I’m sure you’ve heard all the buzz about air fryers. Air fryers have been around for a few years, and are becoming more and more popular as manufacturers upgrade and improve upon each model.
Mine has become one of my favourite small appliances in my kitchen. But I was very reluctant to buy it at first. As you know I love my kitchen appliances, some of them have changed the way I eat (for the better), but I wasn’t sure if the air fryer was going to be just a gimmick purchase that would soon be gathering dust in the cupboard.
As you will soon discover through my air fryer recipes, I was wrong. An air fryer is anything but gimmicky. It really is a versatile machine and I love how quickly it heats up and cooks, plus it makes fried foods a bit healthier. Chips anyone?
Here are just some of the foods I have made in my air fryer(s!);
If you want to see some of the things I’ve already made in my air fryer, check out my Air Fryer Recipes.
If you haven’t heard of them, or want to know more, please read on.
After comparing all the top air fryers currently on the market in the UK, I’ve narrowed down my favourite models to the ones you see mentioned below. I will continue to update this page as current models change. I’ll also let you know which ones I have, or have tried.
1. Philips HD9220/20 Healthier Oil Free Airfryer Review – Top Pick For Small Families/Couples
This was the first air fryer I bought. I ended up using it almost daily when making meals for the family. In around 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.
Note: If you want to cook larger portions you should look at some of the larger air fryers, I particularly like the High Street TV range of Power Air Fryers. UPDATE: I now also own a Power Air Fryer which is perfect for a larger household.
With the Philips air fryer, 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
- 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 better than using a deep fryer or cooking with another appliance or method. However, you do have to periodically shake the food whilst it is cooking to ensure even baking and to prevent the foods from sticking together.
It 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 is at a very affordable price.
Based on it’s performance, I consider this one of the best air fryers for the money right now, if you are a small family, couple or cooking for 1.
However, if you want to cook for more than 3 people you will need a larger capacity. I recommend the High Street TV Power Air Fryer reviewed later on.
NOTE: Phillips do now have a larger capacity air fryer at 1.2kg. You can check it out on Amazon.
Tefal ActiFry Low Fat Fryer Review – Top Pick For Larger Families
This is another great air fryer to consider buying. Overall, it works in a similar fashion to the Philips model above.
The benefit of this model over the Philips model is the larger capacity.
- Capacity of 1kg, 1.2kg or 1.7kg
- 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.
Power Air Fryers (High Street TV)
High Street TV have produced a number of popular appliances over the years. Their Power Air Fryers are definitely a worthy contender in the search for the perfect air fryer. What I instantly like about their design is the larger capacities in comparison to the Philips range. The Power Air Fryers come in a choice of either 3L or 5L, both significantly larger than the previously discussed Philips.
I also like the basket design of the Power Air Fryers, they seem much easier to clean rather than the mesh design on the Philips.
Let’s take a closer look at the features;
- Choice of 3.2 Litre or 5 Litre
- 5 Multi-Cooking modes; fry, grill, bake, saute and roast
- Includes basket, basket divider, baking tray and recipe book
- Cooks up to 200C/400F
- Easy clean basket
- Dishwasher safe parts
- Timer with auto shut off
I love the extras that come with this air fryer. When you are paying an already fairly substantial amount for a kitchen appliance I feel you should get the accessories you need. The Power Air Fryers come with a basket divider (great for cooking different food types) as well as a baking tray enabling you to cook different recipes (cakes, flans, pizzas etc).
Most of all, I like the extra capacity. I cook for 5 people (2 adults, 3 children) and my Philips Air Fryer is only really good for making sides, or smaller amounts to go with main meals. It would be nice to be able to cook a whole chicken, or enough fries for us all to eat sufficiently.
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 lid 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
Tower Air Fryers
- Choice of 6 different models
- Automatic switch off
- Adjustable temperature controls
- Choice of different capacities, from 3.2L to 8L
- Temperature control 80 – 200 degrees
- Dishwasher safe parts
We have two top choices for the best air fryers in 2019. If you only need to cook for 3 or less people (4 at a push) then go for the Philips Air Fryer (HD9220), the chips tastes amazing 🙂
However, if you need to feed more people (4 and above) and want more versatility with what you can cook, get one from the Power Air Fryers range.
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. But you may be asking yourself why you need an air fryer (I know I was reluctant at first to buy one).
1. Air fryers Are Healthier
They use much less oil 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 centre.
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 favourite 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.
2. Air fryers Are Versatile
Whilst the obvious use is for frying, they can be used to grill, roast or bake. With a little tweaking, you can use your favourite recipes to grill or roast chicken, fish or other dishes.
And you can 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.
Using an air fryer is an easy way to experiment with new ways of cooking your old favourites, 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.
3. Cooking In An Air Fryer Is Fast
Preheating the air fryer takes 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.
4. Air Fryers Cook 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 under cooked food. Side Note: If you are ever in doubt use a food thermometer to check on the temperature.
5. Air Fryers Are Safe
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 that can cause burns.
6. Air Fryers Are Easy To Clean Up
Most of the parts have non-stick coatings and are 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.
7. 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.
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.
Available counter space is something else you’ll want to think about. Whilst 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 then decide what size model will work best for you.
Settings and Features
Newer models come with more settings, and some offer touch-screen controls. Some even come with built in programs for preparing fish, meat, chicken and fries. Other models give you the option to program it yourself. Some 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.
Whilst 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 kitchen tongs to help remove hot foods 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.