Have you heard all the buzz about air fryers, the latest innovation in cooking? Air fryers have been around for a few years, and are becoming more popular, for good reason. In fact, mine is my favorite small appliance in my kitchen. I love how quickly it heats up and cooks, plus it makes fried foods a bit healthier. If you haven’t heard of them, or want to know more, read on.
Comparison: Top 7 Best Air Fryers (2016 – 2017)
Best Air Fryers for Home – Reviews
After comparing all the top air fryers on the market, we’ve narrowed down our favourite models to the ones you see reviewed below. Keep reading to see what our editor’s think of these healthy air fryers.
Philips HD9220/20 Healthier Oil Free Airfryer Review
This is currently my favourite air fryer model, and I use it almost daily when making meals for the family. I even prefer it over the Tefal ActiFry! In under 15 minutes, this cooks up a basket of perfectly crispy chips. Of course, you can use it for all sorts of foods, not just chips.
While there are larger models available, I find that the capacity of this model is just right for a couple or a small family. You can easily bake fish, chips, desserts and more with it. And it takes about 80% less oil for the fried foods when you use this versus a deep fryer. And if you’re lucky enough to have a dishwasher in the kitchen, you can stick the cooking basket in it for cleaning.
- Uses rapid air technology for quick and healthy cooking
- Large 0.8kg capacity in the cooking basket
- Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
- Adjustable temperature control up to 200 degrees
- Cooking timer of up to 30 minutes
- Two year warranty
I love how easy it is to use the Philips HD9220/20 Air Fryer. Even the kids can help make dinner when you’re using one of these. And it is so easy to clean, it is truly better than using a deep fryer or cooking with another appliance or method. However, you do have to periodically shake the food while it is cooking to ensure even baking.
This thing also preheats very quickly, as well as cooks your food fast, which means that dinner prep time is reduced. And one of the best things about this model is that it has a very affordable price. Based on it’s performance, I consider this the best air fryer for the money right now.
Tefal ActiFry Low Fat Fryer Review
This is another great air fryer to consider buying. Overall, it works in a similar fashion to the Philips model above, yet I do prefer the cooking results with the Philips model.
The benefit of this model over the Tefal model is that the capacity is slightly higher. So, you can fit more food into it, which is a good thing if you have a family of four. However, I do dislike that you pour the oil directly into the cooking basket with this one, which you do not do with the Philips model. It also seems to take more oil to cook with in the Tefal Actifty.
- Capacity of 1kg
- Design makes it easy to cook casseroles and curries
- Available in black or white exterior plastic color
- Comes with an oil measuring spoon
- Hands-free, no shaking required
- Dishwasher safe cooking pan basket
- Cooking timer of up to 99 minutes
Overall, the Tefal ActiFry works well. The best things about it are that it is very versatile in terms of what you can cook in it, the capacity is large enough for a family of four, and it offers hands-free cooking.
That being said, I still prefer the outcome of the food that I get from the Philips Airfryer listed above. Which is better when it comes to Tefal ActiFry vs Philips Airfryer? Well, that really depends on your cooking needs. If you need the added versatility of what you can make in your air fryer, then go with the ActiFry because it has more options available to you. If you want better cooked food, then go with the Philips Airfryer.
Breville VDF105 Halo Plus Health Fryer Review
If you want something with a slightly different design than the two models listed up above, then consider buying this Breville air fryer. It has an almost space age look to it, with a flip top lids that makes it easy to access your food.
The white and green colour combo design might not be appealing to you, but do take into account that this thing works well and has a large cooking capacity. And it’s tilt function ensures all-over baking and roasting during the cooking process.
- Capacity of 1.2kg
- Only requires half a tablespoon of oil
- Non-stick rotating bowl and tilt function ensure even browning
- Versatile – fry, bake, sauté and roast a wide variety of foods
- Digital cooking time of up to 75 minutes
- Dishwasher-safe bowl/basket, roasting rack and oil measuring spoon
My biggest complaint about this one is that it is VERY slow compared to the Philips Airfyer. The Breville Halo Plus Air Fryer takes around 30 – 40 minutes to cook a basket of chips versus less than 15 minutes with the Philips Airfryer.
Of course, let’s be honest, this thing is also quite ugly to look at and it best stored in the cupboard when not in use. However, it takes up a lot of space and is larger than it looks in pictures. That being said, it works well enough for you to consider if you like the design and features.
What Is an Air Fryer and How Does It Work?
Air fryers are electrical cooking appliances that cook food using superheated air and small amounts of oil. A heating element heats the air up to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit). A fan circulates the heated air around the food, ensuring that the air is distributed evenly around the food. This means that all parts of the food receive the same temperature, and that it cooks evenly.
The food itself is placed in a hanging basket under the heating element, allowing for free circulation of the air. A drip pan below catches any drips from the food.
An exhaust fan pulls the air out of the unit, so that newly heated air can enter the cooking chamber, keeping the temperature even.
The result is perfectly cooked food, with a crispy outside and tender center. Air fryers can be used to fry, grill, roast, steam or even bake.
Benefits of Cooking with an Air Fryer
Air fryers offer many benefits to cooks of all abilities.
To begin with, cooking with an air fryer is much healthier than deep frying food. They use between 70 and 80% less oil than deep fryers, meaning much less oil ends up on the food. Anyone concerned about cutting fat and calories can benefit from using an air fryer.
While the taste of food prepared in an air fryer isn’t exactly the same as that made by conventional methods, it comes out of the air fryer perfectly golden-brown. It’s also delicious and offers the same texture as deep fried: a slight crunch or crispiness on the outside that surrounds a soft, tender center.
A second benefit of air fryers is that they are versatile. While the obvious use is for frying, they can be used to grill, roast or bake. With a little tweaking, you can use your favorite recipes to grill or roast chicken, fish or other dishes.
And you can even bake. You don’t have to adapt the recipe. The only difference is the cooking time and the size of your pan. Some air fryer models even come with a baking pan.
Which brings us to the third benefit. Cooking in an air fryer is fast. Preheating the air fryer is just a matter of a few minutes, much less than a conventional oven. One layer of a cake can be done in just fifteen minutes. Many other foods are done in just a few minutes.
A fourth benefit of air fryers is that they cook the food evenly. Anyone who has tested one side of a piece of chicken and decided it was done, only to find the other side was raw knows this problem. All the adjusting for uneven heating in an oven is eliminated with an air fryer, so you don’t have to worry about eating undercooked food.
Let’s not forget about safety, which is another benefit of air fryers. If you’ve ever been splattered with hot oil you know how important this is. The air fryer is contained and doesn’t use large quantities of hot oil than can cause burns.
And finally, air fryers are easy to clean up. Most of the parts have non-stick coatings and dishwasher safe. All you have to do is take it apart and pop the parts in the dishwasher. Unlike a deep fat fryer, you don’t have all that used oil to deal with. And since the unit is contained, you don’t have oil or grease splatters to clean up, either.
Why You Need an Air Fryer
You may be asking yourself why you need an air fryer. There are several reasons why everyone could benefit from using one.
First, air fryers are a healthy way to cook. We all want to eat healthy, but it’s hard to think of never being able to eat fried foods. Air fryers give the taste and texture of the fried foods we all love, with just a fraction of the fat and calories. By cooking with an air fryer, you can enjoy many of your favorite foods, without feeling guilty about eating something high in fat. Just think, you can enjoy French fries or homemade donuts without worrying about eating too much fat.
Second, using an air fryer is an easy way to experiment with new ways of cooking your old favorites, and finding some new ones. Because it’s a versatile appliance, you’ll find it easy to try new dishes, and know that they are healthy, as well. There are many cookbooks dedicated to air fryers that can show you all kinds of possibilities for creating healthy and delicious meals easily.
Third, air fryers save time. They cook many foods faster the conventional methods. They’re also easy to clean up, so you save not just in preparation and cooking time, but on cleaning up after as well.
Fourth, air fryers save electricity. Because of the quick preheating and cooking time, you’ll be using less electricity and end up saving yourself a little money.
Tips on Choosing the Best Air Fryer for Your Kitchen
As with choosing any appliance, it’s important to think about your own needs, the number of people you usually cook for, and how you are most likely to use your new air fryer. There are a few things you need to consider before making a choice.
Capacity is the first consideration. Most air fryer models have a capacity from 1.8 to 2.5 pounds, which would handle a small chicken, chicken pieces, fries, or vegetables. But if you have a large family and plan to cook larger quantities or even a full turkey, then you’d need to look into larger models.
Wattage can be another issue. Most models use between 800 and 1400 watts. Other use even more. You’ll want to check that the outlets can handle this kind of a load.
Available counter space is something else you’ll want to think about. While many models take up about a 12 by 16-inch area, some are much larger. Before choosing an air fryer, figure out how much space you have on your counter, and the decide what size model will work best for you.
Newer models come with more settings, and some offer touch-screen controls. Some even come with built in programs for preparing fish, meat, chicken, fries, for example. Other models give you the option to program it yourself. Most models come with built-in timers and standby modes, for when the cooking is completed.
Another thing to look at are the extra features of each model. Some have baking or grill pans. Some of the larger models offer multi-level cooking baskets, so you can cook more than one kind of food at the same time. While this feature would make cooking quicker and more efficient, it won’t help you if your kitchen is too small to accommodate a larger air fryer. Other models come with utility tongs, to help remove hot food from the appliance. Others come with recipe books.
You’ll also want to consider price. Larger models with extra features like multi-level baskets or digital displays will cost more. Think through carefully how you’ll use the air fryer, what size you need, and what features you must have. Then you can decide which model fits your needs and your budget the best.
Air fryers are a smart way to cook. They’re fast, efficient, safe and best of all, prepare food that tastes fried but doesn’t harm your health. Anyone who uses an air fryer will enjoy the convenience and health benefits of this modern way of cooking.