In recent years, there’s been a massive surge in the popularity of air fryers.
It’s like everywhere you turn, someone is raving about their latest air-fried recipe.
Also how they’ve swapped out their traditional frying methods for this healthier alternative.
Heat from air fryers can cause discoloration, cracking, or other forms of damage.
If you are a new air fryer user, It is important to think about safegaurding the kitchen countertop.
That brings us to the question on hand.
“what to put under air fryer to protect countertop”
You can put heat resistant silicone mats, wood cutting boards and even ceramic tiles under the air fryer to protect the countertop.
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Let’s start by understanding air fryers and heat first.
Introduction to Air Fryers
So how do air fryers work ?
Air fryers use a rapid air circulation method to cook food.
They have a heating element that heats the air, and a fan circulates this hot air around the food, giving it a crispy layer similar to frying, but without the need for oil.
The typical temperature from the heat of an air fryer can range for most air fryers falls between 180 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is quite hot, especially when you consider the concentrated area in which the heat is being produced.
Now, when we discuss the potential risks of placing such a device directly on a countertop, we need to consider the concept of “thermal shock.”
Thermal shock occurs when there’s a sudden temperature change, and this can seriously compromise the integrity of certain countertop materials.
Imagine placing a hot pan on a cold glass surface; the sudden change in temperature might cause the glass to crack.
This principle holds true for countertops too.
Materials like granite or marble can be vulnerable to sudden temperature spikes.
An air fryer, with its high heat output, can potentially lead to such situations if placed directly on the countertop without any protective barrier.
Recommended Placement of Air fryers
While it’s tempting to shove the air fryer into a tight corner or cram it between other appliances, it’s not the wisest choice.
The ideal location for an air fryer is on a stable, heat-resistant countertop, away from walls or other kitchen items.
This positioning makes sure that the hot air emitted from the fryer’s vents doesn’t affect adjacent items or surfaces.
Air fryers need breathing room.
It’s recommended to leave at least 5 inches of space on all sides of the device.
This allowance makes sure proper ventilation, prevents overheating, and reduces the risk of anything nearby getting too hot or even scorched.
It also ensures easy access for placing food in or taking it out without any obstructions.
Types of Countertops and How they react to Heat
Countertops play an imporatnt role in the aesthetics and functionality of a kitchen.
Given the large number of options of appliances and hot items that can be placed on them,
understanding the heat transfer properties of each type of countertop material is very important.
Here’s a short overview:
Quartz is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz and resin.
While it’s generally resistant to scratches and stains.
Quartz countertop can only take moderate heat.
Sudden temperature changes or extremely hot pans can cause damage or discoloration.
The best way to protect it is to always use a trivet or heat pad.
Granite is a natural stone that handles heat better than quartz.
It’s quite heat resistant and is less likely to suffer from heat transfer issues.
However, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures might cause cracking due to thermal expansion.
Using a protective barrier is still recommended.
Marble is another natural stone but is softer than granite.
While it can withstand heat, it’s also susceptible to etching and staining.
The risk of damage from hot items is higher compared to granite.
Always use caution with hot pans or appliances.
Laminate and Formica Countertops:
Both laminate countertops and Formica (a type of high-pressure laminate) are made from layers of plastic bonded to particleboard or MDF.
They are highly susceptible to heat transfer, which can cause discoloration, melting, or bubbling.
Always avoid placing hot items directly on these surfaces.
Wood has organic properties that make it vulnerable to heat.
Direct heat can cause burns, warping, or discoloration of wooden countertop.
Over time, the heat can also dry out the wood, leading to cracks.
Always use a barrier to protect the wood from heat.
Stainless Steel Countertop:
Stainless steel is excellent at withstanding heat.
It doesn’t discolor or sustain damage from hot items, but it does conduct heat quickly, which means the entire surface can become hot from the heat of the air fryer.
Be cautious to avoid burns when placing or touching hot items.
Concrete is naturally heat-resistant, but like any material, prolonged exposure to high temperatures and air fryer heat can cause cracking.
Sealed concrete might also experience issues with the sealer getting damaged from hot items. Use trivets or air fryer mat as a precaution.
Why Protecting Your Countertop is Important
The heat issue:
Did you know some air fryers can get as hot as 400°F (204°C) or even more?
That’s like placing a mini oven on your countertop.
Over time due to the extreme heat, it can discolor or even damage certain countertop materials.
best heat resistant countertop protectors for air fryer
The bottom of your air fryer might have rough edges.
Dragging or moving it could result in unsightly scratches, especially on delicate surfaces.
Avoiding grease and spills:
Even though they use less oil, there can still be some grease involved, and accidents do happen!
Best Materials to Put Under Your Air Fryer
There are a variety of protective mats made from different materials that can save countertops from potential damage.
Silicone Mats or Silicone Pads:
Among the best heat-resistant material, the silicone mats are the best option.
Benefits of using a heat-resistant silicone mat include their non-slip nature, heat resistance (often up to 450°F or more), and easy-to-clean surface.
gasare silicone mat is one of my favorite brand.
Other Materials: Cork and felt are alternative materials to consider.
While they don’t offer the same level of heat resistance as a silicone mat, they can provide a decent barrier against moderate temperatures.
Air Fryer Pedestals and Stands
These are elevated stands, specifically designed for air fryers.
They lift the appliance off the countertop, reducing direct heat transfer.
Using those elevated stands for air fryers has its ups and downs.
On the plus side, they really do give a solid barrier between the fryer and the counter.
They also let the appliance breathe better with improved airflow, and some even offer a bit of extra storage.
But on the downside, they do take up more space upwards.
So, if you’ve got cabinets hanging low overhead, it might be a bit of a squeeze or not fit at all.
Non-skid Granite Countertop Protector Mats
These mats, often made with silicone or other heat-resistant materials, are popular due to their durability and effectiveness in protecting sensitive surfaces from heat.
Their non-skid properties also ensure the mat and any appliance on it stay in place.
Old Plain Ceramic Tiles
A cost-effective option is the old plain ceramic tiles.
They can withstand high temperatures, making them an ideal protective layer between the countertop and heat-generating appliances.
You can put hot dishes on ceramic tiles.
Bamboo or Wooden Cutting Board
While not as heat-resistant as some other solutions, extra bamboo or wooden boards are a good option.
Parchment or Baking Paper
Though not a long-term solution, parchment paper can be used as a temporary barrier for infrequent or low-heat use.
It’s important to make sure the heat isn’t too intense, as parchment paper can burn or degrade with excessive heat.
Old Trivets or Hot Pads
Repurposing old hot pads or trivets can be a smart move.
Often, these items, especially if made from silicone or other heat-resistant materials, can offer a decent protective layer.
Glass boards are another option to consider.
These protective options will give you a peace of mind and you will not worry about air fryer damage.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Can I use a regular kitchen towel under my air fryer?
While it might provide some buffer, kitchen towels are not heat-resistant and can be a fire hazard.
How often should I replace the protector under my air fryer?
It depends on the material. Inspect it regularly for wear and replace when needed.
Can I place my air fryer on a glass surface?
While possible, it’s best to use a protector to prevent potential heat damage to the glass.
Are there air fryers with built-in countertop protection?
Some newer models come with insulated bottoms, but it’s still a good idea to have an additional layer of protection.
How much space should I leave around my air fryer for ventilation?
A minimum of 5 inches on each side is recommended.
What are the best heat-resistant mats ?
Here are the different types of best heat resistatnt mats.
- Silicone Heat-Resistant Mats
- Cork Mats
- Felt Mats
- Granite and Stone Mats
- Stainless Steel Mats
Can I place microwave directly on the countertop ?
You know, when it comes to placing a microwave oven on the countertop, it’s generally okay.
The bottom of the microwave doesn’t really heat up like some other appliances.
But you’ve got to watch out for the vents.
They let out some warm air, so you’d want to ensure there’s enough space around the microwave for that. ‘Even though they don’t pump out a ton of heat onto the countertop itself, it’s still good to make sure they can “breathe” around those vents.
And the good news? Microwaves don’t have any exposed heating elements, so there’s really no worry about them transferring direct heat to your counters.
Can I place instant pot directly on the countertop ?
You know, when you’re thinking about where to put your Instant Pot on the countertop, it’s generally pretty safe.
They’re designed with insulated bases, so they’re kind to most surfaces.
But I’d still keep an eye on it, just to make sure it doesn’t get too hot underneath.
Now, one thing to remember is when it’s venting or releasing pressure, the Instant Pot lets out a good amount of steam and hot air.
So, you’d want to give it some space, especially if it’s near any cabinets above, so the steam doesn’t damage them.
Oh, and by the way, its heating element is tucked away inside, so you don’t have to worry much about it scorching your countertop or anything.
What are the Top Picks for Countertop Protection ?
Gasare Silicone Mats:
Why: These mats are praised for their thickness and durability. Silicone offers excellent heat-resistant surface, and the non-slip surface is a bonus.
Best For: Those who frequently use countertop appliances like air fryers, slow cooker, or toaster oven.
Lucky Plus Silicone Trivets:
Why: Apart from their heat-resistant properties, these trivets come in different sizes and attractive designs with different colors, making them both functional and decorative.
Best For: Protecting countertops from hot pots, pans, or serving dishes.
EPHome Extra Large Multipurpose Silicone Mat:
Why: This product is known for its versatility. It can serve as a drying mat, a heat-resistant barrier, counter protector and even a dough-rolling mat.
Best For: Multifunctional users looking for a single product to serve various needs.
Smithcraft Premium Silicone Trivet Mats:
Why: These mats are large, ensuring ample coverage. They’re also flexible, which means they can be rolled up for storage.
Best For: Users with limited storage space or those who need large protective mats.
Cosmo Durable Granite Countertop Protectors:
Why: Made from a combination of granite materials, these offer a blend of style and functionality. They’re great for those wanting a more “premium” feel.
Best For: Users who want a heat protector that complements a sophisticated kitchen aesthetic.
What are the best Things for Counter top Care
Weiman Granite Cleaner and Polish:
- Why: Apart from protecting, it’s vital to care for countertops. This cleaner gives a polished shine to granite surfaces and protects them from potential damage.
- Best For: Homes with granite countertops looking to maintain shine and integrity.
TriNova Granite Sealer & Protector:
- Why: A quality sealer can add an extra layer of protection, especially for natural stone surfaces.
- Best For: Those who want to ensure their natural stone countertops remain stain-resistant and glossy.
Therapy Granite Cleaner and Polish Kit:
- Why: This all-in-one kit provides a cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth. It’s effective on various surfaces, including granite, marble, and quartz.
- Best For: Users looking for an all-in-one solution to maintain and protect their countertops.