Have you thought about buying an air fryer? Before you buy the bandwagon, here are 7 important things you should know.
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Philips Air Fryer Review
This post refers to a Philips Airfryer HD9641, bought on a whim for Black Friday, and have been getting intimate with it ever since. It has been the best addition to my kitchen just short of an actual paid dishwasher.
America’s Test Kitchen rated the Philips Air Fryer as the best one on the market.
I just wish I knew these 7 things before buying one, so you may want to consider them too.
7 Things You Should Know BEFORE Buying an Air Fryer
1) It’s loud
Like really loud. Like a small airplane landing in your backyard or living next to a busy highway, you can hear this constant hum in the background.
It’s the equivalent of high powered fans over a restaurant gas range. You get used to it after a while, but it is terribly noticeable.
2) It smokes a lot
It’s like a humidifier in your kitchen, except it spews the exhaust from your hot food. All those air fried fumes have to go somewhere.
Tip: Put the air fryer on your stove top right underneath your fan. This does mean even more noise but you’ll also keep all the aromas from wafting through your whole house.
Alternately, you can put a peice of sliced bread at the bottom of the tray underneath the cooking rack to sop up the drippings and keep them from turning into vapor.
3) It only goes up to 400 degrees
Presumably, you don’t need to any higher than 400 degrees, and this limit will keep you from burning the food too quickly.
However, I wonder if the food could get crispier or browner if you could heat it just a little higher to 425 or 450 degrees for a shorter period of time.
4) You can’t see the food.
That should be obvious looking at the all black vessel but not something you really think about.
Since it is high heat and you’re not really sure how long anything cooks, it would be helpful if you could take a quick peek, like turning on the oven light in a standard oven.
Instead, you have to open the air fryer and keep checking. It’s a slight hassle they’ve decided you need to live with.
5) It won’t do batter fried food
Wash those dreams of crispy tempura shrimp away. All the batter will slip off the food by the time the air fryer heats up.
You’ll have to make modifications to the recipe by doing coating with panko or breadcrumbs and brushing with oil, which brings us to the next point you should know.
6) You still have to add oil
It won’t get brown on its own. You still need to brush it with some fat that will aid the browning and crispy factor in the oven.
7) The inside is entirely coated with non-stick surfaces
The non-stick surfaces make this easy to clean up. However, the polytetrafluoroethylene, also known as Teflon, will eventually deteriorate, and it’s all too easy to scratch up the surface with an errant fork or metal tongs.
According to Scientific American, ingesting small flakes of this substance is not harmful, but it does put the longevity of each air fryer into question.
Does an air fryer make food crispy?
That is the million dollar question. Can we have deep fried food without actually having to deep fry food?
The air fryer does make food crispy, but it needs help. You need to add some kind of breading and coat with oil. The more generous with the oil you are, the better.
However, if you just put naked chicken wings in the air fryer, they will definitely not get as crispy as if you dropped them in a vat of hot oil. They still do get nicely brown and slightly crispy.
Bonus: It works well for pan-fried foods
Despite the noticeable inferiority to an actual deep fryer, the air fryer displays its colors and true hidden talent with pan-fried food.
Anything you would normally cook on the stove top in a skillet fries beautifully and much more pristinely in the air fryer.
Bacon, hamburgers, anything you would pan-fry or put on the grill but don’t feel like heating it up.
Avoid the grease splatter, stove top clean up, and pan scrubbing by using the small air fryer.
Would I buy one again?
To put it bluntly, no.
It’s expensive (see below), and I’m trying to move away from non-stick surfaces.
Is it worth the price?
As long as we’re being blunt, no.
It’s expensive. For Black Friday on Amazon it was $175, but the regular price hovers around $250. For that price, you could get an Apple watch or a year’s supply of Kettle Chips for all the crispiness you could ever want.
A convection toaster oven where you could actually see the food cooking would seem to be more convenient than the constant opening and closing, wondering if it’s cooked yet, feeling like a child perpetually asking “if we’re there yet?”
What could you buy instead?
You could get a convection toaster oven. Wire-Cutter magazine tested the air fryer, and while they also rated the Philips model as the best, they actually don’t recommend it due to its high cost and clean up.
The clean up requires dissembling the non-stick basket when you could simply clean a tray that goes in a toaster oven.
I’m not entirely sure that a home convection toaster oven would do be as effective as the air fryer, but it would be helpful to see the food as it cooks.
So far, I’m happy with it but not so sure about that non-stick coating that will eventually deteriorate and release toxic chemicals.
Why might you fall in love with it?
Like many flings and shiny objects, there is a passion period at the beginning of any relationship where you love and adore something and overlook all its inherent flaws.
ThePhilips Air Fryer overall works and gets the job done quickly and easily. I’m just not sure how long the honeymoon will last.
For now, however, the honeymoon is going smashingly (and noisily) well without getting grease splatters all over the stove top.
Published on February 17, 2018.
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