Are you considering the purchase of an air fryer? You’ve likely heard the buzz about these small appliances, and are wondering if one is right for you. In this post, I’ll provide you with the air fryer pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision before you make a purchase!
In recent years air fryers have grown in popularity. There are numerous air fryer recipes circling. These days it seems you can make virtually anything in an air fryer. However, with so many different types on the market, with different features, you may have more questions than answers!
That’s where this post comes in handy. I’ve been using air fryers for years, and in that time, I have learned the ins and outs and had hands-on experience with various types of machines.
There are so many different kitchen appliances available. You may be wondering if an air fryer is worth it? Before you jump on the bandwagon and purchase yet another small appliance, be sure to read on to understand the air fryer pros and cons, and how to choose the best air fryer for your needs.
My Favorite Air Fryers
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a small countertop appliance. It works like a convection oven with a fan at the top of the appliance and a heating mechanism that pushes down the air and swirls the heat around the food in the basket. This rapid air circulation creates crisp foods!
Does an Air Fryer work like a deep fryer?
Air fryers do not work as a traditional deep fryer. You can not place wet battered foods in the air fryer. The reason is that the batter will drop off the food and sink to the bottom of the air fryer. Instead, you can use frozen fried and battered foods to create a crispy finish.
The purpose of an air fryer is to create crispy food without the need for extra oil. The heat combined with the hot air cuts down on cooking time, and crisps the outside of the food, while keeping the inside moist and flavorful. While the effect is similar to a deep fryer, their uses are different.
Air Fryer Pros
When considering whether an air fryer is right for you, here are several pros of using this small appliance.
There are some health benefits of using an air fryer, including reducing the overall fat and calories in some of your favorite dishes!
Using an air fryer reduces the amount of oil you need to add to your recipes creating healthier meals. Whether you use the air fryer as a substitute for deep frying or roasting in the oven, you only need to use a little oil to achieve a crispy finish.
Compared to roasting, the excess oil on your food drops to the bottom of the basket instead of sitting in the oil and getting absorbed.
In addition, deep-frying causes your food to absorb a great deal of oil, while air frying creates a crispy finish without the need to submerge your food in oil.
Using an air fryer cuts down on cooking time. When cooking in your oven you need to preheat your oven and wait for it to reach the recommended temperature. With an air fryer, you can place the food in the basket, and immediately place it in your air fryer. You can achieve high temperatures in a short amount of time!
In addition, using an air fryer cuts down on total cook time. The smaller space and circulation of hot air cook the food more quickly.
These small appliances are especially handy in the summer months. Instead of turning on your traditional oven or using the stove-top, preparing your foods in the air fryer doesn’t heat up the whole house, using less energy. In addition, the energy cost to prepare a meal in your air fryer as opposed to using your oven is much less because it is a small appliance that plugs into the wall.
There are so many different types of foods and recipes you can prepare in the air fryer. You are not limited to French fries, nuggets, and chicken wings! Virtually any type of food you can think of, you can prepare in the air fryer. It also has many functions. For example, you can use it to reheat food, bake, broil, roast, grill, and steam foods. My favorite way to use my air fryer is to create vegetable-side dishes and appetizers.
An Extra Oven
Having an air fryer is almost like having an extra oven! If you enjoy entertaining and have multiple recipes and courses you’re preparing at the same time, having an air fryer, helps to free up oven space! While larger recipes are cooking in the oven, easily prepare an appetizer or side dish in the air fryer.
In fact, these small appliances work great in circumstances where an actual oven is not present. For example, a dorm room, hotel room, RV, small kitchen, and campsite. Most air fryers are about the size of a blender or food processor, but much less heavy. They are easy to pack along and take with you when you’re on the road!
Easy to Use
Air fryers are designed for simplicity of use. Set the temperature and the time, and you’re good to go! Many recipes recommend shaking the basket halfway through cooking time. This helps cook and crisp the food evenly.
Some air fryers come with pre-sets which are great if you make those types of foods often but aren’t necessary.
While there are high-priced air fryers out there, most are affordable coming in between $50-$100. The first-ever Dash Air Fryer I purchased was $49. I still have it even though I upgraded later to a larger Ninja Foodi. My husband and kids prefer to use the smaller Dash when they are preparing food.
Cons of Air Fryers
While there are numerous pros to buying and using an air fryer, it might not be the right fit for you and your family. Below find the cons of this small appliance.
Some Don’t Last for Long
When making a decision regarding which air fryer to buy, not all are created equal. There have been quality issues with some appliances. While I have not had any issues with the air fryers I have owned, after reading some reviews it is easy to see that others have had problems with the heating elements, or fans breaking after repeated use. If this happens, your unit is done for, and you’ll need to purchase a new one.
In addition to these quality concerns, others have reported the baskets of their air fryers flaking. This could be caused by using cooking spray in your air fryer which I never recommend. Cooking spray will break down the enamel of your air fryer causing the basket to flake. Instead, only use oil. Replacing the basket or pans in your air fryer is much easier than fixing the fan.
To avoid these quality issues, I recommend purchasing a well-known and established brand name. My favorites include Phillips, Cosori, GoWise, and Ninja Foodi.
Take Up Space
As with any small appliance, it will take up additional space in your kitchen. You’ll either need to have a designated spot for it on your kitchen countertop or find a place to store it in your cabinets, or pantry. While they are not huge, or heavy, they are still rather tall. I found I had to do some rearranging to find a place where it would fit in my kitchen cabinets.
Not Ideal for Large Families
Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to end up making your recipes in batches. The air fryer basket on many appliances does not give you enough space. As a result, you end up needing to cook your food in several batches. If you are single, a couple, or have a small family of four, this shouldn’t cause much of a problem. However, if you have a large family, you’ll need to find an air fryer with a large basket, or cook your recipes in batches.
Takes Time to Get to Know Your Machine
While air fryers are easy to use, not all of them cook at the same rate. That’s where getting to know your air fryer comes into play. Many recipes will tell you at the end that the cooking time will vary on the type and size of your unit. After some trial and error, you should have a better understanding of whether your air fryer tends to cook foods more quickly, more slowly, or as recommended.
Limitations on Recipes
While there is quite a bit of versatility that an air fryer offers from the types of foods and recipes you can create, to the cooking technique you can utilize, the size of the basket has limitations with regards to what will actually fit.
For example, I have struggled with having some of my baked potatoes fit in the basket simply because they were so large. This causes you to have to cook in batches, which is not ideal if you want all of your food served warm at the same time.
Is an air fryer right for me?
Air fryers are great for single people, couples, and small families. They are also ideal for college kids, seniors, or anyone living in a small space that doesn’t have access to an oven. There are so many little ways you can use it on a daily basis!
They work great for preparing small meals, side dishes, and appetizers. They are not ideal for large families that want to use them to prepare main dishes without the need to cook in batches.
However, if you decide that the pros outweigh the cons, be sure to buy the appliance that works best for your needs.
What should I consider before purchasing an air fryer?
Before buying an air fryer consider the following…
- How many people are you cooking for?
- How big of a basket do you need?
- Do you want preset functions?
- Do you want any additional special features?
When I got my first air fryer I went with a basic small 2 quart Dash. Before I spent a lot of money on a larger unit with special features I wanted to make sure I liked the results it produced and used it on a regular basis.
What I found was that the starter air fryer created nicely crisped food in minutes. The challenge was it was too small for my needs. It was ideal for 1-2 people, but not a family of 4. The basket was too small to fit some types of foods.
As a result, I upgraded to a Ninja Foodi that has multiple functions in addition to air frying. The Ninja Foodi is larger and heavier. But it allowed me to clear out some of my other small appliances such as my instant pot, rice cooker, and slow cooker.
Before you buy, consider how you plan to use your air fryer, the size of your family, and whether you want it to have multiple functions.
Our Air Fryer Top Picks
Best Small Air Fryer: Dash Compact 2 QT
As mentioned above, my top pick for a small appliance is the Dash Compact Air Fryer. I have personally had this air fryer for years, and with caring for it according to the user’s manual recommendations I have had no problems with quality. It has a small basket, cooks evenly, and creates a nice crisp finish. This air fryer is ideal for single people or couples.
Best Air Fryer For Large Families: GoWise 7 QT
The GoWise 7 Qt Air Fryer has a large basket, making it ideal for large families, or for entertaining. In addition, it comes with 8 digital presets for popular foods such as fries and chips, pork, chicken, steak, shrimp, cake, fish, and pizza. This helps take the guessing game out of what temperature and how much time some of your favorite meals take to prepare! This appliance is large enough to roast a whole chicken!
Best Air Fryer with Presets: Cosori Air Fryer with 11 Presets
The Cosori Air Fryer has a smaller basket than the GoWise at 3.8 quarts, but it has 11 presets. Those presets include; Steak, Chicken, Seafood, Shrimp, Bacon, Frozen Foods, French Fries, Vegetables, Root Vegetables, Bread, and Desserts. This is a well known brand that has stood the test of time.
Best Air Fryer with Multiple Functions: Ninja Foodi 12 in 1
The Ninja Foodi is more than an air fryer. It’s a pressure cooker! But it can also steam, sear and sauté, slow cook, broil, bake, roast, and dehydrate. It has an 8-quart basket making it the largest air fryer, ideal for large families, and entertaining. This appliance is larger and heavier than the ones above, but it could save you space if you don’t need your other small appliances anymore!
Favorite air fryer recipes and tips!
- Air Fryer Frozen French Fries
- Baked Potato in the Ninja Foodi
- Air Fried Buffalo Cauliflower
- Air Fryer Squash
- Can you put aluminum foil in the air fryer?
Please comment below if you found this article helpful or have any additional questions. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook for more family-friendly vegan recipes!
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