Air Fryer vs Microwave – Which One to Choose in 2023?

Choosing between an air fryer and a microwave for preparing your dishes can be quite challenging. A microwave is an electric oven that uses electromagnetic radiation to heat and cook food. This cooking equipment has a rotating turntable in the center to cook food evenly, making it popular for being convenient and easy to use.

It has many versatile cooking programs, too. Unlike an air fryer, microwaves are more expensive, but they’re still your safest bet for fast getting food off the heat.

This article has given a detailed comparison between air fryers and microwaves.

What is an Air Fryer?

Air Fryer
Air Fryer

An air fryer is a small kitchen appliance that requires little to no oil to fry and cook meals. It’s a customized countertop convection oven with a top-mounted heating element and a fan to disperse heat evenly across the device.

How do Air Fryers work?

Air fryers use a convection heating system to heat the food. Heat is generated through the heating element and then circulated the food with the help of a fan. In short, air fryers are mini convection ovens.

Unlike deep fryers that dip the food in oil, air fryers will softly apply the oil as the hot air circulates around the food. The entire moisture in the food is sucked by the air fryer, which forms a crispy brown layer on the food.

The fan and the heating coil form the essential elements of an air fryer. The coil is above the food basket, and the operating temperatures might reach up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The unwanted hot air is pushed out through one or two vents.

Benefits of Air Fryers

Promotes Weight Loss

Having a deep friend food will increase the chances of obesity, and this is because deep-fried food has many calories and are also high in fat. If you switch from deep frying to air fry, the oil consumption in cooking food will be less, and you can easily reduce your weight.

Air Fryers are safer than Deep Fryers

Deep frying dishes require a big pan and a lot of heated oil to fry them into crispy brown. On the other hand, air fryers do not require much oil. Moreover, they eliminate the chances of oil spilling or splashing, as the food is cooked inside a closed container.

Reduces the chances of various health risks

Not only obesity, but there are a variety of health risks involved in having fried foods. It is suggested to switch from deep-fried foods to air-fried food to reduce the chances of falling ill due to health issues.

Reduces the Risk of Toxins

Frying food in oil can lead to the formation of toxins like acrylamide. During high heat cooking, this chemical is formed on the food. By switching to air-fried food, you can completely avoid this risk.

What is a Microwave Oven?

Microwave Oven
Microwave Oven

Convection heating is used in microwave ovens, while microwaves are used in air fryers. Although it has a contemporary appearance, microwaves (convection, grill, or solo) have been around for a long time.

A microwave oven emits microwave radiation that is directed at your food. Once you place your food inside the microwave, tiny pockets of water quickly heat up in the outer three centimeters or so.

How does Microwave Oven work?

Food particles are heated using electromagnetic waves in a microwave, and radiation is transmitted through a magnetron tube using high radio frequency waves. To cook and heat food efficiently, 2,450 megahertz of energy is used.

Benefits of the microwave oven 

Can Cook Large Volume

Compared to air fryers, microwave ovens can cook a large volume of food in one go. Also, you can bake food in the microwave, which is not possible in the air fryer.

Microwave ovens consume less energy as they cook a large volume of food at once. So, there is no need to operate it multiple times in a day.

High Cooking Precision

The cooking precision is more in a microwave oven because of the even distribution of heat across the chamber. So, there is no need to stir the food from time to time in the microwave to cook the food properly.

Faster than Air Fryer

Microwave ovens are faster than air fryers because of their high power wattage. For example, meat can be cooked six times faster in a microwave oven than in an air fryer because an air fryer can accommodate only less food in one go.

Air Fryer vs Microwave Oven

We have listed down some differences between an air fryer and microwave ovens.

Cooking Technique

The air fryer has an inbuilt coil that produces heat to cook the food. This heat is distributed across the chamber with the help of a fan. On the other hand, a microwave oven uses a magnetron tube. This tube blasts the short-length radio waves across the chamber and ensures the food is cooked evenly.

Cooking Time

Compared to the microwave oven, the air fryer takes a lot of time to cook the food. For example, chicken wings take 3-4 minutes of time to be cooked properly in a microwave oven, whereas it takes a good 15-20 minutes to cook the same in an air fryer. However, a longer cooking time ensures the food is cooked properly. Hence, air fryers are the best for cooking such types of dishes.


Air fryers are versatile appliances to cook all types of seafood, fries, etc. However, microwaves can cook a lot more dishes compared to air fryers. For example, wet curries, cakes, etc., cannot be cooked in an air fryer. Hence, microwave ovens are the best when it comes to versatility. 

Power Consumption

Air fryers consume very little power compared to microwave ovens. A typical air fryer consumes 1500W to 1700W per hour, whereas microwave ovens consume 1200W on average for every half an hour. Additionally, microwave ovens also consume 2-7W extra power for reheating.


Food cooked in a microwave consumes more oil than food cooked in the air fryer. Hence, you will have more healthy and nutritious food from the air fryer.

Though both appliances deliver healthy meals, air fryers do not require additional oil to fry the food. On the other hand, the microwave requires a tablespoon of oil when cooking regular meals and more oil when cooking meat.


Microwave ovens and air fryers come in various sizes. A microwave oven has 1 – 2.2 cubic meters of space internally. On the other hand, air fryers’ capacity varies from 1 to 5.8 quarts. A 1-quart air fryer will serve a single person, whereas a 5.8-quart air fryer serves 5 people.

Ease of cleaning

Since air fryers consume less oil for cooking, they do not need much cleaning on the exterior like the interior. The interior of the air fryer needs to be cleaned often. On the other hand, microwave ovens do not require much maintenance unless you spot any mess inside the chamber.


Microwave ovens are more expensive than air fryers in terms of pricing. Since microwave ovens can serve huge capacity in one go, they are expensive, whereas air fryers can accommodate very less food capacity per cook.

The price of a microwave oven starts from 8,000 INR and goes up to 50,000 INR. On the other hand, you can get a good quality air fryer for under 5,000 INR. 


Microwave ovens are simple to maintain, operate, and clean, and they do not require cleaning after every operation. When you spot food stuck in the chambers or the surface, you need to clean the microwave. On the other hand, you need to clean the air fryer after every use.

Air Fryer vs Microwave Oven: Which appliance is better for you? 

Depending on your cooking requirements, you need to choose a microwave oven or an air fryer. Both the microwave oven and air fryers serve different purposes. If you are a health-conscious person and do not consume much oil, an air fryer will be the best option.

On the other hand, if you are looking for an appliance that can cook large quantities of food in one go and cook a variety of food items, then microwave ovens are the best option.

When to choose an air fryer?

If you are a single person or a couple with more minor cooking needs, then an air fryer is the best option as it serves nutritious food and comes at a lower price.

When to choose a microwave oven?

Suppose you are a large family who consumes a considerable quantity of food. In that case, microwave ovens are the best option, and they do not consume much electricity like an air fryer.


Microwave ovens use radio waves for cooking the food, while air fryers use hot air for cooking the food. Both of these appliances serve different cooking needs. So, it is important to understand your cooking needs and accordingly select a microwave or an air fryer based on it.

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