Fried food is one of the tastiest treats you can serve at the dinner table, but we all know how unhealthy it can be. What if there was a way to have fried food, though, that tasted great but wouldn’t raise your cholesterol levels?

Air fryers are unique kitchen cooking aids, that deliver delicious and moist foods and use a fraction of the oil you would typically use. How good are they and how do they compare to conventional fryers? In this article we take a look at air fryers in detail and examine which is the best at replicating that old fashioned fried taste without the health implications.

  • 3.7-quart capacity
  • 8 preset menus for simple operation
  • Digital display
  • Timer and auto shut-off
  • 1-year limited warranty

  • 1.2-liter capacity
  • Auto shut-off
  • Dishwasher safe frying basket
  • Trendy color options
  • 1-year limited warranty

  • Turbostar technology
  • QuickControl dial for convenience
  • 20 percent smaller but still 2.7-quart capacity
  • QuickClean basket
  • 1-year warranty

  • 4.2-quart (4 liter) capacity
  • 60 minute timer
  • Auto shut-off
  • “Cool touch” exterior
  • 2-year warranty

  • Unique DuraCeramic non-stick coating
  • Uses 99.5 percent less oil than 4-liter deep fryers
  • “Safe to touch” handle
  • 3.3-quart capacity
  • 1-year limited warranty


Philips may be the original air fryer manufacturer, but GoWise USA is certainly the most purchased on Amazon. Their air fryer sells in the thousands, making them one of the most popular air fryer brands in America. This model has Rapid Air Technology that allows you to cook your favorite foods with little or even no oil at all. The heat that circulates will produce crispy food that tastes as good as the deep-fried version but is super-healthy.

GoWise has thought about the styling too by creating a host of funky color options that make their air fryers seem like a fun product that will fit any modern kitchen design scheme. Then there’s the price: this fryer is roughly one quarter the price of the Philips model and yet has a greater 3.7-quart capacity. It even has a timer that beeps 5 times when the food is cooked and then shuts itself off to save energy.

On the downside, the coating on the inside of the fryer base flakes off, as does the surface on the basket. Even with these faults, though, this fryer is worthy of being included in the list for the value for money aspect alone.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Large capacity
  • Available in bright color options
  • Auto shut-off
  • Rapid Air Technology

Cons

  • The black coating on the inside flakes off
  • The basket deteriorates over time


This Dash compact air fryer is our budget pick as it retails at a fraction of others on the list. It has retro styling and is available in 5 color options to suit any kitchen decor, and because this fryer uses AirCrisp technology, you don’t have to add any oil.

Just because this fryer is small doesn’t mean that you can’t have the benefits of bigger and more expensive models. This model has an auto -shut-off feature, a non-stick basket that’s dishwasher friendly, and a “cool touch” exterior. On the downside, when you first use this air fryer, it gives off a strong chemical smell, with many remedying the problem by tossing the basket in the dishwasher first. The dial is also difficult to decipher.

Pros

  • Compact size makes it ideal for a smaller space
  • Comes in 5 color options
  • Cooks without oil
  • Great price
  • Auto shut-off feature

Cons

  • It may be too small for some
  • Gives off a strong chemical smell
  • The dial is hard to read

Philips invented the air fryer, so it’s only fair that they should be first on the list. This model features their Turbostar technology, which means that the fryer is instantly hot, with no need to preheat. It also means that there is no need to turn the food during the cooking process to ensure that constant fryer heat levels are maintained.

It only takes a teaspoon of oil for this air fryer to deliver crispy food by continuously circulating air within the fryer. Every portion of your food is exposed for an even fry that comes without the fat and calories of traditional frying methods. This model also grills, roasts, and even bakes, increasing your cooking options in the kitchen and giving you energy efficient alternatives to the stove.

The technicians at Philips have also been smart with the design, creating a fryer that is 20 percent smaller than previous models yet it still has a 2.7-quart capacity, which should provide 4 family servings. This means that you can have this fryer in your apartment-style kitchen without having to compromise on the serving capacity.

On the downside, the temperature control only increases in 25-degree increments, which means that if you are trying to cook something on a temperature of 390 degrees Fahrenheit, you can only select 375 or 400 degrees. In addition, many report that the unit develops faults too quickly.

Pros

  • Instantly hot without preheating
  • Small footprint with a large capacity
  • Turbostar technology
  • It also grills, bakes, and roasts

Cons

  • Temperature control increases by 25-degree increments
  • Build quality issues

This Secura model has a front-loading drawer for convenience and a massive 4.2-quart capacity that should cater to the family in one cooking batch. This fryer also comes in a larger size of 5.3 quarts, to fulfill the needs of the most substantial families, and it’s versatile too, as it comes with a toaster rack and skewers to make kebabs. It has easy to view cooking times, a dial control to simplify the settings,non-slip pads to keep the fryer anchored to your countertop, and a “cool touch” exterior.

This model has a temperature range of 180 to 390 degrees Fahrenheit and, using the same high-speed air circulation of the GoWise USA GW22638 Air Fryer, it enables you to produce healthy fried food without the added fat content. On the downside, it can be noisy when operated, sounding like a fan on a high-speed setting, and the stand accessory has gaps that are too wide to hold most foods like nuggets and invariably foods stick to its surface.

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Front loading frying basket
  • “Cool touch” exterior
  • Feet anchors to secure it to your countertop
  • Options to fry fat-free

Cons

  • Noisy during operation
  • Stand is non-stick
  • The stand has gaps that are too large for nuggets

This Oster model features a unique non-stick interior coating called DuraCeramic that contains copper, which means it shouldn’t flake or peel, and because copper is such a capable conductor of heat, it means that you get an even cook and crispier food. Oster claims that their air fryer uses 99.5 percent less oil than similar 4-liter deep fryers but still retains all the flavor.

Like the Secura model, this fryer has a front-loading basket with a “safe to touch” handle, and because it has a 3.3-quart capacity, most families will be satisfied with the amount of food this thing produces in one hit. There are easy to follow temperature settings for the most common foods, and Oster even gives you recommendation on which oil to use for specific dishes. On the downside, it gives off a burning plastic smell that diminishes with time, and the cooking time settings are not accurate when it comes to the finished results.

Pros

  • Unique non-stick coating
  • Large capacity
  • “Safe to touch” handle
  • Front-loading basket
  • Uses 99.5 percent less oil than similar size deep fryers

Cons

  • Gives off a plastic smell when initially used
  • Temperature setting guidelines are inaccurate

Comparison Chart

Philips HD9641/99 TurbostarGoWise USA GW22638 Air FryerDash Compact Air FryerSecura 1500-Watt Air FryerOster Copper-Infused Air Fryer
Capacity2.7-Quart3.7-Quart1.6-Quart4.2-Quart3.3-Quart
Watts14251300100015001400
Timer
Auto Shut-OffX
Cool Touch
Dishwasher SafeX
Price$$$$$$$$$
Warranty1-year1-year limited1-year limited2-year1-year limited

Buyer’s Guide:

Air Fryer

Air fryers are a great alternative to the traditional way of frying food. They use heat and air circulation to rapidly dry-fry the food, ensuring that all the surfaces are in contact with the heat. Most use a spoonful of oil to give the food that fried quality and taste, although it is possible to cook food without any oil at all. The great news is that these machines are versatile too: many can handle meat, vegetables, fish, and some even toast and bake.

Everyone has the potential to benefit from an air fryer, but it is great for specifically those with high cholesterol levels or other heart conditions that can’t entirely give up their fried foods. Children also love fried meals, so teaching them from an early age that air frying is a better option might help to reduce obesity levels while still catering for tastebuds craving fries, shrimp, steak, and fish.

Air frying is also great for reducing those unwanted stenches that are associated with traditional deep fryers and oil “smoking points.” According to the United States Department of Agriculture, peanut oil has the highest smoking point, but the most commonly used oils like sesame and sunflower have some of the lowest, at 410 degrees Fahrenheit. No longer does your home need to smell like the kitchen at a fast food restaurant, with lingering smells that can take days to clear.

Then there are also the safety implications of air frying compared to deep fryers: according to the Insurance Journal, there are over $15 million worth of claims annually as a result of fire damage caused by deep fryers. Since air fryer uses a teaspoon of oil, they massively reduce the risk of burns and house fires.

PROS:
  • Safe to use – Air fryers are much safer than deep fryers as they only use a few drops of oil to create that fried taste.
  • Healthier – Eating air fried food is an excellent alternative to the deep-fried variety because it uses 90 percent less saturated fat.
  • Easier to clean – Because of the small amount of oil used during the cooking process, keeping your air fryer clean is easier than disposing of a bucket of old oil from a deep fryer.
CONS:
  • Taste – No matter how hard these machines try to replicate the taste, deep fried food tastes better.
  • Dried food – There is a danger that relying on heated air to fry food is only going to lead to dried out meals that have none of the tenderness or flavor of real fried food.
  • Capacity – Most air fryers cater for families of four or smaller, unlike deep fryers that have a much larger capacity.
Air Fryers

Pros

  • Healthier food that uses over 90 percent less fat
  • Safer to use and less of a burn or fire risk
  • Easier to keep clean

Cons

  • The taste may reflect the lack of oil used
  • Food often tastes dryer when it’s air fried
  • You may have to cook in batches because of the smaller capacity

  • Are air fryers more energy efficient?
  • Air fryers use less energy than a standard deep fryer because they have a facility to provide instant heat, whereas with the deep fryer you have to wait for the reservoir of oil to reach the desired temperature. In addition, air fryers offer more quick and even cooking because the heat is circulated continuously.
  • What is the healthiest oil to use in an air fryer?
  • Many extra-virgin olive oils and avocado oils are perfect for use in your air fryer while at the same time reducing the bad cholesterols associated with animal fats and other traditional cooking oils. The best way to apply them is through a diffuser that allows you to spray a thin coating on the inside of the air fryer. Some healthier oils tend to have a higher smoking point, however, so you might want double check if you have a specific oil in mind.
  • Is the healthiest way to air fry to avoid using any oils?
  • Yes, it is, but you have to temper your desire for super-healthy fried meals with the overall taste of the finished food. Often, frying without oil can lead to disappointing results that are soggy and have failed to dry and crisp. You might suffer the alternative and end up with dried out food that is burnt on the outside and undercooked in the centre. Oil is that magic ingredient that allows the air fryer to produce crunchy and flavorful meals but without saturating the food in fat.

Final Thoughts

If you love fried food but not the unhealthy aspect of it, then invest in an air fryer and use a spoonful of oil to achieve the desired results. For those looking for an air fryer that has the capacity, the power, and options like “cool touch” exterior and auto shut-off, then the GoWise USA GW22638 Air Fryer is impossible to beat.

For the more budget-minded, you can still have all the benefits but with a minimum outlay when you opt for the Dash Compact Air Fryer. This model may be compact but lacks nothing in terms of functions, making it ideal for those entering the air fryer world for the first time or for those with limited countertop space.

Air fryers of all shapes and budgets will deliver the family favorite fried food that you know and love, but at a fraction of the saturated fat compared to deep fryers.

Further Reading

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