Ninja Foodi Grill Vs Air Fryer: What Is The Difference & Which Is Best?

The process can toss your brain when picking a new kitchen appliance, especially the first time. It is a reality, especially if you cannot point out the differences between closely related ones. The Ninja Foodi Grill and the air fryer are an example.

The two have close-knit features, yet they aren’t the same product. They have distinct functions and offer a variety of cooking options. The only standard part is the air fry technology, which utilizes hot air circulation to cook oil-less foods. Also, the two mini ovens have a compact design that suits small kitchens.  

But there are also differences between the Ninja Foodi grill and the air fryer. The grill offers dual functionality, thus a broad range of cooking methods. You can roast, dehydrate, bake, and air fry, among other cooking techniques. The air fryer has the air frying as the primary cooking method.

Let’s learn more about these two close contenders and their differences. 

Ninja Foodi Grill Background

Ninja IG651 Foodi Smart XL Pro 7-in-1 Indoor...40
  • NINJA'S MOST POWERFUL GRILL: 500F independently powered grill grate...
  • 12” BBQ GRIDDLE: flat top bbq griddle cooks foods grills can't and...
  • HOOD UP OR HOOD DOWN COOKING: Keep the hood down to add cyclonic air...
  • SMART COOK SYSTEM PLUS THERMOMETER: The Foodi Smart Thermometer enable...
  • UP TO 75% LESS FAT: Air fry crisp with up to 75% less fat than deep...

The Ninja Foodi grills are a product of SharkNinja, a Massachusetts-based company. SharkNinja manufactures several other household products, including kitchenware and vacuum cleaners. If you are interested in the Ninja Foodi grill, this combines a grill and an air fryer, thus a versatile unit.

 It can grill like an outdoor barbecue and even ideally leave the much-desired grill marks on your meat. Besides performance, the Ninja Foodi Grill comes in a big, boxy shape, about 7″ (L) by 14″ (W) by 11″ (H). The size is similar to a giant bread box to understand this better.

How Does The Ninja Foodi Grill Works?

To make an informed decision between the Ninja Foodi grill and the air fryer, you must know how each one works. The Ninja Foodi Grill has all the air fryer functions and the grilling unit. So, this unit is a grill, air fryer, and a mini oven. Depending on the model, you can explore a dozen cooking techniques, including barbecued meat, dehydrated veggies, cake, and more.

In addition, you can air crisp your food and achieve the best results, much more than an air fryer. The Ninja Foodi grill is smokeless, thus the best option for indoor grilling. You will surprise your guests with a mouthwatering barbecue steak from your kitchen countertop.

To understand how the smokeless grill works, let’s delve deeper into its functionality, features, and composition, among other factors.

  • Functionality:

The Ninja Foodi grill works at extremely high temps, 500 °F than the air fryer. This heat makes the grill plate super-hot for grilling purposes. With a combination of the air fryer’s rapid air technology, the hot air grills the meat consistently and flawlessly. The food on the grill basket receives an even on all sides, and the outcome is brown and crisped food with grill marks similar to those of an outdoor barbecue.  

  • Basket:

The basket is a common feature in air fryers. Also, the Ninja Foodi grill has two. One is the crisper basket for holding your food when air frying. The other one is the grill basket, which is specifically beneficial when grilling.

Ninja Foodi grill baskets can endure extreme heat (500 F), which is essential when roasting meats. The air fry basket is also hardy and necessary for cooking small chunks like chicken wings and veggies. Both baskets have diverse uses, but the most common and essential element is that they have holes to allow airflow in the food. The perforations give your food a crispy finish.

  • Product Lines:

You may have to stick to one appliance without product lines. But that’s not so with the Ninja Foodi Grill. The Grill has several models that are all suitable for different household needs. All the products are specific to indoor grilling; only the sizes that matter and a few modifications. These units’ functionalities are limited to grilling and air frying, roasting, baking, and dehydrating your goodies. Some models are Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Grill, Ninja Foodi XL 7-in-1 indoor Grill, and Ninja Foodi Smart XL 6-in-1 Grill.

  • Best Uses:

Though the Ninja Foodi grill is a unique countertop grilling guru, there are other best uses. These include Air crisping, Broiling, Griddle, Baking, Roasting, and Dehydrating. So, don’t limit yourself to only meat-eating. Cook steaks air fry your potatoes, burgers, and vegetables. The Grill allows you to achieve char-grilled flavors, air-fry crispy foods, roast meats, and much more.

  • Composition:

One of the top factors you will consider when buying a grill is the composition. You will need to know if they are durable and safe to use, among other considerations. Ninja Foodi Grill is a safe appliance, free from carcinogenic elements. SharkNinja ensures that all the parts are of unquestionable quality, long-lasting, and safe to use even at high temperatures. There are several components in this indoor Grill.

The grilling grate, grilling basket, air frying basket, and drip tray are in the cooking chamber. The central housing unit has the heating elements, the fan, the control panel, and electrical wiring. Also, the Ninja Foodi grill has a thermometer probe for testing your meat’s doneness.   

  • Size:

As we mentioned earlier, this Grill is the size of a big bread box. However, its sizes may differ slightly depending on the model. The AG 301 Foodi 4-in-1 (4 quart) is the smallest, while the largest is the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Grill, which can grill up to 6 steaks at once. The models keep on advancing. So, keep checking the sizes from the manufacturer’s specs.

  • Display:

This Grill has a digital display on the control panel to allow easy screen reading of time temperature and the cooking modes. So when you are grilling, you will see Grill on the display. The display changes depending on your selection.

Benefits Of Ninja Foodi Grill

  • Versatility: There is no doubt that the Ninja Foodigrill outshines its sisters, the Ninja Air Fryer and Ninja Foodi. The grill has a multifunctionality where it can grill steaks, burgers, and seafood. It can also grill veggies, air fry foods like fries and chicken, and bake other snacks. The applications for this unit are diverse. That allows you to explore a variety of recipes and creativity.  
  • An all-in-one application: Once you buy it, you realize later that it replaces several appliances in your kitchen, including the air fryer, among other appliances. 
  • It offers a grilled and charred flavor, unlike the Ninja air fryer, which is specific to air frying and a few techniques.
  • A large-capacity: Ninja Foodi grill can cook for a couple of guests. The air fryer has a limited capacity.
  • The Grill has a multifunctionality, allowing you to select the controls for different cooking methods. These include the temperature, which is quite a hassle on the Ninja air fryer.
  • This unit is convenient as you do not need to look for an air fryer to try different cooking techniques.

Cons Of Ninja Foodi Grill

  • It is more expensive than the air fryer
  • Complex functionality that requires a mastery of the settings and programs.
  • Ninja Foodi grill has high maintenance features. 
  • Higher noise level. 

Air Fryer Background

Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer that Cooks, Crisps,...
19,025 Reviews
Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer that Cooks, Crisps,...40
  • LESS FAT: Up to 75% less fat than traditional air frying methods....
  • MAX CRISP TECHNOLOGY: Delivers 450 degrees of superheated air to cook...
  • XL CAPACITY: The 5.5 QT ceramic coated nonstick basket and crisper...
  • 7-IN-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Includes 7 versatile cooking programs: Max...
  • EASY CLEANING: The ceramic basket is both nonstick & dishwasher safe.

The Ninja air fryer is prevalent in many USA homes. The miniature oven is more cost-friendly than the grill counterpart. However, that doesn’t compromise on quality and performance. The Ninja air fryer is also a design by SharkNinja, a US-stationed product designer and seller. Now, this might shock you! Ninja is a US brand, but most of their goods are manufactured in China, especially the air fryer.

SharkNinja allowed manufacturing outside the USA because of the low wage bill, high workforce, low manufacturing cost, and excellent electronic skills. Though all the above benefits the company, it may draw buyers back from the air fryer. The reason is China’s low-quality manufacturing record.

However, the Ninja brand still dominates the market with quality and cost-friendly products. The dominance reveals that the brand is reliable as it is USA-based. It only has a manufacturing plant in China, so don’t feel discouraged. Get your Ninja air fryer without any doubts.  

How Does The Air Fryer Work?

Air frying technology is the same, regardless of the brand. To understand better, you need to know how this mini oven works. Here is how the unit works;

  • Functionality:

The air fryer machine works by heating the element and circulating heat around the drawer from all angles, thus cooking consistently. Also, it produces a crispy exterior texture and a juicy interior without any oil. Most specifications call the heating method rapid air circulation and convection cooking. 

  • Basket:

The air fryer has a removable basket which acts as a cooking container. The unit has perforations (crisper) to allow hot air over the food and drip excess oil and moisture.

  • Product Lines: 

The Ninja air fryer has a broad product line around features, capacities, and designs. Its different brands come in different sizes, interfaces, and cooking options. These include Ninja AF101, DZ 201, AF 163, and many more.

  • Best Uses:

The best application for air fryers is cooking frozen foods in minutes. You can also use the gadget for reheating leftovers. The results will be crispy and oil-less. Some Ninja models are great for making veggies, desserts, and meats.

  • Composition: 

There are several components of an air fryer. The outer cover houses the controls and the display, while the interior holds the heating element, the fan, and other electrical parts. Below the controls and display are the drawer, basket, trays, racks, and other accessories. You must master operating your Ninja air fryer to get the best out of it.

  • Size: 

This machine and brand has various sizes to cater for everyone’s needs. The smallest is the Ninja AF080 Mini air fryer, which is 2 quarts; the largest is the Ninja FoodiFlexDrawer, which is 10.99 quarts. All these are compact and fit on a small countertop space.

  • Display: 

Ninja air fryers have a digital display to show the cooking time, temperature, and mode. So, this interface makes it easy to cook with the oven and removes the guesswork in your cooking process.  

Benefits Of Air Fryer

Like the Grill, the air fryer has loads of benefits. Have a look!

  • Low maintenance: When you compare the Ninja air fryer and the Grill, the former is a common maintenance appliance. It doesn’t have the Grill, which makes it simpler to maintain.
  • Compactness and lightweight are a plus as you can carry it for vacations and even set it on a small countertop space. 
  • Energy saving: It has fewer features that consume power. For instance, the missing Grill means less energy and fewer bills.  
  • Affordable: The air fryer is quite affordable compared to the Ninja Foodi grill. 
  • It has more straightforward functionality than the Grill, hence specialized cooking techniques.
  • Lower noise level.
  • Comes with a few extra accessories attachments, including a chef-created recipe book.

Cons Of Air Fryers

It is a reality that a coin has two sides, so every appliance has pros and cons. Let’s explore the cons of air fryers when we compare them with the Ninja Foodi grill. 

  • Air fryers cannot fully function as a regular oven. Although the food is mouthwatering, you will always encounter this challenge when you have many guests around. 
  • The deep-frying taste for air-fried food is not genuine.
  • Some air fryers have complex user interfaces.
  • Many counterfeits.
  • Smaller cooking capacity.
  • The air fryer has fewer limited functionalities, making it less versatile than the Ninja Foodi grill.

Which Is Best, Ninja Foodi Grill Vs Air Fryer?

Ultimately, we have explored the Ninja Foodi grill and air fryer. We have all the functionalities, features, pros, and cons of each one of the two SharkNinja appliances. Perhaps you are at a crossroads between which is best, Ninja Foodi vs. air fryer. Our honest opinion is that both are great appliances. It all narrows down to your needs and budget. Are you a roasting enthusiast? Go for Ninja Foodi grill if you can afford it. Or are you looking for a budget air fryer for simple cooking minus the Grill? Then, the air fryer will fit your situation.

Nevertheless, we can’t leave you in suspense without revealing the best Ninja Foodi grill and best Ninja air fryer. Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro 7-in-1 is the best grill/ griddle because of its premium features. It can reach outstanding temperatures of 500°F (260°C). For ultimate performance, it has top and bottom heating elements, which can cook fast and save you time.

Our top pick for the air fryer is the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL, which has the highest performance score in producing crispy and consistently cooked frozen foods. 

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