Air Fryers vs. Deep Fryers: 2021 Informational Guide

| Last Updated: January 10, 2022

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There’s nothing better than relaxing at the end of the day with some fried comfort food, and with the growing popularity of deep fryers and air fryers, you can now make your favorite snacks right at home.

In this article, we’ll be comparing deep fryers and air fryers. We’ll go over the basics of each kind of fryer and review several of our favorite models.

Both have their own pros and cons, and understanding the differences can help you pick the best fryer for you.

Comparison of the Best Air Fryers and Deep Fryers

  • 3.5 liter oil capacity and 2.65 lb. food capacity
  • Comes with 1, 2-position basket
  • 1700-watt heating element
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  • 3.8 liter oil capacity and 2.3 lb. food capacity
  • 1 stainless mesh basket with cool-touch handle
  • 1800-watt heating element
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  • 1.9 liter oil capacity and 3 lb. food capacity
  • Basket handle is designed to close with the cover, preventing spills
  • 1500-watt heating element
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  • 2.65 lb. food capacity
  • Food basket easily removes for cleaning
  • 1750-watt heating element
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  • 5.8 quart capacity
  • FDA-certified and PFOA free pan with cool-touch handle
  • 1700-watt heating element
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  • 5.8 quart capacity
  • Basket is metal and easy to wash
  • 1700-watt heating element
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What is a Deep Fryer? 

Whether you’re looking to cook an entire turkey or a serving of crispy french fries, deep fryers are an excellent appliance to have in your kitchen.

Brands like Presto, Hamilton Beach, and KRUPS all make great Deep Fryers that can fit on your kitchen counter.

Deep fryers cook food quickly and completely. If you’re using a pan, the food is only cooked in a thin layer of oil. With a deep fryer, the food is placed in a basket and completely submerged in the oil

This cooks the food on all sides at once and creates that amazing, crispy texture. Because of this, deep fryers are pretty hard to beat when it comes to taste and texture for your favorite comfort foods.

What is an Air Fryer? 

Air fryers are becoming increasingly popular appliances because they’re an easy way to make lots of different, healthy options. Popular brands like Simple Chef and Avalon have started making their own models.

Air Fryers cook food using superheated air. They’re a great option if you’re looking to make healthier alternatives for your favorite fried foods because they don’t require oil.

They are typically designed with a fan at the top of the fryer that blows and circulates the air from the heating element around the food, which sits in a frying basket underneath.

This system with the superheated air mimics the effect of cooking in oil, so the food is cooked from all sides and still has a crispy texture.

Unlike deep fryers, air fryers are pretty versatile and can cook many other types of food as well. Many models allow you to bake, grill, and roast as well as fry food, giving you a range of options from chicken wings to dessert.

Air Fryers vs. Deep Fryers - Similarities and Differences 

Both Air Fryers and Deep Fryers are great for making a variety of different foods, and each type has its pros and cons. Let’s break down the differences between the two in more detail, so you can find the option that best fits what you’re looking for in a fryer.

Air Fryers vs. Deep Fryers Differences

Both Air Fryers and Deep Fryers allow you to make your favorite comfort foods with that distinct crispy texture and amazing flavor, but they are designed differently and each uses very different methods during the actual cooking process.


Air Fryers are often considered the healthier alternative to Deep Fryers. Submerging food in hot oil, like Deep Fryers do, adds a lot of extra fat.

The super-heating process of Air Fryers requires little to no oil, decreasing the amount of fat in the food by up to 80 percent.

However, there are a couple of ways you can also try to decrease the amount of fat in your food when using a Deep Fryer.

Making sure the oil is the proper temperature and removing the food from the oil as soon as it’s done will prevent the food from absorbing as much fat. It won’t decrease the fat the same way using an Air Fryer will, but still makes it a little healthier.


While most Deep Fryers can only fry food, many Air Fryer models are also capable of grilling, roasting, and baking. If you want something that has more versatility, Air Fryers are an easy appliance you can use for a variety of different purposes.


Deep Fryers are typically more affordable than Air Fryers, primarily because the parts they’re made with tend to cost less. While Air Fryers usually cost a little more, they also come with a wider range of cooking methods.


Air Fryers are generally safer to use because there is a lid on the food while it’s cooking and they don’t require oil. With Deep Fryers, you have to stand near the fryer while it’s cooking and there can be a risk of hot oil scalding you.


Because Deep Fryers use oil, they cook food much faster than the typical Air Fryer. However, neither model will take too much time.

Air Fryers vs. Deep Fryers Similarities

While they have some key differences, Air Fryers and Deep Fryers have many similarities as well. They are both fast and easy-to-use appliances that are great for frying a variety of food.

Taste & Texture

Both models can make your favorite fried foods with that distinct crispy texture. It’s hard to beat a Deep Fryer when it comes to fried food, but Air Fryers do come pretty close. The taste and texture won’t be exactly the same, but depending on your own individual diet and preferences, both make tasty versions of comfort food that will satisfy your craving.


While Deep Fryers tend to be a little bigger than the average Air Fryer, both can typically fit on a kitchen counter. Many reviews talk about Deep Fryers having a larger capacity, but Air Fryers are becoming much more popular and there are many models out there that are designed to be able to cook a lot of food at once.


Both models allow you to cook a variety of foods from the comfort of your own home. Each kind varies in size, but most fit easily on a kitchen counter and cook food quickly. They’re a great option for easy meals and don’t require a lot of preparation or monitoring.

User Friendly

Air Fryers and Deep Fryers are fairly straightforward appliances. You don’t have to be an expert chef to make a delicious homemade meal with either of these options. Most models come with easy-to-use touchscreen and presets as well.

Willy's Top Picks - Best Deep Fryers

Quick Review of the Best Deep Fryer Models

Now that we’ve explored more about the differences between Deep Fryers and Air Fryers, let’s take a look at some of our favorite models for each.

When you’re craving your favorite fried comfort foods, Deep Fryers are usually the top choice. It’s great to be able to make fries or chicken wings right in your own kitchen.

Best Deep Fryer Overall:
T-fal Deep Fryer with Basket

T-fal 7211002145 FR8000 Oil Filtration Ultimate EZ Clean Easy to clean 3.5-Liter Fry Basket Stainless Steel Immersion Deep Fryer, 2.6-Pound, Silver, Single

This model is a powerful and user friendly Deep Fryer, with an oil capacity of 3.5 L and a food capacity of 2.65 lbs.

It is designed to be safe and easy to use, including features like a 2-position cooking basket and an adjustable thermostat.

It also has a lid with viewing windows and cool-touch handles for increased safety. Many of the parts are dishwasher safe, so it’s also very easy to clean when you’re done.

One of the best aspects of this model is its oil filtration system. It’s healthier than other deep fryers because it has an immersed heating element that monitors the oil temperature and the oil is automatically drained and filtered, preventing excess fat from being absorbed into the food.

With its large capacity, the T-fal Deep Fryer is a great option for family dinners and other large gatherings.

Runner-up Deep Fryer:
Cuisinart CDF-200 Deep Fryer

Cuisinart Deep Fryer, 4 Quart

The Cuisinart Deep Fryer is a larger model made of stainless steel with an impressive capacity. With a 4-quart capacity and a 1-gallon removable oil container, it can definitely hold more than your average Deep Fryer.

It comes with 3 baskets, two smaller ones and a larger one, so you can choose the best size for the exact meal you’re making. The oil container is also enamel-coated and is designed with a pouring spout for easy use. Despite its bigger size, this model is still fairly light and easy to move.

Its powerful heating element heats food quickly and efficiently, and there is a digital control for the temperature of the oil.

It includes a digital timer too to prevent any overcooking. Once you’re done drying, clean up is easy too. The frying basket, oil container, and lid are all dishwasher safe.

One detail to be aware of is the lack of a filter. This allows oil and steam to go directly into the air, which may cause your kitchen to smell like oil.

Best Deep Fryer for the Money:
Presto 05442 CoolDaddy

Presto 05442 CoolDaddy Cool-touch Deep Fryer - Black

This Deep Fryer is more compact and portable, but still has a 6-cup food capacity. It is user friendly and well-designed, with an adjustable thermostat and different features to choose from on the digital controls system. The wire design of the basket drains the oil and makes it simple to clean when you’re done.

Along with its cool-touch exterior, it has several different features that make it safer to use. It includes an extra-large viewing window, so you can keep an eye on the food as it cooks without having to open the cover.

There is also an exterior basket handle, which allows you to lower the food into the oil while the cover is closed and avoid any dangerous splattering.

The locking cover and removable, charcoal air filter prevent the odor of oil from filling your kitchen while you fry.

Quick Review of the Best Air Fryer Models

Air Fryers are becoming more popular appliances and it can be hard to sort through all of the different options. We’ve selected three great choices that are good quality and easy to use.

Best Air Fryer Overall:
 Philips HD9240/94 Avance XL Digital Airfryer

This Air Fryer is sleek and modern with a 2.65 lb capacity. It uses rapid air technology that cooks food evenly and quickly, requiring less than a tablespoon of oil.

The digital touchscreen interface makes it easy to use and allows you to customize different settings for each individual meal. It even includes a smart preset button that memorizes the setting of your favorite food, which comes in handy when you’re in a hurry.

Clean up is also really easy and fast with this model. The nonstick drawer and food basket are both removable and dishwasher safe.

This model does have a smaller capacity than the others. It is the perfect size for making meals for two, but would require multiple batches if you’re cooking for more people. It is not the best option if you’re looking for something meant for big family dinners or entertaining large groups.

Not only can it make healthier alternatives for fried foods, this Air Fryer can also grill, roast, and bake. It’s a great option if you want a versatile, compact appliance that gives you a lot of different options.

Runner-up Air Fryer:
GoWISE USA 5.8-Quarts 8-in-1 Electric Air Fryer XL

GoWISE USA 1700-Watt 5.8-QT 8-in-1 Digital Air Fryer with Recipe Book, Black

The GoWISE USA Electric Air Fryer has an impressive capacity at 5.8 quarts, enough to easily cook for at least four people. It has a sleek and simple design, including a built-in touchscreen menu that allows you to control every detail of the cooking process.

There are 8 preset settings, including Fries/Chips, Pork, Chicken, Steak, Shrimp, Cake, Fish, and Pizza. It’s great for frying, as well as baking, grilling, and roasting.

When you’re done cooking, simply detach the basket and serve from there. Don’t worry, it also has a button guard, so the basket won’t detach until you want it to.

It isn’t dishwasher safe, but is still pretty easy to clean. Once you’re done cooking, just use warm water and a sponge to clean the inside.

When you buy this fryer, you also receive a recipe book with 50 recipes for all kinds of meals designed specifically for the model.

Best  Air Fryer for the Money:
Air Fryer XL by Cozyna

Air Fryer XL by Cozyna (5.8QT) with airfryer cookbook (over 50 recipes) and a basket divider

The Cozyna Air Fryer is a versatile, modern and user friendly model. It also has a 5.8 quart capacity, making it great if you’re cooking for a larger group. It is a multi cooker, so you can use it to fry, bake, or grill food.

However, it is not capable of roasting food like the other models. Despite its large capacity, it is still compactly designed and could easily fit on any kitchen counter.

It includes an adjustable temperature gauge that goes up to 400 degrees, as well as a 30 minute timer. Many of its parts are dishwasher safe for fast and easy clean up.

This model gives you lots of different cooking options, and also includes two small cookbooks to keep you inspired. One is a physical book that comes with the Air fryer and the other is an e-book. Both are full of recipes for all different kinds of meals, from breakfast to dessert.

Which is Best? Air Fryers vs. Deep Fryers

So now that we’ve gone over both in detail, which fryer is best? Honestly, the answer just depends on what you’re looking for. Both are excellent appliances that serve different purposes.

Air Fryers beat Deep Fryers when it comes to health and versatility.

If you want to make alternatives to fried foods that are lower in fat and calories, an Air Fryer is definitely the way to go. 

There are ways to make Deep Fryers a little healthier, but at the end of the day, food made in an Air Fryer is usually going to be a lot better for you.

Air Fryers also have more cooking options than Deep Fryers too. Most models can also bake, grill, and roast food, so you can make a wide variety of things. They’re a great all-in-one option, especially if you have limited space in the kitchen.

If you feel like you don’t need the other cooking options and just want a way to make your favorite fried foods at home, a Deep Fryer could be the way to go. They’re also typically more affordable and larger.


You can’t go wrong with either of these options. Deep Fryers are the classic choice, a perfect way for making delicious food at home.

Air Fryers provide a healthier alternative method of frying as well as more versatility, but cost more. Each kind has its own pros and cons, so it comes down to which kind you think is the best for you.

Hey there, I’m Will, and I’ve been smoking and grilling for as long as I can remember. I made this blog to help others who are looking for honest and reliable info from someone they can trust. In my own efforts to try to perfect my smoking and grilling skills, I’ve done a lot of research and would like to have it compiled as a resource for others to use. Happy smoking!