Can you enjoy a guilt-free fry up? Yes, you can, courtesy of an air fryer! We nominate our best air fryer as we review 5 of the best models on the market in the UK today.
- 1 What is an air fryer?
- 2 Reviews of 5 of the best air fryers
- 2.1 Tefal ActiFry Low Fat Fryer
- 2.2 Philips HD9220/20 Healthier Oil Free Airfryer
- 2.3 Breville VDF105 Halo Plus Health Fryer
- 2.4 DeLonghi FH1363 Multifry Cooker
- 2.5 Salter EK2118 Healthy Cooking Air Fryer
- 3 Conclusion
- 4 See also:
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is like… Well, a miniature oven. It’s small in size and capacity but cooks the food by heating the air inside the oven. This kind of cooking requires very little grease to be used in general, leaving very little mess, and you’ll practically need to clean very little after using the fryer.
Not only that, but because you use very little grease or oil, the food you prepare will be very tasty and juicy, as it will be prepared in its own juices, as the old wives have the habit of saying. So, what are some of the things you need to consider before buying a fryer like that?
Well, for starters, you need to consider the capacity, of course. There are several types of products out there, some small enough for a single dish to be prepared, and some big enough to handle a full-course meal. Naturally, with greater size comes a heftier price tag, so you need to consider what you’re getting for what you’re paying. The overall size of the product is greatly important, because you may not have enough space on your counter to place the fryer there.
Secondly, there is a matter of power. Normally, you will be operating with a device of 800-1400 W. Such devices won’t be the fastest, but they will get the job done without you having to worry about setting the house ablaze. There exist larger, more powerful machines that are used in restaurants, and they operate on much higher wattage. These fryers will prepare your food in minutes, but the additional power they require may overload your circuits and cause a fire. No pair of chicken drums, no matter how good, are worth an inferno.
Some of the fryers also have detachable baskets. This one may not be a standard, but it ought to be. Detachable baskets are greatly useful for getting the food out of the device into the serving dish, but it will also make it much easier for you to clean the oven.
Another very important thing you need to consider is the product’s cooking options. A good air fryer should have several cooking options that will let you prepare more diverse meals. Not only that, but having such a gadget will save you money, as you won’t need to buy several devices that will serve different purposes. Besides, you might not even have the money for them, nor the room where to place them. Most importantly, it will reduce chances of impulse purchases.
Lastly, check the price, or, rather, value for the money. There’s nothing worse than an overpriced product. Check if the product you’re buying has enough features and good enough features to warrant the price. Checking the warranty is also a good idea.
And, with that, we wrap up our little guide. Now, for the main course, check out our five delicious air fryers.
Reviews of 5 of the best air fryers
One of the best air fryers available in the UK comes from Tefal. The Tefal ActiFry is a wonderfully affordable product with some splendid features included. The product is not too big either, making it great for those that don’t have all that much room to work with.
What makes this product so special? Well, firstly, the fact that it requires only a spoonful of oil to cook, but can work with no oil whatsoever. Not only that, but the fryer can also work frozen food. How many times have you forgotten to take the meat out of the freezer? Well, with the ActiFry, this is not problem – just season the meat and put it into the fryer, and it will be done in no time.
The ActiFry also has decent capacity. The fryer can prepare one kilogram of food at once, allowing you to feed a family of four at once.
The ActiFry is also very versatile, one of its greatest strengths, with the product being able to cook fish, sausages, vegetables, frozen or fresh, turkey breasts, chilli con carne and other meals.
If you don’t know what to cook, don’t worry, Tefal’s got your back. The ActiFry comes with a handy cookbook that will let you explore the device’s strengths and capabilities to the fullest.
The ActiFry also features a neat stirring paddle which allows the fryer to cook the food thoroughly and evenly and is equipped with its own anti-odour filter so that the only smell coming from it will be of your delicious meal.
The ActiFry is also equipped with other commodities you would find on a standard oven. The product has a timer that lets you set cooking time, starting with one minute and ending at 99. An alarm is also present, and it will let you know when your food is ready. The lid is automatic and operated by a simple button, so you don’t have to hold it while you check or prepare your food. When you open the lid, the fryer will automatically stop cooking and resume once you close it. The pan in the fryer is non-stick, making it easy to clean. The pan is also machine washable.
As for the downsides, the product takes a bit of time to actually cook the food. Like we said in the guide, standard machines aren’t too quick, as they lack the power. It will take it up to 40 minutes for the product to prepare the chips. Again, this is a trade-off for the lower fat percentage.
Tefal Actifry Pros & Cons
- Automatic lid.
- Features a timer.
- Very versatile.
- Comes with a cookbook.
- Features a stirring paddle.
- Takes some time to prepare the food.
Number two on our list is the Philips HD9220/20.
This air fryer is similarly priced to the Tefal and has similar features. The main difference between the two is the timer and the overall design.
At first glance, the Philips looks more like a jug than a fryer. It’s also slightly smaller than the Tefal. However, the HD9220 has some features that the Tefal doesn’t have, which is one of the reasons it made its way onto our list.
The HD9220 is made to use as little oil as possible, making it very useful if you’re on a diet. It is said that it uses 80% less fat than when you’re cooking in traditional ways. Not only that, but it is also capable of cooking without the use of oil. Just like the Tefal, you can place frozen food in it and the fryer will cook without problems.
This means that the appliance is very versatile, allowing you to prepare a real meal with several courses.
Also just like the Tefal, the Philips has the timer. However, the Philips’ timer can be set to a maximum of 30 minutes. On top of that, the Philips has an auto-off feature that stops the cooking once the time runs out on the timer.
Now, onto the one feature that the Tefal doesn’t have. This product allows you something the Tefal doesn’t – pre-heat the oven. Being allowed to heat the oven before you actually put something in it will cut the cooking time significantly. Whereas the Tefal requires 40 minutes to prepare a batch of chips, the Philips requires no more than 20 minutes. Still not as fast as the regular oven, but it’s not bad at all.
If you’re not sure what to cook using the Philips, don’t sweat it – you will receive a booklet with 30 recipes you can try out in your new air fryer. It ships in a very convenient frustration-free package, although you can order one in a standard package if that is your preference. The product is dishwasher safe too.
One of the problems with the fryer is that it seems not to be quite as durable as it should be. Some customers say that their unit broke only after about a year, which is exactly how long the warranty lasts. Coincidence or not?
Philips HD9220/20 Pros & Cons
- Takes it less time to cook chips than the Tefal Actifry.
- Features a timer and pre-heat function.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Shipped in a frustration-free packaging.
- Uses very little oil.
- Reportedly becomes unreliable after a year in use.
- Enough capacity for two adult-sized meals.
One of the biggest names in the house appliance industry is Breville. Their devices are known for their excellent designs and good durability. They’re also often innovative and feature some interesting functions that you won’t find on other products. One such innovative product is the Breville VDF105 Halo Plus Health Fryer.
One of the things that makes this product different is that it features a tilt function. This function allows the device to keep turning the chips so that they would be cooked from all sides evenly. The product can also be kept level, and this is best used when cooking fish or mushrooms.
The Breville also features a grill-only function. This allows for thorough cooking of steaks, bacon or fish fillets, although you should expect that this will take some time, despite the product operating at the maximum power capacity as far as household appliances are concerned.
What the Breville doesn’t have is auto-shutoff. This makes the Halo Plus a little bit more dangerous when handled, as you run the risk of overcooking your food, so you need to watch it constantly. It does have a timer, though, and an alarm that will warn you when the oven stops cooking. The timer can be set to a maximum value of 75 minutes. The entire thing can cook up to 1 kg of food, making it capable of cooking four dishes at one time. The fryer’s versatility really allows you to experiment with it, and expand your recipe book.
Some of the better features the product has are the non-slip legs and the cool touch handle. Because the device doesn’t feature auto-shutoff when you open it, this makes handling the fryer much easier when it’s actually cooking. The Halo Plus also includes a drip tray that will catch any condensation that might appear in the machine when you’re cooking.
As far as negative aspects of this oven go, its most interesting feature, the tilting and rotating bowl, might cause you more of a headache than you really think it would. The tilting of the bowl should be used to cook the chips evenly, but this is, most often than not, not the case. The tilting of the bowl will cause the chips collect at the lowest point, which will, in turn, cause the chips on the top to be cooked faster and better than ones on the bottom. The bowl’s supposed to turn and mix the chips, but this doesn’t occur at any point during the cooking. So, if you’re preparing the chips, it’s maybe better to just keep the fryer in level position and go about the business as usual.
Breville VDF105 Halo Plus Pros & Cons
- Quite durable.
- Timer included with alarm.
- A very versatile air fryer.
- Non-slip legs.
- Cool touch handle.
- Double-action cooking method.
- 1 kg capacity.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Tilt function of questionable utility.
- No auto-shutoff.
Our penultimate product comes from DeLonghi. DeLonghi is another very prominent brand, so you can expect their product to be of very good quality. And, indeed, the FH1363 Multifry Cooker has some of the best features around. Not only that, but it’s one of the biggest cookers on our list, losing in that respect only to our final air fryer. So, let’s see what can you expect from DeLonghi.
First up, this cooker has a knob that allows you to select three pre-set cooking modes. This is an impressive feature, as this aids in decreasing the time it takes you to prepare everything. Want pizza? Just put the ingredients in and turn the knob to the desired program, and the cooker will do everything for you. On top of that, DeLonghi also features three additional programs, allowing you to prepare even more dishes in it. The fryer features a pan function, an oven function and a surround function, allowing the preparation of meals that you would usually prepare in these three ways. As far as the four basic programs go, you have settings for pizza, as we’ve mentioned, then potatoes, stew and, finally, cake.
Moving on, the cooker has a digital control panel which is much more convenient than levers and dials. Here, you can set how long you want the cooker to work, and how much power you want the product to use.
The bowl used for holding the ingredients is non-stick, but also anti-scratch, a feature that increases the product’s life span. The oven is pretty powerful for a standard appliance, capping at 1,400W. Still, you can expect it to take its sweet time preparing your food.
As for the cooker’s capacity, we already said it’s bigger than the air fryers we’ve looked at earlier. Indeed, this oven can prepare 1.7 kg of food. This is more than enough to prepare food for a family of four and have some extra food left.
On top of all that, the product is very affordable too. When compared in terms of price, the fryer is significantly cheaper than most of the other products on this list. At around £90, it’s more affordable than the previous three products, but not our final entry.
As for the negative parts, we already mentioned that the oven takes a while to cook the food. Also, the oven is not that durable. Just like the Philips, the DeLonghi seems to have trouble working past 12 months of use.
DeLonghi FH1363 Multifry Pros & Cons
- Several pre-set programs and settings.
- Easy to operate dials and levers.
- Very affordable.
- Auto-shutoff function.
- Durable cooking bowl.
- Excellent capacity.
- Relatively short service life of the appliance.
The final product in our list of the best air fryers is the Salter EK2118 Healthy Cooking Air Fryer. To all intents and purposes, this is the ultimate air fryer on our list. The product is more affordable than any other, is bigger and has the same number of features as any other product on this list, making it the best value for the money air fryer on the market.
As we said, the Salter is much bigger than the other products. It has a capacity of 2.5 litres, which translates to 2.5 kg of food. As you see, the product features 150% of the capacity that any other fryer on this list offers, save the DeLonghi. However, if that’s not enough for you, you can choose between this and two other models that boast even greater capacities – one can take in 3.2 litres while the other can take in a whopping 4.5 litres – truly impressive. It should be noted that there exist noticeable differences in design between the three models. The difference between them is also, of course, reflected in the price.
As for the features, the fryer is not much different than other products we’ve already presented. It’s just as versatile, allowing you to prepare a lot of meals in it. Its size too allows for more versatility, enabling you to prepare meals that you maybe wouldn’t be able to prepare in other fryers on this list. The removable basket is non-stick, which makes it very easy to clean. The fryer features heat and power indicators, as well as auto-shutoff. The product will stop cooking automatically when you pull out the basket, which allows you to check the food without having the product run without anything in it, which does a great deal to prevent damage to the device. A timer is also featured, and so is an alarm that lets you know when the fryer is done cooking.
In terms of price, the Salter is very affordable. Compared to the first three product, the difference in price is as great as £40, with the Salter costing around £80. As mentioned earlier, the product is even cheaper than the DeLonghi, and bigger too.
As for the downsides, this product doesn’t seem to have an automatic stirring system (or any stirring system, for that matter). This means that you’ll have to periodically take the basket out, shake or stir the contents inside yourself, and then put it back in. This will increase the time it takes for the product to cook the food, and you’re looking at cooking times of 40 to 50 minutes.
Also, as with other products of its kind, the Salter EK2118 is not particularly durable, so be prepared for the possibility of it breaking after about a year.
Salter EK2118 Healthy Cooking Pros & Cons
- Exceptional capacity.
- Very affordable while boasting the same features as brand products.
- Removable basket.
- Very versatile.
- Has no automatic stirring options.
- Not that durable.
That just about wraps up our look at the best air fryers on the market. As you’ve seen, air fryers aren’t that expensive, making them a good alternative for a deep fryer if you want to eat healthily. However, they have do a reduced service life, becoming unreliable after a year of use.
That said, the devices are very versatile, allowing you to prepare lots of meals with them. So now, the only thing you need to do is to pick your favourite air fryer and get cooking!
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