Each air fryer has its own features from their cooking capacity to their settings. Be sure to consider these features when choosing your own air fryer, especially as your actual use of said features will contribute to its value for the money. Bells and whistles are good but when these add to the price and these will rarely, if ever, be used, then the air fryer isn’t worth the money.
With that being said, here are three of the most useful and important features that you should look for in an air fryer.
1. Cooking capacity
Look at the basket size first since it will affect the amount of food that the air fryer can be used with. The more people you’re cooking for, the bigger the basket size should be obviously.
Keep this simple reference in mind when considering cooking capacity:
- 5-pound capacity – For a single person
- 1-pound capacity – For two persons
- 2- to 3-pound capacity – For a family, usually three to six persons
Since these are general estimates, you have to consider other factors, too. These include the types of food, the number of persons, and the amount of servings, among others. You may, for example, buy a family-sized air fryer in a two-person household when you usually have family and friends over during weekends.
Furthermore, the size and weight of an air fryer will be influenced by its cooking capacity. Size, which can refer to the depth of the cooking chamber, can vary from five inches to 40 inches with many commercial-sized air fryers being deeper than 40 inches.
Weight also varies from a lightweight 10 pounds to a heavyweight 20-plus pounds; a lighter air fryer is obviously best when you’re planning on using it outside of the kitchen or when it will be stored in a tall cabinet. Also, check that the air fryer will fit into the countertop where you intend to use it.
The Gowise Air fryer is the best size for medium and small families
2. Temperature range
Cooking food with a too low or too high temperature can be disastrous, if not a waste of your money. Fortunately, most air fryers have adjustable temperatures ranging from 100°F to 400°F, as well as preset temperatures for certain foods and a temperature guide. Before using your new air fryer, read the instructions manual first since there will be valuable information in it, temperature- and time-wise.
In general, the higher the temperature range, the more foods that you can cook in an air fryer. But even with a lower temperature, food can still be cooked well albeit for a longer period.
Check the air fryer’s temperature guide or the recipe for the proper temperature for whatever food you’re cooking in it. Chicken nuggets and French fries, for example, will come out crispy at around 350°F. Pork chops and chicken breasts require higher temperatures, such as 400°F, and cook for longer periods for best results.
The Ninja Air fryer is the best for chicken and French fries
3. Time setting
Cooking food for too long or too short periods can also be disastrous, palatability-wise. Just as with choosing the right temperature, it’s important to set the right cook time on an air fryer.
Again, air fryers have adjustable time settings, usually ranging from 15 minutes to 60 minutes. The higher time settings can make up, so to speak, for the lower temperature options. As we previously mentioned, you can cook food at a lower temperature for a longer period and get similar results as when you cook it at a higher temperature for a shorter period.
Most digital air fryers also have pre-programmed settings for time and temperature. These are useful for people who value ease of use and convenience although these are usually only available in digital air fryers with touchscreen control panels. The settings typically includes pre-set time and temperature settings for common foods, such as French fries and onion rings, steaks and patties, and fried chicken.
But these are designed as general estimates so you have to determine the right settings, too. For example, you should obviously set a longer cook time when you’re cooking a higher volume of food in an air fryer.
Air fryers also have several features that extend their usefulness in a modern kitchen. These features should also be considered when choosing an air fryer for your kitchen.
4. Buzzing timer
You will be alerted when the cook time is up with a buzzing sound. You should ideally remove the food from the air fryer lest it becomes overdone, perhaps even burned to a crisp.
5. Temperature light
You can see whether the air fryer has reached its desired temperature via the temperature light.
6. Removable basket and pan
You will have an easy time cleaning the basket and pan in the dishwasher, a must to avoid food and oil buildup in the cooking chamber.
7. Cooking tray and/or grill pan insert
You can buy either or both of these removable accessories as part of a complete air fryer system or you may buy them separately. These can be considered as must-have accessories in case you’re planning on expanding an air fryer’s uses, such as from frying to grilling, roasting, and baking.
A cooking tray has a similar function as a toaster or oven tray. A grill pan insert is necessary for cooking meats and burgers.
No matter the features in your chosen air fryer, you have to try using all of them since you paid for them. Check out our recipes since these maximize the full range of your air fryer’s features!