Do Air Purifiers Produce Radiation? – Facts Vs Myths

Air purifier EMF radiation article featured image

Sadly, it appears there’s some false information being presented as the truth when in fact it’s nonsense! As both an engineer and an air purifier owner and reviewer I wanted to bust the myths once and for all.

Do air purifiers give off radiation? You’ll find out the truth here based on the scientific facts, not rumors or superstition.

Read on to learn more. There’s a lot to see!

Contents

Infographic – Air purifier & EMF facts

Infographic for air purifier radiation facts and myths

Fast facts: Do air purifiers emit harmful radiation?

Air purifier EMF radiation truth
  • Do air purifiers give off radiation? Air purifiers produce a safe & small amount of electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation. There is no data supporting the claims that they’re harmful. Any such claims have no basis in scientific fact.
  • A 2002 study published by the World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer found no evidence of cancer caused by low-frequency electric & magnetic fields.
  • What is EMF? Electromagnetic field radiation (EMF) describes the magnetic & electrostatic fields produced by the movement of electrical current in a conductor and devices. They’re also a by-product of electric motors such as in fans as they need magnetic fields to create motion & do work.
  • Common household, automotive, and workplace electronics produce similar or more EMF than air purifiers. In fact, industrial workplaces often power machinery that create hundreds or thousands of times greater electromagnetic fields due to the huge electrical current moving through them.
  • Household electronics have not been scientifically proven to cause harm in humans. However, higher-energy (higher frequency, such as radio frequency (RF) and higher power) sources like cell phones have been shown to cause harm in lab rats under extended use.
  • Most air purifiers use relatively low power (55W or less, typically) and use a household low-frequency 60Hz 120V power source which is “chopped up” to control the purifier’s fan speed. They don’t use a high-frequency design in most cases.
  • The power of magnetic fields drops dramatically the further away you are from them. In fact, at only a few feet or meters away they’re a fraction of what can be measured right in front of the source. Most people aren’t immediately next to EMF sources, meaning there’s little that reaches them.

When someone claims something that millions of people own is supposedly harmful, shouldn’t they be able to back it up with scientific facts?

In this article I’ll explain:

  • What the hype is all about
  • What EMF radiation is and where it comes from
  • Scientific facts and why it’s much ado about nothing
  • More things to know that matter
Note: In this article, I’ll be referring to HEPA-based air purifiers, not ionizers or ozone generators sold as purifiers. Those are a completely different type and I don’t recommend them (you can read why here in this detailed article).

The misinformation being spread – What does it mean?

Drawing showing example of a claim made about air purifier radiation

An example from a website providing misleading information about air purifiers. The main concern I’ve heard from readers is that they’re reading that they produce harmful radiation – causing them to become worried when in fact there’s no need to be.

Some time ago I first heard from a reader and more recently I’ve gotten more comments and questions about this topic. In product reviews and in other places, they’re reading statements claiming (or implying) that air purifiers are potentially harmful to your health due to “radiation.”

You’ll notice people making this claim don’t provide evidence or cite studies by reputable organizations to back it up. Also, they may incorrectly refer to magnetic field “limits” or by measuring a product and finding a supposedly high reading with unproven test equipment and not with a controlled & proper scientific test.

You shouldn’t base your decisions on random strangers on the internet who aren’t qualified to make these (incorrect) claims – but instead on facts and what science actually says!

There’s a huge difference between a person at home taking measurements vs a proper study done under controlled conditions and correct test procedures. After all, isn’t that what scientists and labs are for?

That’s why I wrote this article – so you won’t be misled into believing false claims and won’t avoid buying air purifiers based on that.

What is this “radiation” that people are talking about?

When the word “radiation” is used here when we’re talking about air purifiers. We’re not referring to nuclear radiation.

The word “radiation” normally refers to materials that give off radioactive particles like uranium and other radioactive materials that can result in extreme environmental and health problems in both humans and animals.

Instead, we’re referring to electromagnetic fields that are radiated (EMF).

What is EMF radiation? Where does it come from?

EMF radiation field conductor and motor windings diagram

Magnetic and electrostatic fields are created when electrons flow through an electrical conductor. The strength of the fields depends on the amount of electrical current and other factors. Motors like those to drive a ceiling fan, motors in your car, and inside an air purifier use magnetics field to turn the fan that moves air.

I’ll spare you the very complicated (and boring) physics of it all. Believe me when I say my electromagnetics class was one of the single most difficult engineering classes I had in college!

Don’t worry, though – the basic idea isn’t that hard to understand.

Just saying “radiation” actually isn’t the right description – it can give people the wrong idea and lead to confusion or misunderstanding.

After all, we’re talking about electricity and air purifiers, not nuclear materials for heaven’s sake!

How electromagnetic fields (EMF) are produced and what they do

When the electrical current (electrons, as you might recall from science class) flows through a conductor like a wire, 2 types of fields are produced:

  • Electrostatic fields
  • Electromagnetic fields

Electrostatic fields are a type that acts as a voltage potential in the air because of an electrical charge, much as static electricity does. In a similar way, electromagnetic fields are created too, and radiate, or move outward, a lot like how a magnet produces its magnetic fields.

As we all know magnetic fields attract objects. They also can create the movement of electrons (called induction) in nearby metals. 

When we talk about radiation, we’re simply talking about the fields that ALL electrical and electronic devices – not just air purifiers – produce.

The strength of these fields is commonly measured in units called Gauss or Tesla, named after the early scientists who pioneered the understanding we have of them today.

Magnetic fields are critical for the things we use

Electric motors like those that turn a fan to blow air for cooling your room or cleaning the air need magnetic fields to create motion. To do that, electric motors use a huge length of wire windings.

When a long length of wire is wound into a coil or winding like in a motor, the magnetic fields  “build up” and are much stronger. That, and electrical current flowing in them, create the fields.

The thing is that unless they’re very strong they can’t affect objects or humans or animals nearby. It takes an enormous amount of power to create EMF that is any concern – way beyond anything you’ll get from your electronics, appliances, and an air purifier or fan.

Diagram showing magnetic field strength vs distance

Magnetic and electrostatic field strength drops significantly with distance. Even a few feet or meter away the fields reaching you (as who stands right in front of electronics?) are much weaker than right next to the source.

Another very important thing to know is that these fields are much weaker further away from them – meaning you’re almost never exposed to their full strength, which again is typically very small (a few thousandths of a Gauss (milliGauss).

That’s why radio and television stations, for example, use thousands and even hundreds of thousands of watts of power. It takes an enormous amount of power to get a good high-frequency radio or TV signal to an antenna in your home over a long distance.

The appliances and machines in your home and workplace generate only a fairly small amount in most cases.

How air purifiers work (and where the EMF comes from)

Illustrated image showing the fan motor and parts for Levoit LV-H132 air purifier

Shown: The main components of a Levoit LV-H132 purifier. Air purifiers use a power source and control an electric fan motor in order to move dirty air through the filters to clean it. Most use alternating current (AC) from a wall outlet in your home and “chop it up” with control electronics. This allows running the fan at different speeds and more efficiently, too. (Note the yellow section in which the motor’s wire windings are)

Ever heard of a direct current (DC) motor? You might remember them from battery powered toys or some of the science experiment kits you played with as a kid. While they’re good for some things, alternating current (AC), which is what is supplied to your home from the power company is used instead.

But why? There are several good reasons AC motors are used in nearly all appliances and electric fans including, but mainly it’s because of their increased power output and efficiency.

How an air purifier fan motor works

(Click to enlarge)Diagram showing how an air purifier electric motor works

Air purifiers use an electric motor, powered from alternating current (AC) in most cases, to turn a fan and move & clean air. An electronic board regulates how much power is applied to the fan to allow different fan speeds. Both the motor and the operation generates EMF fields around it (as do other devices too).

Most air purifiers use standard AC power connected to an electronic motor control board and the fan speed switch (or button). The low-frequency AC is “chopped up” and modified by a pulse width modulation (PWM) electronics circuit board to control how voltage is applied to the motor.

This is how we’re able to get different tightly regulated fan speeds without wasting power as was done with products back in the old days.

The PWM motor control board isn’t a high-frequency controller like you’d find with radio or cell phone signals. Instead, it’s a lower-frequency design that works several thousand times per second typically. This frequency range is called “kiloHertz” (KHz).

Since the fan motor uses a lot of wire wound as coils and also the fast pulsing of the power supply, EMF is generated anytime the purifier is turned on. Note that the amount of EMF changes based on the amount of power being drawn (electrical current required).

However, most air purifiers draw only about 12-55W watts based on my measurements & the fan speed chosen, so they create a small amount of EMF. 

Many appliances and machines draw a lot more power and generate more EMF.

The scientific truth about it all

There is inadequate evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of extremely low frequency magnetic fields in relation to all other cancers.
There is inadequate evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of static electric
or magnetic fields and extremely low-frequency electric fields.
There is inadequate evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of
extremely low-frequency magnetic fields.
No data relevant to the carcinogenicity of static electric or magnetic fields and
extremely low-frequency electric fields in experimental animals were available.2002 World Health Organization IARC study findings

What people who make claims about air purifiers (or any other small, typical source of EMF) aren’t telling is that for decades no scientific test has proven any proven harm from exposure to low levels of low-frequency EMF like air purifiers produce.

A 2002 study from the World Health Organizations’s International Agency for Research On Cancer found that there was no evidence of physical harm or cancer in humans or animals under study.

In fact, even much larger amounts like from current-hungry industrial machines haven’t been proven to cause any harm to humans, either.

The simple facts are the following:

  • Scientists disagree regarding the conclusion that EMF can cause cancer, for example.
  • There are no studies that have ever found definitive proof of harm (aside from an exception, see below).
  • You’re likely to be harmed by high levels (high frequency, higher power), if at all possible, and certainly not weak devices like an air purifier.
  • The EMF from an air purifier or other electrical devices drops drastically the further away you go – so your exposure is even smaller.

It’s important to be realistic – you can’t avoid EMF totally.

There’s an important point I need to make here before we continue: the EMF given off by air purifiers is no different (and even less than) sources you’ve been around already for years.

Here are some examples:

  • The blower fan in your car or truck (the dashboard fan that blows air through the vents)
  • Ceiling fans and other cooling fans
  • Certain types of light fixtures and heaters
  • Many appliances
  • Machinery in your workplace (industrial machines, in particular, can be a big source of high EMF levels)
  • Radio and cell phone high-frequency waves

The truth is that you’re surrounded by EMF everywhere. However, exposure to certain kinds of EMF may be potentially harmful, as you’ll see below.

What EMF radiation types have been proven to be harmful?

There has, in fact, been demonstrated evidence by the National Toxicology Program in the testing of abnormalities in lab rats caused by heavy cell 2G & 3G phone exposure. An increase in DNA damage along with the growth of malignant tumors was discovered in the mice & rats under test.

Additionally, the IARC has also concluded that radiofrequency & microwave EMF fields may possibly be carcinogenic.

Unlike air purifiers and other standard appliances or products around, this doesn’t refer to low-frequency fields but high frequency. Examples of that are signals in the millions of cycles per second (Megahertz [MHz]) and billions of cycles per second (gigahertz [GHz]).

This includes various devices like radio broadcasters, radio & communications towers, and wireless cell phone use.

In summary: the main facts to know

Image of finding the word facts under a magnifying glass

In summary, there’s no truth to the hype about air purifiers generating “unhealthy levels of EMF.” It simply isn’t true, there’s no proof to the claim, and it also ignores several important facts (while providing no proof).

In other words, it’s nonsense.

Here are the main facts to take away after reading:

  • There’s no scientific basis to the claim that air purifiers produce potentially harmful EMF. In fact, scientific studies have proven otherwise (see cited paper above).
  • Air purifiers (and many other devices) do produce some EMF, however, these are (1) generally small levels that (2) dramatically decrease in strength the further away you are.
  • You’re surrounded by EMF from many sources, and from the same type of EMF that air purifiers create: in your home, your car, and in the workplace. It’s nothing new.
  • Air purifiers produce low-frequency EMF, not the high-frequency/high-power type that has been suspected to create cancer in scientific tests (RF, wireless phone, and other types with high exposure).
  • If you see a recommendation that you “should” by a DC motor air purifier, you’re being misled. Not only is it not necessary, but very few high-quality purifiers use a DC motor. The best models use an AC design.

Hopefully this helps clear up the confusion and will help avoid being influenced negatively. Air purifiers are a great way to improve your quality of life, your comfort, and even stay healthy. 

HEPA filter purifiers are used by millions of happy owners every day and are a safe and effective way to clean your air.

How To Cook Frozen Breaded & Raw Shrimp In An Air Fryer – It’s So Easy!

How to cook frozen shrimp in an air fryer featured image

Yeah, shrimp is great. But have you ever noticed how many restaurants give you greasy, bland shrimp when you eat out? To make matters even worse, the cost really adds up, too!

There’s got to be a better way. As it turns out there is – and it’s easy if you know what to do! In my detailed how-to guide, I’ll show you how (and for how long) to cook frozen shrimp in an air fryer.

I’ll cover some of the most popular shrimp types many people love:

  • Frozen breaded shrimp (popcorn, butterfly, and coconut)
  • Frozen raw shrimp

Read on to find out how to get crunchy and delicious shrimp at home. Anyone can do it!

Contents

Infographic – How to cook frozen shrimp in an air fryer

How to cook shrimp in an air fryer infographic guide

Quick summary: How to cook frozen shrimp in an air fryer

It’s really easy if you know how – but it’s also important to know a few basic things before you get started. That helps avoid undercooking or overcooking (and wasting) shrimp meals. Here are a few quick facts to get you started:

Basic tips for cooking frozen shrimp in an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer – Typically you’ll just need to let the air fryer run at the cooking temperature for about 3-5 minutes depending on your model. Warm at the recommended cooking temperature (350°F for breaded shrimp, 370°F for raw shrimp).
  2. Place the shrimp in the basket – For best results, shake the container to even them out inside. This helps them get the best exposure to the hot cooking air as it works. Covered shrimp won’t cook as well. For raw shrimp, you don’t need to thaw them first like some packages may mention. Straight from the package is fine.
  3. (Optional) Lightly coat breaded shrimp with a cooking spray for crispness. Just like with french fries & potatoes, feel free to lightly coat the pieces before cooking. Canola oil is a good choice.
  4. Cooking – For breaded shrimp, cook at 350°F with the timer set to 12 minutes. For raw shrimp, cook at 370°F set to 6 minutes. For breaded shrimp, after 6 minutes shake the container a bit to rotate and expose the uncooked sides or use tongs. Reapply cooking spray if you like.
  5. Time to eat! You can serve both breaded or raw shrimp right away. Breaded shrimp should be slightly browned and very crunchy. Don’t overcook raw shrimp, as it can make peeling hard (the shell will be stuck a bit to the shrimp inside). Enjoy with your favorite sauce or sides!

The great thing about using an air fryer for shrimp that it’s both more time & energy-efficient than using a standard oven. Also, unlike a microwave oven, it will crisp the outside for the crunchiness you can only get otherwise with greasy fried foods.

Note that while most packages call for cooking breaded shrimp at 450°F, that’s not necessary with an air fryer, since the heat is more intense and cooking is more efficient for its size.

Note: In this article, I’ll be showing the results of using both a digital and a standard air fryer to make sure I cover the 2 different types people may use.

How & why to preheat your air fryer

Example image showing how to preheat an air fryer for cooking frozen breaded shrimp

Preheating an air fryer is important for great cooking! Top: Models like this Cosori 3.7 quart model have a preheat button which makes it simple. Bottom: For regular models with a dial or similar controls, set the cooking temperature then the timer for about 5 minutes.

Much like with regular ovens, to get your air fryer ready it’s best to preheat it to the cooking temperature before you start cooking. But why exactly is that?

There are several reasons why you should preheat your air fryer:

  • It gets the electric heating element hot and ready to use
  • Internal surfaces that touch & cook food are hot and ready to work properly
  • Preheating avoids a warm-up delay that would happen otherwise

Air fryer manufacturers recommend doing so because it gets it ready to start cooking right away – it’s preheated and ready to go. It starts you off immediately cooking you won’t have to figure out the extra time needed if you started with a cold air fryer.

It’s sort of like how you warm up a cold vehicle in the wintertime before driving it.

Preheating means proper cooking

For food that’s heated properly and cooks well, you’ll need to let your air fryer warm up. Doing this allows your meals to cook consistently and reliably.

It’s true that air fryers are small and don’t take as long as larger traditional ovens do. However, they still need a few minutes before they’re ready.

How to preheat your air fryer

Image showing temperature measurement of Dash air fryer preheat time

I recorded preheating times needed to get my air fryers ready before cooking frozen raw and breaded shrimp. I found out that they actually reach the cooking temperature before 5 minutes. However, the air fryer self needs the extra time (4-5 minutes total) to get completely ready. When properly hot, food will start cooking as soon as it touches the basket inside.

It’s super easy to preheat an air fryer! There are just a few small differences, however, depending on what kind you own.

You’ll do it one of 2 ways:

  • Digital controls/push button models: These often have a preheat button. When used, the unit will heat itself for the time required then turn off. You can also set the temperature and cooking time manually to do the same thing. (Note: Some models may use a bit less time to preheat with automatic settings, which is fine).
  • Air fryers with dial controls can be set to the cooking temperature then set for 5 mins cooking time. When the timer is done you’re ready to add food and start the cooking process.

For both kinds, a good rule of thumb is to set the timer for 5 minutes for enough preheating. For the preheat temperature itself, use the cooking temperature you need.

For frozen shrimp use:

  • 370°F for frozen raw shrimp
  • 350°F for frozen breaded shrimp (popcorn, butterfly, and coconut – all types)

Getting your shrimp ready to cook

Diagram showing examples of preparing frozen shrimp for cooking in an air fryer

Getting frozen shrimp ready for cooking is easy and fast! It only takes a few seconds and will help make sure your shrimp turn out crunchy from even cooking. Add the frozen shrimp to the air fryer basket and spread them out to allow as much exposure to the hot cooking air as possible (don’t pile them on each other). For breaded shrimp, just like other foods are normally fried in oil you can lightly spray with cooking oil for better crisping.

Like I mentioned in the beginning, it really is super easy to make delicious shrimp without the nastiness of fried foods. There are a few simple things I recommend for best results, though:

  1. Add the frozen shrimp (raw or breaded) to the fryer basket. If you’ve got a big container of them, be sure you don’t pile them above the top edge of the container.
  2. Shake the basket container until the pieces even out. That is, shake them until they spread out a bit and don’t cover each other. This helps them cook better as they get even exposure to the hot air that cooks them (This is really important if you’re cooking a full meal’s worth of shrimp).
  3. Optionally coat breaded shrimp with a light cooking spray. Since frozen shrimp are more enjoyable when they’re crunchy and browned slightly, you can help them crisp better by using a light cooking oil before you start the timer. Spray them lightly until they look slightly wet. I use an inexpensive, healthy canola oil spray.
  4. Place the fryer basket back inside the air fryer.

It’s not as much of a problem with raw shrimp but still important to avoid letting the pieces cover each other up. That’s because when cooking in an air fryer, sides of the shrimp that are covered won’t be able to fully cook.

Food that’s covered won’t be heated enough by the hot cooking air inside. Leaving the shrimp in a stack or piled inside is a bad idea and you won’t get the fantastic results I did.

That’s one reason I recommend shaking them a bit or using your fingers to move them out evenly

Remember: after preheating, the fryer basket will be hot. Avoid touching it with your hands or wrists when adding your food.

Using a cooking spray with your air fryer

Image showing an example can of canola oil cooking spray for air fryer use

Use your air fryer often? I recommend keeping a healthy & inexpensive cooking spray handy. It works great for getting excellent results for crunch foods – especially those like french fries, tater tots, and cheese sticks.

Like I mentioned above, using a cooking spray is a great idea. It’s not required for cooking crunchy shrimp (they’ll still be crunchy and tasty!) but it’s great for helping them brown and crisp a bit more.

The same is true not only for frozen shrimp but also chicken wings, tater tots, french fries, and many other great foods you’ll want to cook in your air fryer. It’s a tip I picked up from my Cuisinart air fryer & toaster oven owner’s manual.

You don’t need much, and if you’re like me you love to get the best for your cooking effort so it’s a great idea to keep some ready.

I recommend canola oil as it’s healthy and only costs around $2.

How long should I cook frozen raw shrimp?

Example Air fryer cooking times for frozen raw shrimp

To get the best results, I carefully cooked frozen raw shrimp and measured the cooking times. In both cases, I got good results at 370°F after 6 minutes, just as mentioned in the Cosori air fryer’s owner’s manual.

Since raw shrimp are a bit different from breaded shrimp, it’s important to understand that you can’t cook them for the same amount of time. To get the best info to help you I carefully cooked a serving in each of my 2 types of air fryers.

I measured the time needed (as suggested by the owner’s manual of my Cosori air fryer) and how they turned out. I also cooked them for slightly longer too as a test. 

Here’s what I found out for cooking large frozen raw shrimp:

  • Don’t worry about thawing them out first, even if it’s mentioned on the package. They’ll cook great without it!
  • Cooking for 6 minutes provides good results. You can tell they’re ready by the insides turning slightly pink (unlike the original pale color with a bit of gray-blue inside).
  • Don’t overcook them! After 6 minutes, the shell is easy to peel off. If you cook them too long (let’s say 9 minutes) the shrimp dries out a bit and they’re harder to peel and eat.
  • Unlike breaded shrimp, you won’t need to shake or turn them halfway through cooking.

Example of checking the internal temperature of cooked raw shrimp in air fryer

You can always be sure how well food is cooked by using a digital food thermometer. As you can see here, after 6 minutes my shrimp was well-done as it had reached a temperature of 165°F or above.

I got good results by cooking them at 370°F for 6 minutes. I wouldn’t recommend going past 7 minutes.

Closeup example of raw shrimp cooked with an air fryer

Closeup of what raw shrimp look like after being cooked well. They’re slightly white-pink on the inside and slightly browned on the outside shell. The shell should be easy to remove, too. Tasty shrimp, ready to go!

Once the 6 minutes are up, they’re ready to serve right away! Add your favorite side dish and sauce, then enjoy delicious, fresh, hot shrimp!

Mine were very good and rivaled what I paid a lot more money for in restaurants.

Images of serving cooked raw shrimp in dinner tray with sides and sauces

Here’s the result: Wonderful fresh, hot, and tasty restaurant-style shrimp at a fraction of the cost! I served mine with air fryer cooked hash browns and healthy mixed vegetables. Add the perfect sauce (cocktail or tartar sauce) and you’ve got a great meal!

As a side note, you may find it helpful to keep some serving tongs handy when dealing with hot & fresh food.

How long should I cook breaded shrimp and coconut shrimp?

Frozen breaded shrimp air fryer cooking times diagram

Shown: Cooking times for some of the most popular frozen breaded shrimp kinds people enjoy. In each case, I cooked the shrimp and measured the time needed to get a delicious and crunchy breaded shrimp taste.

For breaded shrimp, I used 3 different kinds that are some of the most popular based on my research. In each case, I cooked them for different times and temperatures, measuring the time used for the best results.

Here are the 3 kinds of frozen breaded shrimp I cooked:

  • Butterfly shrimp
  • Popcorn shrimp
  • Coconut shrimp

Examples of frozen breaded shrimp in retail packages

For this article, I used 3 kinds of delicious breaded shrimp seen here.

Coconut shrimp is just like other kinds of breaded shrimp with the addition of coconut for a different taste. Popcorn shrimp are small and bite-size while butterfly shrimp are larger.

All use breading on the outside and cook the same way in an air fryer.

How long to cook coconut shrimp, popcorn shrimp, and butterfly breaded frozen shrimp

Here are the steps and time needed for cooking fantastic tasting frozen breaded shrimp in an air fryer:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 350°F as mentioned earlier.
  • Add the shrimp, placing them as evenly as possible in the basket for good hot air exposure in the basket.
  • (Optional) For better crisping, lightly spray with cooking oil as shown above.
  • Set the timer for 12 minutes and cook at 350°F.
  • After 6 minutes, quickly remove the basket and shake or turn the shrimp pieces to expose the uncooked side. Put the basket back in place and continue cooking. Coat with cooking spray on the newly exposed sides if you’re using it.
  • Let’s eat! After the timer expires, they’re done. Serve immediately and enjoy a great meal!

Don’t forget to shake and turn them over!

When cooking frozen breaded shrimp it’s important to turn them over halfway through cooking. This exposes the lesser-cooked bottom sides of the pieces to hot air. You can shake them to do this, although I recommend using a fork or even better, tongs. Don’t forget to spray cooking oil again if you’re using it.

It’s important to remember to turn over or shake the shrimp halfway through cooking (when 6 minutes have passed) for the best results. That’s because the bottom of the shrimp pieces won’t have the same amount of heating and cooking as the top sides.

You’ll want to turn over the shrimp by shaking the basket or using a utensil like a fork or tongs.

Note: Frozen shrimp may leave water in the cooking basket that can spill if you shake it. For that reason, I recommend using tongs or something like that to gently turn the pieces over to avoid spills.

If you’re using a cooking spray for more crisping, now’s the time to spray it again on the formerly bottom sides (now turned up) and start the cooking again.

Cook for the remaining time left (6 minutes).

Image of cooked breaded shrimp served as a meal with sauce

Dinner’s served! Once the air fryer timer is finished, feel free to serve your meal while it’s hot. I highly recommend adding a favorite sauce or even ketchup can be a great choice.

Once the full 12 minutes are done, you’re ready! Serve with your favorite sauce (I recommend trying ketchup with breaded shrimp).

How is good is air fryer frozen breaded shrimp?

Image showing examples of frozen breaded shrimp cooked in an air fryer

Air fryer shrimp is excellent when cooked well! I was very happy with the results: all the crunchy breaded shrimp taste without the bad fryer shortening aftertaste like from restaurant food. It’s not just healthier but cheaper to make at home, too.

I have to say the results were great! My shrimp tasted wonderful and had a nice, crunchy outside – without the nasty greasiness you’ll get in a restaurant.

Regardless of which kind of breaded shrimp or type of air fryer (digital or standard), 12 minutes at 350°F gave the same excellent results.

You may find it helpful to use tongs or a fork instead of turning the basket on its side when serving them, though.

Closeup image of the inside of cooked breaded butterfly shrimp

Air fryer breaded shrimp has a great crunchy, crispy taste you’ll enjoy. Your shrimp will be slightly browned on the outside when finished cooking.

While it’s nice that fried shrimp cooks quickly (about 3-5 minutes in restaurant fryer machines), it’s cooked in dirty grease which is sometimes reused several days.

From personal experience, I can tell you it definitely affects the flavor and is unpleasant. The biggest advantage of air fryer shrimp is not just that it’s healthier, but also that it’s completely without any problem that comes with fried foods.

I was really happy with how mine tasted and I’m sure you’ll love it just as much.

Clean up & last notes

Images of air fryer residue left over after cooking frozen shrimp

There isn’t much leftover to clean after cooking, but there is a bit you’ll need to wash up afterward. Top: Frozen raw shrimp will leave a dry residue that can be cleaned easily with warm soapy water and a sponge. Bottom: Breaded shrimp will leave both crumbs and a bit of oil, too. Both take only moments to wash up.

The great news is that there’s nearly no work involved cleaning your air fryer after cooking shrimp.

For example, raw shrimp will leave a dry residue that can be wiped away with a soft sponge and warm water. Breaded shrimp leave a very small amount of crumbs and oil behind.

In both cases, it’s only a matter of seconds to wash up and you’re done.

Dash Compact air fryer example of washing basket in kitchen sink

Cleanup is fast and easy. Just quickly run a bit of warm water, add a drop or two of dishwashing detergent, and clean with a non-scratch cleaner like a soft sponge to avoid damaging the nonstick finish.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to wash up the fryer basket when you’re done. If it’s left alone for a day or two bacteria can begin to thrive and the smell is awful! Take my advice and wash up as soon as you can so you don’t forget.

When cleaning a fryer basket, always use a non-scratch cleaner like a soft sponge to avoid damaging the nonstick coating inside.

More air fryer cooking guides

Shrimp is great, but there’s a ton of other fantastic foods you can make with your air fryer.

Check out my other helpful how-to air fryer cooking guides:

How To Use Microwave Egg Cookers – Fast, Delicious Eggs Are Easy To Make!

How to use microwave egg cookers featured image

Ready for eggs? Want them fast, easy, and cheap? Microwave egg cookers are the way to go!

In fact, I was really happy with how my eggs turned out despite being so fast. What’s even better is that they save not just time but electricity vs cooking them on a grill or stovetop.

In this post, I’ll show you have to use microwave egg cookers and what you can expect. As there’s a lot of different kinds out there, I’ll cover some of the most common:

  • Poached egg maker
  • Omelet maker
  • Ceramic microwave egg cooker/container
  • Egg sandwich “egg patty” makers

Each one is very affordable, too!

Contents

Infographic – Microwave egg cooker facts and tips

How to use microwave egg cookers infographic

Basics first: Microwave egg cooker info to know

I’ll go into a lot more detail along with my pictures, cooking notes, and advice as we go. However, let’s start with the basics you need to know.

How to use microwave egg cookers
  • Microwave egg cookers take about 1 minute on average to fully cook each egg. Cooking times vary by microwave power, the number of eggs being cooked, and the type of egg cooking used (Example: Poached eggs vs standard microwaved)
  • Basic preparation: Crack an egg (or eggs) over a regular bowl then break the yolk with a fork. In most cases, it’s ideal to mix the egg with the egg whites by heavily stirring it for about 60 seconds.
  • For omelets and other egg cooking that needs a very well-mixed egg preparation, a fork is much hard to use. In this case, it’s easier to use an egg beater or even a blender.
  • Want perfectly round eggs for your egg sandwich just like a restaurant? Use an egg sandwich maker as they keep just the right size and shape.
  • For egg whites or “sunny side up” style eggs, break the yolk but don’t stir or remove the yolk completely if you like.
  • Cook at standard power in the microwave for 45-60 seconds as directed. Check the eggs – if they’re still a bit uncooked or look slightly wet, cook for an extra 15 seconds to avoid overdoing it.
  • Omelet makers take longer, especially those using 2 or more eggs. Expect to cook for 1:45 before flipping it over and cooking for another 30-60 seconds.
  • Keep oven mitts handy! Eggs and their containers are HOT after cooking – don’t burn your hand!
These are the basic tips you can use – just remember that there are some slight differences between different microwaves, different egg cookers, and the various styles of eggs too.

This will affect things like cooking times & how you prepare them. Don’t worry, though: Any differences are pretty small and it’s still a snap to do!

To keep things organized and easy to follow, after some basic info I’ll list each of the 4 egg cooker examples separately.

Do microwaved eggs taste good?

Example of microwave egg cooker omelette breakfast

I cooked it myself, and you can too! An example of a great-tasting, hearty breakfast you can make at home. I love omelets, but I hate the time, cost, and hassle of dining out. Egg cookers make good-tasting meals you’ll truly enjoy…all while saving time and money!

Let me get this straight: I really enjoy GOOD eggs. I HATE badly cooked eggs or bad-tasting egg substitutes! There’s no substitute for well-done eggs, and believe me when I say I’ve had plenty of bad ones in my lifetime!

Because of this, I was a bit nervous about cooking eggs in a microwave oven. After all, how good could it be? As it turns out, pretty darn good!

What’s especially fantastic is that I don’t have to drive across town and then pay a bunch of money to enjoy eggs or an omelet when I want them. It’s super easy (and cheap) to do them at home.

Does a microwave egg cooker really work?

Microwave egg cookers do work well. Also, eggs cooked in a good quality microwave egg cooker taste very good.

Hands-down they offer some of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest cooking I’ve seen among kitchen products.

It might take a little bit of practice to get it just right at first, but after that, you’ll have cooking times & the how-to part figured out.

Examples of typical microwave egg cookers

Image showing labeled examples of microwave egg cookers

Shown: 4 of the most common microwave egg cookers you’ll come across when shopping. (1) Egg sandwich makers, (2) a ceramic egg cooker which can also serve as the eating dish, (3) an egg poacher with 2 egg capacity, and (4) an omelet maker.

Just in case you’re not really sure about the kinds of egg cookers available, I thought I’d start by showing you the types I’ll cover in this article.

They’re 4 of the most common kinds you’ll find when shopping:

  • Egg maker for egg sandwiches
  • Ceramic egg cooker
  • Poached egg maker
  • Omelet maker

Each one is a bit different from the others and has either a different way of cooking eggs or it cooks a different style of eggs. However, all of them make it a lot faster, easier, and cheaper than the old-fashioned way of doing it.

The good news is all of these shown here are very affordable! In fact, all of them I bought were under $10-$15 each.

While I did pay just under $15 for my omelet maker, many of those are available for less than $10 too.

Using an egg cooker for breakfast sandwiches

Eggwich microwave egg sandwich maker image

You can make excellent egg breakfast sandwiches by easily cooking egg “patties” (rounded eggs) using egg sandwich makers like the Easy Eggwich used for this example.

Here’s a great example to see. I made my Egg McMuffin sandwiches easily and you can too. For those of you not familiar, the McMuffin is a breakfast sandwich from McDonald’s fast-food chain featuring an English muffin, cheese, and egg patty.

However, you can make nearly any kind of egg sandwich you love! Using your favorite fresh-baked bread or toast is another approach you can do anytime you like.

Steps to follow

How to use microwave egg sandwich maker steps diagram

It’s very easy! Follow these simple steps:

  1. For each sandwich, crack one egg and pour it into the egg cooker.
  2. With a fork, break the yolk so that it’s no longer a firm, solid yellow ball but instead begins to split apart a bit.
  3. Mix the entire egg briefly (about 30-60 seconds) so that it’s mixed well as shown.
  4. Close the egg maker and insert into the microwave. Cook for 60 seconds.

Note that you may find it easier to use a bowl for stirring an egg instead of the cooker, as it’s larger. In that case, just pour it into the cooker afterward.

After the microwave is done, check to see if the eggs look a bit wet and “runny” and need more cooking (this could happen with weaker microwave ovens). If needed, cook for another 15 seconds and check again.

You should always be careful with freshly cooked, hot eggs, but holding the egg cookers by the handling tab should be fine. In my experience, they don’t get nearly as hot as other cookers.

Let’s make a sandwich!

Cooking a microwave egg sandwich final steps examples

Only a few steps and you’re ready to eat! Once the egg or eggs are ready, remove them with a fork and build your sandwich. Serve while fresh and warm for best taste.

Once the eggs are cooked the rest is even easier! Using a fork remove the egg (or eggs, if cooking more than one) and place on the sandwich bread.

As shown above, I used English muffins which must be sliced before using them. Likewise for fresh-baked bread. Add the condiments and you’re done. Enjoy!

Note: Adding cheese to your sandwich? If you’d like to melt the cheese, microwave the sandwich for 30-60 seconds as cheese can take some time melt well. You may prefer to simply eat your sandwich as-is instead of having to wait.

How to use a microwave poached egg maker

Nordic Ware microwave egg poacher product closeup

A popular model, the Nordic Ware microwave egg poacher is a typical model you’ll find when shopping. Just like egg sandwiches, it’s super easy to make poached eggs, too!

Poaching eggs is super-easy, too! In case you’re not familiar with this type of egg preparation, here’s what you need to know: A poached egg is one that’s cooked using water by poaching or sometimes steaming. 

Since that’s the case using a microwave egg poacher is just a bit different from the others.

Egg poacher steps

Illustrated steps showing how to use a microwave egg poacher

There are only a few simple steps you’ll need to do for this type of microwave egg poacher (be aware that some other types are a bit different. I’ve picked this one since it’s very common and one of the easiest to use).

Cooking steps:

  1. Crack one egg into each cup of the egg poacher. Pierce each yolk with a fork (don’t stir).
  2. Add 1/2 tablespoon of water to each egg cup or as directed. If you’re using only 1 of the 2 containers, add the same water to the empty cup also.
  3. Cook for about 45 seconds. Check to see if they’re fully done (A bit of water left on top of the eggs is normal). Cook for another 15 seconds if needed.
  4. Let the eggs stand for 30 seconds after cooking is finished to allow them to finish. Remove from the microwave.
  5. Use a fork to remove them and serve.

The taste is similar, in my opinion, to boiled eggs – but so much faster! They’re soft and a poacher cooks them delicately. I think you’ll like them!

When done, use a fork or spoon to remove them from the cups and serve.

Closeup example of a cooked microwaved poached egg

Microwaved poached eggs are fast and easy, resulting in a softly cooked egg that tastes like a boiled egg. They’re gently cooked thanks to the use of water in the egg cooker.

Ceramic microwave egg cooker example

Eggtastic ceramic microwave egg cooker example

A ceramic microwave egg cooker like this Eggtastic model lets you make fluffy eggs easily – plus it also helps keep them warm. You can eat right out of it once they’re done, too!

A ceramic egg cooker is just a bit different from a plastic product. Unlike the others, it’s not meant to cook eggs for a sandwich but instead, you’ll get soft, fluffy eggs much like scrambled eggs from a stovetop skillet.

Because it’s ceramic and includes a lid, the eggs cook differently, as well as being able to hold more eggs at one time (up to 4 in this case). It also retains the heat to help keep them warmer afterward.

You can eat right out of the container once they’re ready, too!

What I like about this kind of egg cooker is that it’s just as easy as the others but it’s closer to the traditional home-cooked eggs I grew up with – but at a fraction of the time and energy use!

I especially like that you can add all kinds of ingredients easily to get an amazing variety of egg dishes.

Ceramic egg cooking steps

Eggtastic ceramic microwave egg cooker illustrated how-to steps

Illustrated steps for using a ceramic microwave egg cooker. In the example above, I used 3 eggs, although you can use up to 4 if you like.

For the most part, using one is the same as other microwave egg cookers. However, since it’s not made of plastic the cooking times can be different depending on your microwave oven. I tested mine using 3 eggs.

It also depends on the number of eggs you’d like to cook. Here’s how to use one:

  1. Crack up to 4 eggs and lightly mix with a fork or an egg beater. You may find it easier to mix/beat the eggs in a bowl first then pour it into the cooker. (Note: Don’t fill above the fill line inside the container).
  2. (Optional) Add ingredients as you like. When adding items like ham, onions, etc to the cooker, you’ll need to use fewer eggs. (Egg-Tastic recommends using only 2 eggs in this case).
  3. Place the lid on top and place it in the microwave. Cook according to the time & power guidelines (see below). 
  4. During cooking, stir the eggs with a fork for the best results. Restart the microwave.
  5. When done, remove carefully using oven mitts or potholders. Caution, it’s hot!
  6. Enjoy right away – break up with eggs with your fork and enjoy it!

The ceramic container has a tiny hole to allow a small amount of air and water vapor to escape (to avoid pressure). Because it’s almost like a sealed pot, the water vapor stays inside and helps keep the eggs soft while cooking.

In addition, unlike plastic egg cookers, it’s really good at retaining heat. They’ll stay warm long after the microwave has finished cooking them.

As I mentioned above, the cooking times can vary a bit between your microwave oven and mine. For example, lower-power models will need more time while higher-power ones need less. Here’s the Eggtastic manufacturer recommend time chart:

Ceramic egg cooker time & egg table

# of eggs1100W or less1200W1250W
159s50s45s
21:00 + 20s1:151:10
31:40 + 20s1:10 + 20s1:10 + 20s
42:00 + 20s1:30 + 20s1:20 + 20s

The cooking times you see here are based on using large eggs from the grocery store. That’s what I used in all the cooking examples in this article to be consistent.

In the table above, when you see a time such as “1:00 + 20s” that means to set the cooking time for 1 minute (60 seconds), stir the eggs, then cook again for another 20 seconds. For my 3-egg example, I found the times listed above to be about right for my 3 egg experiment. I set my microwave for 1:40, then stirred them after it was done.

I then cooked them for another 20 seconds as shown.

Watch out – ceramic egg cookers get hot! Use oven mitts or pot holders when removing the container once cooking is finished. Believe me when I say you could burn your hand easily.

However, you’ll only need to let it set a short time before eating right out of it.

Ceramic egg cooker results example closeup image

Here’s the result – a tasty, soft, and fluffy meal right out of the pot! They’re delicious, fresh, and fun to eat. For something cooked so fast, they’re pretty darn good! And healthy, too.

When done right, you’ll get soft, fluffy eggs you’ll really enjoy. Mine tasted very good and it was fun to eat them “right out of the pot.” It’s definitely very convenient as well.

What’s especially great is that you can easily add your favorite fixings to the eggs before cooking such as ham, onions, peppers, and so much more. Because it’s an enclosed container you’ll avoid making a mess as I’ve done at times!

Using an egg cooker to make great omelets

Lekue microwave egg omelette maker example

I’ve often enjoyed having an omelet at my local Waffle House restaurant because I had no other way to cook them myself. It takes time AND money to dine out – but you can do all of it yourself. A good microwave egg omelet like the Lekue pictured here makes it very simple. It’s very cost-effective, too!

I’ve saved the best for last! Omelets cost more at restaurants than scrambled eggs and other types. You might think like I did that you can’t make them yourself without more expensive pots or pans. I’m happy to say that’s not true: you can make great omelets you’ll love at home on the cheap and in only minutes!

The example omelet egg cooker pictured here (a Lekue Omelette Maker) is made of soft, flexible silicone and is really easy to use. Many similar products make cooking your own at home easy, and cost less than $9-$10, too!

Most microwave omelet makers have a very similar design. In most cases, they mold the cooking eggs inside into the shape you’re familiar with.

Steps for using a microwave omelet maker

Lekue microwave omelette maker illustrated how-to steps

Making an omelet with a microwave egg cooker like this is pretty easy! However, it does just a bit more effort than the others I’ve shown.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Mix 2 eggs in a bowl heavily with an egg beater (works a lot better than using a fork). If possible, add 2 tablespoons of milk and a pinch of salt.
  2. Optional: Add ingredients to the omelet cooker (mold) before adding the eggs. Meat should be pre-cooked.
  3. Pour the beaten eggs into the mold slowly, avoiding spilling. Don’t overfill the cooker.
  4. Place in the microwave and cook for 1:30-1:45.
  5. After this time, turn the omelet maker over with oven mitts or potholders. (Caution, it will be hot!)
  6. Cook for an extra 30-45 seconds.
  7. Empty the mold carefully onto a plate to avoid breaking it (using a fork may be very helpful).

In my case, I needed to use 1:45 first and then an extra 45 seconds for cooking time after flipping it. Flipping the omelet cooker makes sure that the omelet is thoroughly cooked.

Although it’s not necessary to add milk and salt, it’s recommended for the consistency of the omelet. Overall, I could tell a difference between one cooked with milk added and one without. Just don’t add too much milk or you’ll have a weaker, somewhat runny omelet that will disappoint you.

Be careful as a microwave omelette maker gets really hot! I definitely had to use my potholders to be safe when flipping the egg cooker or taking in out of the microwave.

If you’re adding ingredients such as diced ham, green chiles, and cheese, it’s a good idea to put them in the cooker before adding the eggs.

Also, don’t forget that the number of ingredients you add will take up room in the mold. Because of that, be sure to add the eggs slowly so that you don’t make a mess by overfilling it.

Example of a finished microwave egg omelette

Here you go! I got great results and a delicious, hot, and fresh omelet at home. Just follow the basic steps I listed and you can do the same. Want a seriously fantastic restaurant-style breakfast, but for less money AND that’s healthier? I recommend adding sides cooked in an air fryer too.

Clean up and final thoughts

Image showing examples of washing microwave egg cookers by hand

For typical plastic microwave egg cookers, washing by hand is a great idea. Use a non-scratch sponge or scrubber to remove the leftover bits of the egg after cooking. While some are dishwasher safe, not all are.

Cleanup isn’t hard, either. However, in my experience, you will have a bit of leftover egg to clean off. So it’s not as simple as simply throwing them into the dishwasher or just rinsing them off.

You’ll likely need to use a soft sponge or non-scratch scrubber to remove the small amount of cooked egg remaining in a cooker. In my experience, it’s not much effort.

Use standard dishwashing detergent to wash them by hand and to make be sure it’s clean and all of the egg is gone.

While some egg cookers are microwave friendly (like the Eggtastic ceramic cooker) not all are. Be sure to check the instructions before washing them that way.

More great cooking ideas

Want to make a great lunch or an amazing snack, too? Here’s an idea! Air fryers are super-easy to use and make DELICIOUS food that’s healthier than restaurant cooking! It’s much cheaper, too.

Check out my helpful posts that show you some great foods you can make at home:

Got questions, comments, or ideas? Send me a message or leave a comment below.

How To Cook Hot Dogs In An Air Fryer – Get Delicious Hot Dogs Now!

How to cook hot dogs in an air fryer featured image

I enjoy hot dogs from time to time, but I’m pretty disappointed with a lot of them I’ve bought when dining out (especially from gas stations). Wouldn’t it be fantastic to be able to cook delicious, plump, and fresh hot dogs at home?

In this simple guide, you’ll learn how to cook hot dogs in an air fryer with excellent results.

I’ve made wonderful traditional dogs, chili cheese dogs, and more with even better taste than many restaurants or convenience stores but at 1/2 the cost!

Read on to learn how I did it.

Contents

Infographic – Air fryer hot dogs quick guide

How to cook hot dogs in an air fryer facts & tips infographic

Quick summary: Cooking hot dogs in an air fryer

Cooking fresh, warm, and tasty hot dogs yourself is easy. However, it’s helpful to know some things ahead of time to avoid headache or messing up your food.

Basic steps for cooking hot dogs in an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer – Typically you’ll just need to let the air fryer run at the cooking temperature (350°F is recommended) for 5 minutes
  2. Place the cold hot dogs in the fryer basket – For best results, shake the container to even them out inside. This provides room around them for the cooking air to move.
  3. Cooking: With the temperature set to 350°F is good, cook for 5 minutes. After 2 1/2 minutes, shake the container a bit to rotate and expose the uncooked sides or use tongs.
  4. Final cooking: Your hot dogs will be ready to eat after 5 minutes. Hot dogs are done when they’re slightly darker red and have an internal temperature of 165°F and above.
  5. For fantastic cheese or chili cheese dogs, place the dogs in buns, add sliced or shredded cheese, and melt for 60 seconds at 350°F.

You can also cook great sausage dogs, too! Read on to learn all the details.

How & why to preheat your air fryer

Example image showing how to preheat an air fryer for cooking hot dogs

Top: Preheating an air fryer with digital controls. These often have a preheat mode button (some may use less than 5 minutes and adjust their time automatically). Bottom: For standard models, you can preheat the fryer by adjusting it to the 350 degree temperature and setting the cooking timer for 5 minutes.

Just like with regular ovens, air fryer makers recommend warming up the fryer to the cooking temperature before you add food. But why is that?

You should preheat your air fryer for several reasons:

  • The electric heating element gets hot and ready to use
  • Inside surfaces that touch & cook food are hot and ready to work properly
  • Preheating avoids a warming delay that would happen if you started cooking from room temperature

Air fryer brands recommend doing this as it gets your air fryer ready to start cooking right away – it’s preheated (already heated) and ready to go. There’s no need to try to figure out cooking times as you would starting from a cold fryer.

It’s similar to how you warm up a car in cold winters before driving.

Preheating means proper cooking

For food that’s heated properly and cooks well you’ll need to let your air fryer warm up. Doing this allows your meals to cook consistently and reliably.

It’s true that air fryers are small and don’t take as long as larger traditional ovens do. However, they still need a few minutes before they’re ready.

How to preheat your air fryer

Image showing temperature measurement of Dash air fryer preheat time

I recorded preheating times needed to get my air fryers ready before cooking frozen cheese sticks. I found out that they actually reach the cooking temperature before 5 minutes. However, the air fryer self needs the extra time (4-5 minutes total) to get completely ready. The internal surfaces will be hot and ready to cook the food as soon as it touches it.

Preheating is really easy! However, the way you go about doing it depends on the type & model of air fryer you own.

One of two ways are used:

  • Digital controls/push button models: These often have a preheat button. When used, the unit will heat itself for the time required then turn off. You can also set the temperature and cooking time manually to do the same thing. (Note: Some models may use a bit less time to preheat with automatic settings, which is fine)
  • Air fryers with dial controls can be set to the cooking temperature then set for 5 mins cooking time. When the timer is done you’re ready to add food and start the cooking process.

In either case, 5 minutes is usually a great preheat time to use. For the preheating temperature, set it to 350°F as we’ll use that for cooking.

Getting your hot dogs ready to cook

Image showing how to place hot dogs in an air fryer

It’s a breeze getting your uncooked hot dogs ready for excellent cooking. For best results, put them in your air fryer’s cooking basket (food container) with a bit of space between. This helps them get more exposure to the hot cooking air inside while it works. See my note further below about shaking or turning them during cooking.

Yes, I’ll admit that hot dogs are one of the easiest foods to cook. But if you want great taste and want to avoid overcooking or undercooking them, there are few things to know:

  1. When loading the air fryer basket with the hot dogs, don’t put too many. There shouldn’t be so many that they cover each other a lot.
  2. Shake the basket container until the hot dogs “even out” or use tongs or your fingers. That is, shake or arrange them until they spread out a bit inside. This helps them cook better as they get more even exposure to the hot air that cooks them (This is really important if you’re cooking a lot of food in an air fryer).
  3. Place the fryer basket back inside the air fryer.

When cooking with an air fryer, it’s important to understand that the food cooks by being exposed to very hot cooking air blowing down on it from the top. Ideally, the food will have as much of itself as possible exposed and uncovered.

Covered sides on your hot dogs (or what’s facing down) will usually be cooked slightly less. That’s why I and the air fryer manufacturers recommend shaking or turning food 1/2 of the way through the cooking time.

How long should I cook hot dogs?

Example of air fryer hot dogs cooked and measured cooking times

I measured cooking times for hot dogs until they were well-done and tasted like they should Both the larger air fryer (a 3.7 quart Cosori unit) and the smaller one, a 1.2 qt Dash personal air fryer were used. Both needed 5 minutes for plump, well-cooked dogs with an internal temperature above 165°F as recommended.

To get a really accurate idea about how much time 2 common sizes of air fryers need for hot dogs, I carefully measured the cooking times for a Cosori 3.7 qt model (more of a family size air fryer) and a 1.2 qt Dash Compact personal air fryer (perfect for individuals or couples).

These were common refrigerator-temperature (cold, not frozen) franks, by the way.

Here’s what I found when testing the cooking times & watching the hot dogs:

  • 0-1 mins: Starting to warm up.
  • 1-2 mins: Interior of hot dog franks are no longer chilled; slightly warmer.
  • 2 1/2 mins: Starting to plump and somewhat cooked; Some parts may be a bit darker. Time to shake or rotate.
  • 3-4 mins: Turning a normal red color, plump, and very close to being ready to eat & tasting good.
  • 5 mins: Plump, juicy, and tasty. Internal temperature is 165°F or above. Time to eat!

Unlike microwaved hot dogs (blah!) you’ll get juicy, naturally cooked hot dog meat that’s not about to explode. It’s actually a lot easier to use an air fryer as long as you’re careful with the timer.

Closeup image of a properly cooked hot dog

Closeup of a properly cooked hot dog after using an air fryer. The hot dog should be a darker red, plump, and soft. The taste is great when cooked well!

Don’t overcook your hotdogs. At around 5 minutes, some parts touching the hot cooking surfaces can start to crisp and turn a bit dark.

That’s another reason it’s best to turn them 1/2 of the way through cooking. As with other meats, properly cooked hot dogs will have an internal temperature of 165°F or above to make sure bacteria and other nasties are destroyed.

Don’t forget to shake them!

Shaking air fryer hot dogs example image

After about 2 or 2 1/2 minutes it’s best to shake or turn your franks. That’s because you’ll need to expose the areas which had less cooking heat previously and turn other areas to receive less heat.

While it’s not “necessary”, I strongly recommend shaking or turning the hot dogs at about 2 or 2 1/2 minutes during the cooking process. In my experience, air fryers do a great job but they can’t cover 100% of the food’s surfaces without your help.

It only takes a few seconds and will make sure your food gets enough hot air to give you the best results possible.

Image showing example of measuring the internal temperature of sausage hot dogs

Tip: Want to be 100% sure? Use a digital food thermometer to check how well your foods are cooked. I use one regularly for many foods I cook with my air fryers. My current handy digital thermometer is the easy-to-use and inexpensive ThermoPro TP03A digital kitchen temperature probe from Amazon.

Melting cheese for chili cheese dogs with an air fryer

Image showing example of preparing melted cheese hot dogs in an air fryer

Got cheese? Let’s be honest, gas station (or other) cheeses options for hot dogs are TERRIBLE! Real cheese should taste like…well, real cheese! To get fantastic cheese dogs or chili cheese dogs, you can use ANY of your favorite choices with your air fryer. Even though real sliced block cheese is harder to melt, it’s a snap to do this way.

Not all chili cheese dogs are the same! There’s a reason I almost never get cheese dogs when we go out to eat – usually they’re awful!

However, my homemade air fryer cheese dogs were excellent!

Image of Colby & Monterey Jack hand sliced cheese on a plate

The great news is that you can use any cheese options that work best for you and your budget:

  • Grated cheese in the bag
  • Sandwich slices
  • Hand-sliced block cheese (my favorite!)

Of the three, block cheese is a bit harder to use as it’s harder to melt. However, the great news that I’ve figured out the easiest way to do it.

How to best melt your cheese & for how long

Measuring time for melting cheese on hot dogs in an air fryer

As it turns out, home-cooked chili cheese dogs are GREAT! I was so happy to FINALLY enjoy cheap, delicious cheese dogs I made myself. It’s fast too, as it only takes about 60 seconds even for block cheese slices which are harder to melt. Shown: Delicious, fresh hand-sliced Colby, and Monterey Jack pieces melted perfectly.

You’ll want to do the following:

  • Cook the hot dogs first, as shown in the earlier sections
  • Place the hot dogs in their buns, fresh out of the bag (or refrigerated is ok too)
  • Cover the hot dogs evenly with grated/shredded, sandwich sliced, or hand-sliced cheese as desired
  • Melt at 350°F for 60 seconds

The result will be cheese that’s properly melted, won’t be burned, and will remain soft and gooey for a few minutes before eating. However, I strongly recommend you add toppings and eat as soon as possible!

Adding chili and other toppings

Making homemade chili cheese dogs example images

Eat with only cheese or add mustard, ketchup, or whatever suits your fancy. For seriously delicious chili cheese dogs, add hot dog chili from a can, onions if you like, and enjoy! It’s fantastic!

After carefully measuring melted cheese time & temperatures (and using 350°F, making it easier) I got my perfectly melted cheese dogs.

To create fantastic chili cheese dogs, I simply added hot dog chili from a can at room temperature and then fresh-cut onions. The result was excellent!

While you can heat up your chili, mine was fine at room temperature. If you’d like to heat your chili a bit, place it in the air fryer once you’ve added the topics and use the warm setting for 2-3 minutes, or 30-60 seconds at 350°F.

Note: Use any chili you like! However, hot dog chili is a bit easier to spread and is available in smaller cans than regular chili. You can also spend less money than for regular cans of chili, too.

What about sausage dogs and bratwurst?

Example of air fryer sausage hot dog cooking

Great news! Cooking bratwurst or other sausage dogs is exactly the same – and just as easy – as regular hot dogs. 5 minutes at 350 degrees and you’re done! For a wonderful traditional taste, add sauerkraut and onions as desired.

The great news is that your favorite sausages like bratwurst and traditional smoked types are cooked exactly the same in an air fryer!

Just like regular franks, cook for 5 minutes at 350 degrees and you’re ready. Don’t forget to turn them over at 2 to 2 1/2 minutes time, although it’s really not as important for sausages. (They cook slightly differently due to the different skin).

Garnish with sauerkraut, onions, and anything you like as desired. They’re great!

Final touches and it’s time to eat!

Image showing examples of adding garnish to hot dogs

Examples of the delicious hot dogs I cooked in my air fryers and garnished to taste. Whatever your favorites are, they’re warm, fresh, and tasty once you cook them. Just add the perfect garnish like sauerkraut, ketchup & mustard, onions, or so much more! (Note: I highly recommend wavy potato chips – they’re an excellent side for hot dogs. They taste great and are inexpensive, too!)

Once you’re done cooking your franks, my advice is to add your favorite toppings while they’re hot and serve right away. There’s simply no substitute for fresh & warm hot dogs. (Reheating with a microwave will give you poor taste and won’t be nearly as good!)

The good news is that after cooking them, there won’t be much to clean up.

What to expect

While other foods you can cook in air fryers such as mozzarella sticks, burritos, chicken wings, and especially hamburgers can result in a greasy mess at the bottom of the air fryer basket, hot dogs are different.

In my experience, aside from sausages, there’s almost no residue. Note that sausages do leave a bit more as they contain more fats, but overall it’s still only a very small amount.

Note: I don’t recommend using a microwave oven to reheat your hot dogs if they get cold. The taste simply can’t compare, and microwave ovens also don’t correctly heat the outside surfaces of food. That’s one reason microwave-heated foods are very disappointing and seem to be missing the original flavor & texture you enjoy.

For best results, warm & crisp them back to a tasty & fresh state by reheating them in a hot air fryer at 350°F for about 1-2 minutes. Some air fryer models provide a warm setting (usually at around 170-180 degrees) but will take a few more minutes to do so.

Clean up & last notes

Image of air fryer basket residue after cooking hot dogs

The great news is that hot dogs leave very little residue in your air fryer! While sausages leave more as they have more fat, as you can see above there’s not much to clean after cooking franks. It will only take a handful of seconds to clean up later.

Unlike other foods I’ve cooked (mainly frozen hamburger patties), there’s not much at all left over to clean up. Just a bit of residue from water and a very small amount of fats in the hot dogs.

Bratwurst and other types of sausages or sausage dogs do leave a bit more. Don’t ignore it, however, as all greases and food residues will develop a smell from bacterial growth after a few days if not cleaned.

Washing your air fryer after cooking

Images of cleaning air fryer baskets in a sink

Washing out the fryer basket is really easy.

Just add a drop of dishwashing detergent after filling it with warm water. Any droplets of oil or greasy water residue will wash out without any real effort.

Add a small amount of dishwashing detergent and then use a soft sponge to avoid damaging the nonstick coating inside the cooking basket as most air fryers have that protective coating. 

Wash briefly by hand, rinse out with water, and then leave to air dry. You’re done!

More air fryer cooking guides

Want even more fantastic food that saves money, too? There’s almost no end to the wonderful food options you can cook with your air fryer.

Learn more from my other helpful posts where I show you more:

Mold Vs Mildew: What Are The Differences? Plus Black Mold, Health Risks, And More

Image for mold vs mildew differences informational guide

When it comes to the difference between mold and mildew, there’s a lot of confusion out there. Many people think of mold or mildew as “that stuff that you get if your walls get wet.”

The truth is actually far more serious! In fact, mold is a health hazard that can cause long-term damage to both you and your home.

But what is the difference between mold and mildew? How can you tell the differences between black mold vs mildew? Read on to learn more!

Contents

Infographic – Differences between mold and mildew

Mold vs mildew difference facts infographic guide

What is the difference between mold and mildew?

Image showing a mold vs mildew comparisonImage showing some of the ways you can tell the difference between mold vs mildew. Both grow when conditions are right (I’ll cover that in detail later) and are types of fungi. However, mold grows differently (often in roundish patterns) and rises further above a surface. Mildew has a flat surface, is often slimy or greenish-black in appearance, and tends to grow in a shape more resembling a spill.

Just want a quick answer to the question? Here’s a quick summary of the difference between the two.

How to tell mold vs mildew
  • The easiest way to distinguish mold from mildew is their appearance: Mildew grows with a flat appearance and outward in a pattern along small crevices (like between bathroom tiles), often with a shape resembling a large dark spill. It’s often greenish-black or slimy in appearance. Mold often grows in a pattern with many small circles and has a slightly fuzzy appearance, rising above the surface it grows on.
  • Both are found in different colors and shades, especially as they continue growing as the color may change as time goes by.
  • They’re both microscopic fungi and many variations exist. Both grow when the right combination of temperature & moisture/wet surfaces exist. Both grow where organic material can supply them.
  • Mildew typically does far less damage and is easier to get rid of than mold. Often a good cleaner and a bit of scrubbing are all you need. However, mold causes permanent damage to the materials it grows on and often requires replacement. You may need professional service to safely handle mold damage.
  • Both can produce spores you may inhale, and some molds produce mycotoxins (toxins they release). This can lead to serious health problems, especially respiratory.

Long story short, the easiest way to tell the difference is in how they look. Many people have a tendency to confuse the two so it’s helpful to understand how they’re different.

Both do have a few similarities in that they’re fungi and start growing under similar conditions and where spores are present.

Where they like to grow

Basically, both can grow quickly in moist, warm places. However, each type seems to have a preference when it comes to where they start growing.

In fact, it’s not just how they’re different you need to know, but also why they’re a health hazard you should take seriously. Additionally, mold can do permanent, expensive damage that costs a lot of money to repair!

I’ll explain more as we go.

What is mold?

Mold growth indoors on walls (image colors edited to make the mold easier to see). Where water dampens materials inside homes and buildings, and the temperature is ideal (warm), spores find a way to these areas and start mold growth. If left untreated it will spread and will grow into the materials, requiring replacement once permanent damage is done.

A great example of some of the places where you’ll find mold is a high-humidity or high moisture environment like inside homes or buildings with water damage.

Roof leaks, flooding, damp basements, and more situations can lead to walls, floors, and under-carpet areas becoming saturated. When this happens mold can start growing. It’s especially a common problem in areas where severe flooding has happened like after a hurricane or a river flooding a nearby town.

Characteristics of mold

A closeup view of a mold fungus.

Both mold and mildew are fungi. However, there are some differences in their appearance and how they’re treated. Note that both can lead to irritation and health problems, too!

Mold has some common characteristics you can use to recognize it:

  • A “fuzzy” appearance, much like mold growth on old fruit or bread (not flat like mildew)
  • It tends to grow in circular patterns as it expands across a surface
  • While it comes in different shades of colors (white, gray, light gray, and black) when found in homes it’s often a darker color or black (but not always)

What is mildew?

Image showing an example of typical bathroom mildew

One of the most common mildew examples – in a bathroom where moisture is present. Notice how it grows along crevices and doesn’t have the roundish growth pattern that mold does. It also has a flat appearance, doesn’t grow into materials (it remains on the surface) as mold does, and often has a slimy and/or greenish-black style.

As I mentioned earlier, mildew and mold are both fungi and have many similarities. There are a few things that set it apart from mold, however:

  • Growth pattern & appearance: Often looks greenish-black and slimy. Unlike “fuzzy”, taller growth of mold, it’s flat
  • As it spreads it grows in crevices (like between bathroom tiles) and outward in a style that resembles a large dark stain. (As opposed to the circular patterns of mold you may find)
  • There’s less risk of being exposed to the toxins such as produced by some molds
  • Much easier to clean & clear out vs mold (using cleaning products and scrubbing, vs having to replace entire walls, floor sections, carpets, and more after mold growth)

Mildew is very often found growing on items with a damp surface like paper, fabric, leather, and other common household items that may get wet. As you may already have noticed, bathrooms are some of the most common areas as there’s both moisture and organic material or residues left over it can get nutrients from.

It’s also sometimes found in higher areas such as walls or ceilings. People with basements in their homes often have the headache of fighting mildew and use dehumidifiers to help prevent it.

Why they’re potentially dangerous

It’s important to understand that both can produce spores you can inhale. However, the most dangerous exposure you’ll face is from certain kinds of molds.

Read on to find out just how risky it is!

Is mildew harmful? Is mold dangerous?

Image of a woman with headaches and a man coughing

Some of the symptoms of fungal spores are headaches, pains, respiratory problems and coughing, nausea, and much more. In extreme cases (especially when exposed to mycotoxins from black mold) permanent 

It’s not a matter of if mold and mildew can make you sick. If left unchecked, it’s a matter of when!

As I mentioned earlier, as both are fungi (a plant-like organism) they reproduce and spread by producing spores, which are tiny “seeds” carried by surfaces and air to other areas.

A closeup view of aspergillus species mold under a microscope. Mold spores are often too small to see with the naked eye and are a few microns (millionths of a meter) in size, making them microscopic and easy to breathe in.

Unfortunately, because they’re so small and able to move about, it’s very easy to inhale them.

When mold or mildew is present, it will continue to generate spores you can breathe in. This leads to a number of mild to serious health problems.

Of the thousands of molds that exist, some are known allergens (aggravating or causing skin, eye, and respiratory problems), and a few molds produce harmful mycotoxins that can cause serious problems. But all molds, in the right conditions and high enough concentrations, are capable of adversely affecting human health.Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Symptoms and health risks

There are some common symptoms that you’ll begin to suffer from when exposed to mold & mildew:

  • Allergic reactions: Fever-type symptoms (sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, skin rash, etc)
  • Asthma attacks triggered
  • Eye, skin, nose, throat, and lung irritation
  • Excessive coughing or difficulty breathing; shortness of breath or tight chest
  • Headaches, various pains, and more

These are some of the less serious side effects of exposure. More serious and extreme consequences can include:

  • Infections of the skin or mucous membranes
  • Fatigue
  • Nervous disorders
  • Vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Memory loss, “brain fog”, bleeding lungs, blindness, and brain damage

While less common than the first ones I listed, don’t take it for granted. In fact, I’ve had a reader message me about the second list – these symptoms have to be taken seriously!

Black mold vs mildew and others

Example of black mold growing in a home on a wall

Black mold growing in a home (where a sink was located, now removed) on a damp wall.

So-called “black mold” and “toxic black mold” are common names for one particular type of mold: the scientific name stachybotrys chartarum. It’s sometimes associated with gypsum material and wallpaper as that’s a common place for it to start growing.

Not all do, but unlike many forms of mildew & common mold, some forms of black mold can produce toxins leading to much more serious health effects. In fact reports of the possible harmful effects of black mold have been around since the 1930s.

In 1994 the US Center for Disease Control verified that in Cleveland, Ohio, a number of infants became sick and died from bleeding in the lungs after very high exposure to black mold spores.

Even famous people are black mold victims!

Image of Tom Leykis radio host

Former syndicated radio show host Tom Leykis, once the host of one of the most popular radio shows, suffered the permanent effects of black mold in his home.

To really drive home the point, here’s an excellent example of why you shouldn’t ignore black (or other) types of mold.

Once the host of one of the most popular syndicated radio shows in America, The Tom Leykis Show, Mr. Leykis suffered from harsh health problems. He now has a permanently changed voice after the effects of a black mold infection years ago in his Hollywood Hills home.

Do air purifiers help with mold?

Diagram showing how air purifiers help with mold spores

Air purifiers do in fact help with mold because they’re able to capture spores and remove them permanently from the air. However, it’s important to understand that it’s critical to get rid of the source of spores – by removing mold & mildew at their source.

Air purifiers can help with mold by removing spores permanently from the air you breathe.

They work by circulating the air in a room and permanently trap contaminants including mold spores as they pass through a high-density filter. Good quality air purifiers use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) type of filter.

HEPA filters use a very dense fiber material and follow a quality standard – meaning their air cleaning efficiency is proven. By this standard, they’re capable of eliminating 99.97% of all air particles passing through them down to an incredibly small 0.3 microns in size.

(A micron is a unit of measurement and is 1 millionth of a meter in size – far smaller than your eyes can see).

They’re not the ONLY answer – it’s important to treat the source!

If your home or other building has a mold problem, it’s critical to treat the problem at its source! Continual exposure to mold spores is a health risk.

Air purifiers can help with the symptoms (in this case mold spores in the air you breathe) but they’re not the last solution. It’s very important to treat mildew and mold properly at its source.

Don’t risk your health by ignoring the problem!

If the source of the problem isn’t treated it will grow and can produce even more spores, endangering your health more and more as time goes on.

Don’t jeopardize your health! Treat mold and mildew at their source. In many cases since mold can grow into surface areas such as walls, carpets, and more in some cases these have to be replaced and repaired.

How hard is it to get rid of mold and mildew?

Example of mold on wall and cleaning products for removal

Mildew can often be treated with cleaning products, leaving surfaces unharmed. Sometimes a good scrubbing bush is needed, too. I’ve been able to clean mildew easily many times using a solution of bleach and water.

Mold, however, is a different story – especially if it has had time to grow further into surfaces. Mold removal is best left to experienced professionals as in many cases walls, floors, ceiling sections, and more will must be replaced. Mold exposure should be dealt with the right way too.

For best results, if you have moisture or high humidity you can prevent mold by ensuring leaks or water sources are completely stopped or by using a dehumidifier.

Additional reading

Wondering what humidity level you should set your dehumidifier to for preventing mold? Here’s a helpful guide with everything to know.

Dealing with mold symptoms? As I mentioned above a good air purifier can help! Here are 5 great choices for under $100.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? I’d love to hear from you!

How Much Electricity Does A Ceiling Fan Use? A Helpful Guide For Everyone

How much electricity does a ceiling fan use featured image

It seems like ceiling fans are everywhere. The funny thing is how little we think about them until warm weather comes around when it gets uncomfortable indoors.

But just how much electricity does a ceiling fan use? How does a ceiling fan compare to floor fans, tower fans, box fans, and the other cooling fans you might have at home?

To find out, I measured energy use for all of these and I’ve put it all together in one easy to understand guide. 

Read on to find out more. 

Contents

Infographic – Ceiling fan energy use facts

Infographic for ceiling fan energy use facts and information

How much electricity does a ceiling fan use? Let’s find out

Image of test setup for measuring ceiling fan electricity/energy use with a power meter

Shown: My test setup for measuring exactly how much electricity a ceiling fan uses. In order to get you the best information, I wanted to remove ANY guessing – so I hardwired my 52″ ceiling fan to a power plug and connected it to my handy Kill-A-Watt energy meter. I got great measurements and finally found out what I couldn’t find anywhere else!

Because I know that there’s no substitute for hands-on testing, to find out exactly how much electricity a ceiling fan uses I hardwired my ceiling fan to work with an energy meter.

What I’ve found is that the problem with many products like fans, air purifiers, and more is:

  • Only the maximum power use is listed in the specs (not the other numbers like for low & medium speeds)
  • Energy use measurements are often completely missing!
  • Power use numbers are sometimes estimates, not what you’ll actually get in the real world

So, I decided to find out once and for all. To do so, I hardwired a 52 inch 3-speed ceiling fan to an AC power outlet plug.

I then connected it to a high-quality extension cord and used my trusty Kill-A-Watt power use meter to measure the power use in watts.

How many watts does a ceiling fan use? My energy measurements

Image of measurements for ceiling fan electricity measured in Watts

Measurements I made for ceiling fan electricity use, in Watts. I honestly expected a lot more power to be used, but I was wrong! In fact, a ceiling fan set to the high speed uses less electricity than many other fans that cost less. (Note: When measuring only the lights be used, the power use in watts was for three 15W LED bulbs)

It was exciting to finally put the question of how much electricity a ceiling fan uses to rest once and for all. I was so tired of not being able to find good information anywhere just like you.

Ceiling fan power (watts) measurement table

Fan speed or modePower use (Watts)
Off0W
Low12W
Medium42W
High46.6W
Lights only (3 x 15W LED bulbs)33.9W

As you can see, even on the highest speed (speed 3, or “high” when pulling the fan speed selector chain) I was really surprised to see that a standard, high-quality 52″ ceiling fan uses less than 50 watts of power.

Even more astounding was how little power one uses when set to the lowest speed: Only 12W! That’s even less than many air purifiers and small table fans I’ve tested.

Not bad at all!

How many amps does a ceiling fan use?

How to calculate ceiling fan amps example

The basic formula for how to calculate ceiling fan power use in Amperes (Amps, also written as “A”). To find out how many Amps a fan is using, we can easily get a fairly accurate number if we know the power (watts) and voltage it’s using. Since fans are “inductive” motors, it gets slightly more complicated, as we need to use a power factory.

It’s not hard to find out how many amps a ceiling fan uses. The most important thing is to know how much power, in Watts, the fan uses and the voltage it uses too. In most homes, that’s around 120 volts (V).

However, since typical ceiling fans use an electric motor that works using alternating current (AC) and magnetic fields, it’s just a bit more complicated.

In that case, we need to know something called the power factor.

Note: Some electrical testers can measuring electrical current and make it easy, assuming you’ve got a way to connect them inline with your fan. Others include the amp used in the specs sheet or label for the fan you own.

If not, we can calculate it on our own fairly easily and get a relatively accurate number on our own in seconds!

Direct current (DC) fans vs alternating current (AC) fans

Some modern fans use a higher-efficiency design that changes the AC power in your home to DC power using electronics built into the fan.

However, most sold today still use a standard inductive motor. Because of that, they use magnetic fields created by the AC voltage in your home to turn the fan motor.

In AC magnetic field motors some electrical current is wasted and so the motor draws more.

In this case, we use a basic number to multiply and adjust for the extra amps the fan draws. This number is called the power factor.

Ceiling fan example power factor values diagram

Power factors for many typical appliances including ceiling fans. The power factor is a number that describes how much electrical current is wasted on magnetic fields instead of power used to drive the motor. For example, 1 = 100% efficiency, while a power factor of 0.5 means an extra 50% of current is needed.

In this example I’ll use an example power factor value of 0.6. Then using our simple example:

Amps =  power / (power factor x voltage)

Here’s are some typical numbers showing the amps used by a ceiling fan in my home.

Typical ceiling fan current draw (amps) at 120V:

Fan speed or modePower (W)Amps (A)
Off0A0A
Low120.17A
Medium420.58A
High46.60.65A

As you can see, even on the highest speed a typical ceiling fan uses less than 1 amp of current. That’s a lot less than you might expect! (Note: This table shows the fan used with the light bulbs turned off)

In fact, that’s a tiny fraction of what electrical devices like heaters use (they often use 10-20 amps or more).

These are rough numbers but most typical ceiling fans should be very close too. Even if the voltage to your ceiling is a bit less than 120V AC, the results will still be in the ballpark as well.

Ceiling fan vs AC comparison

Ceiling fan VS AC comparison graph with energy use measurements in Watts

As it turns out, ceiling fans use a tiny fraction of the electricity that air conditioners (AC units) use. I measured the power draw of both to create an honest, accurate graph comparing the two so you can know what to expect.

Air conditioning (AC) units use a lot more power than a ceiling fan.

Why? It’s because while electric fans only need enough power to turn the motor that spins the blades, air conditioners need a lot of electrical power to drive an electrically powered compressor in addition to an electrical fan inside.

Ceiling fan VS AC side by side comparison image

In order to compare the two, I measured the power draw in Watts of both. For the air conditioner’s power use numbers, I measured the power draw of a standard in-window small room air conditioner just like you might buy for your home.

Ceiling fan VS AC power use comparison table

Fan speed/cooling modeCeiling fan powerAC power
Off0W1.2W
Low12W365W
Medium42W373W
High46.6W390W

As you can see, a ceiling fan uses a tiny 12% of the power an air conditioner does when set to high.

If you’re wondering why the AC unit has 1.2W of power use when it’s turned off, it’s because of the power required to keep memory settings like the last temperature you set and other features or controls.

For an air conditioner that uses electronic controls instead of mechanical controls, there are usually some circuits that need backup power even if it’s not cooling a room, much like how a clock works.

What is an AC compressor and how does air conditioning work?

AC compressor examples with descriptions

Left: A home AC unit’s compressor which circulates refrigerant using an electric motor. Right: A car’s AC compressor, driven by the engine and using a magnetic clutch to rotate the internal pistons when cooling is needed.

Air conditioning compressors are a critical part of an AC system, as cooling is made possible by thermodynamics (adding or removing heat) properties that happen when a coolant gas is pressurized.

In order for an air conditioner to cool the air it must circulate refrigerant (commonly called “freon”) using a pump so these pressure differences can happen.

Window air conditioner exploded view diagram

Air conditioners in your home (both window mounted and central AC systems) contain a series of hoses for circulating refrigerant. The compressor pumps the refrigerant, under pressure, which cools the air indoors by removing heat as a fan blows through it. The heat removed from the air indoors is forced outside as it works.

Both at home and in your car this takes a lot of energy as the compressor requires a lot of force to turn the pistons it inside it.

A compressor is a type of pump that moves refrigerant within a cooling system.

Because it’s under pressure (and because of the friction of its moving parts) this requires a lot of physical force and more electrical power. When comparing a ceiling fan vs an AC unit, once you understand the differences in what they do it’s more clear why there’s such a big difference in power demands.

How do ceiling fans cool a room?

Diagram showing how a ceiling fan cools a room

Ceiling fans and other types of fans work differently than AC systems. Instead of removing heat from the air contained in a room they directly blow air across your body & surfaces which removes heat. This results in a cooling effect.

Ceiling fans are much more efficient as they don’t need the heavy electrical power draw that AC units do. They work by forced air convection cooling which means they blow air across surfaces and remove heat as the air moves.

Ceiling fan vs floor fan power use

Image showing a comparison of ceiling fan vs floor fan

I measured the electrical power use of a standard 3-speed oscillating floor fan. Additionally, I measured power use both with and without the oscillating feature in use.

As it turns out in this case the floor fan used the same amount regardless of oscillation.

Ceiling fan vs floor fan power use comparison graph

Graph showing how much electricity a ceiling fan uses compared to a floor fan. Aside from the lowest speed, they’re very close in power use.

Ceiling fan VS floor fan power measurements table

Fan speedCeiling fan powerFloor fan power
Off0W0W
Low12W43W
Medium42W49W
High46.6W57W

Both have pros and cons. For example, a floor fan is good for very powerful airflow in only a small range. For about the same amount of energy use, however, a ceiling fan is better for cooling a room.

Tower fan vs ceiling fan power use

Image showing comparison of ceiling fan vs tower fan

Comparing a Honeywell QuietSet 5-speed tower fan to a ceiling fan is an interesting case. Note that not all tower fans use the same speeds as other brands and models.

In this case, I measured the power use of the 5-speed tower fan. As it’s designed to be a quiet room fan the fan speed isn’t as high as some others.

Since comparing 3 speeds to 5 isn’t exactly even I grouped the low and medium speeds to make it more clear.

Ceiling fan vs tower fan power use comparison graph

Ceiling fan VS tower fan power measurements table

SpeedCeiling fanTower fan
Off0W0W
Low12W17W, 18.5W
Med.42W23.7W, 24W
High46.6W25.6W
Note: Measurements are with the tower fan’s oscillation turned off. With it on measurements were 19W, 20.8W, 26W, 26.3W, and 27.7W. This means it adds 1-2W for oscillating motor power

As you can see, a tower fan may use a lot less power than a ceiling fan.

Some models like the Honeywell shown above are designed to work very quietly. Since the fan runs more quietly this affects how much power is used.

They’re nice for quiet, gentle cooling in one specific direction while sleeping.

Ceiling fans vs box fans

Ceiling fan vs box fan comparison image

Box fans are a favorite of mine because of how much white noise they can produce. That’s one advantage they have over ceiling fans.

Like the other products in this post, I measured the power used by a typical box fan. What I found was interesting – they can use almost twice as much energy as a ceiling fan on the high setting.

Ceiling fan vs box fan energy use comparison graph

Ceiling fan VS box fan power measurements table

SpeedCeiling fanBox fan
Off0W0W
Low12W48W
Med.42W63.4W
High46.6W83W

As you can see above, the disadvantage of a box fan vs a ceiling fan is the extra energy use. However, for some people they’re a great choice especially if you have trouble sleeping, or relaxing due to outside noises.

In that case, the white noise they produce is very helpful for blocking outside sounds while keeping you cool.

Ceiling fan vs table fan comparison

Ceiling fan vs table fan comparison image

Table fans are yet another choice for cooling you and small areas of a room. They’re often inexpensive but still offer an oscillation feature that turns the fan side to side while blowing air.

I was curious to see if they also offered any worthwhile energy use vs a ceiling fan. Here’s what I found when measuring a standard 12″ table fan.

Ceiling fan vs table fan energy use comparison graph

Ceiling fan VS table fan power measurements table

SpeedCeiling fanBox fan
Off0W0W
Low12W19.1W
Med.42W20.2W
High46.6W22.3W
Note: I made power measurements both with the table fan’s oscillation feature on and off. The power use was the same, which is great to know (I didn’t list both above as it’s no different).

As you can see, a table fan does use a lot less energy than a ceiling fan.

The tradeoff, however, is that they’re only really useful for a small area such as near your bed, near a desk, work table, and so on.

They do also give a small amount of white noise which is nice. It’s not as effective as that from a box fan, but it’s worth considering.

However, again if cooling the room is your goal then a ceiling fan is still a better choice.

Ceiling fan wiring connections & wire color diagram

Illustrated wiring diagram for ceiling fan with wiring colors

Click on the image to view the original/zoom or click below to download a copy

Ever wondered how hard it is to connect a ceiling fan or how they get their power? As it turns out, they’re actually not very complicated in terms of wiring.

They’re almost as simple to wire up as light fixtures in your home. In fact, I’ve added new ceiling fans as you can install them in the place of a light fixture.

Many homes have metal boxes pre-installed in the ceiling where it’s possible to find wiring ready to connect and mount a ceiling fan base too if needed.

As you can see in the diagram I’ve provided, there are typically only about 4 wires needed for ceiling fan power connections.

Ceiling fan wiring colors & connections table

Fan wire colorDescription
Black120V power “hot” wire for the fan motor circuit. Connects to home’s black (hot) wire
WhiteNeutral power return wire. Connects to white neutral (return power) wire
BlueFan light circuit power. Connects to the black supply wire
Green / Lt greenIf present (or another color), connects to the home’s ground wire. Some fans also have a ground wire on the mounting base to connect.

Ultimately it depends on the particular fan so remember the wiring colors listed here are just examples of my own. Always double-check the installation instructions to be sure.

In my case, the ground wire had its own label attached.

Why does my ceiling fan hum?

Image of electric fan motor illustrated and AC 60Hz power cycle diagram

Electric fan motors contain a huge amount of copper wire windings inside. These windings create magnetic fields that turn the fan rotor (the central rotating part inside the motor) and spin the fan blades. Alternating current (AC) from your home’s electrical system changes direction constantly at 60 times per second (60 Hertz per second) and can cause a humming sound.

Electric fans of many kinds, including ceiling fans, are subject to a mild humming sound you may notice.

It’s a very common side effect of the type of electrical power supply that homes use. As time goes by it can actually increase in volume as a fan and its parts age. That’s because the tiny vibrations move components over time and parts can lose the resistance to vibration they had when new.

AC power is in the range of human hearing

The 60 Hertz (Hz) frequency for the alternating current (AC) power supply in your home is within the range of sound your ears can hear. In fact, AC current produces a “humming” sound in the range of bass you sometimes hear in music.

It’s especially common in fans like box fans. They’re more prone to vibrating and more likely to create a humming sound that’s easy to hear.

In some situations, the fan’s humming vibration due to the power source can transfer through surrounding ceiling parts and the sound can carry further, making it even more pronounced.

Electric motors & magnetic fields

Electric motors rely on magnetic fields created when electricity flows through copper wire windings. This creates a magnetic force that turns the central part of the motor called a rotor.

The rotor is attached to a spindle that the fan blades are mounted on and spin from there.

These magnetic fields, which change direction 60 times per second, can cause fan parts to move rapidly and therefore create a humming sound your ears can hear.

It’s also why when you’re close to outdoor power transformers used by the power company (or other electrical devices) you may hear a hum there as well.

In summary

Image collage of ceiling fan in use and energy meter measuring power

To summarize the electrical power use and pros & cons of ceiling fans, let’s review what I’ve covered here today.

As you can see from the power use I measured, they’re very reasonable in how much electricity they use. That’s especially true when compared to how much an AC unit uses!

They do have pros and cons though, of course. While they’re good for cooling a whole room (and pay for themselves in only a few months as compared to air conditioners) they aren’t good for white noise or for cooling an exact area of you or your room.

Overall, however, they’re a great choice.

Suggestions for even more power savings

Example of a ceiling fan using LED bulbs

To keep energy costs low and still get good quality lighting, choose an energy-efficient LED bulb with good brightness output level (measured in Lumens).

For best results, I recommend using good quality LED bulbs that produce light that’s easy on your eyes. These days you can find high-brightness LED bulbs that work well in ceiling fans and consume 15W or less.

Compared to the power use of incandescent bulbs of years gone by (45W, 60W, and even 100W) that’s a big energy saving!

Brightness and light quality matters

Many offer several choices of color “temperature” (the yellowish or white tint they produce) and brightness. I recommend getting bulbs with enough brightness, measured in Lumens.

Personally, I recommend bulbs with a lumens rating of 800 or higher, although you can find some putting out 1,200 or even 1,500 with only 15W power use if you shop carefully.

These days good LED bulbs can be found for around $3-$10 each or in bulk quantities for even more savings. Avoid the absolute cheapest bulbs as they have higher failure rates and tend to have a poor light quality that isn’t good for your eyes.

Cheap bulbs also have poor color rendering which means that colors won’t look natural or appear as well as they should.

Additional reading

Considering a box fan instead of a ceiling fan because you need white noise? Have a look at my great post with some of the best box fans for white noise here.

Need a quiet, gentle tower fan that won’t disturb you? Here’s a helpful list of some of the best tower fans for cooling.

How To Cook Frozen Mozzarella Sticks In An Air Fryer – An Easy, Cheesy How-To Guide

Featured image for how to cook frozen mozzarella sticks in an air fryer

What comes to mind you hear the words “mozzarella sticks”? Is it soft, bland, reheated cheese sticks or delicious, fresh and hot cheese you can’t get enough of?

hate poorly cooked cheese sticks to I did the hard work to find out the best way to cook them…and to help you do the same!

In this simple guide, you’ll learn how to cook frozen mozzarella sticks in an air fryer with excellent results.

It’s fast, easy, and you’ll love how they taste. Let’s go!

Contents

Infographic – How to cook great frozen mozzarella sticks

How to cook frozen mozzarella sticks in an air fryer infographic guide

Quick summary: Cooking frozen mozzarella sticks in an air fryer

Cooking frozen mozzarella cheese sticks at home is very easy. However, it’s helpful to know some things ahead of time to avoid headaches or messing up your food.

Basic steps for cooking frozen mozzarella cheese sticks in an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer – Typically you’ll just need to let the air fryer run at the cooking temperature (350°F is recommended) for 5 minutes
  2. Place the frozen sticks in the fryer basket – For best results, shake the container to even them out inside. For a slightly crispier outside, use a cooking spray to lightly coat them. Canola oil is a good choice.
  3. Cooking: With the temperature set properly (350°F is good), cook for 4-5 minutes. After 2 minutes, shake the sticks to turn over uncooked areas for hot cooking air. Spray cooking oil again if desired. Start the air fryer again.
  4. Final cooking: Your cheese sticks should be ready to eat after 4 minutes. For a bit more crispiness, you can cook to 5 minutes time (note that cheese may leak in some cases). Don’t overcook the sticks.
  5. Empty the cheese sticks using a fork or tongs and serve. For best taste, serve immediately before the cheese can cool and the outsides soften. Add a dipping sauce like marinara and enjoy!

How & why to preheat your air fryer

Image showing preheat settings for air fryers when cooking cheese sticks

Top: Preheating an air fryer with digital controls. These often have a preheat mode button (some may use less than 5 minutes and adjust their time automatically). Bottom: For standard models, you can preheat the fryer by adjusting it to the 350° temperature and setting the cooking timer for 5 minutes.

Just like with regular ovens, air fryer makers recommend warming up the fryer to the cooking temperature before you add food. But why is that?

You should preheat your air fryer for several reasons:

  • The electric heating element gets heated and ready to use
  • Inside surfaces that touch & cook food are hot and ready to work properly
  • Preheating avoids a warming delay that would happen if you started cooking from room temperature

In other words, you’ll get your air fryer ready to begin cooking right away – it’s preheated (already heated) and ready to use. You won’t have to worry about trying to adjust cooking time for a cold fryer.

As some people warm up their car during the winter cold before driving it, the idea is the same.

Preheating means proper cooking

For food that’s heated properly and cooks well you’ll need to let your air fryer warm up. Doing this allows your meals to cook consistently and reliably.

It’s true that air fryers are small and don’t take as long as larger traditional ovens do. However, they still need a few minutes before they’re ready.

How to preheat your air fryer

Image showing temperature measurement of Dash air fryer preheat time

I recorded preheating times needed to get my air fryers ready before cooking frozen cheese sticks. I found out that they actually reach the cooking temperature before 5 minutes. However, the air fryer self needs the extra time (4-5 minutes total) to get completely ready. The internal surfaces will be hot and ready to cook the food as soon as it touches it.

Preheating is really easy! However, the way you go about doing it depends on the type & model of air fryer you own.

One of two ways are used:

  • Digital controls/push button models: These often have a preheat button. When used, the unit will heat itself for the time required then shutoff. You can also set the temperature and cooking time manually to do the same thing. (Note: Some models may use a bit less time to preheat with automatic settings, which is fine)
  • Air fryers with dial controls can be set to the cooking temperature then set for 5 mins cooking time. When the timer is done you’re ready to add food and start the cooking process.

In either case, 5 minutes is a preheat time to use. For the preheating temperature, set it to 350°F as we’ll use that for cooking.

Getting your mozzarella sticks ready to cook

Image showing how to prepare frozen mozzarella sticks in air fryers for cooking

It’s easy to get your mozzarella cheese sticks ready for cooking in your air fryer. For the best results, fill the fryer basket with the frozen sticks then shake them to help even them out. This helps them get the best exposure to hot cooking air. As cheese sticks can be a bit soft on the outside when done, to help them cook better and for more crunchiness spray them with good cooking oil like canola oil. 

Yes, it really is easy to cook cheese sticks, but I want you to get the tastiest, well-cooked cheesy goodness possible. Here’s how to get your frozen cheese sticks ready for the best cooking possible:

  1. Add the frozen sticks to the fryer basket. If you’ve got a really big bag of them, be sure you don’t pile them above the top edge of the container.
  2. Shake the basket container until the pieces “even out.” That is, shake them until they spread out a bit inside. This helps them cook better as they get more even exposure to the hot air that cooks them (This is really important if you’re cooking a lot of food in an air fryer)
  3. Since frozen cheese sticks may be a bit soft after cooking, you can help them crisp better by using a light cooking oil before you start the timer. Spray them lightly until they look slightly wet. Canola oil cooking spray is a great choice.
  4. Place the fryer basket back inside the air fryer.

When cooking with an air fryer what you don’t want to do is to let your mozzarella sticks pile up inside. It’s important that they get exposure to the cooking air inside.

Food that’s stacked on top of each other (like when you’re cooking a large bag full of cheese sticks) won’t cook as well.

That’s one reason I recommend shaking them a bit.

Using a cooking spray

Image showing an example can of canola oil cooking spray for air fryer use

One great tip is to use a cooking spray like canola oil or olive oil to lightly coat your food before cooking. Doing so helps your food crisp better and get a wonderfully crunchy outside.

The same is true not only for cheese sticks but also chicken wings, tater tots, french fries, and many other great foods you’ll want to cook in your air fryer. It’s a tip I picked up from my Cuisinart air fryer & toaster oven owner’s manual.

To use cooking spray with an air fryer, put the food inside then lightly coat the top of the food until it looks slightly wet. You won’t need much – just enough to coat the outer surface.

How long should I cook frozen mozzarella sticks?

I measured cooking times for frozen mozzarella cheese sticks until they were well-done and tasted good. Both the larger air fryer (a 3.7 quart Cosori unit) and the smaller one, a 1.2 qt Dash personal air fryer, only needed 4 minutes In both cases I shook the contents after 2 minutes and re-sprayed the canola oil.

To better test the size & power levels of air fryers that many people will use, I made tested cooking times using 2 sizes & power ratings: A Cosori 3.7 quart 1700W model (great for families) and a smaller personal air fryer, the Dash 1.2 quart 1000W model.

What’s I found is very interesting: Unlike other foods like fries, wings, or chicken nuggets, cheese sticks cook VERY quickly!

Here’s a brief timeline of what happens when cooking frozen cheese sticks:

  • 0-1 mins: Thawing, starting to warm up
  • 1-2 mins: Inside is no longer frozen or cold
  • 2 mins: Need to shake the sticks & move around for good cooking heat exposure
  • 3-4 mins: Outside is warming & crisping, inside cheese is heavily melted and hot
  • 4 mins: Hot, fresh, and ready to eat!

Your cheese sticks will be ready to enjoy after 4 minutes of cooking. I cooked them for 5 minutes for a bit more crisping on the outside.

While crunchy cheese sticks are wonderful, the downside is that a bit more cheese may leak out as it’s so hot.

Be sure you don’t cook past 5 minutes because the cheese will liquefy and drip into the bottom of the container.

Don’t forget to shake them!

Image showing example of shaking cheese sticks in an air fryer while cooking

After 2 mins it’s a good idea to shake your cheese sticks inside the fryer basket. This helps expose lesser cooked sides to the hot cooking air. Lightly spray cooking oil again then place them back into the air fryer.

For the best cheese sticks you can cook, remove them and shake after 2 minutes. This will turn them over and the sides that had less exposure to the air fryer’s hot cooking air will now get more.

If you’re using a cooking spray, coat them again now.

Put them back into the fryer and you’re done in 4 minutes total time (Your fryer’s cooking timer should be set to 4 minutes already anyway.

Your mozzarella sticks should now be fresh, hot, and fantastic!

Example of checking the internal temperature of cheese sticks while cooking with a digital thermometer

Tip: Keeping a digital food thermometer handy is a great idea. Using one, you can be sure frozen foods are cooked well by checking the internal temperature quickly (and cook longer if needed). For frozen foods like cheese sticks or burritos, an internal temperature of 100°F and higher is good. I use a ThermoPro TP03A digital kitchen gauge as it’s cheap and works well.

Final touches and we’re done. Let’s eat some cheese!

Image showing correctly cooked air fryer cheese sticks up close

Cheese sticks are easy to empty and put on your plate or another container after cooking (unlike foods such as wings and tater tots for example). Use a fork or a tong to make it a snap. The great news also is that cheese sticks don’t produce a lot of oil when cooking so there’s not much to clean up afterward. Note: A little bit of cheese leaking from the sticks is normal, so don’t fret if you see some.

Once you’re done cooking either pour them out directly or use a fork or tongs. (I recommend getting a cheap pair of tongs as they’re very handy for the many kinds of air fryer foods you’ll want to make)

The great news is that there’s not much to clean up afterward in most cases as cheese sticks don’t produce oil when the cook as some other foods do.

What to expect

You might find some leaked cheese at the bottom of your fryer basket (see further below for what I mean) or a tiny bit of crumbs and residue, but that’s about it.

Properly cooked cheese sticks will still be very hot right after cooking so don’t use your hands. They’ll cool off quickly, however, so don’t waste much time before serving them.

I strongly recommend serving your fresh cheese sticks right away. They cool off quickly and just won’t taste the same when that happens!

The sauce makes it even better!

Image showing marinara sauce example served on plate with cheese sticks

Pick up some marinara sauce as it makes a great dipping treat to eat with your fresh, hot mozzarella sticks you just made. It’s a traditional meal and I highly recommend it if you’ve never tried it.

Add some marinara dipping sauce and now you’ve got a hot, delicious, and cheesy snack or meal you’ll love!

Note: I don’t recommend using a microwave oven to reheat your sticks once they’re cold. It’s just not the same and won’t taste nearly as good.

For best results, warm & crisp them back to a tasty & fresh state by reheating them in a hot air fryer at 350°F for about 1-2 minutes.

The delicious results

Image showing properly served cheese sticks served on display

Yay! It’s time to eat. Get ’em while they’re hot! Serve up your cheesy goodness with your favorite dipping sauce or sides. For a classic cheese stick meal, I recommend traditional marinara as it’s a great match.

You’re done and it’s time to eat! It’s amazing how fast, easy, and healthy cooking them yourself in an air fryer is.

In fact, I find that because they’re not cooked in dirty cooking grease like at a restaurant, they taste much better! There’s nothing between you and that REAL mozzarella cheese flavor – and no grease soaked into them or dripping to make a mess, either.

Clean up & last notes

Image of dirty air fryer baskets after cooking frozen cheese sticks

Things MIGHT get a little bit messy after cooking cheese sticks. Cheese sticks might leak a bit of cheese, so be aware there might be a LITTLE bit to clean up afterward. However, it’s actually very easy to clean so don’t worry!

What I discovered during cooking testing different foods in air fryers is that many foods (especially meats) like chicken wings tend to leave behind a fair amount of grease & fat after cooking

What’s especially great about mozzarella cheese sticks is that they don’t. While you’ll find a few crumbs and leaked cheese you’ll need to clean up afterward, it’s not bad.

To keep the leaked cheese to a minimum don’t cook them past 4 minutes. After 4 minutes I saw much more cheese leaking out of the sticks into the bottom of the basket.

Either way, clean up is really easy only take a minute or two.

Image showing example washing an air fryer cooking basket in the sink

Washing out the fryer basket is really easy. Cleaning out leftover cheese is no problem at all.

Just add a drop of dishwashing detergent after filling it with warm water. Any leftover cheese will soften quickly and will be easy to wash out.

Gently wash the inside with a sponge or soft cloth because you don’t want to damage the nonstick coating inside. Washing a basket and its parts out usually only takes 60 seconds or less once the water is hot.

Let the parts air dry or use a towel if you like afterward. (Note: Most air fryer baskets are dishwasher safe so after cleaning out the drippings you can put them in the dishwasher)

More air fryer cooking guides

Want even more delicious food you can cook in minutes? Check out my other guides based on hands-on testing, measurements, and most of all….taste!

How To Cook Frozen Burritos In An Air Fryer – An Easy Guide For Great Flavor

Featured image for how to cook frozen burritos in an airy fryer guide

If you’re hoping to find out how to cook frozen burritos in an air fryer you’ve come to the right place!

As it turns out, it’s a bit trickier than cooking them in an oven. The great news is that they taste much better cooked in an air fryer vs a microwave. 

I’ve done the hard work: Lots of trial and error, and wasted a lot of burritos to find the best way. In my easy-to-follow guide I’ll show you how to make great burritos you’ll love.

Contents

Infographic – Fast frozen burrito air fryer cooking tips

Infographic guide showing how to cook frozen burritos in an air fryer

Basics first: Simple tips for cooking frozen burritos in an air fryer

It’s actually quite easy to cook your own great-tasting burritos at home. There are some things you’ll need to know, however, before cooking your first time.

Here’s a quick summary of the basic steps you’ll need.

Basic steps for cooking frozen burritos in an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer – Typically you’ll just need to let the air fryer run at the cooking temperature (180°F is recommended) for 3 to 5 minutes
  2. Place the frozen burritos in the fryer basket – For best results don’t try to fit too many inside & don’t stack them directly on top of each other. A little bit of overlap is ok – fit as many as will still have great exposure to the internal cooking air (see example pics below)
  3. Cooking: With the temperature set low (180°F is good), cook for about 20-25 minutes. After 20 minutes you can check their internal temperature with a food thermometer. Otherwise, cooking for a full 25 minutes is recommended.
  4. When fully cooked, the internal temperature will be above 100°F and the outside should still be slightly soft but show a few signs of browning/cooking.
  5. Place the burritos on a plate or dish as you like & serve while fresh & warm. Note: Some burritos leak a bit of grease depending on their content (meats and cheeses especially) so they can get messy. It’s normal for the tortilla to become greasy after several minutes

Watch out! Don’t follow advice on the package

Image showing oven cooking instructions on the package of frozen burritos

Typical cooking instructions for using a traditional oven on my frozen burrito package. The problem is that while it’s fine for those kinds of ovens, air fryers are different. You’ll get terrible results doing it that way when using your air fryer!

Most frozen foods including frozen burritos, chimichangas, and much more included both microwave and conventional oven cooking instructions. I’m here to warn you: Don’t use those instructions for your air fryer when cooking your burritos!

You’ll get terrible results & you’ll really miss out on what you could have if done right. The reason is that while air fryers work very similar to an oven, in practice they don’t cook the same way.

Air fryers are a lot more intense and heat food faster than a regular oven.

While you might be tempted to cook frozen burritos at a higher temperature because you think you’ll get the same results faster, it’s not the case.

2 things will happen if you cook your burritos at a high temperature (like 350°F shown above) like you would in a regular oven:

  • The tortillas will dry out and become hard and crunchy
  • Burrito contents (especially with meats or cheeses) will overcook, leak out badly, and cause a mess

That being said, let’s move on to the right way to do it.

How & why to preheat your air fryer

Image showing how air fryer preheat settings for cooking frozen burritos

Top: Preheat settings for an air fryer with digital controls. These usually have a preheat mode button but you may need to adjust them manually anyway. Bottom: For models with dial controls, turn the cooking temperature to about 180°F and set the timer to 3 minutes (or 5 minutes if yours has a preset for that).

Air fryer makers recommend warming up the fryer to the cooking temperature before you add food. But why is that?

I can tell you from my personal hands-on experience there are several good reasons why:

  • The electric heating element (much like an oven) gets warmed and ready to use
  • Inside surfaces that touch & cook food are hot and ready to work properly. Food will start cooking when it touches them
  • Preheating avoids a warming delay that would happen if you started cooking from room temperature

In other words, you’ll get your air fryer ready to begin cooking right away – it’s preheated (already hot) and ready to use. You won’t have to worry about trying to adjust cooking time for a cold fryer.

Just like how you and I may warm up a car before driving during the winter it’s the same principle.

Preheating means good cooking

There’s not really a way around it most of the time – especially with frozen foods. In fact, those can be harder to cook than room temperature foods since they need more time to thaw.

For food that’s heated properly and cooks well, you’ll need to let your air fryer warm up. Doing this allows your meals to cook consistently and reliably.

Even though they’re small and don’t take nearly as much time as a regular oven to warm up, it’s still worth doing.

How to preheat your air fryer

Image showing temperature measurement of Dash air fryer preheat time

Shown: I’ve tested preheating times for several air fryers to find out what REALLY happens when preheating them. I found out that it depends on the temperature range. For cooking frozen burritos a lower temperature is best, which means it only takes about 3 minutes for most to warm up before cooking. However, for other foods, a higher temperature is needed. It takes up to 5 minutes for preheating the fryer.

Preheating is really easy! While it does depend on the particular model brand of fryer you own, the good news is that it works the same for nearly all of them.

You’ll do it one of two ways:

  • Digital controls/push button models: These often have a preheat button. If yours has a “warming” or preheat button for 180 or 170 degrees and 3-5 minutes, use that preset button. Otherwise, adjust the preheat time for 180°F and 3 minutes or more (5 minutes is fine, too)
  • Air fryers with dial controls can be set to the cooking temperature then set for 3 mins cooking time. When the timer is finished it’s ready for you to add the food and get started cooking

Use at least 3 minutes time at 180°F to preheat your air fryer. (Note: 5 minutes or more is fine too. It’s just longer than is necessary)

Getting your burritos ready to cook

Images showing how to place frozen burritos in air fryer

Getting your burritos ready set up to cook takes only a few moments. To get the best results, fill the fryer container (basket) with the burritos making sure they’re not stacked on top of each other. It’s ok if they touch but you don’t want them covered up much as that prevents the hot cooking air from reaching them.

Time to get your burritos ready to cook! It’s easy, though, so don’t stress…and it only takes a short moment too.

(Note: The same tips apply to other foods as well, like hamburger patties, Hot Pockets, and so forth)

  1. Put the burritos inside the basket so that they don’t cover each other. This is to avoid keeping the air fryer’s hot air from being able to reach them well (especially important for foods like fries, tots, etc.)
  2. If you’re trying to cook as many burritos at once as possible, try laying them inside at different angles and slightly touching each other
  3. In some cases it might be helpful to put them inside at 90 degree angles if there’s limited space or on their sides
  4. If necessary and space is tight, it’s ok if they touch each other a bit – just don’t completely cover burritos by adding more on top of them

When using an air fryer it’s important to avoid covering the burritos as much as possible. Food stacked on other pieces of food will cover surfaces and cause some areas to be undercooked.

That’s especially a bad idea for foods with a frozen interior like chimichangas and burritos that need heat for a long time to thaw & warm inside.

How long should I cook frozen burritos in an air fryer?

Image showing measured cooking times for frozen burritos

I measured cooking times while checking the burritos every 5-10 minutes until they were well-cooked and tasted great. I used my larger air fryer (a 3.7 quart Cosori unit) and a smaller one, a 1.2 qt Dash personal air fryer as they’re good examples for what many people will use. The larger one (cooking 4 burritos) was done in 25 minutes. The smaller, personal-sized air fryer had 2 burritos and was ready in about 20 minutes.

As not everyone has the same size air fryer I made sure to test cooking times using 2 sizes: A larger & popular Cosori 3.7 quart 1700W model (more suitable for families) and a smaller personal air fryer, the Dash 1.2 quart 1000W model.

Here’s a brief timeline of what happens when cooking frozen burritos:

  • 0-10 mins: Thawing out, still very cold inside
  • 10-15 mins or so: Outside becomes warm, inside has nearly completely thawed
  • After 15 minutes: Inside continues warming/cooking
  • After 20-25 minutes: The burritos are ready inside and great to eat!

Image showing examples of properly cooked frozen burritos

Tip: You can be confident how well food is cooked by using a digital temperature gauge with a probe to check. In the case of burritos, a temperature inside of 100 degrees and above is recommended. I recommend a thermometer like the ThermoPro TP03A digital kitchen gauge as it works well and comes in very handy!

Once the timer is done you can check to see if your burritos are fully cooked and ready.

To do so, one of the best ways is to use a digital food thermometer as shown above. For best taste and to make sure the inside temperature is good. When checking it you should measure above 100 degrees.

I’ve found that’s best for great taste. At below that they’re edible, but not nearly as tasty or enjoyable.

When fully cooked, your burritos will be like this:

  • Warm, relatively soft outside (shouldn’t be too hard or crunchy)
  • Melted, hot interior that tastes good

You may notice some grease or oil leaking out. That’s normal depending on the kind of burritos you’ve bought.

In the examples above I cooked beef & bean burritos which can leak a bit after cooking. I’ve had several where the soft tortilla had a bit of oil showing after time passed.

Example of an overcooked/high-temperature air fryer burrito

Image showing an example of overcooked frozen burritos

Here’s the result of cooking burritos in an air fryer at a higher temperature like 350° instead of a lower temperature. The inside can leak excessively and the outside tortilla will become hard and crunchy – not good to eat! These aren’t good burritos and are why I recommend using a lower temperature although it may take a bit longer.

As I mentioned before, here’s an example of why you don’t cook burritos at a higher temperature like 350°F. I found out the inside would begin to leak badly since it was overcooking.

Not only that but the outside became hard and unpleasant to eat. Not good!

Last touches and we’re done. Time to eat!

Image of cooked burritos being prepared to serve and eat

Once ready, it’s time to eat! The great news is that cooked frozen burritos are safe to eat immediately as they’re not too hot.

I recommend serving immediately for best taste, as if left too long they may tend to become saturated with grease from the cooked cheese or meat inside.

How to best reheat cold burritos

One thing I’ve found is that you won’t want to warm up your fantastic air fryer cooking in a microwave. It simply doesn’t taste anywhere close to how it did when fresh!

For best results, restore them to a delicious, fresh state by reheating them in a warm air fryer at 180°F for about 3 to 5 minutes. 

Clean up & last notes

Diagram showing examples of oil & grease left from cooking frozen burritos

Check out what’s left over after I cooked my burritos. While not typical of all burritos you’ll buy, those with foods containing fats or oils like cheese, meats, and others might leak into the frying basket while cooking. That’s normal.

I did find that my beef & bean burritos left a small amount of oil & grease behind when I was done. That’s nothing to be concerned about, as it’s normal.

The great news is that clean up is really easy!

Image showing example washing an air fryer cooking basket in the sink

To clean up your air fryer basket after cooking, just add a drop of dishwashing detergent after filling it with warm water.

Clean the inside with a soft washcloth or sponge as you don’t want to damage the nonstick coating with an abrasive cleaner. It only takes a few seconds and you’re done.

Allow the parts to air dry or dry with a towel if you prefer.

(Note: Most air fryer baskets are dishwasher safe so you could use that too).

More air fryer cooking guides

But wait, there are even more fantastic foods you can cook with your air fryer! Check out my other guides based on hands-on testing, measurements, and most of all….taste!

How To Cook Tater Tots In An Air Fryer Like A Pro – Get FANTASTIC, Crunchy Tots Easily!

Featured for how to cook taters tots in an air fryer

Every time I’ve had tater tots while dining out they were a disappointment. Greasy, bland-tasting, and a big waste of money. In fact, I almost never order them anymore.

When I cooked tater tots in my air fryer everything changed. The results were fantastic – I couldn’t get enough of them!

Here’s a simple and easy guide to show you how to cook tater tots in an air fryer like a pro. You can get perfectly brown, crunchy, and delicious tots in 30 minutes or less!

Contents

Infographic – How to cook great frozen tater tots

Infographic showing how to cook tater tots in an air fryer

Basics first: Steps for cooking frozen tater tots

Cooking your own frozen tater (potato) tots at home is really simple. However, there are some details you’ll need to see to get the best results and avoid hassle.

First things first: Here’s a layout of the basics steps for cooking tater tots you’ll love to eat.

Basic steps for cooking frozen tater tots in an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer – Typically you’ll just need to let the air fryer run at the cooking temperature (380°F is recommended) for 5 minutes
  2. Place the frozen tots in the fryer basket – To help cook better, shake the container to even them out inside. For great crisping, use a cooking spray to lightly coat with oil if desired. Canola oil is a good choice.
  3. Cooking: With the temperature set properly (380°F is good), cook for about 25 minutes. After 15 minutes, shake the tots carefully to turn over uncooked areas and expose to hot cooking air. Spray cooking oil again if desired. Start the air fryer again.
  4. Final cooking: Check the tots again after 20 minutes. When fully cooked, the internal temperature will be above 165°F and the outside browned and crisp. 25 minutes should be enough time to cook them well.
  5. Empty the tots carefully and avoid the hot fryer basket. Tots are easy to pour into a bowl or plate. A fork or tongs may help too.

How & why to preheat your air fryer

Image showing example of preheating air fryers for cooking tater tots

Top: Preheating an air fryer with digital controls. These often have a preheat mode button. Bottom: For standard models, you can preheat the fryer by adjusting it to the 380 degree temperature and setting the cooking timer for 5 minutes.

Just like with regular ovens, air fryer makers recommend warming up the fryer to the cooking temperature before you add food. But why is that?

You should preheat your air fryer for several reasons:

  • The electric heating element gets heated and ready to use
  • Inside surfaces that touch & cook food are hot and ready to work properly
  • Preheating avoids a warming delay that would happen if you started cooking from room temperature

Basically, it just means you’ll get your air fryer ready to begin cooking right away – it’s preheated (already heated) and ready to use. You won’t have to worry about trying to adjust cooking time for a cold fryer.

Just like in the winter when you warm up a car before driving, it’s a way to get your fryer ready to use.

Preheating means proper cooking

For food that’s heated properly and cooks well you’ll need to let your air fryer warm up. Doing this allows your meals to cook consistently and reliably.

Even though air fryers are small and don’t take a long time to warm up like traditional ovens, they still need a few minutes time before they’re ready.

How to preheat your air fryer

Image showing temperature measurement of Dash air fryer preheat time

I recorded preheating times to 380°F for the air fryers used in this post before I started cooking tater (potato) tots. I found out that they actually reach the cooking temperature before 5 minutes. However, the air fryer self needs the extra time (5 minutes total) to get completely ready. The internal surfaces should be hot and ready to cook food when you put the food inside.

Preheating is really easy! However, the way you go about doing it depends on the type & model of air fryer you own.

One of two ways are used:

  • Digital controls/push button models: These often have a preheat button. When used, the unit will heat itself for the time required then shutoff. You can also set the temperature and cooking time manually to do the same thing.
  • Air fryers with dial controls can be set to the cooking temperature then set for 5 mins cooking time. When the timer is done you’re ready to add food and start the cooking process.

In either case, 5 minutes is a preheat time to use. For the preheating temperature, set it to 380°F as we’ll use that for cooking.

Getting your tater tots ready to cook

Image showing examples of how to prepare tater tots for cooking in air fryers

It’s really easy & quick to get your tots ready for the best cooking possible. Fill the fryer container (basket) with the frozen potato tots. Next, shake them to help even them out and spread them within the container for best heat exposure. For a wonderfully crunchy & browned outside, use a light cooking spray and add a light coat before cooking. Canola oil is a great choice.

Now it’s time to get your tots ready. Don’t worry, though – it’s really easy and only takes a moment. You’ll also find it helpful for cooking french fries, wings, or other foods in your fryer too.

  1. Add the frozen tots to the fryer basket. Fries or tots shouldn’t go above the top edge of the container.
  2. Shake the basket container until the pieces “even out.” That is, shake them until they’re more evenly spread inside the container. This helps them cook better as they get more even exposure to the hot air that cooks them.
  3. For wonderfully crunchy and browned tots, spray lightly using a cooking oil. Canola oil is a healthy choice and it’s very easy to use.
  4. Place the container back inside the air fryer.

When using an air fryer it’s important to avoid covering the tots up as much as possible. Food stacked on other pieces of food will cover surfaces and cause some areas to be undercooked.

That’s another reason you’ll need shake the tots during cooking (I’ll cover this below).

Using a cooking spray

Image showing an example can of canola oil cooking spray for air fryer use

A helpful bit of advice is that you can use a cooking spray like canola oil, available in any supermarket to spray the food with. Doing so helps the food crisp better while cooking.

That goes not just for potato foods like french fries but also wings, chicken, and other types that are more fun to eat when crunchy on the outside. It’s a tip I picked up from my Cuisinart toaster oven/air fryer owner’s manual.

To use cooking spray with an air fryer, put the food inside then lightly coat the top of the food until it look slightly wet. You won’t need much – just enough to see on the top of surfaces.

How long should I cook frozen tater tots?

Image showing cooking times for frozen tater tots in air fryers

I carefully recorded cooking times while checking the tots every few minutes to get perfectly cooked tots. My larger air fryer (a 3.7 quart Cosori unit) and the smaller one, a 1.2 qt Dash personal air fryer, both were done after 25 minutes cooking time. In both cases I shook the contents after 15 minutes and re-sprayed the canola oil.

As not everyone has the same size air fryer I made sure to test cooking times using 2 sizes: A larger & popular Cosori 3.7 quart 1700W model (more suitable for families) and a smaller personal air fryer, the Dash 1.2 quart 1000W model.

What’s interesting is that unlike some other foods, in the case of tater tots both were done in 25 minutes.

That’s a bit different from what I’ve seen when cooking hamburgers, wings, and other thicker foods.

Here’s a brief timeline of what happens when cooking frozen tater tots:

  • 0-8 mins: Thawed out, starting to warm up inside
  • 8-10 mins or so: Beginning to brown a bit on the outside slightly
  • 10-15: Insides are cooked decently, outside becomes crisped and browned
  • 15 minutes: (Shake, re-spray, and start cooking again)
  • 20-25 mins: Newly exposed, uncooked sides are crisping and browning
  • 25 mins: Crunchy, hot, and ready to eat!

Don’t forget to check & shake!

Labeled diagram showing checking and shaking tater tots after 15 minutes of cooking

Shaking your tots during cooking is important for getting perfectly evenly cooked results that you’ll love eating. Once 15 minutes of cooking time has passed, remove them, and shake (or use a fork or tongs, if helpful) to expose the unfinished sides. Lightly spray cooking oil again then place them back into the air fryer.

For the best tots you can cook, remove them and shake after 15 minutes. When doing so you’ll want to turn them over to expose the unfinished sides of the tots to face upwards.

I recommend spraying again lightly with cooking oil too.

Put them back into the fryer and check again at 25 minutes (your timer should be set for 25 minutes anyway). Your tots should be completely done and fantastic!

Image showing how to check tater tots internal temperature with a digital food thermometer

Tip: You can be confident how well food is cooked by using a digital temperature gauge with probe to check. When the temperature inside reaches 165° and above the food should be safe to eat and nearly done (depending on the outside too). I recommend the ThermoPro TP03A digital kitchen gauge as it’s affordable, easy to use, and works well.

Last touches and we’re done. Time to eat!

Image showing a perfectly cooked tater tot example and empty the cooked food from air fryers

Unlike wings or other heavier foods, tater tots are fine (and pretty easy) to pour out directly from the container into a plate or container. They don’t produce a lot of oil that can spill like meats do. When using tongs or a fork to empty the fryer basket, use care as they’re easy to break apart.

While I usually recommend against pouring food directly from the fryer basket into a plate or container, it’s different for tater tots, french fries, and potato wedges. That’s because they don’t produce a lot of leftover oil and fat that can spill like chicken wings or other meats do.

Just carefully pour them directly from the container while being careful not to touch the hot metal. A fork or tongs can help too, but be careful not to scratch the non-stick coating inside or to break the tots open.

I learned the hard way that tater tots are easy to break open by accident with tongs.

I strongly recommend serving your fresh tots right away as if left to grow cold they’ll lose their crunchiness and won’t taste the same! 

Add a good brand of ketchup (or other tasty sauce you love) on the side, and enjoy!

Note: Don’t use a microwave oven to reheat cold or soft tots. It won’t work and honestly the taste is pretty disappointing compared to fresh ones.

You can warm & crisp them back to a delicious, fresh state by reheating them in a warm air fryer at 380°F for about 5 minutes.

Image showing example perfectly cooked delicious tater tots

Yes, you’re done – time to eat! After cooking add good ole’ ketchup or your favorite side sauce, then dig in! You’ll be enjoying AMAZING tater tots that are BETTER than from a restaurant! Healthier, non-greasy, and even taste better…I couldn’t believe it until I cooked my own. Simply fantastic!

Let me be completely honest: I never thought I’d enjoy tater tots after how many times I’ve been served soggy, tasteless, and cold ones in restaurants (while dripping grease, too!).

However, cooking my own tots in my air fryers was an amazing experience – I love them!

Plus the amount of time, hassle, and money you’ll save is great, too. Cooking them yourself at home when you want is a very cool & empowering feeling.

Not only that, but as well as being better tasting and crunchier, they’re much healthier, too! There’s no shortening oil to put in your body or to make a mess.

Clean up & last notes

Image showing leftover oil & grease in air fryers for chicken wings vs tater tots

Check out what’s left over after cooking different foods! The good news is that while foods like wings and hamburger patties can leave over some messy fat & grease, tater tots leave almost nothing. They’re 100% pure potatoes, after all. You can expect to have to clean up a tiny bit of residue and crumbs, however.

Many foods you cook in an air fryer like meats tend to leave a fair (or high) amount of fat and grease behind. That’s not the case with tater tots, french fries, and other foods like them.

I did have a very small amount of crumbs and residue left over to clean up, but it was almost nothing. Clean up is a snap!

Image showing example washing an air fryer cooking basket in the sink

To clean up your air fryer basket after cooking, just add a drop of dishwashing detergent after filling it with warm water.

Clean the inside with a soft washcloth or sponge as you don’t want to damage the nonstick coating with an abrasive cleaner. It only takes a few seconds and you’re done.

Allow the parts to air dry or dry with a towel if you prefer.

(Note: Most air fryer baskets are dishwasher safe so you could do it that way as well)

More air fryer cooking guides

How about even more fantastic foods you can cook easily? Check out my other guides based on hands-on testing, measurements, and of course, delicious taste!

How To Make Frozen Wings In An Air Fryer – A Simple Guide For Everyone

How to make frozen wings in an air fryer featured image

Ah, yeah! It’s time for wings! They’re one of my favorite treats to enjoy when I eat out.

The problem is that while you & I both love fresh chicken wings it takes time & money to dine out. Even worse, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been disappointed by the ones I paid good money for.

In my detailed guide, I’ll show you how to make fantastic frozen chicken wings in an air fryer. It’s simple, cheap, and they’re delicious!

Contents

Infographic – Air fryer frozen wing basics

How to make frozen air wings in an air fryer infographic guide

Basics first: Steps for cooking air fryer chicken wings

Making your own frozen wings at home with your air fryer is simple. But there are a few things to know to get the best flavor for your effort and to avoid the hassle, too.

First things first: Here’s a layout of the basics steps to cook delicious chicken wings you’ll be proud of.

Basic steps for cooking frozen wings in an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer – Typically you’ll just need to let the air fryer run at the cooking temperature (380°F is recommended) for 5 minutes
  2. Place the frozen wings into the fryer basket – To help distribute them better for good cooking, shake the container to even them out inside. For better crisping, use a light cooking spray to lightly coat with oil if desired. Canola oil is a good choice.
  3. Cooking: With the temperature set properly (380°F is good), cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, shake the wings carefully to turn over uncooked areas and expose to hot cooking air. Spray cooking oil again if desired. Start the air fryer again.
  4. Final cooking: Check the wings again after 25 minutes. When fully cooked, the internal temperature should be above 165°F and the outside browned and crisp. If necessary, shake again and continue cooking until 30 minutes are done.
  5. Remove the wings carefully to avoid the hot fryer basket. To avoid spilling leftover grease, tongs are recommended for empty them. Add seasoning or your favorite sauce. Enjoy!

How & why to preheat your air fryer

Image showing examples of preheating air fryers for cooking frozen chicken wings

Top: Preheating an air fryer with digital controls. These often have a preheat mode button. Bottom: For standard models, you can preheat the fryer by adjusting it to the 380 degree temperature and setting the cooking timer for 5 minutes.

Just as we do with ordinary ovens, air fryer manufacturers recommend warming up the fryer before. Why, you may ask?

Preheating an air fryer does several things:

  • The heating element is brought to a ready (hot) state
  • Interior surfaces which help cook food are heated and ready to work properly
  • Preheating removes the warming delay that would happen otherwise when cooking

Basically, this just means you’re getting your air fryer ready to begin cooking right away. You won’t have the cooking process slowed by having to heat up while you’re cooking. It’s sort of like how we let a car warm up in the wintertime before driving it.

For food that’s heated properly and cooks well, you’ll need to let your air fryer warm up. Doing this allows your meals to cook consistently and reliably.

Even though air fryers are small and don’t take a long time to warm up like traditional ovens, they still need a few minutes time before they’re ready.

How to preheat your air fryer

Image showing temperature measurement of Dash air fryer preheat time

I measured the preheat times to 380°F for both of my air fryers before I cooked wings. Even though they reach their full cooking temperature in under 5 minutes, as a rule it’s best to use that amount of time. The internal surfaces should be hot and ready to cook food on contact so you’ll want to be confident they’re up to temperature.

Preheating is really easy! The way you go about doing it depends on the type of air fryer you’ll use.

Preheating is done two ways:

  • Digital controls/push buttons: Most have a preheat button to take care of this. When used, the unit will heat itself for the time required then shutoff. You can also set the temperature and cooking time manually to do the same thing.
  • Air fryers with dial controls can be set to the cooking temperature then set for 5 mins cooking time. When the timer is done you’re ready to add food and start the cooking process.

In either case, 5 minutes is a typical preheat time that works well. Use a preheating temperature that’s the same as you’ll use for your food (380°F is recommended for frozen wings).

Getting your wings ready to cook

Image showing getting frozen wings ready for cooking

Getting your wings ready is really simple and takes just a moment or two, so don’t worry! Fill your fryer container with the frozen wings (no higher than the top edge of the basket). Next, shake the wings to help even them out and space them apart for best exposure to the hot cooking air. Tip: To help crisping on the outside you may want to lightly coat the wings with a cooking oil such as canola.

Next, you’ll need to get your wings ready. It’s easy and fast, so don’t worry – in fact, you’ll need to do this same routine for french fries, tater tots, and other foods you’ll enjoy with an air fryer.

  1. Add the frozen wings to the fryer basket. Wings shouldn’t go above the top edge of the container.
  2. Shake the basket container until the wings “even out.” That is, shake them until they’re more evenly spaced inside the container. This helps them cook well as they get more exposure to the hot air around them.
  3. (Optional) For help with crisping the outside of the wings, add a light coating of cooking oil like canola or other oil of your choice.
  4. Place the container back inside the air fryer.

When it comes to using an air fryer, it’s important to cover up the food as little as possible. Food that’s stacked on each other cover portions and won’t cook as well.

It’s also one reason you’ll need to shake the wings during cooking (I’ll cover this below).

Using a cooking spray

Image showing an example of spray canola oil for cooking

A helpful bit of advice is that you can use a cooking spray like canola oil, available in any supermarket to spray the food with. Doing so helps the food crisp better while cooking.

That goes not just for meats but french fries, tater tots, and other foods that are more enjoyable when crunchy on the outside. It’s a tip I picked up from my Cuisinart toaster oven/air fryer owner’s manual.

To do so, spray enough to lightly coat the outside of your wings or other food. You won’t need much – just enough to cover the top surfaces.

How long should I cook frozen chicken wings?

Image showing examples of measured cooking times for chicken wings

To be very careful and get the best info, I measured cooking times for both larger and smaller air fryers. The larger model (a 3.7 quart Cosori unit) had the wings crisp & ready in 25 minutes. The smaller one, a 1.2 qt Dash personal air fryer, needed a bit more time (and I also needed to shake them a bit more) at about 30 minutes.

I carefully checked my wings and measured cooking times for wings prepared in 2 sizes of air fryers many people will use: One more suitable for families (3.7 quart capacity) and one for individuals (1.2 quart capacity).

What I found was interesting. Even though some other foods like frozen hamburger patties cook with about the same amount of time, in testing the times were slightly different for wings.

Basically what you need to know is that you’ll need to cook frozen wings for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Here’s a timeline of what happens when making wings:

  • 0-10 mins: Thawed out, starting to warm up inside the wings
  • 10-15: Cooking more inside, outside (on top) begins to brown. At 15 minutes be sure to shake and turn them over.
  • 20 mins: Last exposed sides of wings are browning
  • 25 mins: Some air fryers will be done!
  • 30 mins: Should be enough time for others fryers to finish

Don’t forget to check & shake!

Image with diagram showing example of partially cooked chicken wings in air fryer after shaking

Shaking the wings is important for getting great results. You’ll want to shake them to turn the uncooked sides over so they’ll be exposed to hot cooking air. In only takes a few seconds – just gently shake & stir them (or optionally you can use a fork or tongs) to move them around as needed.

It’s important to remove and shake the wings after 15 minutes. You’ll want to do this to turn them over and expose the uncooked sides to the hot air. If you wish, add more cooking oil spray again.

Put the wings back into the fryer and check again at 25 minutes. For some air fryers, the food will be fully cooked now.

Others (like the smaller Dash compact air fryer I own) may need a few more minutes. At 25 minutes cooking time, also check if you need to shake them again.

If you find that there are still some parts of the wings left uncooked, be sure to shake them again and continue cooking until 30 minutes are done.

Once cooking time is up, you’re ready!

Image showing how to check the internal temperature of wings with a digital food thermometer - ThermoPro TP03A

Tip: You can be confident how well food is cooked by using a digital temperature gauge with a probe to check. When the temperature inside reaches 165° and above the food should be safe to eat and nearly done (depending on the outside too). I use a nice little ThermoPro TP03A digital kitchen gauge that’s very affordable and works great.

Last touches and we’re done. Time to eat!

Image showing cooked wings being removed from air fryers

While you can directly pour the wings onto a plate after cooking I recommend using a fork or tongs (even better!) When dumping the food out it’s easy to accidentally spill the leftover liquified fat or grease. I’ve also dropped wings on to the floor, sadly.

When done cooking, I recommend you don’t just dump out the wings on to a plate or bowl as it’s easy to spill the leftover grease/liquid fat or drop wings on the floor.

In my experience, it’s easier to use some inexpensive food tongs (or a fork as well). They’re also helpful for keeping your hands away from the hot fryer basket.

After emptying the fryer container, add your favorite dry sub seasoning, sauce, or whatever you prefer. I recommend serving them immediately as the taste just isn’t the same after reheating.

Note: If adding dry rub seasoning it’s a bit messy so go easy on pouring it out. After some time, however, the seasoning will stick to the wings and won’t be so hard to deal with when eating or moving them.

Image showing adding dry rub seasoning to wings after cooking and the finished basket of food

After cooking and adding the flavoring or favorite sauce you can have fresh, hot, and most of all delicious wings just like these! Restaurant-style quality that’s cheaper, healthier, and in less time. Even better – you can do it yourself any time you like!

I’m pretty amazed at how great mine turned out. The amount of time, money, and hassle I saved by cooking them at home is fantastic!

Not only that, but it’s a really great feeling to have cooked your own healthier and fresher food yourself.

Clean up & last notes

Image showing leftover grease after cooking frozen wings in air fryers

Check out what’s left over after cooking in an air fryer! Wow. Even though it looks terribly messy, clean-up is easy. After letting the cooking basket cool down in only takes a moment or two to wash the parts in your kitchen sink.

You’ll have some liquified fat (oil) and grease left after cooking your wings. I was really interested to see what it was that I wouldn’t be eating, unlike grease-fried wings from a restaurant.

Not to worry, though: clean up is easy. Give the cooking basket & parts some time to cool down. Drain the grease and fat out and dispose of it.

Image showing example washing an air fryer cooking basket in the sink

After that, just add warm water and a few drops of dishwashing detergent. Clean with a non-abrasive item like a soft sponge to avoid damaging the nonstick surface. It only takes a few moments and you’re done.

Allow the parts to air dry or dry with a towel if you prefer.

(Note: Most air fryer baskets are dishwasher safe so you could do it that way as well)

More air fryer cooking guides

Want even more delicious food you can cook in minutes? Check out my other guides based on hands-on testing, measurements, and most of all….taste!

How To Cook Frozen Hamburgers In An Air Fryer – A Simple & Easy Guide

How to cook frozen hamburges in an air fryer featured image

Got an air fryer? You’re in luck! It’s actually very easy to make fresh and delicious hamburgers at home.

To help make it simple I’ve put together some easy to understand steps based on my cooking, measurements, and most of all, taste testing!

In this detailed guide, I’ll show you how to cook frozen hamburgers in an air fryer like a pro. You’re going to love how delicious your air fryer hamburgers taste!

Contents

Infographic – Air Fryer Hamburger Quick Tips

Air fryer frozen hamburger cooking guide infographic

Basics first: Steps for cooking air fryer hamburgers

Cooking your own frozen hamburger patties in an air fryer isn’t hard – but there are some things you need to know along the way. I’ll explain more as we go to help save you frustration, wasted food, and time.

First things first: Here’s a layout of the basics steps to cook delicious hamburgers of your own.

Basic steps for cooking frozen hamburgers with an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer – Typically you’ll just need to let the air fryer run at the cooking temperature (400°F is recommended) for 5 minutes
  2. Place the frozen patties properly into the fryer basket – Patties should be placed inside with as little overlap as possible. Add seasoning if you like.
  3. Cooking: With the temperature set properly (400°F is good), cook until slightly darkened. 14 minutes is a good starting point (Be sure to check periodically when first cooking patties)
  4. Remove the patties carefully to avoid touching the hot cooking basket & other surfaces. Be careful to avoid spilling the collected grease & liquified fat. Add condiments and serve hot. Enjoy!

How & why to preheat your air fryer

Image showing examples of preheating air fryers for frozen hamburgers

Top: Example of preheating an air fryer with digital controls that include a preheat mode button. Bottom: For standard control models, you can preheat it by setting it to the 400 degree temperature and set the cooking timer for 5 minutes.

Air fryer manufacturers recommend that – just like conventional ovens – you preheat them before cooking. Why you may ask?

Preheating an air fryer accomplishes several things:

  • The heating element is brought to a ready (hot) state
  • Interior surfaces which help cook food are heated and ready to work properly
  • Preheating removes the warming delay that would happen otherwise when cooking

In other words, it gets your air fryer ready to begin cooking right away and not having the cooking process slowed by having to heat up while you’re cooking. It’s sort of like how we let a car warm up in the wintertime before driving it.

If you want properly cooked food you’ll need to give your fryer time to warm up. Food cooks more consistently this way.

Even though air fryers are small and don’t take a really long time to warm up like traditional ovens, they do still need a few minutes.

How to preheat your air fryer

Image showing temperature measurement of Dash air fryer preheat time

I measured the preheat times to 400°F for both of my air fryers. Although they do reach their full cooking temperature in less than 5 minutes, as a rule it’s best to use that amount of time. The internal surfaces should be hot and ready to cook food on contact.

Preheating is actually super easy! However, it does depend on the type of air fryer you own.

Preheating is done two ways:

  • Digital models: Most have a preheat button to take care of this. When used, the unit will heat itself for the time required then shutoff. You can also set the temperature and cooking time manually to do the same thing.
  • Air fryers with dial controls can be set to the cooking temperature and for 5 mins of cooking time. When the timer is done you’re ready to add food and start the cooking process.

In either case, 5 minutes is a typical preheat time that works well. Use the cooking temperature for hamburgers in this case (400°F is recommended).

Placing patties in your fryer properly

Diagram showing how to place frozen hamburger patties in an air fryer for cooking

Diagram showing how to place frozen patties in your air fryer for best results. It’s ok if the patties overlap a tiny bit. However, as little as possible is best. That’s because the patties need unblocked access to the hot air inside to cook properly. If a patty is covered too much it can’t brown properly, won’t taste as good, and won’t reach the right cooking temperature. For smaller air fryers, it may be possible to fit more than 1 inside in some cases.

What you need to know about frozen hamburger patties is that when it comes to air fryers you’re going to have to make compromises. Space is tight and that means you can’t cook as many frozen patties as you could on a grill or in an oven.

Because of that, you might be tempted to stack them on top of each other to fit more inside. Don’t!

Frozen patties should be placed inside your air fryer with as little overlap as possible to cook properly. That’s because when covered they won’t get enough exposure to the hot cooking air that’s circulating.

If you must try to squeeze several inside, try to keep them spread out as much as possible. For nice, well-done and browned hamburgers it’s a must!

By the way, browned patties simply taste better than those that aren’t.

Examples of frozen hamburger patties placed in large & small air fryers

Example of fitting 4 patties into a 3.7 qt. air fryer and a smaller 1.2 qt. model. For my larger Cosori model I was able to (barely) fit 4 patties with only a bit of trouble. I experimented with using 2 patties in the smaller Dash compact air fryer, but as you can see it can result in undercooked areas in the meat.

I’ve tested several ways of fitting patties in the smaller air fryer, but it’s hard to get results when trying to do that. My advice would be to cook 1 at a time in a smaller model.

Close up image of a hamburger patty with undercooked area

However, if you’re willing to live with a small amount of hamburger that isn’t browned you could use 2.

If the rest of the patty is browned it’s a sign that the other area is fine to eat – it’s just not done as well.

Got seasoning? Don’t forget!

Image showing adding seasoning to frozen patties in air fryer before cooking

If you’d like to add garlic, pepper, or other seasonings to your hamburgers now’s the time. Add a generous amount before you start cooking

Don’t forget the seasoning! If you’d prefer tasty hamburgers with your own favorite additions like pepper or even Adobo seasoning sprinkle some on the patties before cooking.

Even better, place them on a plate to add seasoning before putting them into the air fryer.

How long should I cook frozen hamburger patties?

Image showing the measured cook time for cooking hamburgers in an air fryer

While test cooking I carefully watched the patties and measured cooking times for 2 typical air fryers: One for families (3.7 qt capacity, 1500 watts power) and a personal model (1.2 qt, 1000 watts power).

What I found was interesting. The proper time was about the same for both appliances.

I measured 14 minutes at 400 degrees to get well-done hamburgers that taste great.

The cooking process for frozen patties was basically like this:

  • 5-6 minutes into cooking: Thawing, begin to cook
  • 8 minutes pass: Lightly cooked, edible, but not really good tasting
  • 10-12 minutes: Begin to brown and more thorough cook, the taste improves
  • 14 minutes: Fully cooked, browned a bit on the outside, and delicious!

What can I say? I’m very careful and a bit “scientific” about how I cook foods the first time. I wanted to be 100% sure I didn’t burn them as well as compare how 2 different air fryers would perform.

Most of all, though, is that I wanted to be sure they taste great!

Image showing measure hamburger meat internal temperature with a ThermoPro TP03A digital thermometer

Tip: You can be confident how well food is cooked by using a digital temperature gauge with pointed probe to check. When the temperature inside reaches 165° or above the food should be safe to eat and nearly done. I use a nice little ThermoPro TP03A digital kitchen gauge that’s very affordable and works great.

After 14 minutes at 400 degrees for most air fryers you should be done and ready to enjoy your delicious, healthy hamburgers.

Note: I strongly recommend carefully checking the progress your first time when cooking new foods. In my experience air fryers sometimes can cook food even faster than you’d expect!

Because of that, it’s easy to burn food until you get the hang of it.

Be sure to check the owner’s manual as well for any recommendations and in case a different cooking time is listed.

Last touches and we’re done. Time to eat!

Images of finished hamburgers & cheeseburgers cooked and ready to eat

The interior surfaces are hot so be careful! I recommend using tongs to remove your patties when they’re done. Build your hamburgers, add condiments, and enjoy! The result is fantastic fresh hamburgers you’ll enjoy…and cooked with far less fat & grease.

When you’ve reached the cooking time or your air fryer has shut off (if you’ve used the timer or a digital preset, depending on the type you own) we’re ready!

While you can use a fork to remove the cooked patties from the fryer cook basket, I prefer tongs. They’re a lot less likely to slip & fall on the floor. They’re also easier to work with, too.

Put your patties on the buns, add condiments as you like, and most importantly, enjoy your fresh, tasty hamburgers!

You’ll notice they have much less fat and grease than those cooked on a traditional restaurant electric grill.

Display image of Dash air fryer with cooked hamburgers

You can enjoy cheaper, healthier, and fresher hamburgers at home…with restaurant-style taste thanks to your air fryer.

Since the patties will cool off rather quickly I strongly recommend serving them as soon as possible for the best taste.

I found mine just weren’t the same after they cooled off and especially if they had to be reheated.

Note: If you’re going reheat hamburgers, considering using the “warm” feature on your digital model or seat your air fryer to 300 degrees for a few minutes use. You’ll get better overall (taste) results than from a microwave oven.

Clean up & last notes

Image showing grease and fat after cooking hamburgers in an air fryer

It’s amazing how much fat and grease is left over after cooking hamburgers! Wow. Even though it looks terribly messy clean-up is easy. After letting the cooking basket cool down in only takes a moment or two to wash the parts in your kitchen sink.

You’ll have a fair amount of grease and fat left over after cooking frozen hamburger patties. I was surprised just how much, in fact.

Not to worry, though: clean up is easy. Give the cooking basket & parts some time to cool down. Drain the grease and fat out and dispose of it.

Image showing example washing an air fryer cooking basket in the sink

After that, just add warm water and some dishwashing detergent. Clean with a non-abrasive item like a soft sponge to avoid damaging the nonstick surface. It only takes a few moments and you’re done. Allow the parts to air dry or dry with a towel if you prefer.

(Note: Most air fryer baskets are dishwasher safe so you could do it that way as well)

More air fryer cooking guides

Want even more delicious food you can cook in minutes? Check out my other guides based on hands-on testing, measurements, and most of all….taste!

What’s The Best Place To Put An Essential Oil Diffuser? What You Need To Know

Best place to put an essential oil diffuser featured image

Essential oil diffusers are a great way to improve your quality of life and relax. There’s something really special about enjoying a natural, relaxing scent filling a room anytime you like.

When getting started with mine I had to learn the basics. I’d love to help you by sharing what I’ve learned along the way.

I’ve put together a great post packed with info and facts about aromatherapy (essential oil) diffusers. I’ll also answer your main question: What’s the best place to put an essential oil diffuser?  

Contents

Where should you put an essential oil diffuser?

The truth is that there really isn’t a “perfect” place to put them. However, there are some basic guidelines that can help and will work for nearly everyone.

Essential oil diffuser placement tips
  • Although you can use them on a floor, placing them at least 2 feet above the floor is ideal, similar to humidifiers
  • Bedroom: Placing your diffuser a few feet from your bed is recommended. A minimum of 3 feet or so is good
  • Don’t put your diffuser where it will be constantly exposed to sunlight (Ex.: near a window)
  • Avoid placing it on top of or very close to wooden surfaces subject to moisture or water damage. A tray or other water-resistant cover underneath it can prevent problems from mist droplets or spilled water
  • A non-metallic, level surface is ideal. Do not place on carpet or similar surfaces that can become damp
  • For best results, place your diffuser closer to the center of the room or even to one side, where ever convenient (this is a “nice to have” recommendation and not essential)

As I mentioned above it’s definitely best to keep them away from wood surfaces (or use a material underneath them to protect the wood).

Based on my personal experience I can say it’s very easy to spill water during everyday maintenance & use. You also don’t want stray water falling on your favorite furniture.

It seems like every other time I refill my diffuser’s water tank some droplets get on my shelf.

Diagram – Basic ideas for where to put your diffuser

Diagram showing recommended placement for an essential oil diffuser

Shown: A simple diagram showing examples of where to put your aromatherapy (essential oil) diffuser. While it’s not “critical” to follow these by any means, they’re a good rule of thumb to follow. I recommend keeping your diffuser several feet from your bed on a good, flat surface above the floor. It should be a surface that won’t be harmed by water droplets or spills. Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep the unit a few feet from your bed as well.

As shown in the diagram I’ve provided, here are some good basic rules of thumb for where to put your diffuser:

  • Out of direct sunlight such as near a window
  • Several feet from your bed or where you sleep (use 3 feet or more as a rule)
  • 2 feet or more above the floor
  • Away from furniture or other items that can be affected by water

These are just the basics “at a glance.” Read on and I’ll add more detail as we go.

Should a diffuser be on the floor or a table?

Image showing essential oil diffuser placement on a floor or table guide

You can put your diffuser on either a table or the floor. However, at least about 2 feet from the floor is best. Your essential oil diffuser’s vapor mist will distribute evenly within your room over time. Additionally, both they and I recommend you don’t use them alone without something to protect the surface from spills or water droplets.

Placing your essential oil diffuser at least 2 feet above the floor is ideal. If you’re wondering why it’s because they’re actually smaller versions of cool mist humidifiers which manufacturers recommend be placed at least 2 feet above the floor.

That’s because as they work, humidifiers and diffusers create and output water vapor that doesn’t rise the same way as others. For best results they need to be placed higher in the air.

If placing it on a shelf, desk, or some type of table, be sure it’s stable and not prone to accidents. You definitely don’t want anyone accidentally tipping yours over so be careful where you put it!

Protect against stray water

Much like humidifiers, it’s best to use them with some type of tray or protective material underneath them. That way you’ll be sure to avoid problems from spilling water or water droplets produced by the output nozzle.

In my personal experience, it really depends on the particular design and operation of the one you’ve bought. Some are messier than others when it comes to how easy they are to spill and if they produce random water droplets that can fall on your furniture.

Use water-safe surfaces or protective material

As not everyone has a water-resistant table to use, find an item that’s water-resistant to cover the area around your diffuser. Pick one that’s large enough to cover the area around it by about 1/2 feet to 1 foot in size as a rule.

Yes, you can use a diffuser on the floor if you need to. They’ll still work well but not nearly as efficiently for filling your room with scent, so I would recommend against it.

If at all possible raise them above the floor as I recommended above.

Either way, don’t use them on the carpet. Carpet is notorious for allowing water to become trapped and build up over time, potentially leading to more problems.

Keep them out of direct sunlight

Diagram drawing warning against placing essential oil diffuser near a window

Don’t place your diffuser near a strong source of sunlight and heat like a window. Sunlight and warmth encourage algae and bacterial growth, a common problem found in containers of water. The best place is one that’s in a cool place without too much sunlight.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, don’t place your oil diffuser in direct sunlight such as near a window. Sunlight and warmth create a great breeding ground for the build up & growth of nasties such as algae and bacteria.

You definitely don’t want that!

Keeping it clean

Depending upon your water supply you may need to clean out your diffuser’s water tank occasionally. To do so, clean the water tank with a mixture of white vinegar and water using a soft cloth to wash the inside surfaces.

Don’t use detergent to clean it.

I get really good results using white vinegar (recommended by manufacturers) to clean not only my humidifiers but my aromatherapy diffuser too.

Will a diffuser keep you awake at night?

Clip art image of man sleeping in bedroom with essential oil diffuser

When it’s time for bed, sometimes it’s best to have your diffuser placed a bit further away from your bed. Although they won’t harm anything nearby (aside from wood surfaces I mentioned earlier), it’s better to put them where the vapor mist and aroma are distributed better. Also, some diffusers make a very small amount of noise. If you’re a very light sleeper (like me) that might be enough to wake you up.

Heavy sleepers aren’t going to have problems waking up when using their essential oil diffuser overnight. However, if you’re a light sleeper like I am it’s possible the occasional very slight bubbling and “gurgling” sound some make might interrupt your rest.

For example, my personal bedroom aromatherapy diffuser has a distinct electric motor sound I can hear if it’s too close. Additionally, there’s a very slight bubbling effect I can hear.

Those noises are typical for smaller units but aren’t only found in small models. In fact, it really depends on the brand and design – some make similar noises on a bigger scale just like humidifiers do.

Generally speaking, though, most essential oil diffusers have a whisper-quiet operation and aren’t very likely to disturb your sleep.

My advice is to go ahead and place yours a few feet from your bed just to avoid issues.

What are essential oils?

Diagram showing examples of essential oils used in diffusers

Essential oils are used in small machines powered by electricity to offer aromatherapy benefits. In other words, they release scented oils into a room by producing a super-fine water vapor containing the oil molecules. Essential oils are derived from the liquid form provided by many plants and fruits found in nature. A natural, scented pure oil is extracted and placed in small containers for diffuser use.

Essential oils are concentrated liquids taken from plants, fruits, and herbs found in nature. They’re extracted from a variety of herbs & plants with known benefits such as eucalyptus, lavender, orange, lime, cinnamon, myrrh, and many more.

The liquid is extracted by a process called distillation. The result is a product that’s able to easily evaporate at room temperature (also called hydrophobic).

Why are they called “essential” oils?

They’re called “essential” because they keep then natural essence (the natural properties and scent) of the plant they’re derived from. Unlike other oils you may have used before, they usually can evaporate without leaving a residue or oil behind.

Also, unlike many products you by they’re not simulated using chemicals or synthetic derivatives. They’re about as close as you can get to having the real plant source in your own room!

In most cases, we buy essential oils for aromatherapy in small vials made of glass or plastic. These oils are very efficient at making scents in a room. Normally only a few drops are needed each time.

While they’re not as cheap as some chemical-based scents you can buy, in reality, they’re a really good deal! That’s because when you break down the cost vs the amount of use you get they’re still a good value.

How does an essential oil diffuser work?

Illustrated diagram of how essential oil aromatherapy diffuser works

Shown: A diagram showing how an essential oil diffuser works. Diffusers are a type of cool mist humidifier as they convert water stored in the holding tank into a fine water vapor that’s released into the air. By adding a few drops of oil to the water, the oil mixes with it and when released as water vapor it fills the room with a pleasant scent of your choice. Most sold today use an ultrasonic electronic device to convert water into vapor.

Essential oil diffusers work by using electricity to power a water vaporizer (also called a nebulizer) and turn water into a fine mist.

The mist rises into the air and carries evaporated essential oil with it.

Diffusers are a different type of cool mist humidifier as they work on the same principle: they turn water into a super-fine mist that rises into the air and fills a room. They’re different, however, in their features, style, mist production, and water capacity.

In fact, they’re so similar that some cool mist humidifiers include an essential oil tray as an option.

Image of cool mist humidifier essential oil tray example

Shown: As they work the same as diffusers, some cool mist humidifiers include an essential oil tray feature. Shown is the popular Everlasting Comfort large room humidifier which includes this neat little option.

Cool mist humidifiers vs essential oil diffusers

There are a few differences between the two, however. Here are a few to know:

  • Diffusers are available with a smaller water capacity and are more ideal for smaller rooms. Humidifiers often come with a much later water tank.
  • Essential oil diffusers are more likely to be offered with decorative features like LED night lights or accent lighting. Some also have a more stylish outward appearance (Unlike humidifiers which are more practical in design)
  • Cool mist humidifiers often offer an adjustable mist output. Many standard essential oil diffusers do not, or offer 1 to 3 fixed output level options.

How to use essential oils with a diffuser

Image showing how to add drops of essential oil to a diffuser

Diffusers are really easy to use & keep up! That’s one reason I’m such a big fan of them. Add oils by carefully placing a few drops (usually around 2-3 or so) into the water reservoir after filling it. The cover is then placed over it before turning the unit on. Once it starts working you should smell the scent very quickly.

The great thing about them (and one reason I recommend them to many people) is that they’re really easy to use and maintain.

To prepare an essential oil diffuser, water is poured into the diffuser’s cup or tank then a few drops (about 2-3 drops typically) of aromatherapy (essential) oil are added.

Since most oils are concentrated it doesn’t take much. They’re very efficient at adding a noticeable scent throughout a room.

Getting your diffuser started is simple

After filling it with the recommended amount of water and adding essential oil the cover is placed over the top. The unit is then turned on and the diffuser begins working immediately.

Water moves through the nebulizer quickly and rises inside the cover, escaping silently through a small vent. At the same time, the water supply is agitated a bit to help mix the oil with the water.

As it runs the result is a very fine mist that resembles the look of smoke. However, it’s just a harmless, cool water mist with a wonderful scent added.

Summary – Key points to remember

Diffuser placement summary

Just a quick recap: Here are the main rules of thumb you can remember for knowing where to place your essential oil diffuser:

  • Keep them out of direct sunlight such as near a window
  • A good idea is to place them several feet from your bed or where you sleep (use 3 feet or more as a rule)
  • It’s recommended to put them 2 feet or higher above the floor
  • Keep away from furniture or other items that are affected by water (or place on a tray or cover the surface)
  • Don’t use diffusers on the carpet; If using on a floor, place on a tray or protective cover. Keep them where they won’t get knocked over
  • For convenience, be sure to keep them where they won’t get knocked over but are easy to reach for refills and use

Additional reading

Haven’t bought your own essential oil diffuser yet? You can find some great information & some of the best diffusers for large rooms here.

Curious about humidity, humidifiers, and how they help us? Here’s a helpful post about what humidifiers do.

Do Air Purifiers Work With Windows Open? There’s More To It Than You Might Think!

Image of a view of a garden with house windows open

Air purifiers work by circulating and filtering contaminants like microbes, allergens, pet dander, and many more from the air. At the same time, letting in fresh air is something most of us enjoy doing from time to time. But does it affect how your air purifier works?

You may be asking yourself, “Do air purifiers work with windows open?” To help you understand the facts more easily I’ve put together some helpful information to explain it all.

Contents

Answering the basic question – Do air purifiers work with windows open?

Air purifier open window facts

Technically speaking the short answer is –yes, but not as well as they should. Before we go any further, let’s consider what the word “works” actually means.

It’s important to understand that air purifiers work by continually cycling the air in a room and filtering it.

If you open windows, the process is interrupted and your air will be subject to whatever particles are present in the outdoors. Before opening the windows, consider that you’ll potentially be starting over with the air purification process, as the purifier will have to clean the room’s air all over again.

It depends mainly on what you’re cleaning from the air and how much outside air you let in.

Let’s use an example. Think about how a refrigerator works. Its primary task is to cool air inside of it, right? Likewise, an air purifier primarily filters out contaminants from the air around it that cause air quality issues.

If you open a refrigerator, will it still operate? Yes, definitely.

The same goes for an air purifier you’ve got running and cleaning the air in an open room. If you leave its door open, it will still try to cool the air near it as much as possible.

Likewise, an air purifier will draw in as much air is physically possible and filter it.  The performance in a room with windows open is much less than with windows closed.

The problem lies with efficiency.

Should I never open a window with an air purifier running?

No, that’s not the case at all. Basically, you need to think about a few factors before doing so. Ask yourself these questions:

#1. How clean is the air outside near the window you’ll have open?

Is it dirty, polluted, or smoggy? Is anyone burning piles of leaves nearby, for example? It’s a big thumbs down if your outdoor environment is full of smoke, trash, and particles you don’t want indoors!

I’ve lived in ground-level apartments very near the path of passing cars in the past. In some cases having the window open wasn’t a problem. However, some cars with emissions problems or diesel pollution would enter my residence.

#2. Will you remember to close the window later, or do you plan to leave it open for hours? (Will you forget to close it?)

Time is the determining factor for whether or not an open window will or will not reduce the indoor air quality where you live. And your air purifier’s efficiency as well.

The longer the window is left open, the less work that the air purifier can perform. It takes a number of hours to fully clean the air in a standard sized room. Think about how much longer the device will take to do so in the case of having that interrupted.

If a room has air blowing in from outdoors it will still circulate the air and filter it, but because of the disturbance in the airflow the air to get cleaned which is the outside air.

Unfortunately, leaving the window open means the air purifier is not just cleaning the air in the room. It must also clean the air entering the room from the outdoors as well.

As long as that condition is present, you’ll never have fully purified air inside.

Diagram showing air purifiers working with windows open

An air purifier can “work” with the windows open, but it can’t work nearly as well as it would with the room sealed. One significant problem is that contaminants like allergens are re-introduced into the room’s air. It will take much more additional time to complete the purification process. If a window is open, there will always be air containing outside particles.

5 factors to consider before opening a window

Outdoor air pollution facts image with percentages of pollutants
1. Your outdoor environment

I don’t recommend opening windows if you live in a polluted area or one that has car exhaust, smoke, or other pollution issues nearby. Also, definitely don’t leave the windows open during spring because of the high pollen count. That stuff gets everywhere and will consume your air purifier’s filter lifespan more rapidly.

Opening windows means that you’re not just giving the air purifier work additional work to do. You’re also prolonging the time it will take for the air inside your house to be thoroughly cleaned.

For those with allergies, a few seconds of exposure to allergens can be critical. I don’t have allergies but I can feel the effects of pollen & other pollutants in the air. Vehicle exhaust can cause lots of coughing and headaches from time to time. Dust is another issue to contend with, too, and it gets all over the place after a few weeks!

For the sake of your health and quality of living, open the windows only if you live in a relatively clean environment.

2. Your home’s indoor environment

Image of smoke from cooking in kitchen on stove top
Given that you own an air purifier, it’s safe to assume the cleanliness of your indoor air is (now) probably pretty good. Otherwise, something else must have prompted you to open the window.

I totally get it – lots of things can happen. Maybe you burned your cooking and need to let the smoke out FAST! Maybe the garbage has piled up because of a rough week at work & you didn’t have the time. Painting your walls and having to deal with the fumes is another potential reason.

These are honestly all great reasons – you don’t have to have some huge, major cause for opening one or more windows. I love opening windows in the summertime and hearing the kids play outside. It’s one of life’s little pleasures, and I still have fond memories of living nearing a playground many years ago.

An air purifier will keep doing its job, regardless of whether the room is sealed or not.

If you’re like me and live in a fairly nice area with mostly fresh air, the air inside your house should stay clean and filtered as long as an air purifier is at work.

To make the most of your air purifier, keep the time you have windows open to a minimum.

3. The impact on your air purifier

Image of Levoit LV-H132 air purifier in bedroom

Fact: It’s easier for an air purifier to work within confined spaces.

After all, disruptions are minimal. It pulls in air, filters it, and releases it back to the room as fresh, clean air.

The air that it filters is some of the same air it filtered a few minutes ago, and the number of particles that get trapped in each filtration process decreases per attempt.

When you limit the amount of air an air purifier has to clean, you greatly increase its efficiency and the amount of time it will take to freshen an entire room.

However, there’s another issue you might not have thought of: if you’re cleaning additional air from the outdoors, that means you’ll be decreasing the life of the air filter. That’s something to think about.

4. Energy costs

Because of the open window, clean air will exit and unfiltered outside air will enter. When this happens there’s a good chance you’ll be tempted to turn up the fan speed and let the device run for more hours than you normally would.

While it’s not a huge amount of electricity to be consumed (most of today’s small & efficient models like this one one consume 10 watts or less) it can add up over time and is unnecessary.

Less effectiveness = you notice the air isn’t clean = you use your purifier more. That adds up to more money wasted!

5. Time

Image of a digital alarm clock radio showing time 4:00 PM
As I mentioned earlier, the amount of time it takes for an air purifier to fully freshen a room is affected by air space. Take my advice and close the window after a few minutes.

It’s not just whether or not a purifier can work with windows open, but if you are dealing with respiratory problems it can be pretty important. The amount of time you suffer from a lower-quality air environment is directly impacted by how long you will have to keep it running.

In most cases, it only takes a handful of hours for your air quality to greatly improve. Your quality of life can improve accordingly! Severe conditions like cigarette smoke and multiple pets with odors & their dander are some good examples.

How long do you want to prolong having the best, freshest air possible?

Of course, if health problems like asthma and emphysema aren’t an issue, then that’s not really a concern. My goal in bringing this up was to at least give you some food for thought so you can make the best decision for you & your family.

Air circulation factors to know

Diagram of room air flow with windows open air purifer

Airflow with 1 vs 2 or more windows open can be dramatically different. With 2 or more windows open, often the air purifier will have almost no effect. With only 1 window open, there is some external air entering the room but the purifier can at least work with marginal efficiency. This is because the amount of disturbance in the room’s airflow is typically much smaller.

If you do decide to open windows, try opening only one in each room. The reason is that 2 or more windows tend to allow more airflow through a room but the drawback is the disturbance in the air around the purifier. Basically, you defeat the purpose of using a purifier when doing so.

Perhaps you occasionally enjoy listening to the lovely sounds during a warm summer’s night. Wait until your indoor air has been freshened then open only one window. You’ll find it will have minimal impact on the indoor quality where you live in most cases.

Final thoughts and advice to take away

You SHOULD open your windows if:

  • You’ll close them relatively soon or you don’t have immediate health or allergy issues
  • Your outdoor environment is relatively clean
  • Your room is newly painted or fumed
  • There are immediate extreme air quality problems like from a kitchen fire, burns, or garbage, etc.
Note: If you inhale too many Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – a harmful chemical common in paint – be sure to open your windows and not stay in the room for too long. Read more about the symptoms of VOC poisoning here.

You SHOULD NOT open your windows if:

  • You plan to leave them open for extended periods of time
  • Your outdoor environment is heavily polluted
  • You still have air quality issues indoors and the purifier hasn’t completed cleaning it
  • You have significant indoor air quality problems like smoke, pet dander, etc that require additional time to treat

Essentially, there’s no harm in running an air purifier with windows open, but it’s not helpful and you’re better off turning the purifier off while the windows are open.

Simply put, in most cases, it reduces the ability of your air purifier to work as well as it can.

Here are some basic guidelines to remember:

  • Have a heavy source of air problems? (pets, cigarette smoke, etc.) Consider leaving the windows closed
  • Avoid keeping the windows open if you live near a heavily polluted area or during times like spring
  • Ideally, wait until a room has been freshened and the major contaminants have been removed first before doing so
  • Ideally open only ONE window, as it reduces the amount of air from outdoors and the air disturbance created

Now that you’ve learned more, how about some additional help in finding the best air purifiers for your money? I’ve put together a buyer’s guide and a list of some of the best air purifiers under $100 here.

Are Air Purifiers Also Fans? Clearing Up A Common Question

Honeywell air purifier in a kitchen

If you’ve been around an air purifier before, you probably already know that most move air. And if they move air, it’s easy to see why you might wonder if air purifiers are also fans.

Not only will I answer this question but I’ll also show you how air purifiers work.

You’ll also find out a bit more about a few that actually do act like fans as well!

Contents

The basic question: are air purifiers also fans?

The general rule is “No.” Air purifiers aren’t fans alone. That is, while they do move and circulate air, most can’t do so with the high speed & larger airflow of a basic electric fan.

More importantly, they’re designed for cleaning the air you breathe which in turn makes a large impact on the airflow volume they can offer.

Standard electrical fans don’t have the same restrictions caused by doing other work like an air purifier does. Because of that, ordinary fans can blow air much faster to cool you and the room you’re in.

Read on and I’ll explain why they’re not fans.

First, let’s talk about what a fan is and then what an air purifier is. I’ll then compare the two and explain specifically how they’re different.

What is a fan and how does it move air?

Diagram of axial and centrifugal electric fans

Electrical fans come in different styles and serve different purposes. Both use an electric motor to rotate blades which cut through the air and cause it to move from one side to the other, creating airflow. Both centrifugal and axial style fans are used in air purifiers. You may have seen axial fans used in your desktop computer case. The curved blades on a fan cause the motion of air that is so important.

A fan is a device with fixed blades (usually curved) that force nearby air to move from the rear to the front of it in a blowing motion. It’s a common misconception that a fan cools air because it actually doesn’t. Instead, it moves air to create the opportunity for cooling by the evaporation of sweat and convection in an environment.

In other words, fans move a liquid or gas (air) rapidly to allow cooling to occur on you or an object.

Normally they’re powered by an electrical motor that uses many windings of copper wire to produce movement and turn the blades. This is done by allowing electric current to pass through the windings which then creates magnetic fields.

These fields, in turn, push away from other magnetic fields and the rotor, the rotating center section, turns. The fan blades, attached to the rotor, then cut through the surrounding air and the air is forced to move.

Typically the fastest fans have the greatest flow of air.

Evaporation

Sweating is how your body self-regulates its temperature. As your sweat evaporates, your body cools off because it requires heat to convert water to vapor. In still air, however, it isn’t so easy for sweat to evaporate. The air circulated by a fan helps the sweat on your skin to evaporate faster.

That’s why you feel cooler when there’s a fan blowing around you or on you.

Convection

Aside from helping regulate heat by helping your sweat to evaporate, fans also have a role to play in a process called convection. For our purposes, we’ll consider this process as heat moving away from one place to a cooler place. When you feel hot and the surrounding air is cooler, your body cools down by transferring heat to the air.

Air becomes less dense and rises at it’s heated. When you have a fan in the room, it helps to carry this warm air away. Cooler and denser air will settle down and the cycle continues, making you feel cooler.

Fans are generally designed to blow air as I mentioned above, although some fans are designed to suck or pull air. Some examples exhaust fans, vacuum cleaners, and range hoods (like you’ve seen in restaurants or perhaps in a home kitchen).

We’ll leave fans here for the moment and take a look at air purifiers.

What is an air purifier? How does an air purifier work?

Diagram illustrating how an air purifier works

Air purifiers work by moving air through filters and trapping airborne elements that cause pollution, allergies, asthma, sickness, and much more. Additionally, with an active carbon filter (a separate type of filter) they can trap odors and airborne chemicals. Some products like this GermGuardian AC4900CA also include a germ-killing feature using ultraviolet (UV) light.

An air purifier is an electrical device that eliminates airborne pollutants in a room.

Most air purifiers contain an electric fan which pulls air to the intake part of the device. Air is then forced through a series of replaceable filters where pollutants are trapped. After the air is cleaned it’s released back into the room.

As the process continues the air purifier will continuously cycle and filter bad elements and odors in a room. The result is fresh, clean, healthy air being left behind.

Air purifier filter types

Image of a GermGuardian AC4100 showing HEPA and activated carbon filtersA small air purifier (GermGuardian AC4100) showing the dense HEPA filter (white) and the activated carbon pre-filter (black). These work together to remove foreign particulates and substances like odors from the air. Neither can work alone to do both functions.

High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are made of very thin entangled glass threads that are formed into a flat sheet, which is pleated like an accordion. Think of it as being an extremely dense material with gaps far too small to see with the human eye.

This material works to filter & trap 99.97% of airborne particulates and allergens as small as 0.3 microns (that’s 1/1,000,000 of a meter in size).

Activated carbon filters are often used along with HEPA filters because of their porous nature which makes them highly effective at absorbing volatile organic chemicals, odors, and some gases in the air. They may or may not be a part of an air purifier that you buy.

It depends on the design of the product.

Pre-filters are usually made of washable foam or nylon materials that trap larger particles. These are often integrated with HEPA and carbon filters so as not to overwork the more expensive filters. They’re typically a less dense and thinner filter serving mainly just to trap larger elements in the air like dust, insects, hair, and so on.

They’re generally used as a 1st stage in the filtering process if provided.

Aside from different filters used, there are also different types of air purifiers. Some use ultraviolet light (UV) rays to destroy mold, mildew, viruses, and other germs in the air as they pass by. There are also ozone-generators and negative-ion air purifiers that remove microbes and gases but produce ozone molecules as a functional by-product. Ozone-producing air purifiers are not approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

So, are air purifiers also fans in a way?

AC4825 rear motor and fan illustration
Air purifiers contain electric fans which are used to draw in dirty air and blow out clean, filtered air. The pink arrows in the image point to the centrifugal fans used in this GermGuardian AC4825 purifier. In the center you can see the silver electric motor used to drive them both.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, it’s important to understand the difference between a regular fan and an air purifier.

1. Unlike fans, the majority of air purifiers have filters that greatly slow the flow of air through them.

That’s why they’re not capable of moving enough air to cool you or your room. The rate depends upon the purifier’s fan speed in use and efficiency.

These two products are not the same because they’re designed and made for different purposes.

The way they operate is different, too. They’re similar in the sense that both cause the air in your room to circulate. Fans circulate air in a room as a side effect of how they work – often they’re used to blow air directly.

Air purifiers, on the other hand, filter airborne particulates and circulate the air as they go through the dynamics of air purifying. Air circulation, rather than blowing air directly in any particular direction, is critical to how they function.

2. Most purifiers aren’t designed with fans that can move enough air to cool a room.

Purifiers aren’t expected to clean all the air in a room rapidly. It can take anywhere from several hours to a few days depending on the product and the room size. Air purification is a process that takes time.

If you require something that was much faster, it would be much larger in size and more expensive. That isn’t practical and very few people would be willing to pay for that.

There are also some types that don’t have fans. These products don’t add to the normal circulation of air in a room, and thus don’t have the added function of a fan. Ionizers and some ozone generators are good examples of this type.

Examples of air purifiers that are fans

Image of air purifiers that are fans
There are a few exceptions to the rule. A few products on the market actually do act as fans. The Honeywell AirGenius product family (left) and Dyson air purifiers like the Pure Cool purifying fan (right) create a very high airflow in a room much like a fan.

While what you’ve read is true for most, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Some products like the Dyson Pure Cool purifying fan are designed specifically to move large amounts of air to help keep you cool & comfortable.

Others like the Honeywell Air Genius 5 have a different type of filter design which allows a high rate of air to blow just as a fan (and even oscillates to blow air like a fan).

In conclusion

Most air purifiers are not, in the most strict sense, fans. They can’t move large amounts of air rapidly like fans and cannot cool you or your home. There are a few models, however, that are exceptions to this.

Unlike a fan, the typical air purifier:

  • Can’t produce high-speed airflow – the filters inside greatly reduce it
  • Won’t cool you or the room, as the airflow doesn’t extend very far past the purifier
  • Needs a lot of time to circulate the air in a room

As most air purifiers work, they do circulate the air in a room, which is the function of a fan. So in that respect, they do work as fans. But we draw the line there because an air purifier is more than just a fan.

If the ability to cool a room is important to you, plan on purchasing a fan separately. You can, in most cases, use a fan in the same room with an air purifier without any problems!

Hopefully I’ve cleared up the question for you and helped you better understand the differences.

Wondering if you can use a purifier with the windows open? Here’s a helpful post I wrote to answer the question about air purifiers and open windows.

What Humidity Should I Set My Dehumidifier To?

Dehumidifier settings example image

Humidity can be a huge factor that really impacts your home’s comfort. It can also contribute to a lot of problems if not dealt with.

The good news is that a dehumidifier can help tremendously.

But what setting should you use? If you’re wondering, “What humidity should I set my dehumidifier to?” you’ll find what you need to know here.

Home air quality is very important to me and I believe everyone deserves to enjoy great comfort at home. I’d love to help you so I put together this useful guide which explains humidity and much more.

Contents

Infographic – Dehumidifier facts and settings

Infographic - what humidity should I set my dehumidifier to

Humidity levels in your home

Image of a woman sweating and cooling with a fan due to high humidity
High humidity can make you very uncomfortable and sweat much more than normal, even in relatively normal temperatures. One reason for this is because your body can’t cool itself the same way as when in a lower humidity environment. A dehumidifier can help a lot by bringing the moisture level down to a far more comfortable level.

The truth is that there is no “perfect” humidity level – there is, however, a good range of humidity settings you can use as a guideline. Also, don’t worry too much about getting the settings exactly right. That’s not critical. We’re aiming to get it in the right approximate range, basically.

What we’re looking to do is bring down the humidity where you live or in your basement to a level where:

  1. Problems like mold, moisture-related odors, and dust mites are controlled
  2. You feel comfortable

With these 2 goals in mind, let’s continue.

What is humidity?

Relative humidity comfort scale image diagram

Relative humidity, as shown in the scale above, directly affects the comfort you feel when exposed to the air both at home or outside. Most people feel their best when the humidity around them falls within a certain range: generally 30%-60%. If the humidity level is too low, we feel the symptoms of dry air. If it’s too high, we may feel very hot and become subject to overheating and excessive perspiration. (Note: there are secondary problems caused by the humidity being too high – see below)

The term humidity is used to describe the amount of moisture, expressed as a percentage, in the air around us.

There are actually a number of different scientific terms used to describe it depending on different criteria, but let’s not make it more complicated than it has to be. When it comes to most situations and especially your home, we’re concerned with relative humidity.

You may have noticed that some time after it rains your windows fog up from moisture and you feel a bit warmer. That’s exactly the same effect – if the humidity rises a lot you feel much less comfortable and even though it’s not really warmer, it feels warmer.

Additionally, high humidity levels bring a number of secondary problems that homeowners sometimes experience like mold and dust mites.

Respiratory infections and sinus issues, as well as diseases associated with viruses and bacteria, are increased when the level falls below 30%. Also, if you have a cold or other illness, it’s more difficult to recover without a healthy humidity level in your home. I’ve experienced this firsthand!

Relative humidity

Bottle of water with condensation in humidity example image

Condensation is the collection of nearby water vapor on objects that cool the air around them. You may have observed this on a cold drink bottle, for example. In especially humid areas the amount of condensation is even higher. Likewise, when the area around you is excessively humid the moisture can react with and affect nearby materials, promote unhealthy air, encourage dust mite growth, and affect your body.

Relative humidity is a way of expressing how much water vapor (moisture) is in the air depending upon the current temperature. This is because as temperature increases, the amount of moisture the air can hold increases. And likewise – when the temperature decreases, the amount of moisture it can hold decreases.

Ideally the comfort range – the range in which most people feel pretty good – is about 30% to 60% approximately. The truth is, what feels best to you depends on you and varies from person to person.

A great rule of thumb is to think of about 50% as a good upper limit for both in your home and basement. Under 60% is necessary to control or prevent mold growth. In order to reduce or prevent dust mite problems, you’ll want to keep it under 50%.

So, for several practical reasons, around 45% is a good setting for your dehumidifier.

Note that you should always check the minimum operating temperature of your humidifier. Be sure you don’t attempt to operate it at a lower temperature than it’s rated for.

Basement dehumidifier settings

hOmelabs dehumidifier in basement image
Basement humidifiers like this popular hOmeLabs dehumidifier model can prevent mold, keep “musty” odors under control, and make your additional basement space safe for breathing. Many dehumidifiers have attachment points for drain hoses which can be routed to a drain or sump pit to avoid having to the water collection container.

Basements are quite a bit different from the rest of your home. This is primarily due to being surrounded in most cases by soil that’s high in moisture. Because of this, humidity levels down there are a source of odors and mold if you don’t take action.

Windows that aren’t sealed properly are also a source of additional humidity from the outdoors. Don’t overlook this. If your basement is exposed to a constant source of moisture from outside your humidifier will have to work constantly.

That’s definitely a problem! This means your electric bill will be high and your dehumidifier’s life span will shorten. Not to mention how much water you’ll have to dump from the container if not using a water removal drain setup!

Set it right to protect your basement & air quality

Mold tends to be a problem at humidity levels above 60%. You’ll want to be sure to keep your basement dehumidifier at 60% or less at a minimum.

Ideally, however, the best setting is around 50% or so. Set yours to that and observe how long it runs before making an adjustment. If it runs continuously (never shuts off) or never seems able to reach the desired setting, it’s time to look further. There’s a good chance you have sources of additional air leakage which allow more moisture to enter your basement.

If additional outside air is allowed to enter your basement the dehumidifier will have to work much longer and much harder than it otherwise should. This also means your electric bill will rise, too!

Also, be aware of what’s happening with your dehumidifier during colder temperatures, as if the temperature drops below 65°F (18.3°C) it could potentially freeze up.

The good news is that once your dehumidifier has had some time to operate and the humidity level has come down, you’ll notice an improvement in the typical “musty” odor found in basements. Mold growth will also halt, although that’s not always visible readily.

You’ll notice that the air is better for breathing and you can put your basement space to better use afterward.

Home dehumidifier settings

Dehumidifier in living room example
Much like a dehumidifier you can use in your basement, they’re very helpful in your home’s living areas as well. They are extremely effective in high humidity areas and during humid seasons or environments. A dehumidifier can bring comfort back to your living spaces. They’re also especially great if you don’t have air conditioning but suffer from warm air with high humidity. Shown here is a great choice, No products found.

For your home’s living spaces, it’s not so much different from what you’d set a basement dehumidifier to, but there is a little bit more to consider.

It’s not just about comfort!

Unlike basements, bedrooms, living rooms, or any other area where humans and pets reside are prone to dust mite problems. Dust mites reproduce and thrive at humidity levels above 50% or so. They’re a major source of allergies and are an extremely common issue as they feed off of human & pet skin cells.

They’re found most commonly in fabrics & materials where humans and pets reside, like beds and couches.

Dust mites – sometimes called bed mites – are the most common cause of allergy from house dust. Dust mites live and multiply easily in warm, humid places. They prefer temperatures at or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of 75 to 80 percent. They die when the humidity falls below 50 percent.American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Knowing this, I recommend you keep your home’s dehumidifier at no higher than 50%.

Feel free to adjust it lower if needed. After all, your comfort is a personal preference. Just bear the guidelines in mind if you’re suffering from allergies or other respiratory problems.

Use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity in your home below 50%, making it a less suitable environment for dust mites.

The optimal range for a home dehumidifier is to use a setting between 30%-50%, based on your comfort. 45% is reported by many people as ideal.

Note: You can also use an air purifier alongside a dehumidifier to deal with dust mites, pet dander, or other air quality problems. There’s no problem using them both together for healthy and fresh air.

Dehumidifier settings table

Here’s a simplified table containing the dehumidifier settings you should use:

Type/LocationDehum. SettingsNotes
Basement Set to 60% or below. 45-50% are good settings to use. To control mold, keep below 60% humidity. Be sure to observe dehumidifier. If running continuously, check for air leakage allowing outside humidity to enter basement. Don’t use dehumidifier at low temperatures (ex.: winter)
Home/Living areas Set to 30-60% for desired comfort range. 45% is a great target for most people. Set dehumidifier to 50% and below to keep dust mites from thriving. Adjust to below 50% based on comfort level. use 45% as a general guide, as is suitable for many people. Reduce use in winter as humidity will drop with cold or when heat is in use.

Additional information

Are you interested in learning more about what humidifiers do? They’re a great help when the humidity is too low like during the cold winter months. Here’s my excellent post about what humidifiers do and how they can help you. You’ll find some suggested models there, too.

If you’re also in need of better air quality, you can find some of the best-rated yet affordable air purifiers here as well.  I own and personally recommend the best-selling GermGuardian AC4825 and I’ve written an extensive review here.

Have any questions or suggestions? Feel free to contact me or leave a comment!