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There are lots of seemingly beneficial reasons to get a compact fryer for your kitchen. You could cook a range of different items for your family and any dinners guests without too much hassle. You could play with new recipes and find efficient cooking processes without the need for a conventional oven.
But, there are two issues with frying food this way. The first is the safety concern of frying food in hot fat – not just through the risk of burns but as a fire hazard. The second is the health risk of cooking too much food in all this oil. Basically, the problem is the oil. So, what can you do to remove this factor and still enjoy that convenient new way of cooking?
The answer may lie in either a NuWave oven or an air fryer. Both of these devices use an alternative method with far less need for oils and fats. This is great for healthier cooking as there are fewer dangerous fats in your meals. It is also much safer for regular use in the family home. The two devices have differing approaches to cooking food, which can lead to various pros and cons. So, which should you go for? A NuWave oven or an air fryer?
Nuwave infrared oven vs air fryer: which is the best?
In my opinion, you can’t go too wrong with an air fryer once you learn how to use it to your advantage. Some would argue that the NuWave oven is better for a more diverse menu. But, there is a user-friendly approach to air frying that enhances a system you may already be familiar with.
As you get to know the device, you should be able to make great use of it with few issues about health and safety. The fast cooking times help too. I also like that you can find high-quality air fryers from a range of reputable brands now. This accessibility means better choices and affordable options to suit different needs. You can find the ideal product based on capacity, features, or even a nicer design.
My recommendation for the best air fryer.
There are some great designs around from a range of different companies. But, I have to give it to the Philips Premium Digital Air Fryer right now. There is a nice midway point here between a simple and familiar design and something smart enough to help families out.
The design and functions tick all the right boxes with various cooking options and dishwasher-safe parts. But, you also get a nice digital system and fat removing technology to enhance the fryer further. It isn’t the smallest or largest and could be a good entry-level model for new users.
The Philips Premium Digital Air Fryer is my top pick, but I appreciate that there may be other benefits to alternative products that make those options more appealing to you. That is why I have included a series of 4 air fryers below with more detailed reviews.
This means you can compare what is essentially my “runners-up” against the Philips Premium Digital Air Fryer. Before that, I want to go into detail about why I prefer the air fryer to the NuWave oven and go over a few air fryer FAQS.
Airfryer Vs Nuwave Oven: which style is right for you?
As I mentioned above, there is a lot to like about both of these types of ovens when debating an air fryer vs a convection oven. You might find that you discover a product in the NuWave oven line that is far more suitable for your specific needs as a family. So, let’s go over some of the key factors and the pros and cons to get a better idea of the two styles. We will consider the following:
Range of food items to create
The speeds of cooking
Ease of cleaning
General ease of use
The cooking style
The air fryer oven is a convection oven and focuses on using this process with minimal oil to create an even cook and crispy finish to different foods. The NuWave Oven is a little different, as there is a separate process with infrared heating. This enhances the cooking action of the hot air circulating around the food to create great-tasting food with a great texture.
The types of food created.
Multifunctionality is a big part of the NuWave process because there is a triple cooking feature. This means that you can deal with different items simultaneously for a wider menu. You should be able to cook different types of foods and joints of meat with ease.
There are also users that talk about the baking function, although results are mixed here. The air fryer seems a little more one-dimensional on first impressions with the basket fryer. But, you can find machines with different modes for baking, steaming, stir-frying, rotisserie, and more.
The speed of the oven.
This is where many users prefer the air fryer to the NuWave oven. The cooking process on an air fryer is often much faster because the device comes up to heat so quickly and reaches a higher temperature. The maximum here is around 400 degrees Fahrenheit while NuWave ovens are closer to 350 degrees. While this is still very hot, it could make a difference when it comes to meal planning.
Capacity is essential when choosing a good air fryer or NuWave oven. Some would say that this is where the NuWave oven is the better choice than the air fryer. These machines tend to be larger so that you can get that even cooking action all-around a whole chicken or turkey.
The air fryer works with smaller items in baskets and may require you to work in batches depending on the food of choice. Still, there are some air fryers that are larger than average if you are prepared to look for them. Also, don’t forget that the larger NuWave ovens will take up more space on a counter and you may struggle to find a permanent home for them.
Ease of cleaning.
Both of these types of ovens rank pretty much the same when it comes to cleaning them out. The majority have removable features that are dishwasher safe and it shouldn’t be too hard to wipe down the interior and exterior. You may expect air fryers to be more difficult because of the oil used, but some have clever features to contain the oil and reduce mess. Just make sure to read the instructions for individual machines before putting everything in a dishwasher.
General ease of use.
Next, you need to be sure that with any machine that you get for your kitchen, you are able to create meals with ease. With both an air fryer and a NuWave oven, this means parts that are easy to set up and remove as well as a user-friendly console.
Both options can be beginner-friendly, either with the design of the basket and display or with the design of the convection oven in the NuWave machine. You need to compare models to see which is the most user-friendly solution for your needs.
Finally, there is the issue of durability with these appliances. For the most part, a well-made fryer or NuWave oven should last for quite a long time.
You will find that many top brands create models with high-end materials and electronics. But, there are also lesser brands looking to undercut them with cheaper plastics, weaker baskets, and bad paintwork. The difference is more to do with the company and the price you are willing to pay.
The pros and cons of air fryers.
While I have chosen air fryers as my recommended style of alternative cooking appliance, there are pros and cons.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]There are lots of models from various brands, which creates competitive pricing
Those brands also have some compact and attractive countertop models
The ovens are pretty easy to use with a good basket and console in place
The best models are also easy to clean after use[/i2pros][i2cons]The single cooking process limits the types of foods you can make with this oven
These machines tend to be smaller than NuWave oven, so aren’t as suitable for larger items or portions[/i2cons][/i2pc]
The pros and cons of NuWave ovens.
By comparison, there are lots of reasons why families would love to have a NuWave oven instead of an air fryer. These machines step up where the air fryer may under-perform. But, there are those downsides where the air fryer is the more practical option.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]The dual cooking function means a wider menu for families
There are larger capacities for bigger pieces of meat and birds
They are equally easy to use and cleanout
There should be no difference in longevity with a quality item.[/i2pros][i2cons]They can be more expensive due to a lack of competition and their complexity
Larger complex devices are more difficult to house on a kitchen counter[/i2cons][/i2pc]
Air Fryer FAQS
Before we take a look at four of the best air fryers 2021 has to offer, let’s answer some common questions about these devices.
Can you use a Nuwave oven as an Air Fryer?
Yes. If you are keen to get a more substantial oven that has various processes, you might find that a NuWave oven meets your needs pretty well. That is because you can set up a small fryer with a removable basket and cook food in a similar way. There will always be some debate in the battle of the air fryer vs convection oven as to whether it is as good for frying as a true air fryer.
Are air fryers better than ovens?
There are benefits to using an air fryer instead of a conventional oven. For a start, you can set up small portions of food for one person in a compact system. There is no wasted food and you can let the device work to a pre-determined program with ease. The faster cooking times can also help you save time and energy.
Why is an air fryer healthier?
The reason that people recommend air fryers as a healthier option is that they are much healthier than traditional fryers with baskets in oil. You don’t need much oil at all here to get a good texture and tasty food. This means less grease on your food, a lower intake of unhealthy fats, and fewer calories across the week.
Are air fryers safe for small kitchens?
There are also concerns that an air fryer won’t be safe for small kitchens as they deal with meals up on the counter. That is because there are so many horror stories about other fryers igniting due to the heat and fat content.
There are also risks there of fat spitting and harming users. This risk is greatly reduced with a quality air fryer as there is far less fat to deal with. The best models also conform to safety standards over cooking processes and electronics. Many have an automatic shut-off system to minimize the risk.
What can you make with an air fryer?
As you have seen, there are some great programs available in air fryers that allow for fried, baked, roasted, and other items. This means some stir-fried vegetables, crispy potatoes, evenly cooked meat, and much more. It all depends on the pre-sets and recipes provided with the machine.
Who makes air fryers in 2021?
The great thing about choosing to work with an air fryer is that there are models available from some of the best names in kitchen appliances. Therefore, if you have a brand you trust a lot, such as Cuisinart or Phillips, you can search their product lines and see what is available. I have chosen four models below from Philips, Ninja, Dash, and GoWise.
4 of the best air fryers around right now
This is a machine advertised as being the #1 premium air fryer in North America. When you look at the features on offer and the reviews from users, it is hard to argue. There is a lot going on here to make this machine as efficient as possible for a faster way to cook some healthier meals.
A key selling point in the fat removal technology for dealing with excess oil. This means that you can use this machine to roast, grill, bake, toast, and more with fewer health concerns. There are also some great user-friendly features in the dishwasher-safe removable basket, the console, and the free recipe book.
The design of the machine is pretty good too. It is not the prettiest as I have deliberately included a more attractive one later on. But, it is clean and suitable for many kitchens with a curved black body and simple console. With a 3 qt capacity, it isn’t the smallest or the largest.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]The range of foods created with ease and in minimal time
The addition of the smart oil removal tech[/i2pros][i2cons]The capacity could be better for larger items and bigger families[/i2cons][/i2pc]
To be honest, this could easily have been my top pick if it weren’t for the beginner-friendly nature and the recognizable name of the Philips system above. That one does just enough to give users a nice introduction to the world of air fryers without scaring anyone off. This one looks similar and has some of the same ideas, but is a bit smarter in places. This could be a selling point for those that want to experiment with air frying a little more. Or, it might be too much too soon.
There are 7 built-in programs in total to access via a touchscreen display. These relate to chips, meat, chicken, steak, shrimp, and fish. The device heats up to 400 degrees and then shuts off when the basket is removed or the timer stops. There is also a smart safety system to prevent accidental detachment. Another small benefit here is that the system is a tiny bit bigger at 3.7 qts. This could make a difference for some families.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]Plenty of smart features and programs to play with
Some great safety features and timers around the basket[/i2pros][i2cons]Maybe too smart and diverse for beginners?[/i2cons][/i2pc]
The biggest selling point here is that this is a larger device with even more room for larger items or quantities of food. The use of a high-end non-stick ceramic-coated basket helps too. There is a sense of quality here that you would expect from Ninja – a company we know from their popular blenders. It is easy to see why so many people would be drawn to this model as it looks high-end and effective with a nice design.
However, there are a couple of elements where the machine doesn’t quite measure up to the models above. The first is the range of functions. There is enough here for beginners, so this may be more appealing than the complex device above.
But, others may find 4 pre-set programs and one manual approach a bit limiting. There is the same high heat up to 400 degrees. However, be aware that it can take a while to get there so you need to factor pre-heating the oven into your prep time.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]Some high-quality elements in the machine and basket from the Ninja brand
Enough programs to keep first-time users happy[/i2pros][i2cons]The pre-heating time is a bit of an inconvenience[/i2cons][/i2pc]
This final model is the one that I said I was going to include based on looks. There are lots of air fryers that look pretty similar with their curved bodies, basket drawers, and consoles at the top. They are also mostly black, grey, or silver.
This Dash model is a great choice for those that want to add more color and match the device with other appliances in a kitchen. This one is Aqua with almost a vintage look, but there is a wide selection of colors in the range.
The company states that this model is great for smaller kitchens and college dorm life. The latter could be as much to do with the smaller capacity as the design. This is a 2.6 qt model, which is great for those living alone but not so much for families in need of larger portions.
Otherwise, the features are similar to the high-quality removable basket, a manual temperature control, safety shut-off features, and a free recipe book.
NuWave infrared oven vs air fryer. Choosing the best air fryer for your kitchen.
There is a lot to consider when choosing a convection oven for your home. You may feel that the NuWave oven is the better option for its quality and range of processes. But, I believe that a compact air fryer with just enough processes is the better way to get started with convection cooking at home.
The products here all show how a combination of quality components, pre-set mode, a good console, and an attractive design combine into a must-have system. From there, all you need to do is consider the capacity and any specific cooking functions you may need.
Take your time browsing the various options available to you in either a NuWave oven vs air fryer and find what suits you best. If that means a smaller option for apartment living that’s fine.
But, don’t forget that other brands may go bigger and bolder. Figure out the ideal capacity, the space available in your kitchen, and your budget. The rest should fall into place from there.