Basket Vs Oven: What's The Best Type Of Air Fryer?

A man taking food out of an air fryer
A man taking food out of an air fryer - Complexio/Getty Images

If you've been holding out on buying an air fryer, the time is nigh. It seems like everyone else has already figured out that these versatile countertop contraptions will crisp up a cold piece of pizza or two in just a few minutes. You can even roast a whole chicken in an air fryer if you're so inclined. The question now is not whether or not to get an air fryer (despite the negativity they get from chefs); it's which one to buy. Never have there been so many different models to choose from, however. So, the first move in narrowing down your choice is to decide between a basket model or a toaster oven-style fryer. Both have their pros and cons and it really all comes down to how you plan to use your fryer.

All air fryers work the same way, which is basically like a tiny convection oven. They heat up quickly and use a fan to circulate air around the food to cook and crisp it quickly. A basket-style air fryer has a metal basket with a handle, which you can slide in and out to fill with food. An oven-style fryer looks pretty much like a standard toaster oven; it's just got air fryer parts inside.

Read more: The Best Kitchen Gadgets You Can Buy

Basket Air Fryers

A basket-style air fryer
A basket-style air fryer - Hazal Ak/Shutterstock

If you take a deep dive into online reviews for air fryers, you'll find that the most predominant style is the basket model. Many reviewers prefer this style of air fryer because they're easy to use, heat up very quickly, and get good results. Even America's Test Kitchen says that they prefer a drawer-style fryer with a basket because you can shake the food halfway through cooking without ever worrying about touching a hot surface, which is great for things like french fries. They're also easy to clean as most models are dishwasher safe. Even more informally, a Reddit poll with 872 votes leaned overwhelmingly toward basket-style fryers. "Basket style, with the fan above the heating element, gives the most efficient delivery of hot air in a confined space to give crisp food results," said one commenter.

Baskets have drawbacks, however, and the biggest one is a lack of space. If you're cooking something like tater tots, a basket is totally fine because you can shake it around to get even browning. If you're trying to make multiple pieces of fish, however, you'll only be able to cook as much as what fits in one layer at a time. Most basket models also don't have a window, so you can't see what's going on inside the oven while the food is cooking.

Oven Air Fryers

An oven-style air fryer
An oven-style air fryer - surender kr/Shutterstock

If the drawbacks of basket-style air fryers are a turnoff, an oven-style fryer might be a better choice. The pros are that there is usually more space, typically thanks to layered racks. Several models include a rotisserie attachment as well as a basket to rotate batches of french fries or onion rings, too. Plus, oven-style fryers all have glass doors, so you can keep an eye on your chicken tenders without having to open the machine and let the heat escape.

The cons of an oven-style fryer include the cost. They tend to have more functions, which makes them more expensive than basket models. Also, since there's no exterior handle to grab when you want to turn the food over, you run the risk of burning yourself when opening the door to turn your food over manually. They're also harder to clean.

So, if you're choosing between the two models, weigh the pros and cons of each carefully before you commit. And if you can't decide, you can always buy one of each, especially since more and more foods are being created for air frying. As a Reddit user noted, "It's nice to have an oven style for things like spatchcock chicken or pizza, and the basket for fiddly things like fries that are much easier to toss and dump out in a basket ... And then, if you want to have both those ready at the same time, then having both is great."

Read the original article on Daily Meal.