Air fryer purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • What you need to know
  • A hot air fryer works in a similar way to a convection oven. It cooks dishes with significantly less fat than a conventional deep fryer.
  • Due to the large calorie savings, hot air fryers are interesting for the nutrition-conscious and for people who want to change their diet.
  • In addition to the deep-frying function, the appliances have even more up their sleeves: these household helpers can also grill and bake.
  • Cleaning is very easy, most of the attachments can be put in the dishwasher.

Why a hot air fryer?

Customers who love juicy French fries but want to eat healthier will find a hot air fryer a real alternative to the classic fat fryer. The former is a kitchen appliance that cooks food fat-free with the help of a heated stream of hot air. Contrary to what their name suggests, these appliances can do much more than just fry. They can also be used for baking, frying, and grilling. The name is also a little misleading because deep-frying in the classic sense involves immersing the food in hot oil. A hot air fryer, however, only needs a few splashes or no oil at all. While the food is fried in a hot fat bath in a classic deep fryer, a hot air fryer works much like a convection oven.

A fan inside the deep fryer ensures that the heated air stream is evenly distributed.

Advantages of this cooking method

One advantage is that the hot air is optimally distributed in the small cooking chamber. This means that the preparation time is shorter compared to the convection function of the oven.

How the cooking process works

The whole thing works like this: first, air is heated at an electric heating element. Then it is evenly distributed in the cooking chamber by a fan. The food is cooked and crisped comparatively quickly by this method of preparation. The flow speed is very high. This results in a rather loud operating noise. On the other hand, odor nuisance is significantly less than with a classic deep fryer.

Health advantages: less fat and low cooking temperature

Hot air fryers have several advantages over a normal fat pan fryer or cooking in a saucepan: because they require very little or no fat, they are better for your health. An unbalanced, high-fat diet promotes cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. In many cases and depending on the food being fried, hot air fryers only require a very small amount of additional fat, for example half a tablespoon of oil. For many dishes that users prepare in such a device, also called an air fryer, no fat needs to be added at all. This makes it suitable for health-conscious people and those who want to lose weight on a low-fat diet.

Low cooking temperature: avoids acrylamide formation

Another positive aspect is the comparatively low cooking temperature. Many appliances manage with 300 °F (150 °C) and cannot be set any hotter. Other models allow temperatures of up to 445 °F (230 °C). However, cooking at such high temperatures is not recommended, as acrylamide is formed in foods containing starch from 345 °F (175 °C) at the latest. This is a chemical substance that is suspected of causing cancer. Although small amounts of this substance can be detected at temperatures as low as 250 °F (120 °C), the danger increases exponentially at temperatures above the threshold of 345 °F (175 °C). Hot air frying at moderate temperatures is therefore also healthy.

Users of a classic deep fryer or a cooking pot with fat often have the problem when preparing food that they do not know exactly how hot the fat or oil currently is. Most amateur cooks do not have a thermometer available. All they can do is estimate the temperature and watch the food, while it is being fried. Here, the danger of setting the temperature too high and thus increasing the formation of acrylamide is particularly high.

Food does not become as crispy

Good hot air fryers fry better than what an oven with circulating air can do. The ingenious convection technology and the small, perfectly adjusted cooking chamber make it possible. However, the result does not quite come up to a classic deep fryer in terms of crispiness. Still, the hot air models are much more versatile in terms of preparation options than the classic oil appliances. For example, they can bake food in addition to deep-frying. They are also preferable to the unhealthy fat fryers because of their much healthier preparation method. Although some of the flavor carrying fat is omitted, the finished menu has significantly fewer calories. Another advantage of airfryers is that they do not need to be cleaned or disposed of after use, which is more time-consuming than the greasy version: the removable parts of most hot air models can easily be cleaned in the dishwasher.

Safety: advantages of hot air fryers

In general, a hot air fryer offers several advantages in terms of safety: since, unlike a classic deep fryer, it requires little or no oil, there is no risk of scalding oneself with hot fat. This is an advantage that should not be underestimated, especially in households with small children. There is also no risk of burns from splashing fat: the danger of such a burn is particularly high when moist or frozen fried food is placed in a classic deep fryer. In addition, there is no need to dispose of fat in a hot air fryer. With a classic deep-fat fryer, accidents happen from time to time when transferring the remaining hot fat.


  • Many uses: frying, roasting, baking, and grilling
  • Only a few splashes of oil are needed
  • Preparation time is shorter compared to hot air ovens
  • Low cooking temperature prevents acrylamide formation
  • Risk of burns very low


  • Relatively loud operating noise
  • Does not quite reach the crispiness of classic deep-fat fryers
  • The flavor carrier fat is almost completely eliminated

Different models

Hot air fryers are available in different variations. Some appliances offer devices that automatically turn and distribute the food so that it is heated evenly and browned and crispy all over. There are two basic models.

Hot air fryer with stirring arm

The rotating arm of a hot air fryer mixes the food to be fried and in this way ensures that all parts are cooked through equally well and are crispy. Slack spots on wedges and half-finished fries are now a thing of the past. However, this type of hot air fryer is not suitable for preparing all foods: while frozen fries or wedges are no problem, hobby chefs should choose a different appliance for fish fillets, for example, because the stirring arm would cut the fillets. The fillet pieces would cook, but they would not be very attractive after preparation. The same could happen with larger potato products such as croquettes.

The rotating arm mixes the food to be cooked.


  • Very even mixing of the fried food
  • Large filling quantities possible


  • Sensitive food may be cut up and become mushy

Hot air deep fryer with rotary element

A hot air fryer with rotating element has a basket-like insert that moves continuously in a circle during the hot air supply. This method is much gentler on the fried food. The fish fillet mentioned above can be prepared in such an appliance without any problem and without the risk of it tearing. The disadvantage of these devices is that there is no real mixing. If the basket is completely filled, this can lead to fries or other food lying in the middle and at the bottom not being completely cooked through, and remaining soft or even frozen, while the fries lying freely on the surface become crispy.

The food remains undamaged thanks to the fully rotating cooking basket.


  • Even quite soft foods retain their shape and are not squashed


  • Frying food that is not reached by the surface air flow remains rather soggy
  • Only small filling quantities possible

purchase criteria

A wide variety of factors play a role in choosing the right hot air appliance: how many people will the air fryer be used to cook for? Should the appliance be used regularly or only for special occasions? What kind of food do the users want to prepare? In addition, the appliance should be easy to clean, because long rinsing reduces the pleasure of cooking enormously. Ideally, all removable parts can be cleaned in the dishwasher.


Size of the appliance

There are appliances on the market with a capacity of about 3.3 to 20 pounds. For a single or two-person household, the small volumes are sufficient; larger families or users who like to cook for larger groups go for hot air models with more capacity. Users should bear this in mind: the larger the cooking chamber, the more important it is to have a mixing function. This can be a rotating element such as a sieve or a rotating arm. Otherwise, part of the food will not brown evenly. In addition, the cooking chamber should always be selected according to the family size and the resulting portions. A cooking chamber that is too large will lead to longer preparation times, comparable to the convection function of an oven. In addition, the dimensions of the appliance increase in parallel with the size of the cooking chamber. Prospective buyers should bear this in mind, as they will have to store the air fryer in the kitchen or another room in the house.



As mentioned earlier, food preparation at high temperatures can lead to increased levels of acrylamide. This substance is suspected of being carcinogenic. Temperatures of 345 °F (175 °C) should therefore not be exceeded. Some hot air appliances have a temperature control dial, other models can be regulated by a digital display. In addition, not every food has to be deep-fried at full power.



The material of an air fryer represents a central safety aspect: the vast majority of hot air appliances have a plastic casing. Metal is used in most cases – if at all – only in small places for decorative purposes. The simple reason: metal is a better conductor of heat, which can lead to burns from a hot casing in a hot air fryer. Plastic, on the other hand, does not heat up as easily. Users may know this phenomenon from another kitchen appliance, the toaster. The interior is usually also made of plastic, which is additionally coated so that oil and food residues do not stick. Some models also have a removable frying basket made of stainless steel, which is somewhat reminiscent of the classic oil variants. A heat-insulated handle allows the hot food to be removed without risk of burning. This is a very important component: without it, removing the food would be difficult to impossible; there would be a risk of burns. It must therefore remain cold enough for users to touch and be stable enough for users to remove the basket safely.



A convenient hot air fryer scores with self-explanatory program menus and works in such a way that the user does not have to do much in the way of handling. For example, there are often programs that allow users to turn potatoes cut into strips into delicious fries without much effort. If a stirring or turning function is available, users do not even have to turn the potatoes during preparation.



The power of the appliance determines how long users have to wait until their favorite dish is ready. The power is expressed in watts. The higher the wattage, the faster the air in the interior is heated. This does not mean that high temperatures have to be used: health-conscious cooking at temperatures of no more than 345 °F (175 °C) is also more efficient, as the heating phase is comparatively short with such powerful models. The wattage range is comparatively wide: common models have an output of between 1200 and 2300W. If the preparation is done quickly, a higher wattage does not affect the electricity bill: in principle, half the wattage costs the same for twice the usage time of a less powerful appliance. For the average user, appliances with a power of between 1400 and 1800W are recommended.



In addition, most models have safety features such as an automatic switch-off when a certain operating time is exceeded and a temperature sensor that switches the appliance off for safety’s sake in the event of overheating. Thanks to the specially coordinated programs, the risk of food burning is also significantly reduced.


Accessories included

Many hot air fryers come with a lot of accessories. However, if owners of an air fryer are interested in a particular accessory that was not included in the scope of delivery, or are looking for a replacement, they can in most cases easily obtain the desired element separately. Users should check the instructions regarding whether or not accessories are suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher.


Grill pan insert

A grill pan insert is suitable for preparing meat, fish, and vegetable dishes in a healthy way and with a minimum addition of fat. By placing the food directly on the grill, which is not possible with a cooking basket, the cooking time is additionally shortened. Some models have holes on the underside so that excess fat that has escaped from the food can drain off. These holes also ensure that the airflow reaches the underside of the food.


Baking insert

A baking insert for the hot air fryer is a true all-rounder: in addition to preparing breads and cakes, it can also be used for casseroles or quiches.


Cooking basket

A cooking basket helps to protect delicate foods such as fish fillets or vegetables from damage in the hot air fryer, which would be unappetizingly chopped up if a rotary arm were used.


Cooking cage

A cooking cage is similar to a cooking basket. However, because the basket is closed, users can prepare dishes such as steaks or roast chickens here in no time at all. The rotation ensures that food is cooked evenly on all sides. Some models come with barbecue skewers. With these, users have the option of combining a wide variety of foods. In this way, depending on the size of this cooking basket, users can also prepare other foods such as steaks or grilled chicken.


French fries cutter

It is the best way of preparing fries for the health-conscious: fries made in the air fryer from fresh potatoes. But cutting the sticks evenly from whole potatoes is not so easy. Especially if larger quantities are to be prepared for the whole family or for friends at a cookout, it is worth investing in a French fry cutter. The user places the potatoes in the cutter and drives them through a knife mechanism until they come out the other end as potato sticks. All the sticks have the same thickness. The decisive advantage of this is that a large part of the effort required for cutting is removed. In addition, the preparation of the sticks is much quicker this way. Due to the identical thickness of the potato sticks, they all have the same preparation time. This means that small, burnt fries and large, undercooked potatoes are a thing of the past. Of course, such a cutter is also suitable for other types of vegetables such as peppers or courgettes.

Using a hot air fryer

When using a hot air fryer, there are a few rules to follow to ensure that food preparation is safe and trouble-free.

Which oil is suitable for the hot air fryer?

Depending on what is to be fried, it is advisable to add a different amount of oil. Of course, it is also possible to prepare food without adding any oil at all, but adding a small amount has advantages in terms of taste. On the one hand, fat is a flavor carrier and on the other hand, dishes such as chips become crispier this way. Moreover, the addition of oil prevents the food from drying out during frying. Frozen fries, however, do not need any added oils or fats because they are already pre-fried and therefore already contain oil. Depending on taste, half a tablespoon to two tablespoons of oil are sufficient for most applications. Some models also come with special measuring spoons.

Common household vegetable oils, such as coconut, rapeseed or sunflower oil, are suitable for preparation. Olive oil, butter, or margarine are not suitable for this purpose due to their low heat resistance. Animal fats are also less suitable because their inherent taste leads to undesirable odors during preparation. Desserts taste best when users use coconut oil.

Ideas for food preparation

The possibilities offered to hobby cooks by purchasing a hot air fryer are almost endless: anything they would prepare in the oven can also be done in the compact hot air appliances – provided the food is not too large for the cooking space. Nothing stands in the way of cooking vegetables, meat, fish, pasta, rice, bulgur, or couscous. Even tasty breads, pizzas, or tarte flambée are possible.

The classic: how to prepare French fries

It is not possible to give a general recommendation on how long the popular potato sticks need to cook in a hot air fryer. First of all, this depends on whether users use frozen, pre-baked or fresh potato sticks. The former takes a little less time.

Fresh potatoes should be cut into equal-sized sticks, ideally measuring 10 by 10mm. Many cooks spoil the broth, and so opinions also differ on the best type of potato to use for fries. A little extra starch is an advantage when deep-frying, so mainly firm-cooking potato varieties are recommended.

Cleaning tips

The removable parts of almost all modern appliances are dishwasher-safe. They can therefore be washed in the normal rinse cycle. Of course, the basic appliance and its plug do not tolerate so much water, especially not a full dishwasher program. Users wipe it out with a damp cloth or paper towel.

Popular products

Depending on the customer’s wishes and the size of the household, different hot air fryer models are available. We present a few models below.

Philips HD9220/20

The model HD9220/20 from Philips with 1425W is one of the best-selling hot air fryers. With a capacity of 1.8 pounds – the equivalent of a pack of frozen fries – it is designed for a household size of one to two people. Preparing food with up to 80% less fat is significantly lower in calories and therefore healthier. Excess fat simply drips off. The large cooking space allows for flexibility. In addition to classics such as vegetable sticks, whole steaks or several breakfast rolls can be cooked here within a short time. All removable parts are dishwasher-safe. So there is no need for tedious cleaning by hand.

Princess XXL

As the name suggests, this appliance is a hot air fryer with a particularly large cooking chamber: an extra-large 11.5 pounds capacity and 1700W. This allows food preparation even for larger families, for example with three or four children. The comparatively large diameter of the cooking chamber of 9.5 inches enables the preparation of dishes such as pizzas, tarte flambée, quiches, lasagnes, and other pastries.

Tristar Crispy Fryer XL FR-6990

This model from Tristar is clearly the model of choice for those users who are looking for an air fryer with a medium-sized cooking chamber at an unbeatable price. Thanks to its 0.8-gallon capacity and 1500W of power, up to five portions of fries can be prepared at the same time. With a price of around $70, this appliance is also very inexpensive to buy.

Tefal and Klarstein

Other well-known models come from the manufacturers Tefal and Klarstein. With the ActiFry fryers, Tefal offers a wide range of hot air fryers. The Tefal ActiFry 2 in 1, for example, can deep-fry, cook, and even bake food on two levels. Klarstein, on the other hand, offers a wide range of turbo fryers. The VitAir series in particular saves a lot of time thanks to its fast cooking functions.

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