Opinion: I don’t want bigger kitchen appliances but brands aren’t listening

Kitchen tech is getting the XL treatment… but is bigger really better?

A close up of a chicken inside a Tower air fryer
(Image credit: Tower)

The latest kitchen tech seems to have one thing in common… they’re absolutely huge! Aside from bright colours, an increase in stainless steel and bold statement décor, one of the main 2024 kitchen trends I’ve been seeing is popular appliances getting the XL treatment, and not necessarily for the right reasons.

The best air fryers are the perfect example of this. As air fryers have completely changed the way we cook, and are oftentimes used to replace the hob and oven, top manufacturers are releasing bigger and bigger models. Most air fryers you can buy today offer up to 10-litres of capacity as the norm, and have multiple cooking functions built in, so they can replace the majority of your existing appliances.

Aside from the increased cooking space, appliances like air fryers and the best multi-cookers are quite literally taking over the kitchen – they’re so big now that they take up the majority of your countertop space. But why is kitchen tech being super-sized? Are people actually asking for it? And most importantly, do appliances need to be bigger?

XL appliances: Popularity

As Home Editor for T3, I’ve been covering home gadgets and kitchen tech for a while now, and I’ve noticed that most of the time, appliances that get the XL treatment are the most popular models from the brand. Reimagining a popular appliance in a bigger size has become a way for brands to upgrade or expand on its popular technology.

Let’s take Ninja as an example. At the SharkNinja EMEA Launch Event in February 2024, Ninja announced that its Ninja Creami ice cream maker and its Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ Grill and Smoker were its best selling products from 2023. To expand on this popularity, Ninja is set to release deluxe and XL versions of both appliances later this year. Not only will they be bigger but they’ll also come with additional features, like frozen drinks settings with the Creami and app connectivity with the Woodfire.

In this case, I understand why both appliances are being super-sized, considering how in demand these two gadgets have been. It’s also clever that since the brand has achieved success with its original devices that they’d build off them to make an even better appliance. But what confuses me is whether people who have never tried them before would go for an extra large appliance over the original model, particularly if they have small kitchens, gardens and storage space. 

Ninja AF300UK Air Fryer

(Image credit: Ninja)

XL appliances: Space and cost-saving

Speaking of space, the main drawback to bigger appliances is where they’re going to go. If your air fryer is incredibly big, it’s going to take up a huge amount of worktop space, plus if you don’t want it out all the time, you’ll need to find a sizable kitchen cupboard to keep it in. However, many small appliances are being introduced with an extra large size as a way to replace other kitchen essentials.

The cost of living crisis has been prevalent over the past few years and despite rumours that it should ease in late 2024, many people are still looking to cut down their everyday costs and increased monthly bills. Most families have turned away from the best ovens in favour of air fryers, slow cookers and multi-cookers as the former is more expensive.

Buying a new oven is an investment in itself, but as I found in my air fryer vs multi-cooker vs oven comparison, the price doesn’t go down too much once it’s installed. Small appliances are now marketed as a way to replace your oven to keep costs down, so it stands to reason that you’ll need a larger capacity to stop relying on your oven as much.

Personally, I think ‘sharing the load’ makes more sense, especially for those who have smaller kitchens. For example, if I’m making food for just myself, I tend to use my Salter Digital Air Fryer but if I’m cooking for both me and my fiance, or if I’m having guests over, I favour my oven. I wouldn’t necessarily look for a bigger air fryer to do this type of cooking, so whether air fryers and multi-cookers need to be gigantic or not is still a question mark for me.

XL appliances: Smart features

Foods you should never store in a freezer

(Image credit: LG)

Another reason I think some appliances are being made in a bigger size is to allow for the addition of smart features. The majority of homes are smart homes and this type of technology is gradually making its way into the kitchen, particularly with the best fridge freezers.

While they might be expensive, having a smart fridge or other smart kitchen gadget makes it easier and less wasteful to cook and store food. But they’re not small by any stretch of the imagination, so if smart kitchen technology isn’t that important to you, a smaller non-smart appliance might be best.

So, is bigger really better when it comes to your kitchen appliances? I’m not completely sold on either side yet, but all I know is that if I need a new air fryer or microwave, I won’t be looking for the biggest size available.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!