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Ovens with air fryer mode: Are they worth it?

Gimmick, or great idea? Here's what you need to know about ovens that have air fryer functionality. 

oven airfry tray rack
Last updated: 20 June 2024

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and in the world of kitchen appliances, everyone's trying to cash in on the air fryer phenomenon. 

First there was the simple air fryer. Then came the twin-basket air fryer. Then the benchtop oven air fryer. 

Not content with producing multi-cookers that do eight different things, multi-cooker manufacturers are now releasing models with air frying capabilities. (One of the most 'multi' of all multi-cookers boasts 14 different functions!)

Why not take an air fryer and supersize it?

So it's no surprise that now oven manufacturers such as Westinghouse, Electrolux and Fisher & Paykel are jumping on the trend too. 

And it makes sense, given that air fryers are effectively mini ovens. Why not take an air fryer and supersize it? Give the people what they want!

If you're an air fryer lover who's looking to take things to the next level, you might be eyeing off an oven that can do it all, including air frying. But is it a good option, or should you stick to a regular oven plus an air fryer on the bench?

Here's what CHOICE's kitchen experts say. 

How does an oven air fryer mode work?

You probably wouldn't be able to tell an oven with an air fryer mode apart from a regular oven. There's no secret air frying compartment, no separate door – nothing that gives away its secret superpower. 

If you open the door and look a little closer, the only difference is the addition of a special air fryer shelf. It's a mesh tray with another tray underneath it to catch the drips.

westinghouse wvep617dsc and westinghouse wvg6565sd combined

Regular oven vs air fryer oven: can you tell which is which?

So, aside from the tray, what's different about it compared to a regular oven? Errr… not a great deal. 

It does have a specific air fry mode, which is essentially an oven setting that switches on the top heating element and the fan, circulating hot air through the oven. 

You could create a similar effect by using the fan-grill setting on a regular oven

Chantelle Dart, CHOICE kitchen expert

"You could create a similar effect by using the fan-grill setting on a regular oven," says CHOICE kitchen expert Chantelle Dart.

"Not all ovens have fan-grill mode, but almost every model in our current wall ovens review and freestanding ovens review does."

So if you do have fan-grill mode, adding an air fryer tray can effectively turn it into a giant air fryer (depending on what you're cooking). 

You could pick up a tray for around $12 from Kmart, $30 from Amazon, or splash out and spend over $100 on a fancy Miele one.

Are ovens with air fryers any good?

Our experts always assess an oven's cooking performance, but we also look at another important aspect: ease of use. 

An oven may cook perfectly but if it's a pain to clean and use, it's definitely not a good buy. 

So here's how air frying ovens compare with standalone air fryers in terms of performance and cleaning.

electrolux efep956dse

This $7399 Electrolux delivers very good air frying performance.


If you're wondering whether an air fryer oven will perform as well as your trusty benchtop air fryer, it's hard to say.

Since ovens with air fryers are a relatively new phenomenon we haven't tested many of them – but the ones we have tested have had mixed results on air fryer mode.

"We recently tested two freestanding ovens with air fry mode: the Electrolux EFEP956DSE and the Westinghouse WFEP9757DD," says Chantelle. 

"The Electrolux's air frying performance was very good, whereas the Westinghouse was only okay.

"In our wall oven testing, a $4000 Electrolux oven produced very good air fried pork belly and marinated chicken wings when we tested it in air fryer mode."

fries cooked in air fryer

There's much less to clean when you use a benchtop air fryer.


Regardless of how well an oven cooks in air fryer mode, if cleaning up afterwards is a punish then you'll probably avoid using the air fry function altogether. 

And unfortunately cleaning is where these air-fryer ovens fall down. 

Cleaning an air fryer can be challenging enough – think of all those nooks and crannies you need to remove oil from. 

But freestanding ovens like those we tested with air fryer functions are several times larger, which obviously means cleaning up is a much bigger job. 

You might need to clean the whole oven afterwards to get the food splatters off – it's a big job 

Firstly, the air fryer tray can be difficult to clean and will stain and discolour over time.

Then there's the shelf that the tray sits in, plus the drip tray that catches crumbs and oil, which makes even more to clean. 

And depending on what you're cooking, you might need to clean the whole oven afterwards to get the food splatters off. 

Unless your oven has a pyrolytic cleaning function, it's a big job – and a much bigger job than just popping a basket from a benchtop air fryer in the dishwasher. 

If you skip cleaning your oven after air frying, the build-up of oil and fat can cause the oven to release smoke and unpleasant smells when you use it next. 

How much does an oven with an air fryer cost?

Ovens with air fryer mode tend to also have plenty of other bells and whistles, so they're often at the more expensive end of the scale already. 

Of the models we've tested, prices range from $1999 to $3999 for a 60cm wall oven and from $5499 to $7399 for a 90cm freestanding oven with an induction cooktop.

"Ovens with an air fry function can cost you around $200 more than comparable models," says Chantelle. 

"You can pick up a good air fryer for the same price, or even less."

Should you just buy a separate air fryer?

It's a reasonable question to ask – after all, the air fryer ovens we've listed above aren't cheap. Are you better off opting for a more affordable oven plus a good-quality air fryer? Yes and no. 

"There are a couple of things to consider," says Chantelle. 

"Some ovens with air fry function need to be preheated before you use them, whereas air fryers generally don't need to be preheated, so an air fryer can save time.

"But an air fryer has a much smaller capacity than an oven, so if you're cooking larger amounts of food you'd need to cook in batches. In an oven, you could cook the same amount of food in one go."

Are you better off opting for a more affordable oven plus a good-quality air fryer? Yes and no

Then there's the cost factor. Ovens can use more energy than air fryers, especially since they need to be preheated – so instead of running your oven for an hour to make a batch of nuggets, you might only have your air fryer on for 20 minutes.

If you weigh up the energy costs of running a large appliance just for a single tray of air-fried food, you might find that an air fryer comes out ahead.

(Of course, if you're cooking multiple batches of food in your air fryer, then it could use the same amount of power as making one batch in the oven.)

So is a separate air fryer a better way to go? It depends how much food you'll be air frying, how quickly you want it cooked, how much you're prepared to spend (both upfront and in running costs), and how keen you are on cleaning. 

What works for one household may not work for another, so you'll need to weigh up the pros and cons for your particular situation. 

homecooked chicken nuggets

You don't have to give up chicken nuggets even if you're using a fancy oven with air-fryer mode.

What can you cook with an air fryer oven?

You can cook all your air-fryer faves using air-fryer mode in an oven: think frozen chips, chicken nuggets, pork belly, marinated chicken wings and more. 

However, you can only cook on one shelf of the oven, so bear that in mind if you're planning an air-fried feast. 

On the flip-side, an oven gives you a bit more room to move in terms of air frying larger items such as a whole chicken or roast, which may not fit in a smaller benchtop air fryer. 

"For some ovens with air fryer mode, the instructions state that you don't need to shake or turn your food as the air fry basket helps to promote air flow," says Chantelle.

"However we don't always find this to be the case and you may get a better result by turning the food to encourage even cooking."

This is no different to using a benchtop air fryer, so air frying in your oven isn't really any extra work. (Unless you have a benchtop air fryer with a rotating basket, which takes care of the turning for you.)

Expert verdict: Is an oven with air fryer mode worth it?

Our kitchen experts aren't convinced that it's worth going out of your way to buy an air frying oven.

"If your oven has fan grill mode then it's possible to get a similar result to using an air fryer or an oven with air fryer mode," says Chantelle. 

"Yes, you can cook larger quantities in an oven. However, there's a lot of extra cleaning involved, so depending on your particular needs you might be better off just using a benchtop air fryer."

Depending on your particular needs you might be better off just using a benchtop air fryer

Chantelle Dart, CHOICE kitchen expert

Since ovens with air fryer mode cost more than regular ovens, you're effectively paying for the air fryer functionality on top of the oven cost anyway. 

You can pick up a good air fryer for $200–300 so you don't necessarily need to spend big money to get great air-fried results.

In short, we think that ovens with air frying capabilities are a great idea in theory, but less so in reality. You're better off buying a less expensive oven and spending the difference on a good benchtop air fryer – you might even end up paying less overall.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.