There's a surprising number of things to consider when purchasing an air fryer, with a wide range of brands now offering varying sizes, prices, and types, all with varying cleaning requirements.
It's also important to steer clear of the air fryer buying mistakes people often make. Taking the time to think about the features you need – and those you don't need – will ensure you enjoy the full benefits of this convenient, energy-efficient appliance.
'When it comes to revolutionizing your kitchen and embracing healthier cooking alternatives, air fryers have taken the culinary world by storm,' comments Sarah Johnson, home appliance expert from Big Air Fryers. 'However, amid the excitement of acquiring this versatile kitchen appliance, many buyers unwittingly make some common mistakes.'
Air fryer buying mistakes
'By avoiding common mistakes like ignoring capacity and size, overlooking wattage and power, and neglecting safety features, you can make an informed decision and find an air fryer that aligns with the way you cook,' says Laura Arteaga, founder, writer, and content creator for Six Hungry Feet. 'Choosing the right air fryer can greatly enhance your cooking experience.'
1. Going too big or too small
'One mistake air fryer buyers often make is not paying enough attention to sizes,' says Caio Bersot, shopping expert at Rank-It. 'I've seen people frustrated about having a huge air fryer taking up too much space on their countertops, as well as people frustrated about having to cook things in multiple batches because their air fryer is too small.
A too-small air fryer limits how much you can cook, and may mean you have to cook in batches, which means things take longer. This frustration is one of the main reasons for people to stop using their air fryers altogether, says Laura Arteaga.
To avoid this, you may want to consider an air fryer that has two baskets allowing you to cook your meat in one drawer and vegetables in the other.
'On the other hand, purchasing a large air fryer may occupy excessive counter space, which can be a hassle in smaller kitchens,' adds Laura Arteaga.
Caio Bersot shares three simple questions to ask yourself in terms of picking the right size: How are you going to use it? Where do you plan to place it? How many people are in your household?
It's a personal choice and depends on the space you have available. If you're still unsure, you may like to follow recipe blogger and air fryer expert Samantha Erb's advice: 'I recommend buying an air fryer that is 5 QT and up. At that size, they’re still very affordable and you can still cook a whole chicken.'
Samantha Erb is a recipe blogger, recipe developer, writer, air fryer expert and the owner of Everyday Family Cooking. Her site focuses on air fryer recipes, choosing the best air fryer, and just easy recipes.
2. Not prioritizing ease of use
'Ease of use is a critical factor in any kitchen appliance. Some buyers overlook the importance of a user-friendly control interface when selecting an air fryer,' explains Sarah Johnson.
'Look for models with intuitive controls, presets, and easy-to-read displays. This ensures a seamless cooking experience and helps you make the most of the diverse cooking options available.'
Laura Arteaga agrees, 'Look for features such as an automatic shut-off function, a cool-touch exterior, and a secure locking system to prevent accidental burns and other mishaps.
'Additionally, some air fryers come with overheating protection and non-slip feet for added safety. By prioritizing safety features, you can enjoy the benefits of air frying without compromising your well-being.'
3. Disregarding cleaning and maintenance
Another big mistake we can end up making is not paying attention to the manufacturer's cleaning recommendations. 'Ignoring this often-underestimated aspect can lead to frustration and reluctance to use the appliance frequently,' says Sarah Johnson.
'Toaster oven style air fryers are easier to clean when using pans and racks compared to basket air fryers,' explains Samantha Erb. 'The more holes you see in a basket air fryer, the harder it will be to clean and maintain that cleanliness. If you buy a basket air fryer with holes on the bottom and slits on the sides, every single crevice needs to be cleaned every time you cook.
'You can use parchment and silicone liners, but in the end, you still need to clean your air fryer every time you cook in it.' We recommend these silicone liners, from Amazon.
'Prioritize air fryers with removable, dishwasher-safe components to simplify the cleaning process,' recommends Sarah Johnson. 'A detachable and non-stick basket is particularly beneficial for hassle-free maintenance.'
4. Overlooking multifunctionality
'While air fryers are celebrated for their ability to create crispy delights with minimal oil, many models offer additional cooking functions. Don't make the mistake of overlooking these versatile features,' advises Sarah Johnson.
'Consider air fryers with built-in capabilities such as baking, roasting, and grilling. Investing in a multifunctional appliance can save both kitchen space and the hassle of managing multiple devices.'
Paris Rhône Air Fryer |
Was $109.99, now $69.99 at Walmart
One of our favorite non-toxic air fryers, the Paris Rhône is great for small families. It's not without it's eccentricities (I'm not sure how many people will get daily use out of the flan pâtissier setting) but we used it to roast a whole chicken despite its small size.
4. Ignoring wattage and power
'A final common mistake is overlooking the wattage and power of an air fryer,' explains Laura Arteaga. 'While certain budget-friendly brands may share a similar exterior aesthetic with well-known brands, their performance might not meet the
standards required for daily or weekly cooking.
'The wattage determines how quickly the air fryer can cook food and how evenly it distributes heat. However, it's important to note that higher-wattage air fryers may consume more electricity.
'Opting for a reputable brand known for its heat distribution and energy-saving features is also a wise choice.'
How can you determine the noise level of an air fryer before buying?
A quite overlooked air fryer specification is the noise level. Before buying, you can determine the noise level of an air fryer by reading product specifications or reviews online. Look for models with noise reduction features or those known for quieter operation, such as Ninja or Philips.
'Before buying an air fryer, check on the internet what other buyers have to say about the noise levels of the specific air fryer you're looking to get,' recommends Caio Bersot. 'The last thing you want is a noisy appliance in your kitchen while you're preparing dinner or, worse when trying to watch a movie while waiting for snacks.'
Remember, not all air fryers are created equal in terms of the quality of the wattage, components used, such as non-stick baskets, or the durability of the construction.
These can all impact the longevity and safety of the device and the ease of cooking so be sure, before buying, to check the model you choose is high quality.
'If you buy an off-brand air fryer, it can stop working after 2 months and you’re out of that money,' explains Samantha Erb. 'More well-known brands, like Ninja, Cosori, and Instant are more reputable, work more efficiently to get crispy food, and typically have a better warranty if something happens.'
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Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past five years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including recipe articles, reviewing products, writing ‘how to’ and ‘when to’ articles. Lola now writes about everything from organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate student, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.
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