Should a minimalist own an air fryer?

I’m a minimalist.

And as a general rule, I avoid appliances unless an item helps me enough that it essentially EARNS the right to take my time, and occupy space in my home.

The appliances I keep need to help me live my life the way I want to live or make my life easier in specific ways, otherwise, I gladly live without them. 

But after a few years now of the air fryers being the newest revolutionary appliance, I succumbed to social pressure and purchased an air fryer. I used it once and then began questioning myself. Did I make the right decision?

An air fryer is supposed to be easy, healthier, faster…

But does it offer enough value in our lives to justify the maintenance of it and the space it takes up in our home?

There have been so many appliances that have come into being to make life simpler – the bread machine, The crockpot, the rice cooker, the instant pot – All things that we can essentially “set & forget.”

But after embracing minimalism, I have come to understand that convenience comes at a cost.

What is the cost of all these appliances?

Generally, space. 

They all take up a lot of space.

Space that might be used to store things that we use more consistently.

I hear from a lot of people that they have a small kitchen, and how are they supposed to make it work and keep things off the counters when there is no room to store things?

And the answer is often, to ask yourself what appliances are taking up that space, and do you actually use them?

Anyway, back to the air fryer –

I purchased the Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven (not sponsored)

After using it now for a couple of months, I will say that for our family, it wasn’t worth the investment and I regret buying one.

Yes, it’s easier to make chicken nuggets for the kids. But overall, it doesn’t make my life EASIER.

Why?

Cons:

  • Basically, air fryers are JUST small convection ovens, I already have a convection oven, so the function is the same.
  • This one is hand-wash recommended, which adds more work for me.
  • It takes up a significant amount of space.
  • And it doesn’t bake enough for the whole family. It will hold enough brussels sprouts- because the kids don’t care for those, but it barely holds enough potatoes for the 5 of us. So if anyone is joining us for dinner (which happens a lot- friends, one of our older kids) then I have to just use my regular oven.
  • It takes the same amount of time to bake something.
  • It’s more of a hassle to pull out and set up than a simple toaster.

Pros:

  • Kids can use it. For my friends that eat special diets – when the kids get hungry, they can grab a chicken breast or hamburger patty, and cook it themselves – mom doesn’t have to worry about it the same way as you do when a 10-year-old uses a regular oven.
  • I do like the texture of the roasted veggies – it comes out crispier than my regular oven, (but I’m the only one that notices that).
  • It reheats leftovers well – our son and d-i-l have limited counter space in their apartment, so they opted for the toaster oven/air fryer over the microwave.
  • Faster to preheat (less than 1 minute and my convection oven takes 10-15 minutes to preheat)
  • Doesn’t heat up the whole house
  • Takes less electricity.

When I got it, I figured our toaster needed to be replaced anyway, and I could just pitch that and have an air fryer/toaster oven. I was already in the habit of keeping the toaster in the cabinet, so I figured it wouldn’t be much different.

But the air fryer is much larger, so I find myself annoyed with it. I don’t know that it actually is more work for me, it’s just more cumbersome, so it FEELS like more work.

So, after using it, I would rather just have gotten a toaster and used my regular oven for all the roasting and baking that I do.

If you’re thinking of buying one, or you’re wondering if it’s worth keeping what you have – here’s what I would ask yourself:

  • How many people are you cooking for? 
  • Does it meet your needs for the amount you cook?
  • Do you have plenty of space to store it when it’s not in use?
  • Does it require more work? 
  • Does the amount of electricity you save and not heating your house help benefit you enough that it justifies keeping it?

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, I go live in my FREE Facebook Groups every weekday- feel free to join me there: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group

4 Comments

  1. Beth on March 25, 2022 at 2:11 pm

    Thank you for this. I have resisted buying an air fryer, because my oven has the convection setting. But there are only two of us at home now, so perhaps in the future…Love your analysis of the pros & cons!

    • Rebecca Glandon on April 2, 2022 at 10:13 pm

      My MIL bought us an air fryer for Christmas. We just leave it on the counter where our large, 4 bagel slice toaster used to be (but we have plenty of counter space). We use it almost every day and the kids often make their own meals with it, so it was worth it for us.

  2. Sharon H. on April 3, 2022 at 9:09 am

    Exactly the sort of analysis one needs to do. But sometimes you have to actually try something in order to get the most accurate answer, eh?

    We got our tiny air fryer as a special deal for peanuts. My son uses it to heat up his junk food lunches. Otherwise, it’s not much use to me. You have to be fussy about arranging the food precisely in the tiny deep basket, and did I mention it’s tiny? lol

    Happily, we have extra space so it’s not taking up counter top storage, or it would be gone.

  3. Anne G on April 3, 2022 at 5:57 pm

    2 retired adults. Love it and use it daily- live in Arizona desert and electricity for oven is expensive and heats up the house. Avoid microwaved food for nutrition reasons so love the convenience and speed of air fryer. We also have very different diets so allows to easily cook small portions.

Leave a Comment