The air-fryer has become the latest must-have kitchen appliance. With its cost-effective cooking possibilities, you might be wondering what you need to know when buying an air fryer. There are a few elements we need to consider, so let’s take a closer look …
How does an air fryer work?
Air fryers are a fantastic addition to your kitchen. They use the power of hot air to cook food. This is a much healthier alternative to deep-frying, which can add too much oil and fat to your diet. Air fryers are also more efficient than ovens or microwaves, which means you can save on electricity costs in the long run.
Will an air fryer save me money?
With the current cost of living crisis, air fryers are gaining popularity because they are cheaper to run than traditional ovens.
Air fryers are smaller and sometimes cook food faster than an oven, the running cost is a lot less than using a traditional oven.
That is before you also consider how much less oil you will be using when cooking with an air fryer. Instead of using a large quantity of oil to produce your favourite fried foods, you will usually be using a tablespoon or less.
With the price of oil increasing, this can add up to an additional amount of money saved.
Some people might be hesitant about buying an air fryer because they think it will be too expensive overall. But if you look at how much money you would spend on takeaway or fast food, it might make sense for you to buy an air fryer instead! There are also a lot of great fakeaway recipes using an air-fryer that you can use.
What size air fryer should I buy?
Air fryers come in different sizes, with the capacity to cook different amounts of food.
Air fryer capacity is measured in litres, and the higher the number the bigger the capacity.
If you are just cooking for yourself and the occasional second person then a smaller capacity will suit you just fine, however, if you are cooking for a family or a large number of people then you will need an air fryer with a bigger capacity.
Do I need dual cooking?
Some air fryers on the market offer dual cooking – either in the form of multiple baskets for cooking or making use of more than one tray.
If you want to cook an entire meal with sides then you might want to consider an air fryer that offers dual cooking. For example, you could cook fish in one basket or on one tray, and chips in the other basket or on the other tray.
If you are likely to just be cooking one thing at a time in your air fryer then the dual cooking function is not for you.
Do I need baskets or trays in my air fryer?
Air fryers cook food either in a basket or on trays like a traditional oven.
The basket-style air fryers are typically tall air fryers which feature the main unit with heating elements and fans. There are slide-out baskets that slot into place inside the air fryer.
Basket-style air fryers usually have a smaller cooking area than oven-style air fryers.
Basket-style air fryers often require the food cooking inside the basket to be shaken during cooking to ensure even cooking.
Oven-style air fryers use fan or convection technology to cook the food on flat trays. These trays side into the air fryer, similar to an oven.
Whilst usually bigger than a basket-style air fryer, the benefit of using separate trays is that you can cook a variety of foods at the same time.
Oven-style air fryers also often come with extra features, like a rotisserie function.
Do I need any special features?
Consider the meals you would like to cook using your air fryer. Did you know that some air fryers are jam-packed with special features? Match the features to your cooking style.
Some air fryers come with a rotisserie feature, allowing you to cook whole rotisserie chickens at home, and others have in-built cooking settings to help you to cook a variety of ingredients.
How much can I expect to spend on an air fryer?
Air fryer prices range widely, from around £40 at the lower end and up to £200 or more at the higher end.
Your budget should play an important factor in your decision.
Some people choose to buy a cheaper air fryer to see if they use it before deciding to upgrade, whereas others go straight in at the top end and buy a more expensive air fryer from the start.
There is no right or wrong budget for an air fryer, just what you can afford and what you’re willing to spend.
Of course, you can save money by buying a second-hand air fryer from places like eBay or Facebook Marketplace.
How much storage space does an air fryer need?
Air fryers come in various sizes, and the higher the capacity the bigger the air fryer is.
This means that you need to consider the size of the air fryer – not only for your kitchen worktops but also if you are planning to store your air fryer in a cupboard when not in use. Some air fryers are larger and would have difficulty fitting into a cupboard in your kitchen.
Will I use an air fryer?
It is time, to be honest with yourself – will you use the air fryer you have purchased? Can your favourite, regular meals be made using an air fryer? Can you create your own air fryer friendly meal plan?
Or do you have a history of buying kitchen gadgets and not use them? Only you can answer these questions.
If your air fryer will become another kitchen gadget that sits in a cupboard never to be used then buying one isn’t right for you.