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Digital Vs Manual Air Fryer – Which One Is Better?

We can classify the air fryers in many different ways. We divide this popular kitchen item in terms of size, cooking functions, and so on. But have you heard the term ‘manual or analog’ and ‘digital’ air fryer? In this article, I am going to discuss what these are and how we can differentiate between a digital and a manual air fryer. After the read, you will get to know about the pros and cons of each of these types. Therefore, it will help you decide the type of air fryer that is suitable for you.

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How do we define ‘digital’ and ‘manual’?

Digital air fryers have a digital LED display with digital touchscreen. The working principle of this type of air fryer is not different from that of the analog air fryer. The main difference is on the control panel. There are different features on the control panel other than temperature and time setting options. The features may include preset cooking functions, preheat, keep warm, shake reminder function, and so on. Among all these, preset cooking functions are the most common. Some of the common preset cooking functions of a digital air fryer include the grill, bake, roast, shrimp, dehydration, and so on.

On the other hand, manual or analog air fryers have manual dials to control the temperature and time. As I mentioned earlier, functionally these two types of air fryers have no difference. Usually, manual air fryers do not have any display that shows the status. The timing controller may have a limit from 5 minutes to 60 minutes to set the cooking time. However, some lower ranges are also available that can set the time up to 30 minutes.

Advantages of a digital air fryer

  • Digital air fryers look elegant. Usually, these are the newer versions of air fryers.
  • With a digital air fryer, you can control the temperature and time precisely. For example, you can change the time and temperature within 1 unit range. This is usually not possible for the manual counterpart.
  • There are a lot of preset cooking functions available in a digital air fryer. With this control, you can cook your favorite recipe without knowing the exact parameter. For example, if you want to prepare steak, you do not set the time and temperature manually if the air fryer has a preset button.
  • The LED display will show you the status.
  • These are equipped with a touchscreen. Therefore, if you are a tech-savvy, then you should prefer this type of air fryer.

Disadvantages of a digital air fryer

  • These are comparatively more expensive.
  • Digital air fryers are usually bulky and heavy. Therefore, not suitable for portability.
  • Elderly persons may find it complex.
  • It is difficult to find a digital air fryer for a small family.

Recommended Digital Air fryers – Editor’s Pick

COSORI Max XL Digital Air Fryer

  • It comes up with 11 one-touch presets that include fries, vegetables, frozen foods, and many more.
  • The cooker with an LED touchscreen has a powerful 1700W heating element that cooks faster.
  • It has a removable nonstick basket which is BPA and PFOA free.
  • The 5.8-quart capacity is good enough to cook food for a large family in a single batch.
  • It uses 85% less oil than the traditional cooking method. Therefore, it is healthier.
  • Read our comprehensive review of this digital air fryer here

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Nuwave Brio 3 Quart Digital

  • This one has one-touch digital control with 6 preset cooking functions.
  • The 3-quart air fryer is suitable for persons living in small families.
  • The digital control panel includes a preset for food reheat and preheat function.
  • With a wide temperature range of 100°F to 400°F, you can even dehydrate fruits and vegetables.
  • It is integrated with even heat distribution technology to ensure uniform cooking.
  • Read the full review of this digital air fryer here. 

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Advantages of a manual air fryer

  • Manual air fryers are simple and easy to use.
  • There is no complexity. You can change the parameter by the manual dials.
  • It is preferred by the elderly persons who do not like newer technology. It may be suitable for the children as well.
  • Usually, manual air fryers are inexpensive. Therefore, for persons who are looking for a low-cost air fryer for a smaller family, then a manual air fryer will be the best option.
  • Manual air fryers are small and compact. Therefore, these are a suitable option for outdoor use. If you are a travel lover or a camper, then the manual air fryer is a better choice.

Disadvantages of a manual air fryer

  • There is no display that shows the status of the air fryer. It is the greatest disadvantage of a manual air fryer.
  • You can not precisely control the temperature. Time can be controlled within 5 units. But the preciseness of temperature setting is even more difficult to maintain.
  • There are no preset cooking options. Therefore, if you do not know the exact parameter, you need to depend on guesswork.
  • Usually, manual air fryers have basic functions. Therefore, you can not have access to advanced cooking such as dehydration or broiling.

Recommended Analog Air Fryers – Editor’s Choice

Dash Manual Air fryer

  • This 2.6-quart manual air fryer is suitable for a single person or a family of 2.
  • There are two different control knob for temperature and time setting.
  • The auto shut off function saves the food from overcooking.
  • You can choose from 6 different color variants.
  • The air crisp technology ensures 75% less oil consumption compared to the traditional cooking method.

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Uten Analog  Air Fryer

  • This 5.8-quart air fryer is suitable for families with 5 to 6 members.
  • Apart from air frying, it can cook in multiple different modes such as grilling, baking, and roasting.
  • The food basket is removable with a nonstick coating that prevents the foods from sticking.
  • It includes a cool-touch handle. It will save your hand from accidental burning.
  • The three-dimensional air guiding system ensures the hot air enters the food uniformly.

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Bottom line

I think now you have enough idea about the digital and manual air fryers. So, which one is better for you? Let me know in the comment section. There is no definitive answer to the question. The preference will vary according to the situation of each individual. If you find this article helpful, you may share it with others. You may also share any of your kitchen experiences with us. Happy cooking!

5 thoughts on “Digital Vs Manual Air Fryer – Which One Is Better?”

  1. Ive heard that digital is more likelynto have trouble. With the electronics and more. Likely to burn out. I just had an issue with a digital unit that wont turn on !

    • Hi Charles. Thanks for your comment. More electronics are more likely to disfunction if you fail to choose the best one. However, they are more likely to burn out I could not agree with that line.


  2. yeah i think for me budget wise is the manual is good . just in case you have a problem you can easily get it repair on the local repair shop. unlike the digital if the button panel is broken which is the main board you cannot repair it easily you have to bring it on the service center.

    or if you try to buy 2nd hand appliances better go with manual

  3. Before you make a choice, consider the other appliances that you own. Do you use the advanced functions of your microwave? How about your dishwasher? Your stove, fridge, or washer/dryer? If you make use of the advanced functions of these, then you might consider a digital unit. If not, you most likely won’t use them for the air fryer either. Save your money.

    • I completely agree with you Robert. My personal experience is 80% of the functions are unutilized. But when we make a buying decision, we become happy when we see a bundle of advanced functions. We don’t care whether they have any use in our lives. The big brands are cashing on it.


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