It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good burger, must be in want of some chips. Alas, chips are usually fried in oil and - as tasty as they are - aren’t the healthiest thing to eat. Air fryers aim to fix that by cooking food using superheated air rather than oil. You can read up details of how they work in our Kagoo Explains article - today we’re going to be highlighting 4 of the best available in 2020.
Let’s start with Philips’ Viva Airfryer - a very well-received appliance that BBC Good Food awarded the ‘Best Airfryer for Speed’ (https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/review/best-air-fryers). It’s a straightforward, easy-to-use fryer - a twist dial at the top allows you to change the program, while a second dial on the front controls the cooking time. While this is nice and easy to use, it does mean the Viva Airfryer doesn’t have any auto-cook programs - you’re reliant on remembering the time and temperature. Luckily Philips have an app to provide cooking times and recipes to get you started - this is helpful, but still a missed opportunity.
Philips’ ‘Rapid Air Technology’ means the fryer is one of the fastest on the market to heat up, and it produces crispy, fluffy fries that have a fraction of the fat of standard deep-fried chips!
The capacity is about average for the current tech - 800g of food, though that will vary depending on how bulky the items are. It’s definitely not the smallest on our list, but it won’t blow anyone away. It’s a good all-around machine that doesn’t have too many extra bells and whistles, but it cooks fast and well, and that’s the most important factor.
Tefal have a rather confusing naming strategy - they have both the ‘EY4018’ and the ‘EY2018’ available, but our research can find no difference between the two. We believe this to be a case of different names for different markets, so we’re grouping them together.
Whichever name you use, this air fryer is rather excellent. It is heavier than the Philips Viva or the Ninja AF100, but has a large capacity of 1.2kg, making it perfect for families or cooking for guests. You can cook a *lot* of chips in this bad boy, as well as bake and roast.
It comes equipped with a touchscreen and a number of different auto-cook programs that cover most of the things you’ll be regularly cooking - helpful if you’re in a hurry! Generally speaking, it’s a step up in most ways from the Viva - however, it isn’t as fast when cooking, though we’ll doubt you’ll notice the little bit of extra time to get perfect chips.
The EY4018/EY2018 also manages to be less pricey than its competitors - making this a tempting deal!
Ninja’s AF100 fryer is as stealthy as the name suggests - it’s a pretty decent fryer, though little really stands out from the competition. With a 900g capacity, it is larger than average, though not as hefty as the Tefal models. It has several auto-cook programs, but not quite as many as other fryers. Even the price is right in the middle: not too expensive, but not massively cheap either.
It’s an excellent middle-of-the-road fryer (https://www.t3.com/features/best-air-fryer) that would do very well for couples or small families. It’s very easy to clean, and has a gentle dehydrate function to dry fruit and make homemade jerky. Most importantly - reviews note that it makes excellent chicken wings, which is important!
Lastly, let’s go back to Tefal for this monster of an air fryer. The ‘Actifry Genius XL’ is - as the name would suggest - built to hold a lot of food. It has an enormous 1.7kg capacity, which is enough to fit an entire chicken in at once! That means you can get perfect roast chicken shorter than a standard oven cook, with less oil used!
The capacity is the stand-out feature of the Genius XL, but there are a bunch of other useful features to this appliance. It comes with 9 auto-cook programs, and app support for recipes and meal ideas. It also has a paddle built into the main cooking chamber - this slowly rotates during frying, moving the food around, meaning it’s cooked equally from all angles.
All these add up to a fantastic appliance, though one at a premium price - the Genius XL is about £100 more expensive than anything else on our list. However the capacity and host of other features may well justify the cost - it will definitely pay for itself if you cook for a large household.
Tefal Actifry Genius XL
4.5 / 5
Paddle for even cooking
Lots of extra features
May be too large for small families or solo use
Good: Enormous capacity, Paddle for even cooking, Lots of extra features
Bad: Expensive, may be too large for small families or solo use.