Do Air Fryers Use Radiation? (No, but there are other issues)


There’s been lots of hype about air fryers lately. They make food crispy with less oil, cook food fast and are really easy to use. But many people are still skeptical about their safety. So do air fryers use radiation?

Here’s what I discovered:

Air fryers do not give off radiation whatsoever and work like a convection oven by circulating hot air around food that has been very lightly oiled. The cooking is carried out using radiated heat, which is not the same thing as radiation or similar to how a microwave works.

But there’s more to know about air fryers than that. Let’s look at all of the ways air fryers work. And how do they fare in comparison with microwaves?

Just keep reading!

How does an air fryer work?

Air fryers are a convenient way to replicate deep frying without all of the fat and calories that come with submerging food in hot oil.

Air fryers work by blowing hot air around the food that is drizzled or sprayed with a small amount of oil. As the air blows, the fryer circulates the oil. This results in a crunchy, crispy texture on whatever you are frying.

Deep fryers create crispy food by using something called the Maillard reaction.

The Maillard reaction, named for French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard, refers to a chemical reaction among amino acids that give food a crispy texture and darkens the color.

Air fryers are able to replicate the Maillard reaction by covering your food in a tiny layer of oil as the hot air  (often around 400°) circulates around it.

Since air fryers are able to achieve the Maillard reaction, they are able to “fry” foods such as fries, chips, meat, breaded food, and vegetables using almost no oil compared to a deep-fryer.

Often air frying uses no more than a tablespoon of oil, and many times even less.

Air fryers are also easy to use and super safe. As long as they are kept clean and are used according to the manufacturer’s directions, you won’t have to worry about it overheating.

Just read this recent article to read more about whether an air fryer can overheat.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Do air fryers give off radiation?

No. Air fryers do not give off any radiation.

As technology becomes more sophisticated, kitchen appliance safety has risen. You’re probably wondering if air fryers use radiation, similar to how microwave ovens work.

The type of radiation microwave use is known as electromotive force or EMF. This is NOT the same kind of radiation as associated with nuclear reactors.

Even though they do use radiation, microwaves are perfectly safe to use for cooking. But even so, some consumers still try to avoid them out of concern for potential side effects.

Air fryers don’t use, produce, or emit radiation as microwave ovens do.

However, air fryers do use radiated heat. Radiated heat is heat that is quickly heated and circulated around food. This process causes the outside of the food to dry out quickly, creating a crispy coating.

That’s why food “fried” in an air fryer is so much more crispy than if it was cooked in a microwave.

Air fryer health disadvantages

While air fryers do fry with less oil, it’s still fried food. Generally, fried food isn’t great for you.

While fried food is delicious, it is typically high in trans fats. Trans fats are related to increased heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Deep-fried foods are also very high in calories.

Air frying uses much less fat and oil, so it can be said to be healthier for you, especially if you were already doing a lot of pan-frying or deep-frying.

But you get to pick which oil you use, which is a huge plus!

Air fryers also produce high temperatures at a very rapid rate. This makes it much easier to burn food. And charred food may be carcinogenic.

There are many advantages to air friers, though.

Air fryers reduce cooking time significantly from oven cooing time. Parts can go in the dishwasher for easy cleanup, and air fryers don’t heat up the kitchen as an oven does. They also don’t smell up the kitchen like a deep fryer!

But there are many more advantages to know about.

Check out this recent article where I list 13 advantages to having an air fryer. What really surprised me was how well they work without using any oil at all; especially for baked goods!

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Are air fryers healthier than microwaves?

As a general rule, air fryers are much healthier than microwaves. Air fryers work like a convection oven and allow food to get crispy with a very small amount of oil and the food is heated by a fan blowing hot air. Microwave ovens, by comparison, use radiation for cooking food.

Molecules inside the food get direct heat energy from radiation. The radiation technology is very similar to radio and television transmitters that make use of electromagnetic waves.

When used as per the manufacturer’s instructions, they are a safe and convenient way to cook food.

Air fryers use radiated heat, which is simply heat that circulates around food. The texture of the food is very crispy and crunchy.

So, if you assume that microwave radiation is safe, neither machine is healthier than the other.

But there’re a lot of people that are skeptical about microwaves. If you are worried about radiation from a microwave, then an air fryer is a healthier option.

You can even buy toaster ovens that have air frying capability.

As an air fryer, toaster ovens use a heating element to heat food. The food is of much better quality. But what you gain in quality, you lose in convenience, since toasters are much slower at cooking than microwaves are.

To read more about whether a toaster oven can replace a microwave, check out this recent article. I was actually blown away to find out they make a toaster oven/microwave combo.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is an air fryer worth it?

If you like fried food, but don’t like dealing with the grease that deep-frying requires, and like not stinking up the house, air fryers are absolutely worth it.

They are especially worth it if you don’t have a ton of people to feed.

You don’t have to preheat it (except for a few recipes), which means you get to start cooking faster. But even so, preheating your air fryer only takes about 5 minutes, compared to the 10-15 minutes it takes to preheat your oven.

Cleaning your air fryer is super easy. The parts are easy to hand wash, or they can be put in the dishwasher.

Air fryers have a lot of advantages, and I’ve compiled a thorough list of them in this recent article. That includes all but 1 piece of air fryers being dishwasher safe!

Just click the link to read it on my site.

You can even bake in an air fryer! In fact, you’ll find many recipes on the web for cakes, pies, muffins, cinnamon rolls, and even donuts!

Most air fryers are reasonably priced, as well.

The COSORI Air Fryer is a really nice and large air fryer. At just over $100 bucks, this large-capacity air fryer is a high tech cooking machine. It’s got 14,000 reviews and almost all are 5 stars!

Just click that link to see the current price on Amazon.

This 5.8-quart air fryer would be perfect for baking in. It’s dishwasher safe, can fit a whole 5-pound chicken, and has 11 built-in one-touch presets. The removable nonstick basket is PFOA-free and BPA-free.

But don’t let its cooking capacity fool you. It’s designed to fit easily on your counter with a smaller footprint than similar machines.

What are the pros and cons of an air fryer?

Air fryers aren’t perfect and aren’t right for every person or every kitchen. Let’s review the top pros and cons of both so you can decide if buying one is right for you.

Air Fryer ProsAir Fryer Cons Air Fryer ProsAir Fryer Cons
Easy Cleanup (most parts dishwasher safe) Too small for more than 2 people
Makes crispy, low-fat foods So many brands and choices can make it hard to select one
Uses a small amount of counter space (compared to a toaster oven or deep fryer) It is easy to overdo the oil which can cause it to smoke
Cheaper than most toaster ovens or deep fryers Can be easy to overcook food (resulting in burned or dry food)
Quick and easy to use Louder than a toaster oven
No radiation (as with microwaves)
Less fire danger (than a toaster oven)

Final thoughts

I hope so.

We also discussed that air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food that has been very lightly oiled. Instead of radiation, air fryers use radiated heat, which is not the same thing as radiation. Additionally, air fryers cook slower than deep fryers, and can’t hold as much food as a deep fryer.

You can probably replace your microwave with an air fryer, but it’s not necessarily any healthier.

There are many advantages to owning an air fryer. They are a great way to get that deep-fried flavor without your house smelling like a fast-food restaurant.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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