UPDATED: 12th November 2017
Tower Airwave (Best Bargain)
However, we did find that it didn’t cook as evenly as other models, despite claiming to use halogen, convection and infrared heating together for this very purpose. We reckon this is down to the fact that this model does not rotate the food. Compared to rivals, it also took a little longer to complete cooking. We have seen some users complaining about the longevity of the product, and we only tested it for a short period, though many others seem totally satisfied months after purchase.
Duronic AF1 /B
This is another good budget option. Again the brand is fairly obscure, but the company has been producing good quality products for 12 years now.
The design is pretty compact and has an almost 1950s retro refrigerator look. It’s a bit more powerful than the offerings from Tower, which can save you time when cooking certain meals. It’s super easy to wash up too. Capacity is limited, with it being suitable for about 3 people maximum. If you don’t have a family to feed and are after a bargain, this is a good choice.
It’s listed as having a 1kg capacity, which is fine for a modest meal for 4 people.
Breville VDF105 Halo+ Health Fryer
Philips HD9230/20 Viva Airfryer
We’re not blown away by the looks, and it doesn’t allow you to look in on your food as it’s cooking. We’re also a little disappointed that it only has a 0.8kg capacity (which is surprising given it is much bigger in real life than it seems in pictures), which probably makes it only suitable for small families. The taste results are average on the whole were about the same as the Actifry and Halo.
Note: Build quality was spot on during testing, but we were using a slightly older model and there have been reports that newer models do no live up to this standard.
Philips HD9240/90 Avance
Air fryers on the whole are pretty cheap, but Philips has clearly bucked this trend with Avance. To be fair, they have surpassed the competition and put their money where their mouth is. It cooks food better than anything else on this list and Philips have clearly spent a lot of time perfecting their cooking method (the Avance heats the food from above as well as by circulating heated air).
It’s more bulky than you would imagine from the photos (and despite this only has a capacity of 3 litres/1.2kg), but has a very pleasing design and a simple, intuitive display.
There are many advantages of air frying. It’s healthier, easier and it doesn’t leave your kitchen smelling like a chip shop for weeks.
There is one major disadvantage – the taste. Sorry, but there is no way to recreate the sort of chips you nan used to make without sloshing a load of oil into a chip pan or fryer. Some of the worst air fryers on the market turn out downright awful food, while others (including the ones we’ve included on our list) can produce above average fries. They can’t recreate what you get in the chippy. Then again, they won’t lead to a heart attack.
They can also be loud – just like a microwave.
These caveats aside, if you’re after some tasty food that won’t hurt your arteries (as much), then an air fryer is the way to go.
How much should I spend?
You can now get a decent air fryer for £50-£60, but at this price there are more duds on the market than there are decent machines. They also tend to cook a little slower than more expensive models. You can go up to £200+ with the Philips Avance, and you will get a premium product. If you’re new to air frying though we’d suggest staying in the £80-100 range as a trade off between your wallet and quality.
What’s the difference between deep fat fryers and air fryers?
Deep fat fryers essentially dunk food in hot oil to cook it. This gives food a really crispy texture and, of course, a huge fat content. Air Fryers work more like a fan oven, passing hot air (and in many cases a little bit of oil) around the food.
What capacity do I need?
As a rule of thumb, a 1KG capacity will cook decent size portions for 4 people.
What else should I look our for?
There’s some useful extras that some models come with. Digital timers tend to be easier to use. The Philips models on our list also allow variable temperature settings for those wanting more control over their cooking.
What about a toaster over? Should I go for one of these instead?
Well, you’re really comparing apples and oranges. An air fryer is a totally different machine. It’s more versatile, and can cook things like lasagna as well as fried food – butIf you’re a pizza lover, or want to bake things without having a full integrated oven then go for a toaster oven.