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Best Air Cookers for oil-free cooking – Are they worth it?

Air Fryer, Oil-Less Cooker or Air Cooker?

Though the names are used interchangeably, we think “Air Cooker” is the most descriptive term because these oil-less cookers don’t only “fry” foods… nor are they only “oil less”. they also cook them similar to a roaster depending on the recipe and the settings you use.

Whatever name you prefer, these are all the rage in today’s kitchen. But do they really work to make foods taste like your favorite fried foods, while making it a whole lot healthier…? That’s what we wanted to know, so we’ve done some research.

We can’t yet buy and test them all though so if you have one you love, please let us know and we’ll add your review to the list below.

What is an Air Cooker?

An air cooker is an innovative kitchen appliance which uses superheated air to cook food. It’s a relatively new innovation first launched to the world by Philips, a Dutch technology company well established in high efficiency electronics.1)http://www.mytrainerfitness.com/oil-less-fryer/

 

instant pot, insta pot, fast cooker
Our favorite Instant Pot. Image links to Amazon, where we got ours.

Air cookers are the next greatest kitchen appliance to follow the popularity of the “Instant Pot”, which we love and use often.

If you love fried foods but also care about your health and want to eat healthier, you’re in luck! Oil-less deep fryers” are changing the way we fry, and consequently improving our health!

So if you want to lose weight or just improve your health and lifestyle but love fried foods, this revolutionary technology offers healthier, tasty, “fried foods” with little to no oil.2)http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20170622/how-bad-for-you-are-fried-foods

How an Air Cooker Works

These air fryers make use of Rapid Air Technology to prepare your favorite foods safely. Air cookers basically circulate hot air generated by a heating element. Air fryer temperatures can reach up to 390 ℉, and it is this evenly circulating hot air that essentially “fries” foods such as turkey breasts, French fries, chicken, fish and more.

Imagine enjoying your finger-licking good dish, perfectly browned, crunchy and with up to 80% less fat. You’ll enjoy every bite without the guilt of consuming considerably large amounts of unhealthy fats. We’re all for that!

Air fryers are significantly healthier and easy to use that deep fryers, and less messy as well, requiring little to no oil.

Air Cooker Issues

Now even the best air cookers have some significant “complaints” in terms of machine quality and cooked results. Our take is that some manufacturing runs can be better than others and hopefully companies will take heed to the reviews and work to improve all issues.

We think some of the disappointments in the recipe outcomes are about equally user error, with people not following directions exactly. But it’s always best to also check the reviews yourself and make the decision based on what makes sense to you.

That’s what we’ve done here to share our best picks in air cookers.

Manufacturing Issues

The other major issue in manufacturing today in general, is that as the majority of manufacturing has been outsourced overseas, we’re all seeing a decline in quality goods overall. We have a foreign made refrigerator that’s giving out that’s just 12 years old. It’s Whirlpool but made in China. We have an old second refrigerator in our pantry that’s over 30 years old, made in the USA. While our old Kenmore is on its last leg, it is still working better than the “newer” foreign made model less than half the age.

Whirlpool… Kenmore… Maytag… according to our appliance service reps, no matter the brand label they’re all sourced overseas. We’d be very much in favor of a return to American made products! But that’s another topic, however the issue is the same: foreign manufacturing, especially from China has become the main source of all American goods because labor is so much cheaper and Americans demand cheaper prices.

So… getting back to air cookers, this means finding the better of the options available. First…

Beware of Fake Amazon Reviews! ?

If an item has loads of 5 stars, beware. Scan them to see if they seem legit. We got on a tangent on this topic so ended up writing an article about it which we will publish and link here today or tomorrow (as soon as it’s done).

When it comes to fake reviews, a good example is this SimpleTaste 1400W Multi-Function Electric Air Fryer. It currently has 91% five star reviews, however, when you read them, most of them are clearly fake, even those that say “verified purchase”.

Buying a brand new air fryer can be challenging as they are relatively new and just a few people know much about them. It can be difficult to evaluate and determine which air fryer is the best without extensive testing over a long period of time using many recipes.

There are many companies out there now churning out air fryers. Some are adequate while others could be letdowns. We’ve not yet tried all of these but have taken the time to research the pros and cons of each which we’ve summarized here to save you time. We’ve even included the analysis of the fake review detector sites to help get closer to the truth.

If you have personal experience with any of these and would like to share your experience to help others, we’d be glad to add it here.

 

The most common complaints with ALL the air fryers:

  • “Cheaply made” 
  • “Non-stick coating (or paint) peels, bubbles and comes off”
  • Poor customer service

Air Fryer Reviews

So, be aware that none of the air cookers on the market today have A+ rankings.

1. 3.7 Qt. Air Fryer by Cozyna

As seen on Buzzfeed and Hungry Girl, this Air Fryer by Cozyna is a great choice for first time users. Offering the perfect marriage of prize and function, it’s not a surprise why this particular model is currently topping the air fryer bestselling list on Amazon.

This Cozyna Air Fryer has plenty of excellent features to offer. The Cozyna’s temperature adjusts up to 392 degrees F with 1500-watt ultra-sonic power, a convenient timer, and cool-to-the-touch easy grip handle with Stormic Air Flor technology. Newbies to air frying will quickly get the hang of things with this impressive user-friendly cooker.

As will all air fryers, you can you can fry, grill, bake and roast with little to no oil. Beyond that, the Cozyna fryer quieter than other models dishwasher-safe so cleaning is always a breeze.

With the economical and user-friendly Cozyna Air Fryer, you can start enjoying favorite fried foods without the guilt.

And best part? You don’t have to compromise full flavors just to start eating healthy.

But like with other new kitchen gadgets, expect a trial and error experience. You may need to play around with the temperature settings to get it right for certain foods. This Air Fryer by Cozyna is also not recommended for big batch frying. If you want to fry fries for a party, do it in smaller batches or you may end up with soggy fries.

Add about $10 to the current price tag and you can get the Air Fryer Touchscreen by Cozyna. It features digital controls instead of the less convenient analog controls.

PROS:

  • Cooks fast and evenly
  • Quieter operation
  • Heats up quickly
  • Easy to use timer
  • Cool to touch with easy grip handle
  • Dishwasher-safe for easy clean-up

CONS:

  • Takes up a lot of kitchen space
  • May be prone to rusting
  • Small cooking area, 13 x 11.5 x 12.2 inches

ADJUSTED REVIEWS from FakeSpot & ReviewMeta

  • FakeSpot Reviews Product Grade B / Company Grade B
  • Review Meta Adjusted rating: 4.4 stars

3.7 Qt. Air Fryer by Cozyna is available from Amazon.

 

2. Philips The Original XL Air Fryer

Philips was the original innovator of air fryers forever changing the way we fry foods. So we can thank Philips for inventing the Airfryer technology that allows us to ditch the oil and cook food with air instead. This new and inventive method is said to reduce as much as 75% fat as compared to frying.

So, if you’re making the big change to preparing foods in healthier ways, this Philips The Original XL Air Fryer is the real deal. Celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, recommends this brand, touting it as “the original and the very best” in the market today. However, even the Philips has plenty of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 star reviews.

When you look at the product, click on the review starts next to the product name to see which stars have which percentage of reviews to help you decide. (I didn’t know about that feature until just recently). But again, it’s also important to realize that some of the reviews may not be real, so don’t take them at surface value. To know for sure, you have to dive into them and see if they read the way most normal people would write about them.

Featuring a larger 2.56 lbs. capacity, this particular Philips air fryer is double the capacities of other models. The XL Air Fryer can accommodate about two bags of French fries instead of the usual one bag. With digital interface and smart preset button, this device is more convenient to use all around. To save time this fryer memorizes your preferred settings for different foods making cooking time even more efficient.

Frying your favorite foods doesn’t get any easier to prepare than this.

Teaming up with Gordon Ramsay, this Philips Airfryer includes a recipe book featuring a collection of fast and tasty dishes you can try. You may also want to download the free app that goes with this machine to access over 150 more recipes.

Even if this Philipis XL Airfryer is on the pricier side, you’ll get the most bang for your buck. Especially if you’ve tried air frying before and you’re looking for something more reliable for your family.

PROS:

  • Convenient digital interface
  • Smart preset button for even more convenience
  • Longer timer up to 60 minutes
  • Larger cooking area
  • Top rack dishwasher-safe for easy clean-up

CONS:

  • Relatively more expensive
  • Non-stick coating may chip off easily
  • Takes up a lot of counter space, 15.2 x 15.2 x 15.2 in

ADJUSTED REVIEWS from FakeSpot & ReviewMeta

  • FakeSpot Reviews Product Grade B / Company Grade B
  • Review Meta Adjusted rating: 4.3 stars

Philips The Original XL Air Fryer

 

3. T-fal FZ7002 ActiFry Low-Fat Healthy AirFryer

Less space-consuming, smaller and also cheaper, this T-fal FZ7002 ActiFry Low-Fat Healthy AirFryer is highly recommended for college students or young professionals living solo.

Like other air fryers, this appliance from T-fal is designed to offer consumers a healthier alternative to traditional frying. Instead of a cupful of oil, you’ll only need a tablespoon of oil for most recipes. Sometimes you wouldn’t even need any oil.

But what really makes this model special is the stirring paddle and the patented heat pulse system for more even cooking. The paddle makes sure the oil is well distributed and the patented technology ensures even hot air circulation. The clear viewing window, which other air fryers do not have, is another plus so you can keep an eye on your food.

Incredibly easy to use, this handy multi-cooker features a large LCD screen with automatic timer and automatic lid. All you really have to do is prep your food, drizzle with oil and let the air fryer do the rest. The alarm will sound off once your food is ready.

Smaller than other models, this is not ideal for larger preparations or food items. In terms of efficiency, it may not cook as fast as other models. But other than these few downsides, this is a budget-friendly investment perfect for college students.

PROS:

  • Patented heat pulse system for even cooking
  • Easy to use
  • Quality stainless steel construction
  • Dishwasher-safe for easy clean-up
  • Drain and oil storage feature
  • FakeSpot Reviews Product Grade B / Company Grade A

CONS:

  • Smaller capacity
  • Messier
  • Not as fast as other models
  • Shallow 19.1 x 11.8 x 15.6 inches

ADJUSTED REVIEWS from FakeSpot & ReviewMeta

  • FakeSpot Reviews Product Grade B / Company Grade A
  • Review Meta Adjusted rating: 4.2 stars

T-fal FZ7002 ActiFry Low-Fat Healthy AirFryer

 

4. NuWave 36001 Brio Air Fryer

This NuWave 36001 Brio Air Fryer is another best-selling model you might want to check out. Key features include digital controls for convenience, auto pre-heat function and advanced safety. The fryer won’t operate unless the basket is properly in place. Which means even your pre-teen can use this without any trouble.

Whether you want to fry, bake, grill or roast, this air fryer can adequately do them all. Using a combo of hot hair with high speed air circulation, cooking your favorite fried foods with minimal oil is more convenient than ever. This device is also handy for reheating.

This NuWave 36001 Brio Air Fryer has a smaller capacity than other options. Cooking is not consistently even as well. If you’re going to cook larger items, you might need to keep it to one to ensure even cooking. But it’s good to experiment and increase quantities and adjust as needed.

All around, this NuWave air fryer is smaller and may not be as durable as higher-end options, but it’s an excellent choice if you’re not an every day fryer with heavy usage needs.

PROS:

  • Digital LED controls for convenience and accuracy
  • Easy to use
  • Advanced safety feature
  • Retractable cord for easy storage
  • FakeSpot Reviews Product Grade A / Company Grade A

CONS:

  • Longer cooking time than other models
  • Small pan
  • Not that easy to clean

ADJUSTED REVIEWS from FakeSpot & ReviewMeta

  • FakeSpot Reviews Product Grade A / Company Grade A
  • Review Meta Adjusted rating: 4.1 stars
    • Warning: high percentage of suspicious negative reviews detected, which could be competition posting fake reviews. For more see our article on fake reviews. [Coming soon].

NuWave 36001 Brio Air Fryer


Top rated air cooker NOT available on Amazon:

Cook’s Essentials 5.3-qt Digital Air Fryer with Divider

This air cooker is the favorite cooker featured on QVC but not currently available on Amazon. Once again, as with ALL cookers, they all seem to have an issue with QUALITY of make and materials.

Many people LOVE it and use it every day. Others say the coating is peeling (a common complaint amongst all brands), or the handle came off.

We suspect this is much like the some of the other oil-less fryers: adequate but not great, and with definite issues with peeling paint, (note the 152 one-star reviews).

QVC rating as of 10/20/17

Cook’s Essentials 5.3-qt Digital Air Fryer with Divider

 

Large Capacity Air Fryers

Air Fryers come in different sizes, so be careful to assess the size that will be large enough for your needs. Small capacity air cookers are often appropriate for two or three servings, so great for individuals and couples. Large Capacity air fryers cost more and naturally take up a little bit more counter space but are better suited to families.

Air Fryer Accessories

We recommend that you start using your air fryer as it is first, before buying additional air fryer accessories. Once you’ve gotten some successful dishes under your belt, you may enjoy getting more creative with additional accessories.

The most common air fryer accessories are pie pans, air fryer rack, silicone trivet, cake pan and skewers. So depending on your needs and how adventurous you’re feeling, there are a number of options. Just be sure to confirm that the accessories you want to try out are compatible with your cooker.

To kick off your healthy lifestyle, here’s an crowd-pleasing favorite that’s actually relatively easy.

Recipes for Air Fryers

Healthy and Crispy Fried Spring Rolls Recipe

Recipe from HomeKitchenLand.com 3)https://homekitchenland.com/air-fryer-recipes/

INGREDIENTS:

  • 120 g of cooked chicken breast
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 30 g of carrot
  • 30 g of mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp of finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of chicken stock powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch
  • 8 spring roll wrappers

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Shred the chicken into small pieces
  2. Slice the vegetables (celery, carrot, mushrooms) into long strips
  3. Mix the chicken and vegetables in a bowl; Season with salt and pepper
  4. Add the ginger, sugar and chicken stock into the mixture; Mix well
  5. Preheat the air fryer to 392 degrees F.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk one egg. Add corn starch to produce a thicker egg mixture.
  7. Prepare the spring rolls. Scoop a spoonful of the mixture to stuff into the spring roll wrappers, roll them up and seal the ends with the egg mixture.
  8. Place the rolls in the air fryer basket. Add a sprinkle of oil for crispier rolls. Fry for 4 minutes.

You’re ready to enjoy low fat, healthier spring rolls. Bon appetite and please let us know how yours turn out.

We’re trying these yummy looking zucchini crisps next time.

Air Fryer Cookbook

For a book full of great air cooker recipes, you’ll enjoy the best selling Air Fry Everything cookbook by Blue Jean Chef, Meredith Laurence.

Your Favorite Recipes

The oil less cookers have been around for about seven years. Consequently, recipes for air fryers are still relatively new.

You can look for all kinds of new air fryer recipes, but the bottom line is that most of your favorite recipes can be cooked using your hot air fryer. You’ll just need to follow the air fryer instructions for cooking that item after you’ve prepared the recipe.

Most of your favorite recipes can be cooked in your air cooker.

This handy air fryer calculator can help as well. It converts celsius to fahrenheit, and includes an estimated cooking time and temperature sheet.

For important information on best oils to use for air frying, this is a helpful article.

It’s one thing to enjoy that favorite mouth watering crispy fried chicken, but it’s easy to overlook the fact that it was first literally swimming in oil. Yuk!! Once we grasp how detrimental some of our old favorite fried foods are to our health, it’s hard to enjoy them in the same way we used to. We can no longer ignore the fact that “juicy fried chicken” is actually not so much “juice” as it is cell-damaging, free-radical inducing, fried oil.

You already eat healthy vegetables from your garden. Might as well take it to the next level and preserve that garden fresh goodness in how you prepare your food. Air fryers usher kitchens to an entirely new era of exciting cooking possibilities.

The results aren’t always perfect and the reviews are mixed, but it’s an evolving technology that should keep on getting better. So if you love fried foods but you care about your health, you may enjoy trying out this exciting new method of making some of your favorite foods.

Conclusion

If you love kitchen gadgets and have the space, go for it. If you don’t have the extra space and/or want to save money, we recommend trying baked or oven roasted versions of your favorite fried foods first. Our favorite: oven roasted potatoes with rosemary, salt and pepper.

If you’d like to share your favorite air fryer and air cooker recipes with us, we’d be delighted to publish them here. You can post it in the comments below or send an email.

Enjoy healthy cooking!


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