Between the Instant Pot and the air fryer, home cooks have been treated to two of the handiest gadgets released in the last decade.
The air fryer was launched at the 2010 IFA trade show in Berlin by Philips. Since then, the sales of the appliance have continued to grow, and many imitators have followed.
From 2015 to 2019, sales of the air fryer quadrupled. Statista reports that by the end of 2019, air fryer sales were worth more than $412 million.
While their popularity is undeniable, there may still be a few things you should consider before making a purchase.
What should you know about air fryers?
Kitchen gadgets come and go. The rise of the celebrity chef, and the popularity of home cooking, have led to many gadgets and tools being launched.
The vast majority of the gadgets available for use in the kitchen are unnecessary, and a waste of money.
Nevertheless, sometimes a truly useful product arrives. The longevity of the air fryer points to this being one such product.
Before you go rushing to buy one, take a pause to read the points below.
What size air fryer should you buy?
This is perhaps the biggest concern when buying any appliance of this type. Buy something too big and you risk never using its potential and spending too much.
However, if you buy too small an air fryer, you might regret it very quickly.
For a single person, or couple, a mini air fryer might be perfectly adequate. You probably shouldn’t expect too many leftovers with this model though.
A small to mini air fryer might go up to 3 quarts. A medium one for a family of three or four would perhaps go to 6 quarts or 7. For a very big family, you may require more capacity.
Look at the basket
Basket air fryers come in three distinct styles. There are versions with a mesh-type basket that can be removed. Another type has a basket with perforations at the bottom. The last type generally has a rack at the bottom of the air fryer’s drawer.
What you should consider is, how easy are these different styles to clean? Is it easy to remove the basket, and therefore the cooked food? And, how much air circulates through these baskets for cooking?
Do they only fry food?
The name of this appliance has led to some misconceptions about the device. They perhaps cannot match the range of an Instant Pot, but they are not only good at frying.
The air fryer is more like an oven than anything, and it can therefore cook different types of food. Pizzas, salmon, vegetables, and more can be done. They can even cook bread, and quicker than in the oven.
There are good points and bad to cooking with an air fryer but versatility isn’t one of the bad ones.
What controls and modes are available?
Air fryers can fry, broil, roast, bake, and saute, in an air fryer. The cooking modes between different air fryers don’t change as much as say, multi cookers might, but there are still some things to watch for.
Two points of concern for a potential buyer might be the temperature, and whether the device has digital or manual controls.
Not all air fryers have temperature control, and this may be an important omission for many cooks. Manual or digital controls are more of a personal choice, but digital controls are clearer to see.
Are they actually healthy?
It is possible to cook without using oil, so this is a plus if you like fried food, but would like to improve your diet.
The thing is with the air fryer, you will determine how healthy it can be. If you cook salmon, and snacks such as veggie chips, you’ll be doing ok. But, if you use it to make pork crackling then perhaps not so much so.
Are they eco-friendly?
Many older appliances are not eco-friendly, and frying itself is bad for the environment.
With the cost of electricity rising, it isn’t just the environment you want to think of either.
Air fryers cook food much quicker than by standard methods. They will thus reduce your electricity bill, which is good for the planet, and the wallet.
They can help to reduce the amount of waste cooking oil you produce. GlobeNewswire reports that by 2026, the world will be producing 258 million metric tonnes of vegetable oil.
Waste oil is bad for the environment, and between the US, England, and China, the majority of the world’s waste oil is produced.
Another consideration when looking at what capacity to buy is to consider your kitchen’s workspace. Air fryers will take up a certain amount of countertop.
However, your most important considerations should be the capacity, how easy it is to clean, are the controls clear and easy to use, and will you use the device?
When selecting the best kitchen appliances for your home, consider what you will use them for. Fortunately, there is something of a following behind the air fryer, so you won’t ever be short of recipes online.