It's been a while since the first low fat air fryer came onto the market. It arrived with a big bang amidst claims that it could revolutionise the world of health and diet. Today, there are multiple offerings of air fryers for us to choose from, so how do they stand with the original products such as the Tefal Actifry?
The health element simply comes from using much less fat in your cooking which allows you create what is claimed to be chips/fries that taste just as the deep fried variety do. While personally I prefer air fryer chips/fries to the oven produced ones, and they do look more like the ‘real thing’, I wouldn’t say they are the same.
There are of course other ways to reduce the fat content in your diet, replacing the cream in creamy dressings with low fat Greek yogurt for example. A no brainer is to measure the oil you use in cooking anyway so you don’t get more than you want. It can be surprising just how much you normally use without thinking about it. You can of course use a non-stick cooking spray when frying, but I’d rather use a more conventional oil and just brush the pan with it.
Getting back to the air fryers. Tefal introduced the Actifry a few years ago and this is still a very popular machine both in Europe and the USA - although some of the models do not seem to be available in the USA. It’s big and doesn’t look pretty but works well and has many dedicated enthusiasts who swear by it. The Tefal was closely followed by the Philips Air Fryer which is my personal favourite as it does more than the Actifry and is more compact and easier on the eye with its egg like shape. Both of these models have similar costs and there are always deals around on these two.
Since the introduction of the Tefal and Philips, other manufacturers held back to see how they went. It appears they went well as within a couple of years a few more models came onto the market. These later models include the Duronic, VonShef and the Glip in the US. These mostly have a similar shaping to the Philips Air Fryer. This shape doesn't have the bit footprint of the Tefal and is easier to store in the cupboard.
Although air fryers are frequently used for family cooking, if you have a large family I wouldn’t bother as the capacity isn’t that great. Where they are absolutely ideal is for people without much time, small families, couples and single people. They are also great for seniors or the infirm as you don’t have to worry about boiling oil being moved around a kitchen and possible spilling onto someone or something. Another big cause of fires in the home is of course a fat fryer igniting which can't happen if you don't have the pan full of fat or oil in the first place! If you have small children, the casing gets hot but won’t burn and the design of the Philips makes it very stable on the work top.
When compared with putting on a large oven, the energy costs are obviously lower as air fryers are much smaller and take just a couple of minutes to heat up and are usually done in less than 20 minutes. Use the separator to create quick meals for one or just to reheat something that you just put in, set the timer and get on with something else until it pings!
All in, air fryers are enduring the test of time and look like being with us for the future. IMHO a good buy now they have come down in price. There are plenty of reviews out there so if you are interested go and read them.
You will find loads of info on the air fryer products at www.airfryers.org as well as some great air fryer recipes and details of the available air fryer recipe books . Worth looking before you make your decision.