There are few things that help to explain the increasing desire to eat and live more healthily quite like the ever-growing popularity of air fryers. The devices allow you to eat the same sort of tasty food as you’ve always enjoyed whilst also having them fried, just in a healthier way than by filling a pan with cooking oil and putting your chips in it. Little wonder, then, that air fryers are one of the most sort after kitchen appliances in this year’s Black Friday deals. They won’t make you thin, but they might help to enjoy slightly healthier food options.
In essence, air fryers work in a similar way to ovens, given that they send heat around your food and cook it for you. The major difference is that the way that they work allow them to still ‘fry’ your food in a manner that ovens can’t quite achieve. The result is that you can eat fried food with a much lower fat content than if you’d deep-fried it, which obviously feels like a win-win type scenario. With the demand for fried food as high as it has ever been, it’s no surprise that people will be spending this Black Friday on the lookout for air fryer deals.
This Years Best Air Fryer Sales
Latest UK Black Friday Offers For 2023
Shops With Air Fryer Offers
Air Fryer Buying Guide
When manufacturers came up with the idea of air fryers, the aim was to create a much healthier way of cooking the foods that people love. The fact that deep-fried foods contain more fat than normal foods is a big part of the reason why air fryers are so appealing, given then they need only a fraction of the oil that other frying methods require. It allows people to have the foods that they love, with the same flavours and textures, but with a much lower oil intake, which is obviously healthier than when the same foods get deep-fried.
There are plenty of things that you need to think about when looking to buy an air fryer other than just whether it will allow you to cook healthier food or not. From the capacity if the machine through to how it works, even the slightest bit of investigation will quickly help you to realise that not all air fryers are created equal. On this page we’ll look to give you a wealth of information that will help you to decide which functions and qualities you will want from your air fryer to ensure that you’re forewarned when entering the Black Friday sales.
What to Look For
Of course, just because something is healthier doesn’t mean that there aren’t big differences between the various devices that you can buy. To start with, there are two main types of machine when it comes to the air fryer market: those with pull-out trays and those that have a bowl. Whilst they all work in roughly the same way, the model that you opt for will change all sorts of things about how you cook your food. They are similar to fan ovens, in the sense that they moved hot air around the appliance, but there’s more to think about, like the following:
- Does it have a rotating basket?
- Is there are stirring paddle
- Whether the timer is manual or digital
- Does it have smart controls?
- How easy it is to repair
It is fair to say that that list is far from exhaustive, but it at least gives you a sense of the kind of things that you’ll need to weigh up before taking the air fryer plunge. We’ll give each of these sections and more besides due consideration on this page, ensuring that you won’t be caught short when you begin to load up the air fryer deals on Black Friday. Not all air fryers are created equal so it is important to think about what it is that you want to get from your machine, creating a list of must-haves to look out for.
There are some machines that have extra cooking racks to give you more room to cook, for example, whilst some of them have many parts that are dishwasher safe. If you can imagine how regularly you’d have to clean your oven if you were to put your food on the bottom of it every time you cook, you can easily imagine what a difference it would make to be able to put parts of your air fryer into the washing machine. This is just another aspect of making life easier for you after you’ve eaten your favourite fried food, but healthier.
Does It Have a Rotating Basket?
The whole point of an air fryer is that it can cook your food evenly. This is achieved by having hot air rotated around the compartment that your food fits into but, as anyone with a fan oven will know, not all food is necessarily cooked evenly. As a result, some air fryers can work on a slight tilt, which combines with the rotation of the basket that the food goes into in order to ensure that everything truly does get cooked evenly. This is especially useful if you use your air fryer for something like chips, which need to be evenly coated.
A good example of an air fryer that boasts this feature is the Russell Hobbs Cyclofry Plus, which essentially looks a little bit like a tombola. There is a drum-style basket that rotates during the cooking time, allowing it to cook the likes of kebabs and even rotisserie chickens really easily. Though that is a specific example, it does give you a sense of the sort of thing that you can expect from an air fryer with a rotating basket. It allows for all-over cooking of whatever it is that you’re hoping to eat for your breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Is There a Stirring Paddle?
Much like with a rotating basket, stirring paddles are designed to ensure that your food is cooked all over. They do this by moving the food around during the cooking process, allowing the hot air to get to all parts of it. It removes the need for you to remove the basket and turn the food over yourself, which will not only take up time but also release the hot air from the machine. Instead of constantly having to watch over the food, you can leave machine to get on with if for you whilst you busy yourself preparing other parts of your meal.
The truth is that not all stirring paddles work that well, so if it is a feature that you’re particularly keen to take advantage of then it’s worth reading reviews of the models that offer it to see if people think it works or not. Obviously not all food needs to be turned whilst being cooked and certainly doesn’t need to be on a regular basis, so the majority of air fryers with stirring paddles will allow you take them out if you don’t need them. Again, this is worth checking once you’ve found the model that you think is for you.
Is the Timer Manual or Digital?
Regardless of the air fryer model that you end up buying, it is going to give you the ability to set a timer for how long you want your food to be cooked for. The only question is whether that timer works manually or digitally, with the latter obviously offering you significantly more control over your cooking than the former. For those that have never owned an air fryer before, perhaps the best comparison would be to a microwave. Some microwaves allow you to put in specific time courtesy of the digital timer.
Other microwaves, meanwhile, will ask you to turn a manual timer that is entirely unspecific and is always rather random. The same is true for air fryers, with digital timers being much better for those of you that like to be specific in how you cook. Digital timers also tend to have bright displays that mean that you can tell how long is left of the cooking time courtesy of a quick glance. Manual timers, on the other hand, are far too vague in their timing to be able to turn to and see how much more cooking there is to do.
Does It Have Smart Controls?
Nowadays, more and more of our home devices are part of the Internet of Things, or IoT, family. This means that they’re connected to the internet and can be given instructions courtesy of the use of a mobile phone or tablet. Such ‘smart’ air fryers not only allow you to do things such as input the amount of cooking time you want or the temperature that they should cook at, but you can even tell them the recipe that you’re making and that will result in instructions being sent to the air fryer so that it cooks things correctly.
Smart air fryers can send you a notification when the cooking is done, meaning that you don’t need to be in the same room as them to hear the alarm go off. Whilst it isn’t a common feature of air fryers, it is something that exists in the marketplace and can therefore be added to your list of requirements. Of course, adding smart capabilities to virtually any decide send the price shooting up, so it’s a feature that might be fun but might not necessarily be worth the extra money you’ll need to spend on it.
Arguably the most important factor when considering an air fryer is its size. The size of air fryer that you’ll need will be dictated by one of two things: how many people you’re cooking for or how much food you need to cook. It goes without saying that the larger each of those factors is will be the important factor in terms of the size of air fryer you’ll need, but it’s worth thinking about the fact that the majority of air fryers can cook four portions in one go. With that in mind, a standard air fryer will do for a family of four that like normal portions.
There are much larger air fryers that you can consider, however. Some of the largest are as big as twice the size of standard air fryers, giving you much more room to cook larger portions. Of course, the bigger the air fryer is in terms of the size of the portions that it can cook, the more room it will take up on your countertop or in your cupboard once you’ve used it and need to put it away. One of the best things to do is to weigh up how much food you’ll need to cook alongside how much space you’ve got for storage and go from there.
How Easy It Is to Repair?
Most companies sell air fryers with a warranty, so as long as it breaks during that period, you’ll generally be ok. Of course, sometimes what happens to the air fryer might not be covered by your warranty or, if you’re really unlucky, might happen outside the time period that your warranty covers. When this happens, you’ll need to know how easy the machine is to fix yourself. For some of you, this isn’t something that you’ll ever even countenance and therefore can be happily ignore, but for others it will be really important.
Generally speaking, most manufacturers only sell the parts of air fryers that are easily reached and therefore simple enough to change. The likes of a rack or paddle would be a good example of this. If you consider yourself to be the sort of person who could take apart an air fryer and fix it then the best thing to do before you make your purchase is to contact the manufacturer and see what you’d be able to buy from them in the event that it breaks down. If they don’t sell the internal components then the likelihood is that it will be too difficult to fix.
What Sort of Things Can You Make in an Air Fryer?
The whole point of an air fryer is, rather obviously, that it circulates hot air and cooks the food evenly. The word ‘fryer’ is slightly misleading when you consider that it doesn’t actually fry anything. Instead, it cooks it quickly and the best ones will give your food the same sort of crispy and fried texture that you’d get from a deep-fryer, including the golden-brown look. As a result, opting to cook the sorts of foods that would benefit from this is the best thing to do when you start off using your air fryer for the first time.
Whilst the air fryer is at its best cooking food from frozen, it is also a great cooking tool for the likes of chicken wings, donuts and cookies that you want to give an extra-crispiness. Here’s a list of just some of the sort of things that you can cook using an air fryer:
- Cinnamon Rolls
- Baked Potatoes
- Pork Chops
- Fried Chicken
- Crispy Bacon
- Apple Chips
- Fried Brussel Sprouts
If any of those things take your fancy then you can jump online and find recipes for them relatively quickly, but that at least gives you a sense of what you can use an air fryer for. As a device, it adds something to your cooking whilst using significantly less oil than you would when cooking with a deep-fat fryer, for example. There are brands that claim to use as much as 75% less oil than deep fryers would. Typically speaking, a recipe in a deep fat fryer would use three cups of oil compared to one tablespoon in an air fryer.
Anything Else to Consider?
If you decide to buy an air fryer that has a basket for your food to go into, the likelihood is that you’ll need to remove the basket in order to turn or toss the food within. When you do this, some air fryers will pause the timer in order to give accurate timings, whilst others won’t and the vary act of taking out the food to turn it will likely throw your timings in the air. This is fine if you’re the sort of person who can keep track of this or doesn’t care too much about accuracy, whilst for others this will be a crucial aspect that you’ll need to think about.
Some air fryers are more like mini-ovens in terms of how they look and behave. This means that the cooking area will be much bigger than on the basket-style devices. The food tends to go into such machines on trays, meaning that it tends to get more efficient crisping and cooking because it is more even spread out, provided you don’t pile it all on top of itself. In terms of size, such machines can be compared to the average microwave, taking up an equivalent amount of space.
Something that might matter to you is whether or not the air fryer boasts a temperature control. Those that do can often be shifted between around 80 degrees centigrade to 200 degrees, which obviously provides much more control over the cooking that you’re doing in general. Some don’t have the ability to change the temperature, however, and are much more basic in the manner in which they work. They are much simpler to use, but are certainly not the sort of machines that you’ll opt for if you’re cooking complicated recipes.
The final thing to think about when it comes to buying an air fryer is whether or not you can put parts of it into the dishwasher. For those that own a dishwasher, they can be time-savers, cutting out the need to wash things by hand. When you consider how messy and oily an air fryer can get, even if they do use much less oil and deep-fat fryers, it can save you having to try to clean part of the machine in horrible, oily water. It is only a small thing, but for some people it will make a big difference.