Most of the back-to-school technical guides cover laptops and tablets, and of course these devices are important. But no laptop or tablet app will be able to focus on when you’re hungry or hungry – and that’s why in our opinion the best air fryers, alongside the best Instant Pots (some of which can also fry in air), are essential gadgets on back to school, college or university.
There are some really great fryer deals right now which means you can get one of these handy gadgets for a super low price. Pneumatic fryers are great for small kitchens, crowded calendars, and exciting social life.
To answer your questions about what an air fryer is, why you should have one, and how to choose one, read on.
Best Cheap Air Fryer Deals
Air fryers are quick to operate, cook healthy food and are easy to use. They are also relatively inexpensive, making them an attractive choice if budgets are tight. Here is where you can buy cheap:
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a small countertop oven that has a large fan inside it. This fan circulates the air very quickly, creating a very hot cooking environment that gives you all the flavors of pan fried or deep fried food faster than a regular oven and also hassle free. It differs from a regular convection oven in that the fan is proportionally much larger and the interior is specifically designed to maximize airflow through the fryer, making it cook more efficiently as well.
What are the advantages of an air fryer?
A dedicated air fryer is much smaller than a countertop toaster or convection oven, let alone a built-in oven. It heats up and cooks much faster than these devices. This means you eat faster and lower your energy bills – and you don’t waste too much counter space. Many air fryers are small enough to fit in a cabinet and won’t take up much countertop space if storage is at a premium.
However, the main benefit is health. Traditional frying requires a lot of oil, but in air fryers, just sprinkle or lightly brush the oil on the food and the end result is just as crispy and full of flavor. It’s as close to fried food without guilt as you can get.
Frying in the air is much less dirty and smelly than deep-fat frying, and it is also safer: you do not heat the pan with oil to very high temperatures on the stove, with all the dangers of a fire. It also means that there is no oil to cool down and dispose of later. Many air fryer accessories are dishwasher safe, but even items that are only hand washed are not difficult or time consuming to clean.
There are a lot of really great fryer recipes you can try. Our favorites are ice cream from the deep fryer, brownie from the deep fryer and French toast from the deep fryer. And as for the bacon fried in the air …
Last but not least, air fryers are also great for heating up leftover food and take-out food.
What are the disadvantages of an air fryer?
Some things you normally fry in oil don’t fry very well in air. Wet cakes, such as for fish or tempura vegetables, will just fall off; very light foods such as spinach leaves rise and may burn; and while some people swear by air frying hamburgers and steaks, we believe doing it in a pan produces more flavorful results. The cheese just melts and flows to the bottom of the fryer, so we stick to the pan for all those important grilled cheese sandwiches.
How to Choose the Best Air Fryer?
Pneumatic fryers are available in two key versions. The most common is a dedicated deep fryer with a pull-out drawer with a mesh basket in it; it is intended only for frying in the air. However, you can also choose multifunction devices that not only fry air, but
may perform other functions. For example, there are Instant Pot pressure cookers whose lids can be replaced to turn them into air fryers, as well as multi-functional toaster ovens with an air frying function.
The first and most important thing to think about is what you want to cook. If you just want to cook food like fries, vegetables, spicy chicken and reheat leftovers last night, a dedicated air fryer will be perfect. There is no point in spending more on a multi-cooker fryer if you don’t intend to use any additional features.
It’s worth noting that MFPs tend to be slightly less efficient and effective than dedicated models. For example, we upgraded our dedicated air fryer to a multi-functional air fryer oven and found the latter to take longer to heat, to cook a little longer, and to move food more often while cooking: if we don’t shake the fries multiple times, some of them are overcooked, while others they remain a little soft. This is still a big improvement over a convection oven or toaster, but since it’s not focused on one type of cooking, it doesn’t work that well.
The second thing you need to consider is the amount of food you want to cook. Some of the cheapest air fryers come with very small baskets, usually large enough to hold two chicken breasts or fries for just two. If you think you’ll want to cook for more people on a regular basis, you may want to consider a model with two drawers or an oven-shaped appliance that offers a wider cooking area.
We believe there are six things to keep in mind when choosing a fryer. These are price, capacity, size, special features, removable inserts and design. The latter will not be a priority for those who plan to hide the device in a closet, but if it is to be placed on a countertop, it will be taken into account. And of course, design isn’t just about looks; it also covers how it works. Some nice looking fryers are a nightmare to clean, while others that aren’t as pretty are much easier to maintain.
Are the fryers worth the money?
Yes. If you want to eat healthier without losing any flavor, air fryers are brilliant – and with rising energy costs, they’re also a very good way to keep your bills low. But for students, we believe that the greatest benefit here is time. Heating and cooking takes less time, so you don’t have to wait that long to prepare the food for your foodie – and it’s quick to clean when you’re done. No one ever left school or college, wishing they had spent more time cleaning kitchen appliances.
If you want to see which models of air fryers suit your specific requirements and budget, check out our guide to the best air fryer deals. We are constantly updating our deals page to ensure you always get the best possible price, no matter which fryer you want to buy.