Kitchen countertops are one of the most expensive investments you can make, especially if you choose granite. Air fryers release extreme heat when in operation, which could mark or damage your countertops or cause thermal shock damage.
Several counter protectors can be placed under your air fryer, and you probably have at least one at your house already. Let's look at how an air fryer can damage your countertops and how to prevent it.
- What Is Thermal Shock?
- Different Countertops
- Will an Air Fryer Damage Countertops?
- Will an Air Fryer Damage a Granite Countertop?
- Can An Air Fryer Crack A Quartz Countertop?
- Should You Put a Protector Underneath Your Air Fryer?
- What To Use Under An Air Fryer
- Where Should I Place My Air Fryer on My Kitchen Countertop?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What To Put Under Air Fryer To Protect Countertops?
What Is Thermal Shock?
It's not only the extreme heat emitted by an air fryer that can cause damage to your countertops. Thermal shock can also cause countertops to crack. Thermal shock is defined as the rapid cooling or heating of an object, usually at a defined rate.
Air fryers heat up very rapidly and cool down just as quickly. This sudden temperature change is absorbed by your countertops and can potentially cause damage.
Three of the most common countertops are wood, Formica, and granite. Air fryers can damage wood and Formica countertops the easiest of the three.
The high heat from the air fryer can burn the countertop or cause it to split, crack, or buckle. You can, however, still use an air fryer on these surfaces if you use a heat-resistant mat.
Will an Air Fryer Damage Countertops?
Yes, it can. Air fryers can damage countertops by transferring excessive heat or thermal shock. Wooden or laminate countertops are more susceptive to these types of damage.
If you only use your air fryer periodically, you probably won't notice any damage immediately. But, if you use your air fryer multiple times per week, you will eventually see the changes start to happen.
Formica and laminated countertops are also prone to damage. I suggest placing your air fryer on a kitchen island. An island will give the air fryer plenty of space to vent hot air, and if it has a cutting board surface, it's less likely to get damaged by the heat released from your air fryer.
Will an Air Fryer Damage a Granite Countertop?
Granite, in its natural form, can withstand temperatures up to 1,000°F. However, you need to remember that the material is significantly weakened when its cut and processed (such as when it was installed as your countertop).
Hence, it’s not a big surprise that even the most durable granite countertops can still potentially be damaged by the thermal shock caused by an air fryer.
This can happen when the extreme heat produced by an air fryer makes the granite contract and expand which can then cause it to crack. While this is rare, it's always a good idea to use a heat-resistant mat underneath the air fryer.
Can An Air Fryer Crack A Quartz Countertop?
Quartz is a tough and durable material but is prone to cracking if exposed to high heat and weight. Most air fryers release heat and have rapid temperature changes that can cause heat damage to quartz countertops.
Quick Tip: You should choose a non-skid insulator mat for quartz. A wooden cutting board or similar material can slide around easily on a quartz countertop's slick surface.
Should You Put a Protector Underneath Your Air Fryer?
Using a countertop protector whenever you use your air fryer makes good sense. Not only are they non-skid they also protect your investment.
In short, you should put something underneath your air fryer when it's in use. Whatever you decide to use should be non-skid, flat, and big enough to comfortably fit underneath your toaster oven where the legs don't hang over the sides.
You can place something as simple as a silicone mat under your air fryer to protect your countertop, or you can use a cutting board as long as it is wide enough to hold the air fryer and is non-skid.
What To Use Under An Air Fryer
There are several things you can use to protect your countertop. Materials like silicone mats, glass cutting boards, wooden cutting boards, and even spare ceramic tiles are all heat-resistant materials that will protect your countertops from burn marks and thermal shock. The reason is that all of these items are heat-resistant materials. They also add a pleasing aesthetic to your kitchen countertop.
Let's take a look at each one so you can make an informed decision as to which one is right for you. All of the following materials are heat resistant enough for any air fryer, so the decision to make is which one fits your kitchen aesthetic and whether you want to purchase one or use one that you already have on hand.
Wooden Cutting Board
A wooden cutting board is a great option to place under your air fryer; you probably already have one in your kitchen. Wooden cutting boards are seasoned and can withstand heat up to 500°F, which is in the range of an air fryer's maximum temperature.
Many have rubber feet, an excellent nonskid material for your air fryer. They are heavy, won't slide around, and are easily washable with soap and water.
A wooden cutting board is a great option to place under your air fryer, and you probably have one in your kitchen already. Wooden cutting boards are seasoned and can withstand heat up to 500°F, which is in the range of an air fryer's maximum temperature.
Many have rubber feet which is an excellent nonskid material for your air fryer. They are heavy so they won't slide around, and they are easily washable with soap and water.
Bamboo Chopping Board
Bamboo chopping boards are similar to wooden cutting boards but are generally more aesthetically pleasing and have a pleasant scent.
A 5' to 8' tall board is all you need to place under your air fryer to protect your countertop. Bamboo is highly heat resistant and absorbs heat well. This is an excellent material to place under hot appliances with high temperatures.
Glass Cutting Board
Glass cutting boards are less heat resistant than the other materials on this list. However, they are heat resistant up to 450°F, the maximum temperature of an air fryer, so that they can be used as a counter protector.
They look good and can also be used as a tabletop decoration for serving. They are easily washable and dishwasher-safe.
A glass cutting board is not my first choice because they are less heat resistant than wood or ceramic, and it can also break. Placing a wet kitchen towel under the glass cutting board is a good idea to prevent it from sliding.
However, they work in a pinch and add a nice touch to the kitchen table for hot pans and dishes.
Plain Ceramic Tiles
If you have any extra ceramic tiles laying around the house, you can use these under your air fryer. A plain ceramic tile can withstand the high heat under your air fryer as long as it's big enough for the legs to fit comfortably.
Ceramic is heat resistant up to 500°F and is easy to clean. They also provide a nice contrast on granite countertops.
The downside to using ceramic tiles as a heat-resistant counter protector is that they will get as hot as the temperature in the air fryer. Practice caution when handling these tiles during cooking. Always wear oven mitts when you need to move the ceramic tiles.
Heat Resistant Silicone Mat
Heat-resistant silicone mats are great for wood or granite countertops. They are heat resistant up to 450°F and can withstand colder temperatures down to 40°F which means they can also go in your refrigerator.
Silicone mats are popular because they're thin, washable, and foldable. The nonskid material keeps your air fryer from moving around and they provide great protection from excess heat.
Silicone counter mats are the best option because they are a good heat absorber and have a great anti-skid surface to prevent the air fryer from sliding. They are lighter than wooden boards and can be used in multiple ways.
There are also silicone trivet mats which are smaller and perforated. Every kitchen should have these handy. They can be used as placemats, countertop protectors, and pot holders.
Where Should I Place My Air Fryer on My Kitchen Countertop?
Where you put your air fryer is just as important as putting a protective mat underneath it. Air fryers require space to vent off air and you will need space to comfortably work with the food. You need to be able to completely remove the air fryer basket or open the door on an oven-style air fryer.
The best place for an air fryer is near an outlet and a well-ventilated area. Combustible materials like paper towels should be removed from the area prior to cooking. Most air fryers expel a lot of heat during cooking and can easily cause a fire if the area is not well-ventilated.
You also want to make sure that you have plenty of room to remove the air fryer basket or open the door on a toaster oven-style air fryer. You don't want to bump into walls or doors when removing hot food from the air fryer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Place an Air Fryer on Top of the Stove?
Air fryers are compact and portable, so they can go on a stovetop. After all, the oven is used to excessive heat. However, this is a bad idea because you could accidentally turn on the stove, and this could cause a fire.
How far off the wall should I place the air fryer?
Air fryers have two fans: one on top of the cooking chamber to circulate heat and one on the back to release excessive heat. The ventilation fan in the back should never be pointed toward a wall or covered. The air fryer should be at least 5" off the wall, or the ventilation will be impacted.
Will an Air Fryer Break My Countertop?
It's highly unlikely that an air fryer will break your countertop. If an air fryer is used multiple times in the same area without any heat-resistant material placed under it, it could leave a burn mark, especially on wood. In the worst case, it could crack your countertop.
What To Put Under Air Fryer To Protect Countertops?
It's a good idea to use a countertop protector under your air fryer to prevent your countertop from burning or cracking from the high heat from the air fryer. Although this is rare, it could happen and ruin an expensive investment. Silicone mats are the best material overall to use, but there are other options available that you probably have in your kitchen already.
You can also use a wooden cutting board, a glass cutting board, or a heat insulator mat to protect your countertops from burn marks or cracking. Air fryers don't cause damage after just one use, but a heat protector should be used anytime you use your air fryer.
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