where you cook food and this where your extractor hood is located.
10. Difficult to choose the right air fryer for you
“Which air fryer should I buy?” I get this question a lot. And nowadays the range of available air fryers is quite extensive. So most people get pretty overwhelmed with all the options and don’t know what air fryer is best for their situation. People are also confused about the fact that some air fryers are very cheap, while others are expensive, like Philips Airfryers. How can you justify the high price, when you can also buy a much cheaper one.
I think this problem that people have is one of the reasons why I started this blog. Originally I started a blog about air fryers back in 2015, but this is a Dutch blog since I am from The Netherlands. But because I also got a lot of questions from people all over the world, I decided to start this international website about air fryers to help you and other people all over the world.
To help you find your best air fryer. Please check out my recommended list of air fryers. Or visit my extensive air fryer buying guide that explains everything you need to know about air fryer. You can also contact me personally to ask your questions or comments about air fryer for me to answer. I am glad to help you.