Most back-to-school tech guides cover laptops and tablets, and of course, those devices are important. But no laptop or tablet app will be able to command your focus whether you’re hungry or hungry – which is why, in our opinion, the best air fryers, alongside the best instant pans (some of which can also fry) . are the must-have gadgets for going back to school, college or university.
There are some really great deals on air fryers, which means you can get one of these handy gadgets for a super low price. Air fryers are perfect for small kitchens, crowded calendars and exciting social lives.
So, to answer your questions about what a deep fryer is, why you should have one, and how to choose one, read on.
Best deals on cheap deep fryers
Air fryers are quick to operate, cook healthy food and are easy to use. They’re also relatively affordable, making them an attractive choice if budgets are tight. Here’s where you can get a cheap one:
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a small countertop oven that comes with a large fan inside. This fan circulates the air very quickly to create a super hot cooking environment to bring you all the flavors of fried or fried food faster than a regular oven and also hassle free. It’s different from a regular convection oven in that the fan tends to be proportionately much larger, with the interior specifically designed to maximize airflow through the fryer so you cook more efficiently too.
What are the benefits 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 appliances too. That means faster food and lower energy bills – and you don’t lose a lot of counter space in the process. Many air fryers are small enough to fit in a closet and don’t take up much counter space if storage is at a premium.
However, the main benefit is health. Traditional frying uses a lot of oil, but with a deep fryer you only need to sprinkle or coat the food lightly with oil, but the end result is so crispy and full of flavor. It’s as close to guilt-free fried food as possible.
Air frying is much less messy and smelly than frying too, and it’s safer: You’re not heating a pan of oil to very high temperatures on a stove, with all the fire hazards that entails. And that also means no oil to cool down and discard later. Many fryer accessories can go straight to the dishwasher for cleaning, but even items that are hand-washed aren’t difficult or time-consuming to clean.
There are a lot of really great air fryer recipes you can try. Our favorites include air fryer ice cream, air fryer brownies and air fryer French toast. And as for the fried pork belly…
Last but not least, air fryers are also great for reheating leftovers and ready-to-eat foods.
What are the disadvantages of a deep fryer?
Some things you would normally fry in oil don’t fry very well. Wet pasta, such as for fish or veg tempura, will simply fall out; very light foods, such as spinach leaves, puff and can burn; and while some people swear by frying hamburgers and steaks, we think doing them in a skillet gives the tastiest results. The cheese simply melts and goes down to the bottom of the fryer, so we keep a skillet for those all-important grilled cheese sandwiches.
How to choose the best airfryer?
Air fryers come in two main designs. The most common is a dedicated fryer that has a removable drawer in which you will find a mesh basket; it is designed for frying only. However, you can also pick up all-in-one devices that not only fry in air, but
can perform other functions. For example, there are Instant Pot pressure cookers whose lids you can swap out to turn into air fryers, and there are all-in-one toasters that also come with air frying capabilities.
The first and most important thing to think about is what you want to cook. If you just want to cook foods like fries, vegetables, spicy chicken and heat up last night’s leftovers, a dedicated air fryer will be perfect. There’s no point in spending more on a multi-cooker fryer if you’re not going to use any of the additional features.
It’s worth noting that all-in-one devices tend to be a little less efficient and effective than dedicated models. For example, we upgraded from a dedicated fryer to an all-in-one fryer and found that the latter takes longer to heat up, takes a little longer to cook, and requires you to move food more often during cooking: if we don’t stir the fries several sometimes we end up with some that are overcooked while others remain a little mushy. It’s still a huge improvement over a convection oven or toaster oven, but since it’s not focused on a single type of cooking, it doesn’t work as well.
The second thing you need to consider is the amount of food you want to cook. Some of the cheaper air fryers come with very small baskets, usually big enough for two chicken breasts or fries for just two people. If you think you’re going to want to cook regularly for a larger number of people, consider a two-drawer model or a more oven-shaped appliance that offers a wider cooking area.
We believe there are six things you should think about when choosing a deep fryer. These are price, capacity, size, special features, removable inserts and design. The latter won’t be a priority for anyone planning to store the unit in a closet, but if it’s going to stay on your countertop, it will be a consideration. And, of course, design isn’t just about looks; it covers how it works, too. Some cute-looking fryers are a nightmare to clean, while others that aren’t so pretty are much easier to maintain.
Are air fryers worth the money?
Yup. If you want to eat healthier without losing flavor, air fryers are great — and with the cost of energy rising, they’re also a great way to help cut your bills. But for students, we think the biggest benefit here is time. They take less time to heat up and cook, so you don’t have to wait as long to get your gastronomic fix – and when you’re done, they’re quick to clean too. No one ever left school or college wishing they had spent more time cleaning their kitchen utensils.
If you want to see which air fryer models suit your specific needs and budget, check out our guide to the best air fryer deals around. We constantly update our deals page to ensure you always get the best price possible, no matter what fryer you want to buy.