The traditional oven is probably the most staple kitchen appliance you can find in any home. But advancements in technology have led to the rise of faster and more compact cooking appliances such as air fryers.
While both an air fryer and a wall oven play very important roles in the kitchen, is one oven better than the other? This is the question we set out to answer in the air fryer vs wall oven comparison guide.
Let’s delve into the air fryer vs wall oven debate to know the differences between these two appliances.
Differences Between An Air Fryer and A Wall Oven
The main difference between an air fryer is in their size and capacity.
An air fryer is a compact countertop convection oven with a median size ranging from 3.5 quarts to 5.8 quarts for cooking a meal for two to four people at a time. While a wall oven is a conventional oven with a median size of 27 to 30 inches that’s installed around eye level in a kitchen cabinet. It’s used for cooking multiple dishes at a time.
The second main difference between an air fryer and a wall oven is in their cooking technology.
An air fryer uses convection heating technology to cook foods faster than a wall oven with little to no oil by blowing hot air around the cooking chamber with a fan. While a wall oven uses radiant heat to cook foods with high water content.
To better understand how these appliances differ, let’s explore their strengths and weaknesses individually.
What is an air fryer? An air fryer is a cylindrical countertop appliance with a heating element at the top and a convection fan for evenly circulating hot air (reaching 400 F) to cook dishes. They don’t have racks like other ovens: instead, they have a basket for loading your content, which makes the appliance best suited to cooking one dish at a time.
The appliance’s convection cooking, air frying basket, and small size makes it circulate the heated air 25% faster than convection and conventional ovens. However, their compact size means they can only cook for a few people.
Air fryer functions include baking, roasting, air frying, dehydrating, broiling, and grilling. And it’s great for cooking any meal that you’d fry with oil especially, frying chicken nuggets, potato chips, reheating frozen foods, and vegetables. Keep in mind that air fryers aren’t good for doughy foods or baked items.
Air fryers can cook food with little to no oil. Hence, they encourage healthy cooking when compared to oven frying and deep frying. They also yield crisper, browner, and more evenly cooked results. Their perforated racks (different from removable or cooking racks) allow excess oil to drip into a pan.
Air fryers consume a very low amount of energy – an average of 1.5KWh which is almost half the energy consumption of conventional ovens.
Air fryers are smaller than most other ovens. They don’t take up much countertop space and are easy to store in a cabinet due to their average size of 12.25 inches.
What is a wall oven? A wall oven is a compact variant of a conventional oven that’s installed in kitchen cabinets.
While wall ovens are smaller than traditional ovens, the interior cooking area is roughly the same size: hence they’re great for cooking multiple dishes at a time. They also come with racks for staking foods and heating elements at the top and bottom for cooking food using radiant heat like full-sized traditional ovens.
However, the major benefit of wall ovens is their capacity. The most common wall ovens are 27 to 30 inches tall and 24 to 30 inches wide. This makes them able to cook large items such as turkeys and full-sized chickens.
Plus they’re versatile in the kinds of dishes they can prepare and their cooking functions. Wall ovens can bake, broil, fry, roast, defrost, grill, etc. And there are double-walled models to afford you more space.
Cooking with wall ovens takes a longer time and yields uneven results because of their fluctuating and inconsistent temperature.
Superiorities of an air fryer to a wall oven
The benefits of cooking in an air fryer over a wall oven are that it’s an energy-efficient, compact appliance that yields crisper, healthier results in a fraction of the time spent by a wall oven.
Yield better results
When compared to deep frying in a wall oven, air frying is best for frying foods: an air fryer yields more even results with a fraction of the fat.
Air fryers have high-powered fans that consistently blow heated air around the chamber. This evenly distributes the hot air of around 400 F, focusing the heat on the food, and making it crisper, browner, and tastier.
Conversely, the temperature in wall ovens fluctuates between 300 and 450 F. Also, the part of the fried food closest to the heating elements will receive more heat than the other parts, leaving your food unevenly cooked.
When compared to wall ovens, air fryers cook meals faster.
Air fryers have convection fans for evenly circulating hot air within their cooking area. Because of their compact sizes, the close positioning of their fans to the cooking area, and consistent temperature, they’re able to cook food in 25 to 30% shorter time than wall ovens.
It’ll take an air fryer around 30 minutes to fry potato chips while a wall oven will take between 45 and 50 minutes to fry chips.
Air frying is a great way for people on low-fat and calorie diets (and everyone in general) to cook low-fat meals. And this is one of the primary reasons people use their air fryers more often than their wall ovens. Here are some of the use cases of an air fryer.
When cooking with an air fryer, you can choose to add a tablespoon of cooking oil or none, and the results will come out nice. This way, your fat and calorie intake is minimal and you’re preventing conditions like obesity, some cancers, heart diseases, and inflammation, etc.
Deep frying in wall ovens, on the other hand, requires you to add larger amounts of oil.
Unlike a wall oven that requires a cabinet for installation, an air fryer’s compact size makes it a fit for small kitchens. You can use it on your kitchen counter and store it in a cupboard.
Better energy efficiency
Another advantage of cooking with an air fryer over a wall oven is that air fryers are more energy efficient.
Air fryers consume almost half the energy that wall ovens consume. Where a wall oven will use 2.3 KWh of electricity, costing around $0.9 per hour, an air fryer will consume 1.5 KWh which costs $0.6 per hour.
Secondly, air fryer heats food using a more consistent temperature and takes a shorter time to cook than a wall oven. For example, air frying chips will take around 25 to 30 minutes to fry chips while deep frying will take between 45 and 50 minutes.
When comparing the prices of an air fryer to a wall oven, an air fryer is cheaper.
Air fryers cost between $50 and $500 while wall ovens cost around $500 to $3,500. And you also have to consider the installation cost of your wall oven which could run into $1,200 and $2,700.
Superiorities of a wall oven to an air fryer
The benefits a wall oven has over an air fryer include its versatility, larger capacity, comfortable use, and nicer appearance which makes it match your kitchen’s décor.
When compared to an air fryer, a wall oven has more cooking functions.
Wall ovens can bake cake, bread, and other foods made of batter; roast beef; and broil veggies better than air fryers. Furthermore, some traditional wall ovens come with convection setting for achieving crispy and browner results like air fryers.
The biggest advantage a wall oven has over an air fryer is its larger capacity.
The most common air fryers have an average size of 12.25 inches. Because of their compact build, they’re used to cook one meal at a time for a small number of people. And they can’t fit large items such as full-sized chicken.
The average size of the most common wall ovens, on the other hand, ranges from 27 to 30 inches with interior space of 4 to 5 cubic feet. This is enough to feed most households. Plus you can roast full-sized chicken and turkey in them. They also come with racks for cooking multiple items at a time.
Comfortable to use
When using an air fryer, you may have to shake the basket or flip its content at intervals. But with a wall oven, you won’t have to do it.
Also, unlike wall ovens with see-through glasses where you can see the doneness of your cooking, air fryers don’t have transparent windows. So you’ll have to pause your cooking to check. Air fryers are also loud: they make noises reaching 65 decibels – the sound is as loud as a vacuum cleaner.
Wall ovens are designed to save space in a kitchen, but their cabinetry installation makes them look flush with the kitchen décor.
Food Differences between An Air Fryer and A Wall Oven
An air fryer and a wall oven have many foods in common that they cook. However, some of these items are better off prepared in an air fryer, and others come out better in a wall oven. Here are some use cases of an air fryer.
What foods can be used with a wall oven?
These are some of the foods that cook better in a wall oven;
- Roast pork
- Baked beans
- Mac N’ Cheese
- Vegetables: carrots, broccoli, lentils, cauliflower, etc.
- Lasagna toast
- Pizza: muffin, tortilla, etc.
What foods can be used with an air fryer?
These are some of the foods that cook better in an air fryer.
- French fries
- Chicken wings
- Onion rings
- Roasted vegetables
- Green beans
- Pizza rolls
- Pre-fried frozen foods
- Sweet potatoes
We’ve described in detail how to use an air fryer here.
Using an air fryer and a wall oven together
You can use an air fryer and a wall oven together in your kitchen. Air frying is a healthier and more efficient alternative to deep frying foods due to their convection cooking while oven-frying is preferred for cooking larger meals.
What are the instances where an air fryer and a wall oven should be used together?
When you’re expecting guests on the weekend, you can air-fry your French fries to make them crunchy and crispy while you oven-fry your chicken and broil your veggies in your wall oven.
What are the instances where an air fryer and a wall oven should never be used together?
When you’re reheating leftovers that can go in an air fryer, you should not use both appliances. Using only your air fryer will suffice if you’re warming the food for a few people.
Air Fryer vs Wall Oven Purchasing Tips
Before getting an air fryer or a wall oven for your kitchen, these are the most important questions you should ask.
What kind of oven is right for me?
There are four types of air fryers; basket-type, cylindrical basket-type, paddle-type, and oven air fryer.
A basket-type air fryer comprises a basket with holes for allowing heated air to easily circulate around your food. Due to the holes, it’s not the best appliance for cooking meals that are dripping with soup.
A cylindrical basket-type air fryer comes with removable baskets for loading your food. However, its compact size makes it only good for singles or couples.
A paddle-type air fryer comes with a paddle that rotates automatically so your dish cooks evenly. And if you want to fit larger meals, you can remove the paddle.
Finally, an oven air fryer is the most versatile air fryer. It’s like a toaster oven in that it has racks and can be used to broil, grill, and toast foods.
There are a wider variety of wall ovens based on heating technology and style.
There are standard and convection wall ovens based on heating technology.
Standard wall ovens heat food using radiant heat like conventional ovens, and aren’t expensive. Convection wall ovens, on the other hand, have high-powered fans and use convection heating technology for heating food more evenly. They’re more expensive than standard wall ovens.
There are three types of wall ovens based on style; single, double, and triple-stacked wall ovens.
Single wall ovens have approximately the same capacity as the conventional stand-alone oven. Double wall ovens are larger and more spacious because they’re two single-walled ovens. A triple wall oven comprises three parts – a double wall oven and a microwave or warming drawer.
What’s the best oven capacity for me?
If you live alone or with your partner, a 3 cubic feet wall oven will be great for you. But if you have a standard family size of 4 to 5 members, a 5 cubic feet model will serve your cooking needs.
And if you’re getting an air fryer as a single or couple, a 2- to 3-quart model will be great for you. But if you cook for a family of 6 members, get a 7-quart model.
How much does an air fryer or wall oven cost?
Air fryers are way cheaper than wall ovens. The price of an air fryer ranges from $50 and $500, but the best-rated models cost around $300. While a wall oven costs between $500 and $2,500. The best-rated wall ovens cost around $1,500.
Best brands for air fryer
The five best air fryer brands are GoWise USA, Dash, Philips, Cosori, and Ninja.
GoWise USA tops our list of the best air fryers. They make models with large capacities and impressive quality. They deliver crisp, crunchy, and tasty results, and they’re affordable.
Two features that make Dash rank as one of the best air fryer brands are its stylish designs and compact sizes. Their models are affordable without compromising on quality. Also, their set of Tasti-Crisp air fryers is designed to deliver tastier and crispier results than many other air fryer brands.
Philips is no stranger to making the best home appliances. The first air fryer was made by Philips, and they’ve held on to the reputation of making the best air fryers. Their models are highly functional and come with a lot of features. However, they tend to be more expensive than most of the other top models.
Cosori is one of the most reputable names making some of the best air fryers. They’re known for making smart air fryers that you can control with voice commands and your smartphone. Despite this smart feature, they’re affordable. The reviews of Cosori’s products are impressive.
Ninja is another top-quality brand making some of the best kitchen appliances. Their models are easy to operate and come in a range of styles and sizes to suit your cooking needs. They also yield evenly browned results.
Best brands for wall ovens
The five best wall oven brands are GE, Miele, KitchenAid, Whirlpool, and Frigidaire.