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Where should you place an air fryer in your kitchen? If you’ve ever asked yourself this question (perhaps after receiving one of the handy cooking appliances for Christmas), there is actually an optimal position for the machine within your cooking space.
The best air fryers form an essential part of many kitchens, whether you like to cook up chicken, salmon, fries, omelets, or any number of dishes. And given the reduced cost of running an air fryer (a big pro in the air fryer vs oven debate), they're now more popular than ever before, as we deal with the current cost of living crisis.
But, air fryers can be big, bulky and slightly awkward to slot into your kitchen. Plus, there are safety concerns about where to put it. While we all know that devices like toasters should be kept away from water, and kitchen knives should be stored away from small hands, we’re not actually that clear on where the best place is for an air fryer. Is there a safer spot for it to live during usage in order to prevent damage to ourselves, and our walls and worktops? If so, where should you place an air fryer in your kitchen?
If you’re currently grappling with finding the best spot for yours (be it a new purchase or something that has been struggling for a spot forever), we spoke to air fryer experts to find out where exactly to place this new cooking essential.
Where should you place an air fryer in your kitchen?
When not in use, an air fryer can of course be stored anywhere in your kitchen, so long as it isn't plugged in. But when it is in use, there are a few important things to bear in mind to ensure you are using your device safely, and to avoid damaging any part of your kitchen.
One of the most important considerations when planning where to put an air fryer should be practicality – ensuring that once you know how to use an air fryer, you can do so easily and without obstruction.
Jenny Tschiesche (opens in new tab), chef, nutritionist and author of the Air Fryer Cookbook (opens in new tab) explained, “You will want to consider how easily you can open and close the drawer or door of your air fryer when in use. Having some counter space at the front of the air fryer is a big consideration, for pulling out the tray.
"However, if you can remove the drawer or basket entirely and place this on a heatproof surface elsewhere, or alongside your appliance, this can work just as well.”
She also revealed that you can place your air fryer against the back wall of your kitchen – as long as you don’t leave it there while it’s actually in use. “You can keep the air fryer on a surface against the wall, and pull it forward and away from the wall when in use and whilst cooling down,” Jenny explained. “That’s probably the best way to store and use one; especially in a typically sized British kitchen, where space is often at a premium.”
Air fryer expert Clare Andrew (opens in new tab), and author of The Ultimate Air Fryer Cookbook (opens in new tab), also explained that you should, “Make sure your air fryer is always on a completely flat surface”, in order to avoid it tipping over or falling, which could be dangerous when it's on.
It’s also important that your air fryer doesn’t sit too close to fresh food. Because they emit heat when switched on, this can, over time, spoil said food much faster than it would ordinarily go off.
As Jenny mentioned, you’ll also want to keep it far enough away from your wall during use – though we’ve got more information on that below.
How far away from the wall should an air fryer be when in use?
Given that air fryers release a lot of heat, it’s a wise idea to keep them away from your kitchen walls when in use. Jenny explained, “Most air fryers have a vent that emits hot air, so you need to position your air fryer in a place with sufficient space around it when in use.
As such, “I would warn against placing air fryers in corners or against walls when in use, as this would most likely mean the vent was covered or too close to a wall or worse, a socket,” she said.
So how far away from the wall should yours actually be?
Clare advised, “Make sure you have at least a 5 inch gap around your air fryer.” And that’s on all sides – if your air fryer is close to a wall at the back or to either side, you should ensure it has that essential 5-inch gap all around, before starting it up.
In order to stay as safe as possible while using your air fryer – and once you know what you can cook in an air fryer – you should also “keep your room well ventilated, by opening doors and windows, and avoid placing your air fryer in a small closed-off corner of the kitchen,” Clare said. As such, it's definitely a bad idea to place your air fryer in smaller spaces such as a pantry or cupboard when in use – though when it comes to storing your air fryer when it is off, these areas will be perfectly suitable.
So the next time you find yourself wondering, where should you place an air fryer in your kitchen? Bear in mind these three essential points. Your air fryer should always be:
- At least five inches away from any walls or other kitchen appliances
- Place on a flat, level surface
- Somewhere you can open the drawers up easily and without obstruction
Where this is will depend on your own personal kitchen configuration – but it's likely that towards the front of your kitchen countertops will tick many of these boxes.
Will an air fryer burn a countertop?
Most air fryers should be safe to place on your countertop without a risk of it burning – so long as your kitchen countertop is made of a heat-resistant material.
Because of the way air fryers work, they create an immense amount of heat (on some models, up to 200C internally), meaning that they can potentially damage/burn your countertop if it isn’t made from a properly heat-resistant material, or if you don’t take the proper precautions to protect it. This is also the reason you should be extra careful if using tin foil in your air fryer.
So will an air fryer burn your countertop? Probably not, but some are more at risk of this happening than others. “Most kitchen worktop materials have a limit in terms of heat resistance,” Jenny said. “Some surfaces are more susceptible to damage from hot items being placed on them.
"Wooden surfaces for example might burn or scorch. And while it shouldn’t burn, granite can crack if the air fryer emits heat directly onto the surface. Meanwhile, quartz contains a resin which can mark when very hot items are placed on it.”
But, the chances of this happening also depends on which air fryer you actually have, and how it works.
Jenny explained, “How likely you are to burn your kitchen surfaces also depends on the model and make of the air fryer. Some have better insulation than others [the better the insulation, the lesser the chance of it burning your countertop].
“For example, some have a vent on the underside which would cause the hot air to be vented straight onto the work surface," she said. If you want to ensure, as far as possible, that your air fryer won’t burn your countertop, Jenny advises, “look out for those with a vent on the side or back instead, and those with sufficient insulation.”
What surfaces can I put an air fryer on?
When answering the question where should you place an air fryer in your kitchen, it's sensible to consider if your worktops themselves can take the heat of an air fryer. If you have a heat-resistant kitchen countertop, placing your air fryer on it should be entirely safe – though it’s worth keeping an eye on the surface to ensure how it is responding to the heat.
Kitchen surfaces that deal with heat the best are:
- And, if you take proper precautions, laminated counters can also be great at heat management
If you want to be really sure though, Jenny explained, “There are some extremely heatproof surfaces available now, such as Neolith and Lapitec, that are manufactured under extreme heat and are therefore suited to hot items being placed on them.”
However, purchasing a whole new kitchen worktop isn’t exactly practical for most of us. A brilliant alternative solution is to purchase some heatproof pads to place your air fryer on. These will protect your kitchen worktop from both air fryers and any other hot items, such as pans or induction pans.
Clare said, “I personally would use a silicone trivet or heat-safe board or mat to place an air fryer on. There are lots of heat-resistant mats and boards on the market." And, she says, don't forget the basket/tray, too. "I would also use the heat-safe mat for the air fryer baskets while you are serving the food."
These mats can also be useful when it comes to how to clean an air fryer, as they can help to catch any spills or drips, and are often easier and quicker to clean than your kitchen work surface.
And as Clare mentioned – whether you opt for a heat-safe mat or not – you should always ensure that your air fryer is placed on a completely flat surface, to avoid any unfortunate accidents.
Where should air fryers not be placed?
Because of the intense heat an air fryer can produce, while it may sound obvious, there are some surfaces that your air fryer should never go on. Clare says, “Do not place your air fryer on any material like any carpet or a tea towel.” This is due to the potential fire hazards of placing something so hot on a flammable material.
Similarly, an air fryer should only be placed on your kitchen surfaces, as these are the surfaces best placed to handle their heat. Because of this, you should also never put your air fryer on a surface outside of your kitchen; such as coffee table, or dining table for example. And if your kitchen island doesn't have a heat-resistant surface (for instance, if it is made of reclaimed materials), this is also a big no-go.
As mentioned, air fryers should also never be placed in an area with little ventilation, or close to walls, whilst in operation.
So in answer to the question, where should you place an air fryer in your kitchen, remember that wherever you put it, it should always have adequate ventilation, and should only be placed on kitchen countertops that are suitably heat-resistant, or on heat-resistant pad.
Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.
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