What is an Air Fryer? What constitutes an Air Fryer? Why should you use and what kind of feature set should you expect to find in one. Here is the Air Fryer buying guide to get you started and answer all the important queries.
An Air Fryer can be used for almost all of your cooking needs. It’s a reliable and versatile kitchen appliance that’s fast, safe, uses less or no oil (see ‘Best Oil for Air Fryer‘) and comes in different capacities for your needs.
Compared with deep fryers, Air Fryers (see also air fryer vs pressure cooker) cooks food and air fry food in a healthy way which is also good for your health. Having one can be very handy in your home. Also, it is possible to get the best air fryer under 100 bucks.
The key is that you purchase an air fryer according to your needs and which is reliable enough to last for years to come. You should also check out the best air fryer dehydrator reviews and ‘Air Fryer Vs. Dehydrator‘ post if you’re not sure whether to buy one with or without a dehydrator.
With that said, let’s now look at different aspects which would help you to buy an Air Fryer. On the other hand, if you want to stick with a toaster oven, click here for our KitchenAid toaster review.
Also Read: Toaster Ovens vs Air Fryer
Air Fryer Buying Guide
Before diving into the nitty gritty details for an Air Fryer, let us first look at what it really and how it works in brief.
What is an Air Fryer and How Does it Work?
The main principle behind the working of an air fryer is that it uses a high-speed fan to circulate hot air around the food kept in a small basket. This air fryer basket resides inside the appliance. This results in the food being cooked.
A crispy layer is produced as a result, giving the food its yummy taste.
Practically heat is circulated based on the scientific principle of convection. To be precise, an air fryer can be called as a compact countertop convection oven (see ‘Air Fryer vs Convection Oven‘ and ‘Air Fryer vs Air Fryer Oven‘ reviews).
You might wonder where the hot air comes when operating the appliance. Well, there is a heating element within the air fryer that increases the internal air temperature. This produces convection currents and the fan helps to circulate the hot air – see also how microwave air fryer works.
The holes in the basket also play their role in allowing air to circulate around the food. This helps in the food being cooked quickly.
Also Read: Best Air Fryers for Chicken
Air Fryer Types
Air fryers available today fall into two major categories:
1. Air Fryer Containing Pullout Basket or Tray
These type of air fryers have a basket or tray which you can place in after adding food. This means you can’t see the food while it’s cooking.
2. Air Fryer Containing Suspended Basket
These air fryers have a wider suspended basked and a see-through window in the lid. This allows you to view the food while food is cooking.
What to Consider When Purchasing an Air Fryer?
The following will talk about the many attributes that one should look for in an Air Fryer.
Capacity for Your Needs
Air fryers come in small, medium and large capacities. The smallest ones are usually 2 Quart. Those featuring about a 6 Quart capacity are referred to as XL Air Fryers whereas those featuring 10 Quart or more capacity are referred to as XXL Air Fryers.
If you are a small family of around 5 people, look for the best air fryer for a family of 4, a fryer of 2-4 Quart Quarts should be enough. If you are a larger family or if you like to cook larger batches of food, then you can look into larger capacities as per your liking.
Remember that the larger the volume, the more PHYSICAL counter space in your kitchen an air fryer will take on the countertop.
Some Air fryers come with dual racks which let you cook two things at the same time.
You can check the maximum temperature an air fryer can attain when procuring one. For most models, it’s between 325 to 400°F. Temperature plays a decisive role in cooking as higher the temperature, the lesser time it to cook.
At 400°F, most foods cook well.
You can check whether the particular model has temperature control, timer and indicator lights that help to make cooking easy.
Check that the air fryer has a function to auto-off when it’s ready.
As higher temperatures can be dangerous to your hands, buy one that is well-insulated and is cool to touch to prevent harm to hands. This is important, particularly when pulling the basket.
Most air fryers operate at a power rating between 800 to 1500 watts. Before choosing one make sure your kitchen outlet supports it.
Air fryers with about 1800 watt power rating can also be found. They are generally more expensive to procure and to operate.
Remember that higher the rating, the much less time it will take to reach the desired cooking temperature.
Many air fryers available today in the market are energy efficient. A 30 minutes usage per day results in less than a unit of electricity consumed (see ‘How Much Electricity Does an Air Fryer Use?‘).
Air fryers come at different prices with the least costing $40 and the most expensive costing multiple times higher. Make sure that you check all the functions as well as extra features before making a purchase.
The air fryers of renowned companies cost more. However, there are cheap models also available in the market. We recommend making a one-time investment that would last for years to come.
If you are a fan of automation, then you can look into Air Fryers that offer plenty of cooking functions.
Some Air Fryers only offer a few cooking modes whereas others can offer up to 12 different modes for cooking various foods automatically.
Smart Home Integration
It should be also noted that some Air Fryer offer plenty of luxury functions such as having a dedicated app for control and monitor as well as the ability to integrated with Smart Home devices like Amazon Alexa.
Make sure you buy a reliable air fryer from a reliable company that gives a warranty of at least 2 years. Some manufacturers give 3 years of warranty, so you are at peace of mind if the machine malfunctions.
This could be expensive, but it would save you from bad experiences.
The Top Benefits of Having an Air Fryer
Gauging the benefits may help you decide whether you need an Air Fryer or Not
Healthy Way of Cooking
An air fryer uses less or no oil as compared to deep fryers which help in food being cooked healthily (see ‘Air Fryer vs Deep Fryer‘). Switching to air-fried foods helps in promoting weight loss. It also helps to lower cholesterol levels which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease.
Quickly Prepare Your Meals
Foods prepared from an air fryer requires less time than conventional ovens. This means in a matter of minutes your food and most of your recipe will be ready to serve.
The Safety Factor
As the appliance uses very little oil, there are fewer chances of oil being spilled or exploding. The exterior of most of the air fryers is designed not to become too hot on touching. The insulating material here certainly plays its role.
After operating, the basket may be filled with dirty food if not cleaned (see ‘How to Clean Air Fryer‘). There might be some grease as well.
The good thing is that most parts of an air fryer available today can be disassembled to allow easy cleaning. They are also dishwasher safe.
It’s important to clean the appliance regularly after a batch of cooking and to know how to clean the baked-on grease from the air fryer.
Most manufacturers also provide instructions on cleaning. So you can also consult their guide.
Cooling and Exhaust System
An air fryer has its cooling and exhaust system so you may not need to worry about overheating.
Low on Electricity Use
Today many air fryers are available whose electricity consumption is very less. They use half the electricity unit in a single day. This is helpful for your overall low electricity expenses.
Easy to Use
Anyone can learn easily how to use air fryer. You just need to set the time, the temperature and food in the air fryer basket. Most manufacturers provide instructions on using this appliance.
Even your kids can help you in preparing dinner or they can prepare snacks for themselves.
What Foods You Can Prepare Using an Air Fryer?
Frozen Food Items
Many people use an air fryer to cook or air fry frozen foods such as chicken nuggets, frozen fries and fish sticks. But this is just the beginning of what it can do.
You can also make fried and grill forms of meat including chicken and beef.
If you or your family eat a lot of French Fries, then this machine is a must-have to deep fry your fries. It uses very little oil to deep fry as compared to deep fryers. Deep-fried fries come out very crispy, delicious and perfect for your needs.
You can roast nuts such as almonds and peanuts. It takes a mere 5-10 minutes for the entire process.
If you are a veggie fan, then this appliance should also be in your kitchen. You can cook carrots, broccoli, beans and other vegetables in a matter of minutes.
You might not know this but you can also bake in an air fryer in just 30 minutes for a small cake. You must have additional accessories like the baking dish for this purpose. Also, you can check out how air fryers compare to baking ovens here.
Air fryers can make foods like bread and lasagna which you might not have imagined.
And Many More
This is just a glimpse of what meal you can cook. There are numerous recipes that you can make by using this incredible deep-frying appliance.
Why You Should Buy an Air Fryer
- You or your family likes eating crispy and crunchy foods such as French fries and cooked vegetables, cooked meat and other items.
- You don’t have an oven in your house.
- You have a kitchen that can become hot in the summers. An air fryer usually won’t heat a room.
- You consume a lot of frozen foods that can be cooked.
- You are obese and want to control fat intake in your diet while still enjoy crispy deep-fried food.
In recent years a remarkable increase has been seen in the adoption of air fryers throughout the world. Their sales would grow more as consumer awareness would surge regarding the appliance.
We hope that our air fryer shopping guide would be helpful to you in purchasing the right air fryer for your needs.
It’s no doubt that air fryers gradually are becoming part of the modern kitchen.
1. What should I look for when buying an air fryer?
How to check AIR FRYER before you buy?
A. Capacities. Smaller units usually range between 1 liter and 2 liters, while medium units range between 1.8 and 2.5 liters.
b. Wattage. You must ensure your kitchen outlet supports the use of watts your fryer can need.
d. Control of temperature.
You can also consider looking for good air fryer reviews before buying the appliances.
2. What is the best air fryer size to buy?
For a variety of flexible kitchens, air fryers from 3 to 5 quarts are common. Air Fryers are suitable for 3 to 5 member families between 5.3 and 5.8-quart scale. Air Fryer of 2.2 through 3.0 quarters is ideal for 1 to 2 members of the household. This fryer typical size is 8-inches diameter and 5-inches high. Also, for more detailed read on this matter, check out our 'What Size Air Fryer?' post.
3.What are the disadvantages of air fryer?
Are you thinking of buying this new appliance? These are some of the air fryer disadvantages.
Air Fryers are hard to disinfect.
Air Fryers are more costly than a deep fryer.
Air fryers cook your food longer than a traditional deep fryer.
For bigger families, air fryers are too thin.
Air fryer dishes burnt, dried and failed.
Air fryers are noisy.
Air fryers need more cooking space.
4.Is it worth buying an air fryer?
Yeah, a little. Like the Instant Pot (see 'Air Fryer vs Instant Pot'), the airfryer still works quickly and generally. That is because air frying systems hit high temperatures in just a few minutes as opposed to certain stoves that can take just 10-15 minutes to preheat (see 'How to Preheat Air Fryer'), and so the hot air circulates all around for faster cooking.
5.What can you not cook in an air fryer?
No food should be put in the air fryers with a wet batter. You really don't want to bring foods like corndogs and tempura shrimp that have a wet batter in air fryers.