Philips Air Fryer Review
My "All Star" appliance
This lens is dedicated to my most favorite "go to" kitchen appliance. As a work from home dad, often I forget to or am late to prepare lunch, dinner. This where the air fryer shines! What is an air fryer? Basically, it's a machine that heats and circulates air to "fry" your food instead of oil therefore being more cost effective and healthy. That's not why I like it so much. I love this thing because it's really convenient to use, there's no mess (like oil splatters), cooks things quickly, cleaning up is relatively easy too.
For me, things get pretty busy and hectic at home. So if I forget to prepare lunch, I only need roughly 15 minutes to get some food on the table.
1) I just open up the freezer, find some nuggets, fries, popcorn chicken, drumlets, wings, dumplings, hamburger patties etc etc
2) Dump the bag into the air fryer
3) refer to the cook time chart and turn the dial accordingly
For dinner usually 30 minutes is needed...the first 15 to get some rice going and a soup.
This machine works like a charm straight out of the box. I've had it for almost 2 months now and it's awesome! I do have some nit picks with it which I'll list out later, but first I'll describe the air fryer a bit. This air fryer originally came in a white and blue color scheme (as you can see in the photos on in this lens and in the flickr stream) then came the black one. Personally, I really don't care what color it comes in because it's that awesome!
There are basically 3 parts; the main body (the part that heats the air). a fry basket with attached handle and a catch bucket. The fry basket fits and clicks into place inside the catch bucket which you then insert into the main body.
The main body has 4 components (not including air vents);
1) a pair of lights (one green indicating power on and an amber one indicating if the internal temperature has been attained
2) a temperature dial
3) timer knob
4) retractable cord
The 2 air vents are located at the back (exhaust) and the top (intake).
Simply right? So is operating it:
1) pull handle towards you to remove the fry basket/catch bucket combo
2) put your food into the fry basket and put back into the air fryer
3) set the temperature
4) turn the timer knob
5) 1/2 way through the cook time, remove the basket/bucket combo and shake the food
6) when the bell chimes, pull the handle to remove the basket/bucket combo and set down on a heat resistant mat. Press the button on the handle and lift up to detach the fry basket from the catch bucket
7) shake your food out of the fry basket and serve
I've put many things into the air fryer to cook and here's what I've found. Putting in pre cooked, frozen items works the best. Like nuggets (chicken, fish), popcorn chicken type foods, fries, gyoza's, dumplings, chicken wings, drumlets.
Making your own fresh fries is also possible but you have to soak and oil your potatoes first (too much of a hassle for me). Frozen hamburger patties work great too BUT make sure you point the back of the air fryer to a large open space (like out a window) because the smoke is horrendous. I've tried it 3 times with different brands of frozen patties all resulting in the same amount of smoke. A LOT ! Nothing else seems to produce any smoke or noticeable smells. I can crank out 4 patties in 10 minutes so it's really convenient for my family of 4.
The least messy things to put in are the dryer type foods as the loosely breaded items tend to "shed" and the wet (honey mustard wings for example) tend to stick and drip. It's all good if you don't mind washing the catch bucket cuz it all ends up in there or stuck to wire mesh of the fry basket.
Cleaning is quite easy, even for a lazy guy like me. The walls of the fry basket and the entire inside of catch bucket seems to be coated with that non stick stuff. I'm not entirely certain but I know stuff comes off pretty easy. Once the basket and bucket have cooled, I filled the bucket with basket attached with soapy water and let soak for a few minutes, then I use a soft sponge and wipe all the stuff off. The only difficulty lies in the wire mesh of the fry basket as its' pretty sharp and will cut up your sponge so that you'll spend more time picking out sponge than actually using it. I'd advise a soft wire brush type thing.
My Nit Picks
1) Power cord too short, auto retract would be nice. In the photo, that's the max you can retract the cord.
2) Wire mesh of fry basket too sharp. It cuts up soft sponges and green scrub pads and a lot of time is wasted picking out the pieces
3) Too many sharp edges in and around both the fry basket and catch bucket
4) Latch securing fry basket to catch bucket 'feels' too flimsy but hasn't failed me yet
5) Black coating comes off too easy, the top corners of the catch bucket are losing the coating after rubbing against the body when removing/replacing into the main body.
6) The timer knob is pretty lame for a piece of equipment with this ticket price. It's almost impossible to reduce time without feeling you're going to break the knob off. Maybe I did break it because my timer knob now stops (dings) between the 1 and 2 minute marks.
7) No on/off switch. The timer knob controls the air, if it's ticking the hot air will be blowing unless the unit is unplugged. The timer still runs down when the air fryer is unplugged. You can't use the temperature knob either as it starts at 80.
8) The divider to separate foods in the fry basket is not sturdy at all, it barely fits in the slots and comes out easily even with out shaking the basket.
This air fryer is a unique piece of equipment. It's also rather pricey especially for something that is relatively unknown. I had heard of it and how good it was but it was too pricey for something that I'd not use that often. My wife had talked about getting one but again, the price...so when we saw this thing on sale for over $100 bucks off, we decided to try it out. This thing for me is extremely convenient. I can make fries, wings and stuff without getting splattered by oil, no wasted (or recycling) oil afterwards and best of all, no oily foods for my kids. At regular price though it might not be a great buy but still worth it because you'll find stuff to put in there cook. It's really easy to use, food comes out great but crispy foods get soggy a bit faster than when oil fried. At 30% it's a great buy roughly about the same price as a large toaster style oven.
I would highly recommend this unit if the price fits your budget and your family likes to eat the kinds of foods you can cook in the air fryer. Just remember to buy an extension cord or socket with an on off switch.