7 signs it's time to replace your air fryer—experts explain

Ninja 12-in-1 Smart Double Oven Air Fryer being tested in writer's home
(Image credit: Future)

When you've got one of the best air fryers you'll know how convenient they are for making quick and healthy meals and snacks.

Like any kitchen appliance, air fryers need cleaning and maintaining and they also have a lifespan.

David Rees, an appliance expert from HomeSupply, told Top Ten Reviews: "With the proper care and maintenance, an air fryer can last for several years even if you are using it a few times a week. However, there are some signs to look out for that may indicate that it may need to be replaced." These include inconsistent temperature or cooking, physical wear and tear, unusual noises or smells and decreased performance.

"When you originally purchased your air fryer, it's likely that it came with a warranty. If this is still valid, you may be able to get your air fryer repaired or replaced. However, if the cover offered by the warranty has ended, it is probably cheaper to buy a new appliance."

We talked to the experts who revealed the seven signs it's time to replace your air fryer. If you're thinking about getting an upgrade, don't miss our guide about how to choose an air fryer.

7 signs it's time to replace your air fryer

1. Inconsistent temperature or cooking

If you notice your air fryer is performing with an inconsistent temperature, then it could be time to replace it.

"A malfunction can lead to your air fryer potentially over-heating or under-heating. If the appliance is unable to maintain a consistent temperature, this will affect the quality of the food that you are cooking, too," David Rees, an appliance expert from HomeSupply, told Top Ten Reviews.

Image of kitchen appliance expert David Rees
David Rees

David Rees is a kitchen appliance expert from HomeSupply, where he has worked for almost 20 years. He is passionate about home improvement, and prides himself on connecting customers with the best brands.

"You can tell when the temperature is beginning to fluctuate from what it should be if the air fryer is taking much longer to cook food, or if your food is not as crispy as it would normally be. This can result from a variety of problems, such as the heating element being worn out or a broken fan."

Kitchen appliance expert Justin White told Top Ten Reviews: "The rapid air circulation is what gives fried foods their crispy exterior in an air fryer. Dull, soggy results rather than nicely browned crusts mean it's losing its efficiency."

Image of kitchen appliance expert Justin White
Justin White

Justin White is a kitchen appliances expert and VP of marketing from Overhead Doors. He specializes in commercial and residential installations and 24-hour repair services, but his expertise also extends to DIY and home maintenance.

2. Physical wear and tear

"Most air fryers have non-stick qualities that mean you can cook with little to no oil. If you notice that the coating of the air fryer basket is beginning to chip or come away, you should buy a new one," advises David. 

"This is because pieces of the coating can end up in your food and make it unsafe to eat, and the lack of coating can also make the appliance harder to clean."

3. Outdated features

If your air fryer has outdated features, then consider upgrading to a new one. David told Top Ten Reviews: "Newer air fryer models tend to have more features and cooking modes included. If the model that you currently own does not have the features that you want or would use the most, it may be time to upgrade."

4. It smells

Just like any kitchen appliance, air fryers need to be kept clean and well maintained. 

"Food particles can gradually build up in hard-to-clean areas of your air fryer, which can start to affect the taste of food or produce odors," says David.

"A build up of food or oil will impact on the performance of the appliance, and if regular cleaning does not change anything or eliminate the smell, then you should buy a new one."

5. Unusual noises

If you own an air fryer, you'll know that they make a noise when they are in use. "But if you begin to notice that yours is making strange sounds or is noisier than normal, this suggests that the fan or the motor may be damaged," explains David. 

"If multiple parts of the air fryer are damaged, you should replace it so that you can cook consistently."

6. Safety hazards

Can an air fryer ever be dangerous? "If you notice the signs of electrical hazards, such as sparks or smoke, you should immediately unplug and stop using the air fryer until it is replaced," says David.

Justin adds: "Pay attention to any new smells. As the components age, you may start to notice a faint burning odor or actual smoke coming from your air fryer."

7. Poorly performing functions

A slightly less noticeable sign that it might be time to replace your air fryer is if some of its features are no longer working properly. David says: "This could be a broken timer, buttons that do not respond properly or a damaged display."


When is it dangerous to use your air fryer?

“An air fryer with a damaged cord or plug should not be used, as this poses an electrocution risk," says chef Paul Bough. 

"An air fryer should also only be turned on where there is plenty of ventilation - so not underneath a cupboard for example. Otherwise, overheating may occur and this can be a fire risk.”

Image of chef Paul Bough
Paul Bough

With decades of experience heading up kitchens in stately homes, running cookery school classes and supplying the best equipment to chefs, restaurants and hotels in the hospitality industry in his role at ZWILLING, chef Paul Bough is the go-to expert in all things culinary excellence.

What is the average lifespan of an air fryer?

“The average lifespan is at least two years, depending on the frequency of use. A proper maintenance and cleaning routine will keep the air fryer performing well for many years," says Paul.

Maddy Biddulph

Maddy has been a writer and editor for 25 years, and has worked for some of the UK's bestselling newspapers and women’s magazines, including Marie Claire, The Sunday Times and Women's Health. Maddy is also a fully qualified Level 3 Personal Trainer, specializing in helping busy women over 40 navigate menopause.