Air Fryer vs Broiler – Which Is Best?

There seems to be quite a lot of debate about countertop kitchen appliances lately. Our team has been looking into a number of these appliances recently and this is the latest comparison we’ve conducted. If you are thinking of buying a new kitchen countertop appliance but are undecided which is best for your lifestyle, keep reading.

Air fryers and turbo broilers are both popular kitchen appliances that cook food without oil. Air fryers use hot air to create a crispy texture, great for fries, wings, and more. Turbo broilers use radiant heat and convection for broiling and roasting meats and vegetables. They are not the same and are best suited for different types of dishes and cooking methods.

What Is An Air Fryer?

The air fryer cooks food by forcing hot air onto every surface at the same time. It works by heating air using an element, and then that hot air is forced around the food by means of a strong fan.

The name “air fryer” is a bit misleading really because an air fryer doesn’t fry at all. 

As the food is cooked on all surfaces simultaneously, the food has the taste and texture of fried food. Due to the heat and speed that the food is cooked at, there is usually no need to add any oil whilst the food is cooking. Virtually anything that can be cooked in an oven or deep fat fryer (with a few exceptions) can be cooked in an air fryer.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of An Air Fryer?

Now we have a rough idea of how an air fryer works, let’s look at the pros & cons.

What Are The Pros Of An Air Fryer?

The benefits of an air fryer include;

  • Healthier food
    Compared to a deep fat fryer, an air fryer uses little to no oil or fat to produce food that tastes and feels like fried food.
  • Minimum mess
    There is no risk of spilled cooking oil or fat dripping onto the work surfaces because you do not need to add oil to cook your food.
  • Less odour
    As there is no need for any oil, there are no smelly cooking oil smells permeating through your kitchen.
  • Versatility
    An air fryer can be used to fry, bake, broil or toast your food.
  • Shorter cooking time
    As the food is cooked on all surfaces at the same time, it takes less time to cook food in an air fryer compared to other forms of cooking.
  • Safety
    All of the food is cooked inside the drawer of the air fryer, so there is no chance of getting burnt whilst cooking food. Although the drawer will be hot once cooking is completed.
  • Easy to use
    Most air fryers have digital displays making setting the temperature and length of cooking time simple.
  • Affordable
    Air fryers are far more affordable than many broilers.

What Are The Cons Of An Air Fryer?

The disadvantages of an air fryer include;

  • Not as healthy as you think
    Although air fryers cook foods far healthier than comparable foods cooked in a deep fat fryer, over cooked or burnt foods can cause cancers and other diseases.
  • Food can be too dry
    It takes skill to cook food in an air fryer without drying it out too much.
  • Takes up more space
    Air fryers are quite bulky and take up a considerable amount of countertop.
  • Limited cooking capacity
    The basket or drawer is often quite small on a standard air fryer which can limit the amount of food that can be cooked at one time.
  • Can be noisy
    The fan used to force hot air onto every surface of the food can be quite loud. In one survey the noise of an air fryer’s fan was comparable to that of a hair dryer.

What Is A Broiler?

A broiler (also known as a turbo broiler) looks very much like a halogen oven and cooks food in a similar fashion. The food is placed on a rack inside the glass pot and is then heated using convection or infrared radiation heating elements which are situated at the top of the broiler

Broilers can reach temperatures of up to 260 C (500F). It will brown food in an extremely fast time. 

The turbo broiler works much like a conventional oven only much faster.

Pretty much any food that can be cooked in a standard oven can be cooked in a turbo broiler. They are great for roasting meats and vegetables, casseroles, desserts and grilled cheese.

What Are The Pros & Cons of A Turbo Broiler?

Now we have a better idea of what a broiler is and how it works, let’s have a quick look at the pros and cons.

What Are The Pros Of A Turbo Broiler?

The advantages of a turbo broiler include;

  • Cooks food fast
    Food cooks much faster in a turbo broiler than in a conventional oven.
  • Easy to view food as it cooks
    As the broiler is constructed from glass, it allows you a clear view of the food as it cooks.
  • Easy to clean
    Cleaning on many broilers can be done automatically, all you need to do is add water, and the heat from the broiler cleans all of the grease etc.
  • Easy to use
    Broilers have simple to use controllers and an indicator light for ease of use.
  • Costs less to run than a conventional oven
    As the broiler takes less time to cook food than a conventional oven, it uses far less energy. Which makes it cheaper to operate than a conventional oven.

What Are The Cons Of A Turbo Broiler?

The disadvantages of a turbo broiler include;

  • Quite large
    The broiler is quite large and relatively bulky which means it takes up valuable space on the countertop.
  • Heavy components
    The thick glass construction of the turbo broiler makes it quite heavy, especially if you intend to store it away when not in use.
  • Expensive
    Compared to air fryers, turbo broilers are way more expensive.
  • Emits a bright light
    As it cooks using a halogen bulb, the turbo broiler emits a bright light when in operation.

What Are The Main Differences Between A Broiler And An Air Fryer?

Air Fryer

Let’s take a look at the differences between these two kitchen cooking appliances.

Heat Source

Air fryers have an element that heats the air above the food which is then forced onto every surface of the food at the same time. Whereas a broiler is heated just from above with a fan that circulates air around the glass container.


Air fryers are usually quite bulky, whereas broilers are usually compact but can be quite heavy. However a turbo broiler can be quite bulky.

Cooking Temperature

Broilers can reach temperatures far in excess of air fryers. Which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Sometimes cooking for longer at lower temperatures is a good thing. At other times cooking food fast at high temperatures is better.


The ways these appliances can be used to cook food varies greatly. An air fryer is far more versatile than a broiler. Air fryers can broil, fry, bake, dehydrate, and toast. Whereas broilers have far more limited functions.


When it comes to the purchase price of both of these appliances, air fryers generally cost more than broilers.

Energy Efficiency

Air fryers tend to be more energy efficient than broilers. They use less power to run and have better insulation as broilers are made from glass which is a poor insulator.

Which Is Better: Broiler Or Air Fryer?

When it comes to kitchen appliances, broilers and air fryers are both viable options. However, they create different types of cooked foods. If you prefer a fried flavour and texture to your meals, then an air fryer would be the better choice for you.

If on the other hand, you prefer your food charred or your meat seared, then a broiler will probably be the best choice for you. Ultimately, the choice between an air fryer or a broiler will depend on your personal preference and tastes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you broil in an air fryer?

Most modern air fryers have broiling as an option. It will entail placing the food near to the top heating element.

Which is better, air fry or broil?

As air fryers work differently to broilers, one is not better than the other. If you require an appliance to broil food fast, a broiler is better. However when it comes to versatility, an air fryer is far better. With an air fryer, you can fry, bake, dehydrate, broil and toast.

Is broil the same as grill in the UK?

“Broiling” is the American term for what we Brits call “grilling”, this is not to be confused with the Broiler (which is a small appliance). In America, “grilling” is what we call “barbecuing”. 

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