Most people know about deep fat fryers - but do you know about air fryers? The healthier cousin of the fast-food staple, the air fryer has become increasingly popular in an ever more health-conscious world. If you're looking to fry food but want to eliminate some of the fatty content that you'd get from regular deep frying, the air fryer is an incredibly effective way of doing so.
We've put together a guide to some of the best air fryers that you can pick up for the low price of under £100. Read on to see our top picks - it'll only take a few minutes of your time, and hopefully will help you make the perfect choice!
The way in which an air fryer works is by circulating high-temperature air around ingredients that are covered in only a thin coating of oil (though certain recipes contain no oil whatsoever). This means that you’re likely to end up with food that has around a seventy to eighty-percent lower fat content than normal deep fried food would contain. Food also cooks much faster than in a deep fat fryer, which often takes a while to heat up, and (as if there weren't enough perks already) air fryers can also cook food that doesn't necessarily require frying, such as pizza, cakes or roasted vegetables.
Not to mention, air fryers eliminate the need to have a gigantic vat of incredibly hot oil bubbling before you - not only does this make them resoundingly safer than deep fat fryers, it also eliminates the need for changing the oil and struggling to clean the product.
What to look for in an air fryer?
There are many qualities to consider, all of which help decide how effective an air fryer is. For this list we'll be looking at air fryers coming in at under £100, so all of the below options are fairly affordable. However, there are a number of other qualities that help decide whether or not an air fryer is high-quality or not - take a look:
Do they have a pull-out tray or a bowl? Air fryers typically store food in one of two ways; either on a tray that slots into the main body of the fryer or in a bowl with a window on the lid. Trays require pulling out in order to check how your food is progressing, whereas bowls do not - so this fact can impact how easy your air fryer is to use!
Capacity - most cheaper air fryers are fairly low-capacity; ideally, however, you want one that can comfortably fit enough food to meet your needs. For some people, that may only be enough for one or two people, but others may be looking to cook for larger numbers, so capacity is an important factor to pay attention to.
Do they have a stirring paddle? Certain air fryers come equipped with a paddle to stir your food for you - often leading to crispier, more even results. It's not the be-all and end-all, but it's worth factoring into your decision.
Temperature control - it's usually good to have plenty of control over your cooking. Many air fryers have impressive temperature control systems that allow you to adjust the heat on-the-fly. It may not necessarily mean that the product is better, but if you're someone who is looking for precise results it's good to look out for this feature.
Do they have a grill mode? Many air fryers don't simply fry, but grill as well! Versatility is never a bad thing, so keep your eye out to see if your potential purchases are equipped with such a mode.
So these are the major considerations to keep in mind whilst browsing for an air fryer for under £100. Read on to see our top picks in this category and, hopefully, help you make your mind up!
The Best Buy
Heading up our list is the Tefal Actifry, a top-brand machine that impresses across the board. This pick usually comes in at over £200, but is available for under £100 on Amazon - this makes it a brilliant option for someone looking for a high-end machine that won't put too big a dent in your wallet.
Healthy cooking: the Tefal can make traditional fried recipes with an estimated 99 Percent less fat added.
Combining the circulation of hot air around the cooking bowl with an efficient stirring paddle helps ensure things remain moving for the most rounded, even cooking experience possible.
1 kg capacity which can cook for up to four people simultaneously.
Lid, stirring paddle and bowl are all easily-removable and dishwasher safe.
Comes with a free app that also lists over 150 different recipe suggestions that the Actifry can easily handle - from curries to stir fries.
Removable digital timer that can be taken with you whilst you wait - meaning you don't have to be within hearing range of the fryer to know when your food is done.
Very easy to clean compared to some other options.
No auto-shutoff, meaning you must be vigilant to ensure your food doesn't overcook or catch fire.
Cooking paddle can be intrusive, making it difficult to fit certain foods within the bowl.
Areas of the machine can get very hot during the cooking process.
The timer can be difficult to get to grips with.
Overall, despite a few minor inconveniences, the Tefal Actifry is a fantastic fryer with a great number of well thought-out features, making it a steal for under £100. If you still aren't sure, however, please do continue reading to see our other top picks!
One thing that the Pro Breeze XL absolutely gets right is the 'XL' in it's name. This machine can fit a huge amount of food inside it's cooking tray, and also has a fair few other features that land it this spot on our top three list. Read on to see what they are.
Features a whopping 5.5 litres of cooking capacity.
7 preset cooking modes (chicken, chips, fish, steak, shrimp, pork and cake) to choose from, alongside efficient temperature control and easy-to-use cooking timers with the simple and clear digital display.
The large fry basket is fully-detachable for ease of cleaning, along with being dishwasher safe!
Perfect for large groups due to it's capacity, meaning you can cook for large groups and save both money and calories on oil.
The versatile preset cooking modes make cooking a wide variety of foods perfectly an easy task, even if you aren't the most capable chef.
Built in overheat protection and auto-shutoff feature, making the entire cooking process worry-free.
Incredibly simple to wash.
Looks the part: the machine features a stylish and timeless design that will look elegant in practically any kitchen.
Ideally needs to be placed beneath an extractor fan due to the large amount of steam it produces.
Tray must be pulled out in order to check on food's progress, and it may require some tricky shifting-around to ensure an even cook.
If the two options above haven't tickled your fancy, perhaps this nifty fryer will meet your needs. The cheapest of the three products listed here, the Power Air Fryer XL is an impressive machine with a large capacity, versatile cooking settings and a powerful temperature control to ensure that you can whip up delicious and guilt-free fried treats incredibly quickly.
3.2L capacity makes this fryer great for feeding large groups.
Heats up to 200°C/400°F with great speed, allowing you to cook your food around 70% faster than usual methods.
Dishwasher safe, making clean-up fast and simple.
Drip tray catches excess oil and fat for a healthier end product - oil isn't even required!
7 pre-set cooking functions, easy-use digital LED control panel boasting adjustable temperature settings and a timer, along with an auto-shutoff mechanism for safety.
Can effectively air fry, grill, bake, saute, roast and steam food depending on your preference, making it an incredibly versatile machine.
Comes with a bonus recipe book to give you some inspiration for your new air-fryer.
The most affordable pick on our list.
The pull-out tray is harder to use than a cooking bowl, and food often requires shaking around a little to ensure an even cook.
Some of it's functions aren't as efficient as others (is not great at cooking pizza, for example).
Non-stick coating has been reported to rub off with multiple washes.
Difficult to get product support if any aspect of the machine goes wrong.
So there you have it - our top three picks for air fryers under £100. Hopefully, this guide has helped you in coming to a decision - if not, keep all the features we listed in mind and keep looking; we're sure there's a perfect product out there for you.
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