Air Fryer vs Dehydrator – What the Difference?

I am looking for kitchen appliances that can help me go oil free. I have decided to eat healthily and do away with fried foods and snacks.

Two appliances that stood out in my research are the air fryer and dehydrator.

While I have an air fryer already, and I use it almost daily, I wonder if adding a dehydrator to my kitchen would be of any value.

I have tried dehydrating food using my air fryer, which makes me think about what more value a dehydrator adds.

Air Fryer Vs. Dehydrator

Although both appliances look overwhelmingly similar, they are different.

Air Fryer vs Dehydrator - What the Difference

An air fryer cooks food with the help of hot air that circulates rapidly, while a dehydrator uses warm air to dry all moisture from the food.

You get fast cooking results in an air fryer due to a high-speed fan that blows hot air rapidly inside the chamber.

The sensors regulate the time and power to cook the food quickly.

A dehydrator takes its own sweet time using warm air to dry out food. It blows warm air inside the chamber.

As the air circulates, the liquid from the food evaporates, making it dry. This technique is used for preserving food.

The primary difference is the temperature used.

An air fryer uses higher temperatures of 350-400° F, whereas a dehydrator uses low temperatures of 95-160° F.

Also read: Can You Use Air Fryer to Dehydrate Fruits?

Differences Between Air Fryer and Dehydrator

Let us look at the differences between the two appliances :

Cooking Technique

Air fryers use a heating element and a high-speed fan to rotate hot air inside the chamber rapidly.

In a dehydrator, warm air is blown with a fan at low temperatures inside the chamber.

This warm air slowly sucks out the moisture from the food.

Cooking Temperature

An air fryer cooks food at high temperatures, whereas a dehydrator uses low temperatures to dehydrate the food.

Time Taken

An air fryer takes minutes to cook food. A dehydrator can take hours to dehydrate the food.

Nutritional Content After Cooking

Dehydrated food has all the nutrients intact, while air-fried food can lose some of the nutrients while cooking.

Food Longetivity

You can use dehydrated food for months. However, food cooked in the air fryer lasts only for a short duration before going bad.

As there is no loss of water, the bacteria has a growth medium inside the food.

Differences in Food Texture

Air-fried food, although crisp, is still moist and juicy inside.

However, food cooked in a dehydrator will shrivel, shrink and dry out.

Quantity of Food that can be Used

As a dehydrator is a bulky appliance, it has more space and racks to dehydrate a large quantity of food.

An air fryer has limited space and, depending on the model, is mostly perfect for a small family.

Cooking Options

You can only dehydrate or heat food in a dehydrator.

An air fryer has more options like baking, grilling, defrosting, roasting, reheating, etc.

Here is a quick summary

Characteristic Feature AIR FRYERDEHYDRATOR
Cooking techniqueRapid hot air circulationWarm air circulated slowly
Cooking TimeTakes less timeTakes more time
Nutritional contentSome nutritional content may be lost while cookingNutritional content stays intact
Food DurationGoes bad after a few hoursFood can be preserved for months
Food TextureCrisp and moistCrispy and Dried
Food QuantityLess quantityMore quantity
OptionsMore optionsFewer options
Also read: Disadvantages of Dehydrating Food

Similarities Between Air Fryer and Dehydrator

Let us now look at the similarities between the two appliances

Electrical Supply

Both an air fryer and a dehydrator have similar power requirements that are available in most American homes.

A dehydrator can also be powered by solar energy, which is common in commercial setups.


Both an air fryer and a dehydrator have a closed chamber and work on a similar mechanism of air circulation.

While one uses high-temperature rapid air, the other uses low temperature to blow warm air. Both use a fan inside a closed cavity.

Healthy Preparations

Both an air fryer and a dehydrator healthily prepare food.

While one uses only a teaspoon of oil, the other simply remove the water content.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Both an air fryer and a dehydrator are easy to clean and maintain. Most of the parts are dishwasher-safe.

Manual cleaning only requires a soft sponge and warm soapy water.

Also read: How to Dehydrate Herbs in the Air Fryer?

Uses of an Air Fryer

An air fryer is an excellent device for cooking oil-free food.

It requires barely a spoon of oil to give you a cooked, fried texture of food.

Less oil consumption helps to cut down the calorie intake. The best part about using this gadget is that it saves you time and energy.

Here are some of the uses of the air fryer :

  • You get fried food texture just like deep fried food. You can make fries and fried chicken without worrying about oil.
  • Apart from frying, you can also grill and bake your food.
  • All vegetables can be cooked in the air fryer. They will have a crispy, crunchy finish.
  • Air fryers are an excellent option for reheating food. Pizza tastes awesome when reheated in the air fryer.
  • Use an air fryer for cooking and defrosting frozen foods.

What We Liked

  •  Air fryers are excellent for frying food without oil
  •  Air fryers can cook all veggies and make them crisp
  •  They can cook frozen foods like wings, fries, and rings within minutes
  • Air fryers have preset functions, so you don’t have to enter temperature and time separately for certain foods.
  • You can bake biscuits, cookies, muffins, and even cakes in an air fryer
  • Air fryers help to cut down long cooking times, saving your time and money.

What’s Not So Great

  • Most air fryers need to be replaced after about 1-2 years. Except for good brands like Phillips, air fryers do not last long.
  • Air fryers release smoke from a vent at the back, filling the kitchen with food smells.
  • Certain air fryers make a lot of sounds while cooking
  • Some air fryers smell of plastic during the first few uses.
  • Most air fryers are not ideal for large families due to their limited capacity.

Uses of a Dehydrator

A dehydrator works on drying out food by removing all water content.

Warm air is blown inside the chamber, passing over food and across all racks. This warm air evaporates all water content inside the food.

They can be electrically charged units or powered by solar energy.

As all water content gets removed, there is no chance of the growth of any bacteria, and the food is safely preserved. You can keep it inside or outside the fridge.

Dehydrators can have a circular or square shape. Circular-shaped dehydrators take up less counter space, but square-shaped ones offer better airflow due to more space.

Earlier, dehydrators used to be only for the rich or commercial purposes but now these modern appliances are freely available for all.

Here are some of the uses of a dehydrator :

  • You can make healthy snacks with fruits and vegetables in the comfort of your home.
  • You don’t have to add additional preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors.
  • There is no loss of nutrients in the dehydrator. Only the water content is removed.
  • Delicate foods and even flowers can be dehydrated at low-temperature ranges of 90-95F.
  • Veggies get dehydrated at around 120-125F.
  • Fruit bars, candies, and granolas with seeds and nuts can be made in the dehydrator.
  • You can reheat food, pizza, burgers, etc., and turn the stale texture crisp.
  • You can use a dehydrator for arts and crafts like making molds etc
  • Use a dehydrator to kill bacteria from food. As the water gets sucked out, so do the bacteria.
  • When you use a high temperature of around 140F to dehydrate fruits, the sweetness intensifies as fruits are water dense. The flavor gets locked in.

What We Liked

  • The food does not change its flavor
  • The food gets preserved for a long time
  • You can eat raw fruits and veggies by dehydrating them and adding spices
  • Dried meat tastes best in a dehydrator with preferred seasonings
  • As the food gets dehydrated at low temperatures, it does not lose any nutritional content.
  • It gives you variety if you are on a diet.
  • Dehydrated food frees us from worrying about energy while camping or traveling outdoors.

What’s Not So Great

  • Most dehydrators can make a lot of sounds
  • Dehydrators are bulky appliances and can take up a lot of counter space.
  • Dehydrators require a learning curve. It takes time to get perfect and make delicious treats
  • Compared to air fryers, dehydrators can be heavy on your pocket
  • It takes a long time to dehydrate food in a dehydrator.

Final Words

I have tried my best to clear the picture regarding an air fryer and a dehydrator.

While a dehydrator uses low temperatures for a long time to dehydrate food, the air fryer uses rapid air circulation at high temperatures to prepare food in minutes.

A dehydrator is used to preserve food and make healthy snacking options.

An air fryer can be used to cook meat, veggies frozen, and fried food with just a teaspoon of oil.

You can also bake food in an air fryer. I have mentioned the uses of both appliances in detail.

The result will be completely different in both- while a dehydrator will give you dry food, an air fryer gives you cooked, fried food.

A dehydrator cannot cook food. It only takes away the moisture and preserves your food.

Choose wisely and choose according to your preferences. All the best!

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I’m Jueria and I am a regular contributor on In my articles, I share time-saving techniques, appliance wizardry, and health-friendly recipes to bring taste and wellness to your table. So raise a glass (or a spatula) with me, to good health and good food, made easy!