Summary – It is always prudent to protect your kitchen countertop, regardless of the material it is made from. An air fryer can generate up to 200 °C internally, the external heat will be wholly dependent on the air fryers insulation and ability to dissipate heat. Put simply…take steps to protect your countertop.
Can I put my air fryer on the countertop?
One of the most common questions we get asked by air fryer users is ‘can I put my air fryer on the countertop?’ On the face of it, it may seem like a bizarre question…of course you can you shout! The answer is obviously yes…but at what cost?
In this post, I will outline the issues and the reasons why the answer to this question is not straightforward.
I will go through the most common countertop materials and possible risks that air frying on them may result in. Following that, we will offer you some solutions that will afford you batter protection and possibly save your countertop from damage.
What is the actual issue?
Cooking using your air fryer, to cook fried food means that it gets hot…sometimes, very hot. That heat needs to go somewhere. If you have a standard air fryer, it will dissipate the heat effectively and leave the outside of your air fryer cool to the touch.
However, the issue is that some, if not most are not that effective at dissipating heat. The consequence of this is the risk it puts to your countertop.
An air fryer can generate up to 200 °C internally, which is incredibly hot. The fact is that your air fryer oven is essentially a very powerful countertop convection oven…just a smaller version of it.
Essentially, it is the same issue you would face if you had a deep fryer, rotisserie spit, slow cooker, convection toaster, pressure cooker, or a similar kitchen appliance.
We therefore need to work on the basis that your countertop appliance will inevitably get hot…and the obvious risks attached to it. If we take the correct steps and understand the likely outcomes, we can take the right steps to prevent any damage.
What is the actual damage to your countertop?
Depending on the material your countertops are made from, there are a few different types of damage. Some of the more common damages are;
- Burn marks
- Melting laminate surfaces
- Warping the counter
- Cracking the surface
As you can see, the damages listed above can ruin the appearance of your counters and lead to a costly repair bill…if not a complete replacement. It obviously makes sense to mitigate the risks beforehand.
What surfaces are safe from damage caused by your air fryer?
There is no ‘safe’ surface as such, every surface has it’s benefits and also its risks. Heat is one of the most dangerous risks to any countertop. However, some handle it better than others…but none are immune to heat damage.
Here are a few examples of the most popular kitchen counter top materials and how they handle the risks associated with heat.
As one of the better performers when it comes to heat management, it actually presents its own risks. The fact is that granite worktops are some of the most expensive surfaces out there. Even a small area of damage can lead to a very costly repair bill.
The positives are that granite will not melt, nor will it blister. The danger comes in the form of thermal shock. This is where a specific area is exposed to high heat, the result of which is cracking. As you will know, most manufacturers recommend a trivet for hot pans to prevent this happening. The same principle must therefore apply to your air fryer toaster oven.
Both marble and granite have similar properties when it comes to performance and durability…and both are very expensive too! In terms of heat, both have similar performance which means that you must take the same measures to protect marble as you would with granite.
Although natural wood counter top surfaces may look incredibly attractive, unfortunately they are one of the worst materials when it comes to heat management. A focused heat source, like that of your air fryer, may well burn your wooden countertop, stain it beyond repair or even warp the surface. Therefore, out of all the materials, this is one where you must take the most precautions.
As one of the cheapest countertop options, you obviously expect the worse performance. This isn’t necessarily the case; some laminated counter tops have excellent heat management properties. However, this ability is limited and you need to take steps to protect it. Failure to do that will result is staining, burn marks and even the possibility of the surface melting.
Quartz countertops have some good heat resistance, but do not match the performance of other stones like marble or granite. They too can suffer from thermal shock and a focused heat source can stain the surface beyond repair. Obviously, you need to take steps to protect the surface.
What can I put under my air fryer to protect the counter?
There are options out there, some more suitable than others. I would always opt for a surface that is specifically designed for this issue.
The most common solution is a commercially available silicone mat. Silicone is an excellent material that can resist heat without actually heating up. Silicone mats are therefore a superb solution to protect your countertops.
The best aspect of them is the price, they are available at little cost and they offer versatility too. Available in a number of colors and designs, you will easily find one that matches your countertop.
One of the more traditional forms of countertop protection, they do a great job. You can buy them in a variety of sizes, so finding one big enough for your air fryer should not be an issue.
Old chopping boards
If you have an old chopping board, this may well be perfect. Especially if it has feet which raises it from the countertop.
Personally, I use the silicone mat solution as it offers some of the best protection whilst fitting with the style of my kitchen. What you choose is up to you, regardless, you need to choose one.
What other steps can I take to protect counters?
You can take steps to ensure that your air fryer does not overheat, essentially taking steps to ensure that it works at its most efficient level. This also includes heat dissipation. An efficient air fryer is one that extracts the heat well.
You can take steps to help with this. Firstly, leave plenty of room around the air fryer. This gives it room to extract the hot air without any interruptions. Your air fryer is therefore extracting as much hot air out of the vents, exactly how it was designed to do.
Secondly, make sure the vents are clear. If you have your toaster oven air fryer tucked into a little corner, they tend to attract dirt. The dirt then enters the vents and eventually blocks them. A blocked vent prevents your air fryer from extracting the heat efficiently.
Therefore, it is vital that you keep your power air fryer clean. I recently wrote an article that shows you how to do this quickly and effectively. It is worth taking a few minutes to read it. It covers everything from the air fryer basket, heating element, as well as the surface area.
Finally, consider buying one of the better brand of air fryers. The better ones that you see from the likes of Cosori, Philips airfryer, Nuwave air fryer, Tefal, Instant Pot and Cuisinart. They perform more efficiently and have their own technology to make them perform at a better level. Unfortunately, the cheaper air fryers are some of the least efficient performers.
Frequently asked questions
Can you use an air fryer on a granite countertop?
You absolutely can use an air fryer on granite. As I mentioned above, it is a material that has some great heat resistance properties. However, it is not immune from damage. You must still take steps to prevent damage. Consider a silicone mat or a trivet for your air fryer.
What can I put under my air fryer to protect my countertop?
You have a few options, that we have taken the time to discuss above. Essentially, your options are a silicone mat, a trivet or an old chopping board with feet.
Where should I place my air fryer?
Sometimes the best space is the only place. However, if you do have some options as to where you can place it, there are some aspects to consider. Choose a place where it is well ventilated and free of any obstructions…in other words, it has room to breathe. This may be near a window or an extractor fan to help remove heat.
Obviously, we have discussed the issues relating to the countertops and the risks to them above. Taking the time to set up you air fryer location will result in a much better experience and limit any potential for damage.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post on ‘can I put my air fryer on the countertop’. I hope I have explained the issues it raises and the solutions open to you. Of course, these are my solutions, if you have a solution that works for you, please consider sharing it in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you!
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