Don't risk damaging your kitchen — here are the 6 worst places to put an air fryer

Air fryer on kitchen island
(Image credit: Future)

Air fryers are brilliant, and foolproof, in lots of ways – they’re often a healthier alternative to deep frying, they’re much easier to clean than traditional ovens, and they’re compact. 

In fact, the compact, portable nature of the best air fryers is one of their biggest selling points. Yet this portability can also cause problems, especially if you’re using them in the wrong way.

In this guide, we list six of the worst places to use an air fryer in your kitchen and explain why they could damage your kitchen, break your fryer, or even create a fire hazard.

1. Under cabinets

Chances are if you’re using an air fryer on a kitchen worktop there will be a cabinet somewhere above it. If the cabinet is high on the wall, this shouldn’t be an issue. If it’s a low-hanging cabinet, however, and the air fryer is directly beneath it, you could be restricting airflow and ventilation.

Air fryers need enough space around them to circulate hot air efficiently and if positioned too close to cabinets, heat can’t escape.  This can cause the air fryer to overheat and become a potential fire hazard. It could also cause damage to your surfaces, or the appliance itself. 

Ninja Foodi DualZone FlexBasket Air Fryer being tested in writer's home

(Image credit: Future)

2. Near curtains or drapes

Air fryers, by their nature, get hot during use. Even if you have an air fryer that can be easily touched on the outside during operation, they still generate heat, which can be a fire hazard if placed too close to flammable materials such as curtains or drapes. 

Airborne oil particles released during cooking, such as grease, can also settle on fabric surfaces if the air fryer is placed too close to them, leading to stains and damage.

3. On an uneven surface

Despite being compact, air fryers are rarely lightweight. All the mechanisms and components add to their weight, and the manufacturers often go to great lengths to keep everything balanced. This means the stability of the surface it’s placed upon is crucial to prevent accidental spills or tipping. 

Placing the air fryer on a flimsy or unstable surface, such as a wobbly countertop or an uneven table, increases the likelihood of it toppling over during operation. To keep the fryer safe, and make sure you don’t lose your well-cooked meal, always put your air fryer on a sturdy, level surface.

Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 XL Air Fryer being tested in writer's home

(Image credit: Future / Jennifer Oksien)

4. On or near flammable surfaces

Placing your air fryer on or near flammable surfaces, such as exposed wooden countertops, paper towels, or plastic cutting boards can pose a fire risk. The heat created, combined with the potential release of oil or grease from the food inside can increase the chances of it setting on fire, at worst, or creating a mess at best. 

To prevent accidental fires, make sure your air fryer is on a heat-resistant surface, such as granite or stainless steel. Most kitchens will have heat-resistant surfaces by default, but just in case. 

5. Inside cabinets and cupboards

One of the best things about the portability of air fryers is being able to store them away inside cabinets to free up counter space. However, do not be tempted to use it while it’s still in the cupboard. 

Like with placing an air fryer under a low-hanging cabinet, air fryers need ample ventilation to prevent them from overheating and to make sure they have proper air circulation. 

Using an air fryer inside a closed cabinet can trap heat and steam which can break the air fryer, damage the insides of your units, or even cause a fire. 

Similarly, when used on a worktop, avoid overcrowding the space around the air fryer with clutter or other appliances to reduce the risk of accidents.

6. Next to the sink

This rule goes for pretty much all the appliances you use in your kitchen but it bears repeating – don’t put your air fryer too close to your sink. Water and electricity don’t mix. Accidental spills or splashes near the appliance could result in electric shocks or damage to the internal components. To prevent accidents, always ensure that your air fryer is placed at a safe distance from any water sources in your kitchen.

Victoria Woollaston
TTR Contributing Editor

Victoria Woollaston is a freelance lifestyle and technology journalist with almost two decades of experience reviewing gadgets, beauty tech and household appliances for the likes of WIRED, TechRadar, Expert Reviews, Alphr and more.