Air fryer probably should have been the 2022 word-of-the-year. There was no escaping them, and they quickly became a source of some fantastic memes. But they were popular for a reason, and the air fryer evangelists weren’t wrong in their assessment of this appliance as the best thing since fried bread. Air fryers can indeed save you money on energy bills, save you time spent cooking, and reduce the amount of oils and fats used in cooking. But there are so many brands and features to weigh up that it can be hard to decide which air fryer is right for you. So here are some of The Kitchen Draw’s picks of the key things to be on the lookout for when thinking about how to choose an air fryer.
Size and shape of the air fryer
Whilst your air fryer might end up replacing your oven, it is still another appliance that you need to store and use in the kitchen. And so yes, size (and shape) matters. This will be even more important if you have limited counter space or a small kitchen.
Some models are effectively square or rectangular boxes, and so will work better for some people than the round models that might not slot into a storage space as well. And whilst a smaller option will be lighter and easier to move and store, the trade-off is that you’re likely to have smaller cooking capacity.
Number of cooking chambers
One of the key differentiators between types of air fryer is how many areas they have to cook in. Dual basket/drawer models are very popular, as they allow you to cook two different types of food at once, even if they require different cooking functions and timings. Most of these models will have two equal size drawers, however some, such as the Tower Vortx 9 Litre Duo Capacity Basket Air Fryer, have different size baskets that will be a useful feature for some families.
Single-chamber appliances usually mean you have increased cooking capacity for a single food type, and so will suit some people better. Some of these models even allow you to cook using a rotisserie, skewers or a spinning air fry basket (for a perfectly distributed cook).
Capacity – how much food you can cook at once – is kind of an obvious one. If you only plan on cooking for one or two people, a smaller capacity may be sufficient (meaning you may be able to opt for a more compact model that is easier to store). But if you have a larger family or often entertain, a larger capacity will be more practical. It’s important to choose an air fryer with a capacity that meets your current and future needs.
Features and cooking capabilities (some are more than just an air fryer!)
Different brands and models come with a range of features, such as a digital display, timer, adjustable temperature settings and ability to match or sync cooking times in different baskets. Many will also have multiple cooking functions alongside air frying, such as roast, bake, grill or even dehydrate. Consider what types of food you’ll be cooking most often and choose one that can accommodate your needs. For example, if you love grilled food you may prefer something like the Ninja Foodi MAX Pro Health Grill, Flat Plate & Air Fryer. If slow cooking or pressure cooking are important to you, the Ninja Foodi MAX 15-in-1 SmartLid Multi-Cooker could be a better direction. If ease of use is key, look for an air fryer with a simple control panel and clear instructions, as well as dishwasher-safe baskets and pans for easy cleaning. Some air fryers even come with accessories such as skewers and racks, which can expand the range of foods you can cook.
What are people saying
Reviews can be a really useful insight into how good a particular model is, but might also prompt you to think about some considerations you hadn’t thought of. Check out the reviews on the brand’s store site, but also have a look on Amazon and Google. Professional review sites such as Which? can help with unbiased and objective comparisons of the most important features.
Some air fryer brands even have strong online communities that can help with tips, tricks and recipes. There are Facebook groups for most of the major brands of air fryers (i.e. Tefal ActiFry Genius XL Recipes and tips) and some have dedicated recipe sites such as this one from Ninja.
When choosing an air fryer there are a multitude of factors to consider. It’s important to do your research and find the air fryer that’s right for you, and hopefully some of these pointers have helped.