Eating out is convenient. It’s expensive, too. Little wonder that home cooking is growing in popularity. New kitchen appliances, such as halogen ovens and air fryers, make it easier than ever before to prepare tasty, nutritious meals without sweating over a traditional stovetop.
But what’s the difference between a halogen oven and an air fryer? And is one better than the other? We’re glad you asked – because in this guide you’ll find out!
Air Fryers: Cooking With Hot Air
Air fryers operate like a miniaturized convection oven. An electrical element generates heat (much like your standard electric oven), which is circulated at high speed to penetrate and cook food.
A light coating of oil, which, when heated, initiates the cooking reaction. Opposed to hot oil submersion (as used in deep fryers), air fryers cook with up to 80 per cent less fat, making them a healthier choice.
Halogen Ovens: Cooking with Light
Halogen ovens cook food with light. Well, sort of. It’s not the visible light itself that does the cooking. This is easily proven by shining a bright flashlight on a frozen roast for an hour.
Er, not that we’ve ever tried.
To be more specific, a halogen oven bulb emits both red light – easily seen by the human eye – and invisible, radiant infrared light, which sits higher up on the electromagnetic spectrum, where we can’t see.
Food is placed in a durable, glass cooking bowl, and heated from above. A circulating fan keeps things moving, ensuring that food is cooked evenly.
Halogen ovens cook by means of convection, conduction – and radiation, a term that encompasses the entire optical spectrum, and needn’t be alarming.
How They’re Similar
Both halogen ovens and air fryers are relatively compact, countertop devices designed to cook a wide variety of foods using less oil and energy than deep fryers.
Though high-end models don’t come especially cheap, either is generally more economical than full-size ovens. They’re also smaller.
Hot plates and induction burners are the only electrical cooking appliances that match or surpass halogen ovens and air fryers in space savings – but not once a full-size stockpot enters the equation.
Neither are they as versatile.
Halogen ovens and air fryers alike feature control panels – from little more than a power button and temperature knob, to an array of buttons, LCD displays and touchscreens.
Many models include preset cooking programs for chips, meat and other popular foods, and some allow user settings to be stored. One type of control – analogue or digital – doesn’t provide a significant advantage over another; it’s a matter of user preference.
How They Differ
As we’ve learned, there are a lot of similarities between halogen ovens and deep fryers. They look very alike when sat side-by-side. The key difference is in how they generate and apply heat to cook food. Let’s take a closer look at each technology.
Halogen Oven versus Air Fryer – Which is Easier to Use?
Halogen ovens and air fryers are incredibly easy to use: simply place food – direct from the package if frozen, or prepared if being cooked from scratch – in the device.
Set the cooking time and temperature, and wait. To stir or shake food in a halogen oven, remove the lid; on an air fryer, slide out the food tray.
Note that a halogen oven lid can get very hot. You’ll need an oven mitt and a safe, heat-resistant surface to set the lid on. Or buy a halogen oven lid stand, or better still, opt for a model with a hinged lid.
Which is Easier to Clean?
Like any cooking appliance, halogen ovens and air fryers need to be kept clean. Halogen ovens often feature a self-cleaning mode. It will do the bulk of the work for you, but don’t count on it alone.
The racks and glass bowl can be rinsed, wiped down and dried, while the lid, which contains the halogen bulb, is wiped clean.
To clean an air fryer, the pan, tray and basket must be removed and cleaned with hot water and gentle soap. Most air fryers use dishwasher-safe parts, but always check the manufacturer’s instructions.
The inside of an air fryer should be cleaned with a cloth or sponge, and accumulated oil removed from the heating element with a brush.
Neither device is particularly difficult or time-consuming to clean. Self-cleaning gives the halogen oven a slight lead in ease of maintenance – but an air fryer’s parts are lighter in weight, and less prone to break.
Which Takes up Less Space?
Next to the fridge, a full-size oven is usually the biggest item in a kitchen. A halogen oven or air fryer is tiny in comparison – but counter space is often at a premium.
Halogen ovens are, as a rule, larger than air fryers – some have a whopping capacity of 15+ litre capacity. What matters most is whether it will fit on your counter.
First, determine that – then consider how much food you’re likely to cook on an average day. If you’re short on space, an air fryer is probably your best bet.
Low-Fat Cooking: Halogen Oven or Air Fryer
Though low-fat cooking is possible with a halogen oven, air fryers are the clear winner. Only a small amount of oil is necessary to coat the food and begin the cooking process.
To cook a low-fat meal in a halogen oven requires more forethought, and depends on the recipe itself, whereas food cooked in an air fryer generally contains 70 to 80 per cent less fat than it would when deep-fried.
With that said, oven cooked chips can be cooked in a halogen oven without any additional fats being added.
Wrapping It Up
So, which is better – a halogen oven, or an air fryer?
There is no one correct answer; they produce much the same results. Both require a lot of electricity, but their compact size and fast cooking speed make them economical.
Either is smaller than a large oven, though an air fryer’s footprint is generally more compact.
Air fryers have the advantage of reputable brand manufacturing. For example, Philips and Tefal are well-respected kitchen appliance brands that create some of the best air fryers available, but they do not create any halogen ovens.
For a quality halogen oven, you’re looking at smaller, lesser-known names like Andrew James and Tower, which hold a smaller range.
One thing I really like about halogen ovens is the glass bowl gives you a 360-degree view of your food as it’s cooking, so you’ll rarely burn anything.
Halogen ovens may be a little easier to clean, but an air fryer cooks with less fat and excels at recipes that require true frying, such as chips.
From light browned toast to a whole chicken – both air fryers and halogen ovens work equally well. Whichever you choose, we think you’ll be pleased by how easy it is to quickly cook complete meals on your kitchen surface.