Air Fryer vs Grill: What’s the Best Option?


Last Updated: August 5th, 2023

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Air fryers and indoor grills are both beloved appliances for many. But, when it comes down to it, which one should win a spot in your kitchen? 

Keep reading as we look into all things air fryer vs grill, to help you to make an informed choice as to what cooking method is best for you.

Air Fryer vs Grill featured

How Does an Air Fryer Cook Food?

An air fryer cooks food by convection. This means that it rapidly moves hot air around the chamber thanks to a heating element and a powerful fan to cook the food from all sides. 

It may be a basket-type air fryer, with all the food placed into one compartment, or one with racks in an oven style, allowing for multiple foods to be cooked at the same time. 

How Does a Grill Cook Food?

Grills cook your food by using direct heat transfer. This usually takes the form of an electric heating element situated above or below the food.

Once this is preheated, the heat from the element will transfer onto the food, with the side of the food that is making contact or the closest to the heating element receiving the most cooking heat.

Some grills also have a grill plate to place food onto, helping to conduct the heat and assist in making grill marks on the food.

Advantages of Using an Air Fryer vs Grill


Air fryers require little to no oil to cook your food, meaning they can be a much healthier option. 

Grills on the other hand sometimes require the use of oil in order to stop food sticking or to aid in the cooking process. 

Quick cooking

Because air fryers rapidly move air around the compartment to cook your food, it often results in food being ready to eat relatively quickly compared to other cooking methods. 


An air fryer is an incredibly versatile appliance capable of many cooking functions depending on the make and model. 

It is also able to cook a wider range of foods, such as fries and larger items that may not be suitable for grilling. 

Air fryers also offer a range of temperature settings in order to suit a variety of meals and foods. 

Even cooking

Because an air fryer circulates the air around the whole compartment, this means the food is being cooked on all sides at the same time. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a grill only allows you to cook one side of the food at a time.

Easier to clean

An air fryer is often far easier to clean than a grill, especially compared to those that use charcoal or gas. 

Many air fryers have parts that can be placed in a dishwasher, or that have a nonstick coating that makes it easy to wipe away any cooked-on residue.  

Grills can often be tougher to clean, especially when grilling at high temperatures where the food may stick to the grill pan more. 

Smaller size

Air fryers are much smaller than indoor grills, meaning that they take up less space on your kitchen counter and can often easily be stored in a cupboard when not in use. 

Advantages of Using a Grill vs Air Fryer

Greater control of meats

Using a grill to cook meats such as steaks or chops often gives greater control over the cooking. This is vital when it comes to preparing steaks to certain preferences, such as medium rare. 

Increased flavor

Some foods can end up being more flavorful when they are cooked on a grill, such as meats. The chargrilled texture and flavor can’t really be achieved in an air fryer. 

More capacity

The larger surface area of a grill means that many foods can be cooked at once. On the other hand, the smaller size of an air fryer means that less food can be cooked at the same time, especially when the food is not suitable for layering or stacking. 

Good for social cooking

A portable indoor grill also works well as an interactive piece when entertaining, allowing guests to be able to cook their own food. On the other hand, an air fryer can be used to cook the food well, but not in a way that will entertain dinner party guests. 

Air Fryer Grill Combo: The Best of Both Worlds

If you can’t decide what is best for you, or you like some features of one appliance that you can’t get from the other, we have a solution that does not make you have to pick between an air fryer vs grill. 

Air fryer grill combos combine an air fryer with a grill making sure you have the benefits of both. They usually have a lift-up grill lid under which your food can be placed on a grill pan. This can also be swapped out for other attachments, such as a tray for air frying or baking. 

Some of the top air fryer grill combos come from Ninja and Cosori. You can read our full reviews on these products in our handy article


In summary, both air fryers and grills have their selling points that can make them incredibly attractive kitchen tools. 

Although if you like a good steak you may disagree with us, when it comes to what wins out between an air fryer vs grill, due to its sheer versatility we have to say that the air fryer takes it. This is especially true when you think about the fact that there are air fryers with grilling functionality to them.

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Rebecca P.

Hi there! I'm Rebecca, a dedicated foodie and a professional content writer specialising in the food niche. I blend my passion for gastronomy and the written word to create narratives that inspire and tantalise your tastebuds. Navigating the busy streets of the UK as a commuter, time is of the essence. But who says quick can't be delicious? My air fryer is my best companion, serving up piping hot, scrumptious meals with impressive speed and convenience. When I'm not writing or commuting, you'll find me indulging in one of my favourite pastimes - foraging. There's something exciting about discovering a bounty of nature's own produce and experimenting with it in my recipes. You'd be amazed what can be cooked up in an air fryer!