When two types of cooking equipment have similar properties, it leads to debates over which one is better. If you’re looking for a new addition to spice up cooking in your kitchen, the air fryer or halogen oven are common choices.
The problem is that deciding between these pieces of kitchen equipment can be a difficult task. Both the air fryer and the halogen oven fall into a common class of fryer type appliances. This name is based on how they cook food.
You might be wondering, “since they perform almost the same function, why is it so hard to choose between them?” While there are obvious similarities between them, there are also huge differences. Let’s dive into all you need to know about the air fryer and halogen oven.
What Is an Air Fryer
To decide between the air fryer or halogen oven, we first need to understand what they are.
An air fryer is a countertop appliance that uses hot air to fry food. The air fryer consists of a heating element located at the top of the device, a fan that blows the heat around, and a perforated basket chamber where your food is exposed to the fast-moving hot air.
The air fryer’s cooking method is similar to that of convection ovens. However, there are still some differences between them.
While air fryers are often advertised as deep-frying appliances, this is inaccurate. These fryers don’t deep-fry the food since they don’t use oil. Instead, they produce a brown, crispy effect – just like you’ll see in chicken nuggets.
Parts of an Air Fryer
Let’s take a look at the components of the air fryer to understand it better.
In most fryers, the heating element is usually a heating coil. The heating coil is located at the top of the air fryer and it’s enclosed within a casing. You won’t see the heating coil unless you take the fryer apart, which we won’t advise you to do.
The heating coil is probably the most important part of the fryer because you’d just have a cooling contraption without it.
The heating element is electrically controlled. It converts electricity to heat energy. This method of operation makes it possible to regulate the amount of heat produced in your fryer.
The heating element is connected to different panels that show as buttons. The buttons are on the top part of the fryer, allowing you to monitor and control the fryer’s temperature.
The fan is another key fryer component that separates it from a regular oven. The fan is located close to the heating element, it’s positioned slightly below it.
The fan is responsible for blowing the heat produced from the heating coil around the air fryer. The coil and the fan work hand in hand to cook food inside the fryer.
The fan rotates in a circular motion and at high speed. This ensures that the hot air constantly hits the food surface, resulting in a brown and crispy texture.
The fan speed adds kinetic friction to the hot air, making it even hotter.
The basket chamber is the space below the head, where your basket fits into. The size of the basket chamber depends on the size of the air fry. The larger the air fryer, the larger the chamber will be.
The size of the basket chamber also plays a key role in how the fryer functions. The chamber walls are designed with little space between the walls and the basket. This design amplifies the cooking effect of the fryer and allows more hot air to be trapped and circulated in the food.
Fryer Basket or Rack
The fryer basket is the compartment that holds your food. You can’t just place whatever you want to cook directly into the basket chamber because it could damage your fryer.
The basket is not solid, it is intentionally perforated with slats or holes. The holes in the basket are not there for aesthetic purposes. Instead, they play an important role in cooking your food.
The holes in the basket allow the hot air to properly flow to all the parts of the basket and the food in it. If there are no holes in the basket, the food would be unevenly fried.
Alternatively, you could use an air fryer rack in place of the basket. A rack is a gadget that allows you to cook different kinds of food simultaneously in the fryer. The rack is designed in layers. There are double-layered racks and triple-layered racks to fit different sized fryers.
The racks are designed with spaces between them to allow hot air to circulate through all the layers.
What Is a Halogen Oven
A halogen oven is another countertop appliance that uses hot air to cook food. The halogen oven uses radiation, conduction, and convection methods of heat transfer to cook food.
The halogen oven consists of a lid, a glass bowl, and a platform that supports the bowl.
The oven looks nothing like your regular oven and more of a coffee pot in appearance.
However, the oven does more than just produce that nice crispy, brown effect on your food. Instead, it has more of a roasting effect.
The oven lid is not like your regular lid. This lid contains all the main components of the fryer.
Parts of the Halogen Oven
The first part is the lid, and it consists of the halogen bulb and the fan.
The halogen oven uses a halogen bulb, unlike the air fryer that uses a heating coil to produce heat. Halogen bulbs are powerful bulbs filled with halogen gas. They produce light-carrying energy when these gases are excited.
The halogen bulb converts electrical energy to photon energy. This method is similar to how a conventional oven operates, but the halogen oven has an extra feature that makes it more effective.
The halogen bulb is also connected to panels that show as buttons on the lid of your oven. These buttons allow you to control the temperature of your oven, and you can also set a timer for it to stop cooking.
The heat produced from the halogen bulb is the radiation method of heat transfer for cooking food.
The fan is also located in the oven’s lid. It rotates the heat produced from the halogen bulb around the cooking chamber, immediately cooking your meals.
The fan is placed just below the halogen bulb and close to the glass chamber. The fan is positioned there to increase efficiency and speed up the cooking time.
The fan is responsible for the convection mode of cooking.
The Glass Bowl
Like the air fryer has a basket chamber, the halogen oven has a glass bowl. The glass bowl is the compartment where you put the food you want to cook.
Aside from holding the food you’re cooking, the glass bowl also plays an important role in the halogen oven’s heating process.
The glass bowl can retain heat to a certain degree. So when the hot air and heat energy from the fan and halogen bulb heat your food, the walls of the glass bowl are also heated up. This further contributes to the heating effect of the oven.
The glass bowl is responsible for the conduction mode of cooking.
Using a glass bowl as the cooking chamber also makes cooking very convenient. You can easily see what you’re cooking and monitor it’s progress. The glass bowl reduces the risk of your food getting burnt.
The glass bowl performs three functions: it holds the food, cooks the food further by conduction, and allows you to see what is being cooked clearly.
This can also be called the base of the oven. The glass bowl will be quite hot when you start cooking, so you can’t place it on your countertop or any other surface.
The provided platform is specifically designed to be a stable base for the glass bowl and withstand the high temperature that the bowl will reach.
All these components of the halogen oven make it more of a hybrid between a normal oven and a microwave. With this device, you can get the high cooking power of an oven and the fast cooking time of a microwave.
Which Is Better, the Air Fryer or Halogen Oven?
We’ve looked at each appliance and the components that make them up. Now we’re going to spell out the main differences between them and point out which is better.
The cooking method of each appliance is dependent on the components and the source of heat.
As we’ve discussed, the air fryer uses a heating coil and a fan to for it’s cooking process. The main method employed here is just convection. Air fryers use hot air for cooking food, so they produce more of a browning effect and make food crispy and dry.
On the other hand, halogen ovens use multiple methods of heat transfer. Convection from the hot air, radiation from the halogen bulbs, and conduction from the walls of the glass bowl all contribute to the cooking process.
It is safe to say that the halogen oven produces more heat than the air fryer. The oven produces more of a roasting effect on your food and can be used for foods like chicken.
Decided which one to cook with depends on your taste. If you want something crispy, you can go for the air fryer, but the halogen oven is the better choice if you want something roasted.
This is a major difference between the two.
The basket chamber of the fryer only allows for so much space. You can conveniently cook things like fries, chicken nuggets, sliced potatoes, and other small pieces of food. However, you can’t really fit a full chicken inside the fryer.
The halogen oven has more than enough space in its glass bowl. The glass bowl is quite expansive and can fit a whole chicken.
If you’re looking to use your new kitchen appliance for small-scale cooking, you can go for the air fryer. However, if you plan to cook a large amount of food (maybe for a large family) it is better to get the halogen oven.
You can also get the air fryer if you don’t mind cooking in batches.
Due to the small size and heating element used in the air fryer, you can start cooking immediately once you turn it on. There is no need for the standard preheating recommended for regular ovens.
However, halogen bulbs will require a few minutes of preheating. This is because of the halogen heating element. It will take time for the temperature to rise steadily. But once the oven is well heated, it will produce a better, deeper cooking effect than the air fryer.
If we measure healthy cooking in terms of oil content, the air fryer will be the better choice.
The air fryer doesn’t require oil to fry your food, and it also has a collection bowl at the base where excess oil from the basket can be collected.
The halogen oven doesn’t have any separate compartments for oil collection, meaning there will be more oil content in food cooked with it.
The air fryer can be said to make a healthier meal only because it requires less oil.
Accessibility While Cooking
Accessibility, in this context, refers to how easy it is to monitor your food while cooking.
The air fryer doesn’t provide visual access to your food while it is being cooked. If you’re going to check the progress of your food, you’ll need to either wait for the timer to run out or interrupt the cooking process.
However, with the halogen oven, you can easily watch the progress of your food thanks to the transparent glass bowl.
The air fryer or halogen oven are both great countertop appliances. They are effective and produce results faster than regular ovens or fryers.
Both appliances have their strengths and weaknesses, as we’ve mentioned above. Therefore choosing between the air fryer or halogen oven is dependent on what you intend to use them for. Which one fits your need the best?