Are Air Fryers a fire hazard?

are air fryers a fire hazard

Are the viral claims valid about Air Fryers?  Can Air Fryers overheat and start fires, even when not in use?

Air Fryers are a fast and convenient way to fry food with little or no oil, but stories are going around that this enormously popular kitchen counter appliance can overheat and cause fires. 

A viral Facebook post by Cindy Jennings includes a picture of a fire-damaged kitchen and claims that her Air Fryer caught fire during an electrical surge.  She said the fire inspector told her it was the 6th fire he had investigated caused by Air Fryers.  Snopes.com is currently investigating this post. Still, the news station WCNC based out of Charlotte, claims to have verified the story by speaking with both Cindy Jennings and Adam Ryerson, the Fire Marshal for the City of Concord, California.

Are the risks real, and are there any Manufacturer recalls or government agency warnings on these kitchen appliances?

air fryer fire cindy jennings
The viral post by Cindy Jennings ‘… what caused this was our air fryer. We left it plugged in and when the electric [sic] came back on it surged through it. We even had it plugged into a special outlet for protection- it failed anyway what i [sic] wanted to tell you was the fire inspector said this was the 6th air fryer fires [sic}] he’s had to do, they (firefighters) are trying to get air fryer companies looked into because of all the fires. So please unplug your air fryers when not in use’

Are the Air Fryer fire risks real?

Yes. In 2022 CPSC issued a warning about some models of Air Fryers, and two manufacturers issued recalls.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission states (CPSC is a US federal regulatory agency) that some models of Air Fryers can overheat and pose fire and burn hazards. Back in April of 2022, Best Buy recalled nearly 800,000 Insignia Air Fryers, and in October of 2022, Newair Magic Chef announced a recall of over 11,000 Air Fryers.

Are the Air Fryer fire risks exaggerated?

Maybe. These recalls are very recent, and reports are still coming in.  There are inconsistencies on the internet regarding the number of Air Fryer incidents and how these fires are started.  Some sites, mostly blogs, cite without resources that there have been ‘tens of thousands’ of incidents; however, according to the CPSC, there have only been dozens of incidents and only two reports of injuries.    

The CPSC on the Insignia Air Fryers recall: 

The CPSC had this to say about fires and injury from the Insignia model Air Fryers, ‘Best Buy has received 68 reports from U.S. consumers and 36 reports from Canadian consumers of the air fryer or air fryer ovens catching fire, burning or melting.  These include seven reports of minor property damage and two reports of injuries, including an injury to a child’s leg.’

Newair on the Magic Chef Air Fryer recall:

According to the Newair Magic Chef recall website, no injuries or incidents were reported.

Although the Insignia Recall and incidents are not insignificant, they are much less than the ‘tens of thousands’ of incidents that were stated on some sites.

How are Air Fryer fires started?

At this time, more information is needed because, unfortunately, the manufacturers and the CPSC are not stating the causes of these fires. 

It’s possible and even likely that there are several different causes:

Aside from the risk of overheating from power surges, manufacturers warn that Air Fryers could start a fire if over-full or not used properly.  Air Fryers also have safety clearance and ventilation requirements stated in the manuals and on warning labels attached to the power cord (see below).  Like toasters and hair dryers, there could be any number of ways to cause harm. 

Can an Air Fryer start a fire just by being plugged in?

Evidence suggests that it is possible that Air Fryers, like other countertop appliances, could overheat and start a fire just by being plugged into an electrical outlet.  The CPSC recommends in the most recent Home Electrical Safety Checklist that all kitchen and bathroom countertop electrical appliances are unplugged when not in use as they may create an ‘unnecessary risk of fire.’   The owner’s manuals for many Air Fryers also recommend that the appliances are unplugged when not in use (see the Power XL Air Fryer manual).  Interestingly there was a warning in the 1984 publication of the CPSC ‘Guide to Electrical Safety’ that “Small heat-producing appliances should be unplugged when not in use because a sudden surge in electricity can set them on fire.” 

my air fryer i will no longer be using
This PowerXL Air Fryer was gifted to us last Christmas.
air fryer warning
The warning label on our PowerXL Air Fryer

Which Air Fryers have been recalled?

      • Insignia Air Fryers and Air Fryer Ovens
            • NS-AF32DBK9

            • NS-AF32MBK9

            • NS-AF50MBK9

            • NS-AF53DSS0

            • NS-AF53MSS0

            • NS-AF55DBK9

            • NS-AFO6DBK1

            • NS-AFO6DSS1

        • Newair’s Magic Chef Air Fryers Models
              • MCAF56DW

              • MCAF56DB

        Where were these recalled Air Fryers most commonly sold?

            • Best Buy

            • Amazon

            • Target

            • Walmart

          What should I do if I have one of the recalled Air Fryers?

          According to CPSC.gov consumers should stop using the air fryers immediately and contact the company where they were purchased.

          Here is a Recall Portal for the Insignia Air Fryers

          Here is a Recall Registration site for recalled Magic Chef/Newair air fryers.

          What should I do if I have an Air Fryer that was NOT recalled?

          There currently aren’t any warnings or guidance by the CPSC on other makes and models of Air Fryers.  As always, read and follow the appliance’s instructions carefully and use your best judgment.  These incidents and recalls are very recent, and it may be best to limit the use of Air Fryers until there is more information and guidance from reliable sources.  

          Should I unplug the Air Fryer when not in use? 

          Yes. The CPSC currently recommends in the most recent Home Electrical Safety Checklist that all kitchen and bathroom countertop electrical appliances are unplugged when not in use as they may create an unnecessary risk of fire.   The owner’s manuals for many Air Fryers also recommend that the appliances are unplugged when not in use (Power XL Air Fryer manual). 

          Should I plug the Air Fryer into an extension cord or surge protector?

          No. Extension cords and surge protectors should not be used for any kitchen appliances.  Undersized, damaged, or overheated surge protectors or computer strips are a fire hazard.  If a surge protector must be used, it should be designed to accommodate the peak wattage of the appliance (up to 1600 Watts for the larger Air Fryers)

          Safety Note: Most manufacturers recommend that Air Fryers not be used with extension cords.  Air Fryers should be plugged into a 15 or 20-amp outlet and used in a well-ventilated space with adequate clearance around and above it.  It is recommended to unplug the appliance when it is not in use.


          Electrical and Appliance Inspections in Asheville and WNC

          Our Company, Builder Buddy Inspections & Testing, evaluates the electrical system (including the main panels, sub-panels, fixtures, switches, and outlets) and some larger appliances as part of our Home Inspections, Pre-sale Inspections, Commercial Inspections, and Annual Maintenance Inspections.  If you are within 40 miles of Asheville, call us today to set up an appointment or schedule here.

          Share This:
          Facebook
          Twitter
          Reddit
          Pinterest
          Email
          Print
          Builder Buddy Inspections & Testing