Air fryers are undersized versions of the familiar convection oven, which uses the circulation of heated air to cook food. Handy for smaller households, and fashionable with chips, chicken, and seafood fans, they can be a great way to prepare gourmet meals in a healthier way than normal.
Convection ovens aren't new, but air fryers have only been around since about 2005. Since then, they have become a popular option for cooking flavourful, semi-fried dishes with fewer carbs than deep-fried cuisine. But which air fryer should you choose? This hotukdeals buyer's guide will point you in the right direction, as well as pointing out where to find the best air dryer sale!
What Do Air Fryer Reviews Say About These Appliances?
Air fryers have had a lot of press exposure in the past couple of years, and attracted a mixed response. The site Aircookers.com has provided an in-depth appraisal of their strengths and weaknesses, judging that air fryers are great for singles and couples, people with smaller kitchen spaces, and anyone who wants a hassle-free cooking option. But they aren't much use for larger families, and can become another item of clutter in kitchens where microwaves, pressure cookers, and conventional ovens all jostle for room. That's more or less the consensus view of air fryers in general, but some brands have attracted particular praise.
For instance, Tefal is often seen as the best of the bunch. The highest-rated Tefal air fryer is the ActiFry Genius XL, which Expert Reviews judges is the “best all-round fryer” of all. Nine separate programmable settings place it ahead of the pack, and it's large enough to supply food for more than the usual 2-3 people. You may even be able to whip up a curry or a stew via its oversized cooking chamber, which definitely isn't normal with air fryers. Other highly-rated larger fryers include the Ninja Air Fryer AF100UK and the very affordable Tower T17005 Healthier Oil Free Rapid Air Fryer. At the top end of the technology scale, the £300+ Philips Advance Collection Airfryer XL HD9240/90 is as reliable and efficient (and good-looking) as air dryers get.
How Does an Air Fryer Work? Key Features for Buyers to Know
As you can probably tell, air fryers work in very similar way to conventional ovens. The main mechanism is a heating element with a fan attached. As the element heats the air around it, the fan circulates it through the cooking chamber. Ideally, this results in a uniform distribution of heat across all surfaces (although this isn't necessarily the case with cheaper models). The name itself is therefore a little bit misleading. While oil can be used to “fry” the contents of an air fryer, the devices themselves are really shrunken ovens, and not closely related to deep fat fryers – something that catches a lot of people out.
When buying an air fryer, look out for these features:
Buying the right capacity is vital. A couple or small family would most likely need a capacity of 3 litres as these air fryers can accommodate fries and drum sticks enough for around 3 people. But if you want to cook a whole chicken or for lots of people, then a larger capacity will be required. Some larger air fryers have capacities of over 5L that should be useful for a big family or for entertaining guests. You can also measure the food capacity in KG, with some of the largest airfryers able to cope with 4KG worth of food! Remember though, that a larger capacity will mean a bigger machine, so make sure you have enough counter space!
Simply put, the higher the power, the quicker it can fry. Air Fryers generally need around 1500 watts or more to function, so make sure your kitchen outlets can support an air fryer safely. In the UK, most power outlets are rated up to 3000W, so this shouldn't be a problem, but if you are using an extension cable or adapter then make sure it is also able to deal with the high energy that air fryers require.
Look out for machines that have multiple cooking options, not only air frying but also grilling, baking, sautéing, roasting, and steaming. Most air fryers will also have preprogrammed cooking functions, so look for machines that a programme for whatever you are intending to cook most. But also make sure that the machine reaches 200°C, as this is the most common temperature needed for air frying correctly.
On top of all of these, check out all the extras. This should include an automatic cut off when cooking is complete (overcooking is a constant risk with air fryers), non slip feet to prevent sliding, temperature control dials and LCD displays, programmable timers, adjustable dividers in the chamber to accommodate various foods, and internal parts that are both non-stick and suitable for dishwashing. Good models will also come with well-written recipe books, which can give users a major advantage when getting to know how to use air fryer devices.
How do Air Fryers Compare with Deep Fat Fryers?
Air fryers are much healthier to use than deep fryers as they use much less oil. However, they may be less efficient at browning food, and the results aren't always quite as tasty.
Feedback from customers suggests that foods like French fries can be very different depending on whether they are cooked in air fryers or deep fat fryers, so bear that in mind. These are very different appliances, with completely different cooking mechanisms. The comparison between air fryers and convection ovens is also a useful one. Expect air fryers to cook foods more quickly than standard ovens, often with more uniform results. But also, expect much smaller capacities. Then there are pressure cookers or crock pots. These will cook more slowly, but are handy for stews and slow roasts. Many people like to have both options available to use. That way, they can cover every culinary base.
Which Air Fryer Brand is Best?
If you're looking for the best air fryer, brands to try include Tefal, Phillips, Ninja, Cuisinart, GoWise, Breville, Dash, and NuWave. None of those should let you down, and all can be found at hotukdeals.
But let's compare some of the best air fryer models:
Philips Airfryer XXL
Bake / Grill / Simmer
Power Indicator / Auto Switch-Off Features / Display / Cord Storage / Dishwasher-Safe Parts / QuickClean
Ninja Air Fryer AF100UK
Air fry / Roast / Reheat / Dehydrate
LCD Display / Thermal Cut-Off / Dishwasher Safe Parts / Odour Filter / Digital Timer
Thinking about getting an air fryer? Here are the general advantages and disadvantages of having one in the kitchen:
Can cook a wide variety of foods quickly
Safety benefits compared to deep frying
Handy for smaller spaces
Potentially healthier than deep frying
Can be noisy
Can smelly oily
Not suitable for larger meals
Can be hard to get the browning process exactly right
How to Cook Chicken in Your Air Fryer
Looking for a good air fryer recipe? Chicken is always a hugely popular dish to prepare in an air fryer, especially roasted or KFC-style fried versions. Follow these simple steps to make great air fried chicken.
When cooking chicken make sure you choose a bird or cut that is the right size for the cooking chamber on your fryer. Leave a bit of space if possible to allow air to circulate properly.
It's a good idea to marinade or baste the chicken with a fat-based coating, whether that's a spiced butter or some sprayed-on oil. This will help to create the crispy effect most diners desire. Remember to add spices as well, salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic all work well.
Remember to turn the chicken during cooking, and follow appliance guidelines for different weights.
Cook until clear juice comes from the thickest part of the breast, to ensure the chicken is cooked through.
Air Fryer Accessories
These accessories below are fairly generic, and should apply to virtually all air fryers. However, be aware that specific brands will have their own pans, shelves, and grilles, as well as other add-ons for special tasks. So check individual brand pages for more information.
Air Fryers: A Quick FAQ for Buyers
Do air fryers smell?
All food gives off aromas as it cooks, and that definitely applies to air fryers, and when you use oil there will be a slightly greasy smell. That's not avoidable. However, the smell is far less pungent than is the case with fat fryers or pans.
Do air fryers use oil?
Not necessarily. Some models have a compartment for oil, others don't. If you want to create a crispy frying effect, you can spray oil onto food at will, and air fryers will tend to do a great job. But it's not essential on some model. You can just as easily cook vegetables or meat without any additional oil.
Are air fryers healthy?
It depends. If you add oil and cook French fries, you're still eating fast food. There will be less carbs than deep-fried chips, but it's still not exactly healthy eating. However, air fryers are generally much better at producing low calorie dishes than oil-heavy alternatives.
Are air fryers good for cooking chips?
Yes. You can cook a healthier version of crispy fries using a bit of oil spray and a properly-heated air fryer. The results won't be as rich and decadent as deep-fried chips, but will be much better than microwave fries.
Are air fryers noisy?
Generally, air fryers produce quite a bit of noise, which is one of their major drawbacks. The noise is caused by the need to circulate air via fan units, and it's hard to avoid. But high-quality appliances will keep the disturbance to a minimum.
Are air fryers economical?
Because of their small size, air fryers tend to consume less electricity than convection ovens, and can also cook food more quickly. If you make smaller meals, they are definitely a money-saver over the long term.
Can you use foil in air fryers?
Generally, no. Foil will cause a blockage in the circulation of the air inside your fryer, making it much less efficient, and impairing food quality. So porous materials are preferred.
Can you cook battered fish in air fryers?
In theory, sure. If you use thicker batter and plenty of non-stick spray on the inside of the fryer, it's possible to cook some delicious fried fish dishes.
Can air fryers make toast?
Yes. Air fryers make it easy to prepare sweet toasts, with ingredients like currants, custard, banana, or chocolate. And they also make fluffy, delicious standard toast (with melted cheese if needed).
Advice for Shoppers: Finding the Best Air Fryer Offers Around
Air fryers have become a hugely popular kitchen appliance in recent times, and it's easy to see why. These mini cookers emulate a lot of the functionality of a convection oven, but without the size and complexity. You can use them in rental apartments, add them to mobile homes, or in garden annexes. And wherever you deploy them, they will offer faster cooking, usually with significant health benefits attached.
When buying air fryers, quality matters. A lot. This is one product area where the worst air fryers are hardly any use at all, but the best work like a dream. Poor quality devices will be noisy, smelly, inefficient, and generally unreliable. In other words, worse when useless. So it's essential to opt for brands you can trust.
This doesn't necessarily mean spending hundreds of pounds, and you will still be able to find air fryer deals on expensive models. And it's perfectly possible to spend a lot of money on an air fryer that isn't up to scratch. But the brands we've outlined here should deliver the quality required.
As you'll find when you browse the air fryer listings at hotukdeals, prices vary from as little as £30 to over £400. The cheaper models will be smaller, with fewer attachments and less complex on-board dashboards. They won't have hundreds of programs to use, or elaborate timers. And this can make a big difference for high-level users. But if you're just starting out and aren't likely to need all of those add-ons, spending under £100 is often a realistic option.
When shopping for air fryers, check for promo codes and bundles with accessories included. The hotukdeals listings include all of the major brands, from Tefal and Phillips, to Breville, Ninja, and Tower. They also cover the UK's biggest kitchenware retailers, with the latest discounts from Currys, John Lewis, Studio, Robert Dyas, and Amazon. Shop around, compare prices, and it shouldn't be hard to find an air fryer with the specs you need.
But there may be other ways to save. For instance, timing your purchase can be a major influence on the price you pay. Merchants like Argos or Currys regularly run an air fryer sale around Black Friday and the New Year, when buyers are likely to be stocking up on kitchen goods. So those are really good times to hunt for appliance bargains. But at any time of year, if you want a cheap air fryer or airfryer deals, there's no better place to look than hotukdeals.
Enhance Your Kitchen Options with the Airfryer Deals at hotukdeals
Air fryers are a relatively new phenomenon on the UK cooking scene, but they could be just what you need to make meal preparation easier than ever. Capable of cooking anything from baked potatoes and fried chicken, to French toast or sponge cakes, these little cookers are a lifesaver for thousands of people across the country. And if you want to add one to your collection, the best way to do so is by consulting the air fryer offers at hotukdeals.