A lot of people are making the switch to using an air fryer instead of a deep fat fryer. Whereas a deep fat fryer uses bubbling hot oil to fry your food, an air fryer uses hot air instead to fry your food. This means that by using no oil, or very little oil then you can enjoy all your favourite fried foods but in a much healthier way. But how do you choose which one is best for you?
Different Types of Air Fryer
There are two main types of air fryer on the market. There are those that have a pull-out drawer, or a bowl type. The pull-out drawer type normally has a basket or tray that you put food into and then slide this into the device under the heating element. These are generally a little smaller and have the disadvantage that in order to be able to check on your food you need to remove it from the device and interrupt the cooking process. The bowl-type generally has a wider bowl which allows for more food and incorporates a viewing window that allows you to monitor the food progress during cooking without interrupting it. Sometimes the bowl type also has a stirring arm which allows your food to be moved during the cooking process. This supposedly helps foods like fries cook better, however in practice, this isn’t always the case.
How Much Should an Air Fryer Cost?
What you will find is there is a wide range of prices for air fryers available. These all depend on the features that the air fryer has. The more expensive ones will have multiple compartments which allow you to cook more than one type of food at the same time, and sometimes they are able to be controlled or monitored using an app on your phone. Before you purchase make sure you compare the best air fryers on the market. The cheaper air fryers tend to be smaller allowing for less food to be cooked at one time. In practice, some of the cheaper air fryers tend to have poor performance and don’t give the crisp cooked chips that you would like. So, you should be prepared to spend as much as you can to get the best device for your money.
Features You Should Watch For
We have mentioned above that some air fryers have a stirring paddle, and this can assist with the cooking process, though in practice these can be hit and miss so you should check the individual reviews before making a purchase. Instead of an arm, sometimes there is a rotating bowl. This is designed to have a similar effect to the arm. It causes your food to be moved during the cooking process which allows for a more even cook. Another feature which varies between devices is whether they have a digital or an analogue timer. Those with a digital timer allow for a great degree of precision when setting up to cook. It will also give you a countdown as to how long is left in the cooking process. The analogue devices normally have a dial that you turn to set the cooking time. You will find similar analogue vs digital controls for temperature as well; they should allow you to set a temperature between 80c and 240c.
Ultimately making the switch to an air fryer is a good move to have healthier food. The primary choice about which to choose will be on size and cost. You should be prepared to avoid the cheapest of air fryers and go for something with a little more quality which will give you better results and last a lot longer.
Anna Friend’s background in the culinary industry has led to a passion for recipe and foot writing for some of the world’s largest food publications. Working in Arkansas now, Anna loves barbecues and tradtional country cooking.