The Internet is abuzz with the whole air fryer vs. halogen oven debate. Some people claim that they are the same exact appliance while others point out their significant differences. While they have some similarities, these tiny ovens have different purposes along with varying pros and cons.
We will discuss their differences, tell you which is best for your needs, and answer your top questions.
Despite some similarities, these are actually very different appliances and neither is essentially better than the other. Air fryers crisp better and halogen ovens are more affordable, but they are both useful for cooking snacks and meals faster than a standard oven.
What is an Air Fryer?
While the name might make you think that an air fryer is similar to a deep fryer, it’s actually much closer to a convection oven. An air fryer uses the same basic technology as a convection oven, but makes it smaller and more convenient.
There is a heating element that heats the air within the basket or cooking area along with a fan that moves the hot air.
While it’s more of an oven than a deep fryer, air fryers really can make your food crispy if used properly. Plus, they require significantly less oil than a deeper fryer, which has been a big selling point for them.
What Types of Air Fryers are There?
In the broadest sense, there are two types of air fryers. The most common, especially for smaller and earlier models, is the basket style air fryer. These air fryers feature a crisping basket with a handle.
You place the food in the basket, push the basket into the air fryer, and start cooking. The baskets are handy, but the capacity tends to be lower and there is the possibility of some food not fully crisping.
Larger and newer models tend to be oven style air fryers. These are like microwave ovens, but are larger and typically have more features. It’s the same basic technology of a heating element and fan to circulate the hot air. The difference is that this looks like a tiny oven and you can arrange food on racks.
You’ll get more even cooking along with increased capacity. As you might expect, these models tend to be more expensive than basket style fryers.
What is a Halogen Oven?
If an air fryer is a heating element with a fan, then what is a halogen oven? A halogen oven typically uses a glass bowl to hold your food. A special lid secures to the top and uses a halogen light to heat the food while a fan circulates the ambient heat. Yes, this sounds very much like an air fryer.
Don’t worry, in the next section we’ll tell you their major differences. Consider this a top-level description of halogen ovens.
You can either cook food directly in the bowl, or you can place a rack in there to separate ingredients. One unique thing is that you can watch the food as it cooks through the glass. Halogen ovens tend to work quickly and are surprisingly versatile.
Unlike air fryers that have several types, halogen ovens currently only come in one main type, so we won’t cover different types here.
Difference Between Air Fryer and Halogen Oven
There are two main differences when it comes to air fryers vs. halogen ovens: heat source and cooking apparatus. Air fryers use baskets or racks, depending on the type, while halogen ovens use glass bowls. Air fryers use a heating element like a convection oven while halogen ovens use a hot halogen bulb.
These differences might seem insignificant, but the heating element part creates a world of difference. We’ll compare and contrast them in more detail in the later sections, but this small difference completely changes how food is cooked.
Air fryers rely more on heated air and more effectively move that hot air around the whole cooking area. Halogen ovens rely on the bulb primarily for heat and it directly heats the food with the fan helping to move some of the air around.
Air fryers are also usually stronger in order to compete with the crispy crunch of deep fat fryers, so they create a crispier texture than halogen ovens.
There are also differences between the basket and bowl that we will explore more in the next sections. Both of these ovens are able to cook food quickly and make it crispy, but air fryers tend to be faster and crispier while halogen ovens tend to be more affordable and nearly as fast.
Air Fryer vs. Halogen Oven: Size
We mentioned before how air fryers come in two varieties. Basket style tends to be smaller than oven style, but how do they both compare to halogen ovens? The reality is that even the larger oven style air fryer is dwarfed by halogen ovens.
Most basket style air fryers are around 6qt to 8qt in size. Oven style air fryers can reach 10qt to 13qt sizes. The largest halogen ovens are 19qt and some have extender rings to increase the size even more.
You can certainly find smaller halogen ovens if you need them, but if you want the biggest capacity, then halogen ovens easily win this category.
Not only that, but you can often fit racks within the glass bowl. This means that, much like with an oven style air fryer, you can easily organize the food so that it properly cooks under the halogen light. The top layers tend to cook the fastest, so keep an eye on them.
Air Fryer vs. Halogen Oven: Cooking Methods
We covered earlier how air fryers are better at replicating frying by giving you a crispier texture, but how do they compare in overall cooking methods? In other words, which appliance is more versatile? This really comes down to the model that you buy, but we’ll talk in general.
A halogen oven typically has analog control knobs that allow you to alter the time and temperature. While some have digital touch controls, this tends to be uncommon. In general, this means that you can bake and fry.
Air fryers typically have a digital control panel and numerous functions. You can bake, fry, some can broil, and many can dehydrate. Finding a halogen oven that can dehydrate is nearly impossible, but it’s typical for air fryers.
If you’re only interested in heating and cooking foods like vegetables and proteins, then the two are pretty equal on that front. If you’re looking for more cooking methods like broiling and dehydrating, then an air fryer is significantly better for your needs.
Air Fryer vs. Halogen Oven: Affordability
Neither halogen ovens nor air fryers are that expensive, especially when compared to a full oven. However, if price is a top priority for you, then you might be wondering which one costs less.
There are factors to consider such as size, features, and materials that might influence the price. All that aside, halogen ovens are usually more affordable.
If you’re comparing the largest halogen oven to a small air fryer, then the air fryer might cost less, but that should go without saying. If you’re looking at two similarly sized appliances, then halogen ovens will almost always be more affordable.
Air Fryer vs. Halogen Oven: Design
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so you might disagree with us here, but air fryers have a much better design overall. Not only that, but they come in so many shapes and sizes. Basket style models are often built like solid squares or egg-like ovals that look powerful on your kitchen counter.
Oven style models are like tiny ovens with a similar amount of power and versatility. They also come in many colors like red, blue, white, black, silver, and more.
Halogen ovens though just look like large glass bowls with a control module on top. Sometimes the control panel is white, black, or another color, but the bowl is always clear and kind of bland. This isn’t an appliance you can design your kitchen around.
There’s also the control panel. Most air fryers have fun, engaging control panels with light-up numbers, buttons, and graphics. Halogen ovens usually have two dials and that’s it.
Some people might disagree and design isn’t everything, but air fryers in our opinion look much better.
Are Air Fryers or Halogen Ovens Easier to Clean?
Air fryers tend to have more plastic and metal than halogen ovens. These can really hold onto food, especially if you don’t soak them immediately after cooking. While most air fryers aren’t difficult to clean, they can be a pain.
This is especially true with square basket style air fryers as the corners can be hard to reach with a sponge. You might have to go over an area several times before you remove all the food.
Halogen ovens tend to be quite easy to clean. Remember, the heating vessel is a glass bowl and these are usually very simple to clean. You might need to soak it for a little while, but glass in general is easier to clean than metal and plastic.
There’s also the heating element. Sometimes, rarely, you may have to clean inside the air fryer. This can be a nightmare because the inside is hard to reach and can be dangerous if you aren’t careful.
A halogen oven is simple to clean. The heating element is in the lid, so it’s basically the same as cleaning a glass lid. It’s easily accessible and you should have the whole halogen oven clean in minutes.
If you hate cleaning and want something easy, then halogen ovens are the better way to go.
Do Air Fryers or Halogen Ovens Cook Faster?
This one is a toss up because they each cook quickly and it depends on how you define speed. If you are looking to cook a lot of food, then a halogen oven is likely going to be quicker. This is because you will probably have to cook in batches with an air fryer, and that effectively doubles or triples the time.
If you’re looking to cook a small amount of food, then an air fryer is somewhat faster. It’s not by a huge margin, but you might cut out a minute or two when compared to a halogen oven.
Both are faster than conventional ovens, we can say that clearly. But when it comes to determining speed in the air fryer vs. halogen oven debate, it’s a little difficult. It’s a toss up depending on how you define speed and how much you want to cook.
Do Air Fryer Baskets Peel?
Halogen ovens only use glass bowls as the cooking area, so you never have to worry about the glass peeling or elements leaching into your food. Can the same be said for air fryers? Just like how nonstick pans will eventually peel, the same happens to air fryers with nonstick coatings.
Not only that, but most air fryers have nonstick coating somewhere (though there is usually less with oven style models).
The coating should last for years if used properly and, in most cases, it won’t be a problem for consumers. That all being said, the coating will eventually wear out and come off. This not only removes the nonstick benefit. It also creates a safety problem if any gets in your food.
I don’t want to alarm you too much and say that air fryers are bad for you. They are safe and very few consumers have problems with the coating.
Despite relatively minor differences in heating and materials, these two kitchen appliances have their own separate pros and cons. Air fryers are more versatile, better at crisping food, and tend to have better designs.
Halogen ovens have larger capacities, are easier to clean, will never peel, and are more affordable. Both of them are like tiny ovens and cook food much faster than a standard oven. While neither is essentially better than the other, they are both fantastic appliances for your kitchen.