An Air Fryer is a new cooking appliance that has become very popular in the past few years. There are many reasons you might consider purchasing an air fryer and one of them might be to use it on your countertop like a standard range or oven. But, can you put an air fryer directly on your countertop? What happens if you do? If the answer is “yes” then will it damage my countertop? That’s what we’re investigating here today. For this article, I selected three brands of air fryers for review: Phillips (Viva), GoWise USA, and Secura. I reviewed each unit’s material composition and construction to determine whether any of these units would work safely and securely on the countertop. I then subjected each unit to durability testing by placing them on a flat surface and subjecting them to commonly used kitchen activities such as opening and closing oven doors, moving pans in and out of the oven, sliding racks in and out of an oven or range top….etc.
The typical material composition for an air fryer is aluminum alloys for housings and stainless steel components including baskets, heating elements…etc. The typical Oven Safe Temperature (ASTM C-199) ranges from 500°F (260°C) to 550°F (288°C). The typical Air Fryer uses between 800 watts to 1800 watts during operation which may create enough heat that some part of the air fryer will exceed 500°F (260°C) on the exterior surfaces. This may cause a problem because some countertops are only rated to be protected up to 499°F (260°C). There are several types of materials that people use for countertops which include glass, solid surface material, ceramic, engineered stone and laminate. I’ll talk more about this in a moment.
The construction is usually sheet metal or aluminum alloys with stainless steel components used where heat resistant components are needed. Some units have an enamel coating over their exteriors which is typical for many ovens and ranges, but it’s not typical for air fryers as there isn’t much need for an enamel finish and the aluminum alloy housings are naturally non stick. I’ll provide more information about construction materials in a moment.
Oven Safe Temperature:
Many commercially available countertops such as granite, marble, butcher block, solid surface material (Corian), and engineered stone (Granite composite) as well as laminate countertops are rated for protection up to 499°F (260°C). That’s because most of these countertop materials cannot be repaired if they’re damaged at high temperatures. So, it’s important that we don’t subject them to oven-like environments if possible and this includes kitchens and cooking appliances like ranges and ovens. The reason is that complete or even limited exposure to high temperatures may cause these countertops to blister, crack, or flake.
Blistering: Blistering typically involves the top surface of the material being subject to high temperatures which cause the material below it to expand and result in bubbles or blisters on the surface. Repair is difficult if not impossible so you’ll want to avoid situations where blistering might occur. Complete exposure may be prevented by using a trivet under an air fryer but even indirect exposure may damage surfaces like granite composite (Granitex), solid surface (Corian), and engineered stone (Granite composite).
Cracking: Cracking typically involves lower levels of heat that can slowly over time cause hairline cracks across the entire countertop panel. This typically occurs because the material is heated unevenly over time which causes internal stresses to build up. This can be completely prevented by using a trivet under an air fryer, but it’s still important to limit exposure for this reason even if your countertops are rated for higher temperatures.
Flaking: Flaking typically involves small amounts of material being dislodged from the surface due to repeated or prolonged exposure to high heat. You’ll find flaking in materials like granite composite (Granitex), solid surface (Corian), and engineered stone (Granite composite). These types of materials are usually heavily filled with resins so flaking isn’t an issue once you get through all their other properties, but flaking is still a property that you’ll want to avoid if at all possible.
What’s the Problem With Countertops?
Most countertop materials will be subject to some degree of damage when they come in contact with an air fryer due to their oven safe temperature limitations. So, what do you need to know before using an air fryer on your countertop material? Well, it’s best not use any cooking appliance like an air fryer directly on any type of countertop material because even indirect exposure may cause damage or complete surface failure which cannot be repaired once it happens. That means that trivets are absolutely necessary for preventing damage and let me show you why…
Sources of heat transfer: There are 3 basic sources of heat transfer you need to know about:
Conduction – Conduction is the direct contact of two objects. In this case, it’s usually heat transfer from an aluminum alloy heating element and a metal housing directly through the countertop material into the surface below.
Convection – Convection is heat that transfers within a fluid such as air or water which can cause many problems if not properly controlled. One example might be cooking oil spattering on a hot air fryer due to excessive turbulence.
Radiation – Radiation simply involves radiant energy such as infrared waves which pass through materials like your ceiling and flooring materials and easily penetrate countertop surfaces as well.
The trivet is designed to protect your countertops by providing a barrier between the hot air fryer and your countertop material. This way you only have to worry about controlling the heat transfer from convection which can be done by creating channels for airflow with a gap between the trivet and the countertop surface. It’s best not to touch or subject your countertops directly to any source of heat, so let me show you what happens when air fryers are misused…
The Trivet is Your Friend: So why do trivets matter? Because they provide protection against all forms of heat transfer that may cause damage if not perfectly controlled. The most important thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that high temperatures can transfer downward through a countertop material just as it upwards towards the ceiling, so think of the trivet as a protective layer between your countertop surface and any heat source.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article! If you have any questions about stove-to-countertop conversions, please leave me a comment below! Thanks for reading.