Who doesn't enjoy some crunchy, savory fried food? We know that we do!
The most common way to fry your food is through deep-frying, which requires you to completely submerge your food into a vat of piping hot oil.
The frying is a result of something called the Maillard effect, which is a chemical reaction that breaks down the sugars and proteins located in food surfaces, making the surface turn golden brown.
The reaction gets rid of moisture on the surface while also trapping moisture within the food. This leads to a hearty crunch on the outside and a deliciously tender taste on the inside.
But this frying isn't without its faults. Due to the nature of deep frying, the food that's submerged with oil is going to be chock full of unhealthy fats and oils.
This means that you have to limit your consumption of fried foods to special occasions, otherwise you run the risk of developing a lot of health problems.
But if you are looking to enjoy fried foods more often while reducing the unhealthy impact that it typically has, then an air fryer is exactly what you need in your life.
An air fryer works a bit differently than a deep fryer. It uses superheated air to produce the Maillard effect and fry your foods.
An air fryer uses far less oil too, often only a teaspoon or even none at all depending on the model.
Because you don't need to submerge food in oil with an air fryer, the result is that your food retains its crispy fried flavor while being much healthier, meaning that you get to enjoy fried food much more often!
There are some key differences to note though.
cooks via super-heated air
cooks via flash point frying
requires little to no oil
requires food to be submerged in oil
healthier fried food
richer-tasting fried food
easier to clean
harder to clean
equipped with multiple features
Usually just one main feature
Air fryers often don't achieve the deeper flavors that deep frying can, and they also don't typically result in the rich golden-brown coating that deep frying achieves. But the benefits more than make up for it considering that you still get the great taste of fried food.
So what should you look out for when picking an air fryer? If you don't know, no worries!
We've put together a handy list of points that you can use to determine the perfect air fryer for your needs below.
What to Look For When Picking an Air Fryer:
When it comes to kitchen appliances, you absolutely need to take the performance power into account. Without great performance power, your fried foods could end up lacking in crunch and taste.
A good range for quality air frying would be anywhere between 1500 Watts to 1700 Watts, as this range will give you more than enough power to fry most commonly-fried foods.
Power greater than this range is good for heartier food like whole chicken or turkey, while power lower than this range is good for smaller, easily fried foods like cut potatoes.
One big advantage that air fryers have over their deep frying counterpart is that an air fryer can be used for cooking outside of just frying food. Some foods, like cake and pastries, can be baked with an air fryer if its the right model.
When choosing the perfect air fryer, be sure to take its built-in features into considering. Things like programmable functions and other quality-of-life features can make your cooking experience a piece of cake.
The more features you have, the more options you have to choose from. Having options is especially nice when cooking for families and larger social gatherings since you'll have a greater degree of flexibility when preparing food.
But if you don't need many features, you can certainly get away with a more basic model. Sometimes simple is better if you don't want to be confused with all of the bells-and-whistles of fancier models.
Capacity is an important thing to take note of what choosing an air fryer.
Some air fryers are larger than others. The bigger ones tend to sport higher performance power due to the fact that more power is needed to heat larger quantities of food. If you plan on cooking in bulk or frying up something big like a turkey, then you will need a larger size.
Plan on just cooking for you or a plus 1? Then you'll enjoy a small to medium sized air fryer, as they typically come at a lower cost and aren't as complicated as larger models. Smaller models don't consume as much power either, making them great for people who are energy-conscious.
Again, it's a matter of personal preference. We personally enjoy larger air fryers because they usually come with more features, have a greater performance power, and are better for cooking in bulk for next-day meals.
Either way, capacity is important. Make sure to keep the size into account when choosing the perfect air fryer.
And with that said, you now know exactly what to look for when choosing the best air fryer for your needs. So if you are still looking to get an air fryer, you are in luck!
Below is our list of the top 10 best air fryers for homes, offices, and colleges in 2020. When building this list, we took these three factors into account. Air fryers for college students are particularly handy due to their lack of preparation and supplies needed.
Furthermore, we choose the best air fryers not only in general, but within each dedicated category to truly make sure that we have a comprehensive list of the best products.
We hope that you enjoy the list!
#1 - Best Rated Air Fryer Pick:
COSORI Air Fryer MAX XL
The COSORI Air Fryer MAX XL is the perfect air fryer for both new and experienced people that want to air fry their favorite foods. It’s considered one of the top air fryers on the market and for good reasons.
It uses 1700 watts of power and can reach temperatures between 170°F-400°F. These temperatures will let you fry just about any food with ease, no matter how much or how big as long as it can fit inside the frying basket.
Speaking of the basket, this fryer’s basket offers some advantages that are not commonly found on other models. The non-stick basket has a capacity of 5.8 quarts and has a square shape, meaning that comfortably fit a whole 5 to 6-pound chicken that smaller, rounder baskets could not.
The size is also perfect for feeding groups of people (at least 3-5), which makes it a prime pick for social events or family dinners. It’s easy to clean too thanks to the basket being dishwasher-safe.
It can also utilize preheating, a coveted yet rare cooking option. Preheating visibly improves food texture in just a few minutes, making it a faster choice when compared to the time-consuming preheating of traditional ovens.
We know that sometimes frying batches of food results in uneven frying, which can cause an imbalance in texture and taste. But this air fryer comes with a very helpful shake reminder that lets you know when to shake the contents, leading to a great even fry.
If you are looking to keep your food warm, there’s also a dedicated function designed to do just that.
Its slimmer, stackable design lowers the footprint on your countertop and saves you space. This is especially useful for places that have limited countertop space such as apartments, college dorms, and offices.
This air fryer prepares your food with 85% less fat compared to traditional deep frying, yet delivers a near-identical deliciously crunchy taste that traditionally deep-fried food is known for. It can do this because it uses little to no oil when frying the food, making the food much healthier.
There are 11 cooking functions that are already built into the air fryer, giving you quick and easy ways to start frying without any extra hassle. Make a selection with a touch or a tap and that’s it.
You can walk away and know that your food is being fried to finely-tuned specifications.
Don’t know what foods to start frying first? You don’t have to worry if you are a beginner. This air fryer comes with 100 deliciously easy recipes for every meal. You’ll also have access to a catalog of recipes and video tutorials from within the COSORI community.
If you are looking for an air fryer that comes with a host of great features, solid performance power, and functions that make air frying a breeze, then we recommend checking out the COSORI Air Fryer MAX XL.