If you’ve heard about the air fryer, then you must already know about much better it is to cook food with circulating hot air than it is to use lots of cooking oil in traditional frying methods. There’s no question that you should buy one.
Obviously, that depends on your budget and your personal preferences regarding features. Still, there are other factors that you need to consider besides the price.
This is the first thing you need to check, especially if you have a large family or you tend to prepare food for large groups of people.
For the most part, air fryers tend to occupy a lot of space, yet they can prepare food for only 2 people or so at one time. That’s due to how the thing works. It circulates extremely hot air around the pot to fry the food.
Some models are considered large of it can cook food for a family of 4 at once. But some are so large that it can fit in more than 4 quarts of food at one time.
However, those units are very large and they can cost quite a bit of money. So if you’re just getting one for your dorm or your solo apartment then a typical small air fryer will do just fine. You’ll get to save money and your kitchen won’t feel cramped.
Here you have to read reviews, since advertisements aren’t exactly objective. You have to make sure that the model can actually cook your food evenly, with no cold and hot spots.
Then you should also check its durability. Here it helps if the brand name has a reputation for good quality products. A longer warranty period is also indicative of its durability. But you should read customer reviews as well and find reports of how long a unit lasts before it conks out.
To make sure that you can cook your food properly, your air fryer must be able to reach extreme temperatures. You need to be able to reach at least 300 degrees F, though some excellent units can reach up to 400 degrees or so. Take note that if you can get a higher temperature, the cooking time is significantly shorter.
Some units also offer just a single temperature setting, so it may be 300 degrees F or nothing. But others allow you to adjust the temperature, so you can set it to 175 degrees if you want.
Usually, the control is a simple knob you just turn, although other units offer touchpad keys or touchscreen controls with the data on an LCD display.
Generally, you’re better off with the adjustable temperature feature, as some foods may require different temperature settings for best results. Touchpads are nice, but they may not register if your fingers are dirty.
Some of these models aren’t just for frying food. They can also grill and roast meat and veggies, and you can even use them to bake brownies and cake.
So should you get these versatile models?
That depends on whether you need these other features. If you’re in a solo apartment and you’re looking for your first cooking appliance, then they’re great. But these extra features may be redundant if you already have other appliances for these other methods of cooking.
Besides, these advanced models tend to be more expensive, so if you don’t have the budget for them you may just want to stick to a plain model as your best choice air fryer.
These are the bells and whistles that usually come with the nicer models. Most of the time, there’s going to be an automatic timer and shutoff, so at least you won’t have to manually turn off when it’s done cooking. Some models, though, even have a “keep warm” feature so you don’t have to attend to the cooked food immediately.
Another feature you may want is to have preset programs for certain kinds of food. Others also offer a see-through window or cover so you can check the state of the food without opening the lid and letting the heat out.
You may also want to check for other safety features. Some models keep the exterior cool when it’s operating, so you can’t get burned. The basket inside should also come with a nice handle so you can get the food out more easily.
Easy to Clean
Generally, these things are comparatively easier to clean since you won’t really use too much cooking oil. Sometimes you can just wipe it around inside and you’re done. However, it helps if the food basket and the pot are both dishwasher safe.
You may also want to consider a non-stick cooking surface, although people are divided about this feature. Some like it because it makes cleanup so much easier when you don’t have bits of food sticking to the food basket. However, the nonstick layer may not last, and it may even peel and stick to your food instead.
There you have it: the factors you need to check out to arrive at the best choice air fryer for you. While you can always just go with what’s affordable or what’s popular, it’s always a good idea to check if the air fryer you want has the features you need.
So check the various factors we’ve listed, so you can make sure that you get every feature that suits your circumstances. The best choice is the one that gives you want you want for the price you can afford.