More and more people are going the air fryer route when it comes to cooking. There are a lot of options out there, but which one is right for you?
Most air fryers cook food with very hot, dry fan-forced heat that cooks quickly over high-temperature levels. The most common types include:
The amount of fat in any type of fryer is negligible. So it’s better not to be worrying about that when choosing!
- Air fryers come in different form factors and functionalities, such as basket-type and rotisserie-type air fryers. Each type has its own uniqueness and advantages, depending on the type of food you are cooking and your cleaning preferences.
- The size of air fryers is standardized using measurements in quarts, which determines the amount of food you can cook. Depending on the number of people you are feeding, you can choose the appropriate size of air fryer using a simple table.
- The best type of air fryer for you depends on your particular needs and use cases. It is recommended that you decide on the top three things you would like to do with an air fryer, such as air frying, grilling, or baking, before making a purchase.
- Some air fryers can do “everything,” but this may not necessarily be true for everyone. It is important to consider the size and cleaning requirements of air fryers that can do everything, as well as whether or not you actually need all the extra functionalities.
- The best way to decide what type of air fryer fits you the best is to think about the type of cooking you will be doing over 90% of the time. This will help you determine which functionalities are most important for you and whether you need a specialized or multi-functional air fryer.
What are the different types of air fryers?
1. Paddle-type air fryers
These are really interesting types of air fryers. Perhaps one of the most peculiar types is the paddle-type air fryer.
But don’t let this image fool you, it is quite the capable air fryer that crosses the point of convenience.
These air fryers are just like every other typical air fryer except for the fact that inside consists of a bowl and a paddle that rotates your food in a circular motion.
So what happens here, is the paddle in the middle of the airfare begins to spin well pivoted on one end.
It will gently stir the food to allow it to be cooked evenly.
This method was invented to save you time from having to stir or flip your food over in the middle of cooking. It is basically doing that task inside the air fryer while it is cooking.
2. Basket-type air fryers
These are your typical basket-style air fryers. You can also describe them as egg-shaped.
These are your most popular air fryers which traditionally can be found in many households.
These are fires often perform very basic tasks that only involve changing the amount of heat that is circulating throughout the chamber.
Here you have a basket that pulls out from the center of the air fryer.
The basket is normally made with a nonstick coating and you would usually place a grill or tray underneath your food so that the oils and fats will drip down to the bottom of the basket.
3. Toaster oven air fryers
Here at Family Guide Central, we love using the toaster oven air fryer. It is perhaps our favorite version of the air fryer.
It can do almost everything a typical air fryer can do and much more. Some of these machines can dehydrate as well as sear a steak.
Because it looks and works very similar to a traditional oven (but with a running fan to push air), we found that an air fryer oven really fits our needs.
Sure, the cleaning is a bit more difficult because there are many parts along with an entire chamber to wipe down after every clean, but it isn’t so bad.
The cleaning process is very simple and quick.
4. Lid-type air fryer attachments
We weren’t sure if we should categorize this in the air fryer class but we decided last minute to do it anyways.
These are actual Lids that go over something like a pressure cooker or an instant pot. They replace the traditional lid that simply just closes the system from the environment.
These ones actually have their own heating element inside as well as a fan directly underneath.
The premise here went to Simply turn a non-air fryer, into an air fryer. It’s actually quite clever how it works.
It really doesn’t add much more to the cleaning process. You still going to have to clean the bottom machine that you use it on.
5. Pressure cooker air fryer combos
These types of machines are often not as common. They can handle both the ability to pressure cook and to air fry separately on the same device.
Usually, you wouldn’t see it being able to do both though. At least we haven’t found one with that feature.
By using the pressure cooker functionality, you’ll be able to thoroughly cook your meal and lock in the flavors and juices.
You can then follow up with the air fryer function to create a crispy exterior.
6. Rotisserie-type air fryers
If you were looking to cook an entire chicken in an air fryer, then perhaps looking for a rotisserie type air fryer is your best bet.
These machines perform and function almost exactly like every other toaster oven air fryer.
However, the difference you’ll see here is that there is an extra spoke that is hooked onto a motor on the side of this air fryer.
This motor will spin when activated in the cook settings.
All you have to do is push your rotisserie shaft from one end of your chicken out the other, and rest it on the spinning spoke. This will spin your chicken throughout the entire cooking process.
The good thing here is that while it’s rotating, the air frying function will also occur at the same time.
One other thing you’ll find about rotisserie type air fryers is that they are very large so it’s important to have enough space when using them.
7. Microwave air fryer combos
These types of appliances are actually very rare to see. You probably never even heard of one of these.
These machines can perform both microwaving and air frying at the same time. There is even a typical turntable at the bottom that spins the food around.
When combined, this machine can cook extremely fast with the power and heat coming from the microwave and the ability to air fry the exterior with the heating element and fan.
Table: Pros and cons of different types of air fryers
|Type of Air Fryer||Pros||Cons|
|Paddle-type air fryers||Easy to use, can cook a variety of foods, require little to no oil||Noisy, may not cook food as quickly, may not be as easy to clean|
|Basket-type air fryers||Easy to use, can cook a variety of foods, relatively quick to cook||May not cook food as evenly, basket can be difficult to clean|
|Toaster oven air fryers||Versatile, can be used for a variety of cooking tasks, takes up less space||May not be as efficient at air frying, may be more expensive|
|Lid-type air fryer attachments||Inexpensive, takes up minimal space, allows you to use existing cookware||May not be as efficient at air frying, may not fit all types of cookware|
|Pressure cooker air fryer combos||Versatile, can be used for a variety of cooking tasks, takes up less space||May be more expensive, may not be as efficient at air frying|
|Rotisserie-type air fryers||Can cook food evenly, great for roasting meats||Takes up more space, may not be as versatile for cooking other types of foods|
|Microwave air fryer combos||Versatile, can be used for a variety of cooking tasks, takes up less space||May not be as efficient at air frying, may not be as easy to clean|
What is the difference between different air fryers?
The difference between the different air fryers is that some of them are honestly just different form factors and functionalities.
Because of the way it’s shaped and sized it can perform different types of cooking. Take for example the traditional basket-type air fryers compared to the Rotisserie type air fryers.
While both of these do perform very stimulating using hot air circulation, the rotisserie type air fryer is capable of rotating a large meal while at the same time having the fan running I’m cooking.
That is also to say that basket-type air fryers also have their own uniqueness. Is a simple size and shape of basket-style air fryers, they may be considered easier to clean.
The main components when dealing with the food actress the basket and the rack.
You can also wipe down the heating element burn at the end of the day it’s a much easier kitchen appliance to clean than a full-on rotisserie oven air fryer.
How do I know what size air fryer to buy?
When it comes to deciding what size air fryer you need in order to satisfy the people you’re cooking for it all boils down to the amount of food you need to cook.
Fortunately for us, almost every air fryer is standardized with the size and capacity using measurement in quarts.
The sizes of air fryers range anywhere from one and a half quarts (the smallest we’ve ever seen) to a whopping 10 quarts or larger.
In case you needed something easy to look at, we’ve compiled a table that gives you information on how many quarts you will need to feed a certain number of people below:
|Number of Quarts||How Many Mouths It Can Feed|
|1 – 3||2|
|3 – 5||3|
|5 – 6||4|
|6 – 10||5 and up|
Which type of air fryer is best?
This is a difficult question to answer. Most people would probably guess that it’s the air fryer with the most functionality.
However, that may not necessarily be true. You have to ask yourself, do you really need all these functionalities? Are you ever going to dehydrate food? Are you ever going to use that pressure cooker feature?
Another disadvantage with air fryers that can do “everything,” is the size and requirements for it to sit on your kitchen counter. Sometimes these things become rather large.
Also, don’t forget that the larger they are, what difficulties will be to clean.
With all that being said and done, our recommendation would be to go ahead and decide on the top three things you would like to do with an air fryer.
Here’s a list of every single feature that a modern-day air fryer can do. This list includes areas of functionalities outside the typical air fryer but you may find them built-in as an extra feature.
- Air fryer
- Pressure cook
- Slow cook
- Sous vide
Does it matter what air fryer you buy?
Again oh, it really depends on your use cases and your particular needs. No one can tell you exactly what you’re going to need nor what you want.
Fortunately for us, there are a variety of different types of air fryers. Some of them can almost do it all, while some of them are only focused on a particular thing. The good thing about this is that we all have a choice.
And if you get something that does not fulfill all your requirements, you can simply buy that extra equipment that provides those one-off functionalities you need.
For example, if you decided to purchase an air fryer that did not come with a pressure cooker, and you still have the opportunity to buy a separate pressure cooker instead.
We know that this isn’t particularly what most people would find satisfactory, but if you’re really looking to buy an air fryer that does almost everything then we suggest that you first decide which functionalities do you find most important for you.
Don’t worry about the one or two times where you’re going to be using one particular cooking route.
The best way to decide what air fryer fits you the best is the think about what type of cooking you’re going to be doing over 90% of the time.
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