Air fryers: What are the pros and cons?
Here’s a little behind-the-scenes fact for you. The air fryers test results is one of the most popular pages on our website. Tens of thousands of people have gone to that page wanting to find out which air fryer they should buy over the last year.
So why are air fryers so popular? And what are some of the downsides to air fryers you need to know about if you’re thinking of jumping on the trend? Here are a few things to consider.
Pros of an air fryer
Healthier than deep-frying
The big appeal of an air fryer is you can get the crispiness of frying with a lot less oil – they are more like a small fan-forced oven. So, you’re getting the taste without the extra calories.
Faster than the oven
Bryan Wall is our air fryer guru at Consumer – he’s written up the test results for dozens of them. He also wrote a piece about how using one for a week went in his household.
“I have a love hate relationship with the air fryer. They are incredibly convenient and quick to cook small quantities of food, allow you to experiment, and are cost effective for small households, but they certainly aren’t the one appliance to rule them all,” Bryan said.
Convenient to eat at different times
If the family gets home and wants dinner at different times of the evening, it’s easy for them to just pop in what they want to cook and quickly have their dinner on the table.
Great for elderly people
They’re fairly safe to use and make it easy to just cook a small portion. Check out our test results to see which ones score highly for ease of use.
Need hard-boiled eggs? Just pop them straight in the air fryer. They also make amazing toasted sandwiches – you get all the meltiness without the squish you get from a toastie maker. There’s a never-ending supply of ideas on what to cook in your air fryer once you go down that online rabbit hole.
Great for reheating food quickly
Put a slice of pizza in the microwave to warm it up and you’ll instantly have soggy regrets. But an air fryer will keep it crisp.
Cooking frozen food is a breeze
Fish fingers, chicken nuggets, fries and their frozen friends are a breeze in the air fryer. This could quickly turn into a con if you find yourself turning to these foods for the convenience factor time after time!
Cons of an air fryer
It’s an extra cost
Getting a good air fryer will cost you a few hundred dollars. There are cheapy ones at Kmart and The Warehouse but they’re not the ones we liked the most. Saying that though, there is one we recommend that you can pick up for about $150 when it’s on sale.
They take up space
Air fryers are like mini benchtop ovens and the more people you have to feed the bigger your air fryer will need to be. "They are somewhat bulky and ugly products and I don’t understand why this barrel aesthetic was chosen for some of the models," Bryan said. They also need a bit of space around them to be able to ventilate.
You’ll probably still use your oven
Unless you’re a single person or a couple you’ll probably find you can’t cook every part of your dinner in the air fryer. Even if you have a bigger model that can fit a whole chicken, you’ll still need to crank up the oven to cook the veg.
It’s another thing to clean
Air fryers need to be wiped out every time you use them. Sure, it’s easier than cleaning the oven but they can be trickier to clean than just putting an oven dish in the dishwasher after dinner.
They’re no healthier than using the oven
Air fryers are healthier than deep-frying, but when you compare it to using an oven, you’re not getting much of a health difference. You might still need some oil to make the food brown and get a better flavour.
Air fryer owners – what have we missed? Let us know in the comments.
So, are air fryers worth buying? See our test results to find out:
- The top air fryers to buy in New Zealand
- The brand that makes the most reliable air fryers
We've tested 31 air fryers.
Find the right one for you.