Monday, February 2, 2015

Re-reviewed: The Actifry vs. The Phillips Air Fryer

Quite some time ago, I reviewed the Actifry.

More recently, I reviewed the Phillips AirFryer.

They're both designed to do the same thing, but using slightly different means to get to the end. The idea - for both - is that you can "fry" foods with very little oil.

The truth is that if you fry foods correctly, they don't soak up a lot of oil. So that's not my objection to fried food. But I really don't like the idea of buying a vast quantity of oil that later needs to be disposed of. So a device that can mimic frying without using as much oil is appealing.

Both the Actifry and the Phillips AirFryer use hot air to cook the food. The biggest difference between the two is that the Actifry slowly stirs the food while it cooks, while the AirFryer contains the food in an open basket where presumably it's being hit by air from multiple directions.

While stirring sounds like a good idea, it means that you're going to have issues cooking anything that's freshly coated or breaded or battered, and the stirring also tends to break up softer foods - there were always a few french fries or potato wedges in every batch that looked like they'd been roughly handled.

Stirring could be a bonus for other recipes, though. The recipe book that came with the unit came with a few recipes where stirring made sense, like a risotto-like rice dish, but I didn't have much success with that. I live at high altitude, and rice can be tricky, so I don't know for sure if the issue was altitude or the appliance. If you live at sea level and have had success with that recipe or others that require stirring, I'd love to hear about it.

On the other hand, frozen breaded items worked fairly well in the Actifry - I lost some coating, but it wasn't terrible. Frozen breaded items worked perfectly in the AirFryer.

In the AirFryer, it would be possible to cook freshly battered or breaded items that might stick together - like freshly beer-battered fish, for example - if you kept the food separated and in a single layer which would be sort of ... inconvenient ... for large quantities. But I think it could work for, let's say, a couple breaded pork chops, leaning against the sides of the basket.

Seriously, though, you're more likely to cook chops some other way. Just because you can make something work, it doesn't mean you should. One chop, for a single person - well, that might actually make more sense.

If you're really concerned about fat on your food, the oil drips off the food and out the bottom of the basket of the AirFryer, whereas it collects in the bottom of the Actifry, and the food is constantly being stirred around in the oil.

Both the Actifry and the AirFryer are pretty large appliances for the amount of food they can cook, so neither one is going to be great for a huge, hungry family, unless you're eating in shifts or you're trying to cut down on portion sizes. For a single person or a couple, they make more sense.

Neither of these makes food that's identical to the deep-fried version, but that's to be expected. Frying is frying, and air-frying is ... well ... like a super-convection cooking method. While it's not the same as frying, it's pretty darned good. And the upside is that I don't have a gallon of oil to get rid of when I'm done.

One huge benefit of the AirFryer is that there is a temperature control, so you can cook potatoes at a lower temperature until they're done cooking, and then raise the temperature to crisp them. It also gives you a wider range of items that can be cooked properly. And since there's no stirring, you can cook things like grilled cheese sandwiches in the fryer basket.

Given my choice of one of the two, I have to say I prefer the AirFryer. It's certainly not essential kitchen tool, but it's convenient for making a basket of fries or a few pounds of wings.

Since I received my AirFryer, a few new models have been introduced, including one with a digital controls and a double-layer and one with digital controls and larger capacity. Whether the higher prices on the new models would be worth the money depends on your particular needs, but the larger capacity unit would make more sense for families.

My original review of the Actifry is here:

My original review of the AirFryer is here:

I received both of these from the respective manufacturers for the purpose of a review, which were done some time ago. I had no obligation to write about them again, but I thought a comparison would be fun.

1 comment:

  1. Cooking with an air fryer is a healthy alternative to deep frying using oil. Hot air fryers use heated air instead of hot oil to cook food. The best air fryers for home use all make use of Rapid Air Technology for frying your food with minimal or no oil. what is air fryer


We love comments! Sorry, but because of spam, links are disabled in comment fields.