Air fryers are a rage these days as everyone wants to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Though the first air fryer was launched by Philips, soon everyone joined the bandwagon. Now, many of the leading home appliance brands sell their own model of air fryers. So how do you distinguish between them? Which option is best for a newbie? We help you decide based on our hands-on testing and review of the top-selling air fryer models in India.
Our Top Recommendation
Out of the top-selling options, our recommendation is to opt for Philips HL9252/00 1400-watt air fryer with a 4.1-litre capacity. Most of its presets work adequately making it quite helpful for first-time air fryer users. Its tray size is comparatively a bit smaller at 18x 18cm. Even so, it is adequate for a 4-member family. Also, Philips took the least time among the options for cooking.
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, Kent 16033 Hot Air Fryer is a good choice to consider. It has a 1350-watt heating element, 4-litre capacity and 8 presets. Its inner tray measures 20 cm in diameter. Mostly, the air fryer had to be run for more time than what was programmed in the preset functions. But it cooked well, making crispy fries, chicken fry, peanuts, tikkas and more. The air fryer is fairly easy to use too with clearly labelled preset functions and a sturdy food tray that stays in place even when you toss food like french fries and stir-fried vegetables.
How To Choose An Air Fryer?
Give below are the important factors to consider while choosing an air fryer.
Capacity is the first and foremost aspect that you need to consider while buying an air fryer. A 4-litre air fryer has a food tray with a surface area of around 300-350 sq cm. This is enough to fry around half a kg of chicken. The surface area becomes important when you fry fish, chicken, paneer and any such food that has to be laid down as a single layer.
Philips and Havells also sell 6-litre air fryers. They have a much larger surface area which is sufficient to even roast a whole chicken of 800gm-1Kg.
If you are looking for a smaller air fryer for just 1-2 people, then a 2-litre air fryer will suffice your needs.
Almost every air fryer runs at temperatures ranging from 80 to 200° C. But, the power of the heating element expressed in wattage plays an important role in determining the time it takes to cook. The lower the wattage, the longer it takes to reach the desired temperature. So the food gets cooked at a lower temperature for a long duration. As a result, there is a higher chance of food going dry and not developing sufficient browning.
Ideally, a 4-litre air fryer should have at least 1400 watt heating element and a 6-litre air fryer has to have 1700-watt power to be able to cook food without drying it out.
Air fryers take up around 30 x 30cm space on the kitchen countertop. Sometimes even more depending on the capacity. So, before buying an air fryer, ensure there is sufficient space in your kitchen to store it. Also, being a heating appliance, they have a short cord less than a meter long. Hence, see that there is a power plug that is easy to access. If the air fryer has more than 1500 watts of power, it is likely to have a 16A power plug too.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is an important factor to consider, especially for first-time users. Ideally, they should opt for an air fryer that has precise preset functions, like Philips. Yet another important aspect is the ease with which you can toss around food like french fries and vegetables which are heaped on top of each other for air frying.
Most air fryers have an inner tray inside the food basket on which food is kept. So when tossing food, the inner tray moves and food could fall into the basket. Without a tray, there is a high chance of food like french fries getting soggy too. But options like Philips HL9252 and Havells Grande have an inner tray as a basket attached to the handle. This can be locked onto the outer basket. So when you need to toss the food, you can remove the inner basket, toss it around and then fix it back to the outer basket comfortably.
Almost all air fryers are easy to clean. As the basket and the tray are nonstick, you won’t have much trouble cleaning them. Most of them are dishwasher safe too. But, we recommend against it as the nonstick coating may peel off in the short run when frequently cleaned in a dishwasher.
Nowadays, most air fryers have a digital interface using which you can set the temperature between 80 to 200°C and time from 1 to 60 minutes ( some models can be set only to 30 minutes). They usually have 6 to 8 preset functions too. Budget friendlier options have a mechanical interface whereby there are knobs using which you can set the timer and the temperature. This usually is not as accurate as a digital interface. So if budget permits, opt for a digital air fryer.
Best Air Fryers In India
Quick, precise and efficient, Philips HL9252 is the best among the air fryers we tested. Its inner basket measures 18 x 18cm and the handle is attached to it. So, it is easy to toss food like french fries. While most other air fryers have a round food tray, Philips comes with a squarish tray, which is not ideal when you need to make pizzas.
With a 1400-watt heating element, the temperature can be set from 80 to 200°C and the duration can be set up to 60 minutes. It has 8 presets and a memory function. So, if in case the power fails in between, it will resume from where it stopped when the power restores. The preset functions can be a bit confusing initially. But, after using it for a period of time, you will understand what they are best suited for. Our review talks about it in detail too.
The cooking performance of the air fryer is among the best. It browns the surface evenly while cooking through and retaining the succulence of the food. The air fryer did an excellent job in our tests making chicken and fish fry, french fries, samosa etc using the preset function. Using the baking preset for cakes which ran for just 12 minutes, the whole cakes were not cooked through. But, if you set it for 30-35 minutes, cakes come out perfectly fine.
Compared to Inalsa, Hestia and Kent, it cooks quicker too, which is a huge advantage as you save time and electricity.
All other brands give a recipe booklet. But, you don’t get one with Philips. Instead, you have to install the Philips NutriU app and find recipes and settings.
With 1400-watt power, 4-litre capacity and 8 preset functions, Inalsa Nutrifry is a cheaper option compared to Philips HL9252. You can set the timer from 1 to 60 minutes and the temperature up to 200 °C in the air fryer.
Its cooking performance is excellent. You can cook perfectly browned, succulent chicken fry, samosa, french fries, cake etc using the air fryer. Compared to Philips HL9252, the surface area of the tray is a tad higher as it has a 21 cm diameter. The digital interface is also easy to use and very responsive.
That being said, it is not without drawbacks. First of all, its presets don’t work perfectly. Most of the preset functions, including roasting, chops, steak, cake etc have a duration of just 10-12 minutes, which is not sufficient. So, you have to set the temperature and duration manually instead of depending on the preset functions. This may be a disadvantage for first-time air fryer users.
Also, Inalsa Nutrifry takes much longer than Philips to cook. For example, we were able to air fry 500 gm of chicken in 22 minutes in Philips. But, the same took around 33 minutes in Inalsa.
Yet another disadvantage is that the inner tray of the air fryer moves about when tossing food like french fries and stir-fried vegetables. Something you don’t experience in Philips or Havels Grande as the inner basket itself has a handle. Even Kent Hot Air Fryer which has a similar design doesn’t face this problem because the tray tightly fits the tray.
So, if you are not a first-timer user and are looking for a budget-friendlier option, then Inalsa Nutrifry would be an apt choice for you.
The main distinguishing aspect of Hestia Nutriview is its design. With a transparent lid, it gives a better view of cooking as it progresses. So you can intervene before the food gets burnt and know when to flip the food to brown the other side.
The lid gets fairly hot when cooking. You may get scalded when you touch it while opening the lid. But, it has proper safety features like, for example, the air fryer stops operation when the lid is opened. Also, it won’t start running unless the basket is kept in place.
The air fryer has a 5-litre capacity and 1100-watt heating element. It too has 8 presets. The temperature can be set at 80 to 200°C and the duration from 1 to 60 minutes. The interface is elegant and the touch display is responsive too. Just like Inalsa, the inner food tray is around 21cm in diameter.
Owing to the low power of the heating element, it takes much longer than Inalsa and Philips to cook food. For example, it took us almost 50 minutes to air fry 500 gm of chicken. Because of this, there is a high chance that food could get dry.
When we tried various preset functions available, we found that we had to run it for a few more minutes to be cooked perfectly. The cake preset works fine for cupcakes. But when it comes to baking a whole cake, it almost burnt the surface- something we did not face in other air fryers.
Though we were able to make french fries, it was not as crispy as we would have liked. Overall, it doesn’t brown food as well as Inalsa and Philips, which is a huge letdown.
While all other options have a proper handle, in Hestia, there are narrow handles at the edge like what you see on a Kadai. But being narrow, you need to be careful while holding it. It gets warm while cooking, but not too much that you cannot hold it.
Just like Inalsa, Hestia too has an inner tray that is kept in place with rubber beadings along the edges. So while tossing french fries for uniform cooking, it tends to move around and become a hassle.
Overall, when it comes to cooking performance, it lags behind Inalsa.
Kent 16033 is one of the best budget-friendly air fryers to choose from that is suitable for a nuclear family of 3-4 members. It has a 1350-watt heating element and a 4-litre capacity. Just like every other air fryer, you can set the temperature from 80 to 200 °C and the duration up to 60 minutes. You also have 8 preset cooking functions.
Comparatively, it offers better performance than Hestia Nutriview. It cooks faster and better, probably owing to the fact that its heating element has a higher wattage. Though there are 8 preset functions in Kent Hot Air Fryer, we had to run most of them for a longer duration for proper cooking. For example, we had to run the chicken fry preset for 36 minutes, though the preset calls for just 15 minutes. Similarly, the fish fry function ran at just 160 °C. But, 200 °C was more optimal to get a crispy exterior and succulent insides.
But otherwise, the air fryer was easy to use. The food tray in Hestia and Inalsa moves when you toss food like french fries for uniform cooking. But, in Kent, it does not. Also, the icons of the preset functions are clearly labelled, avoiding any confusion. Inalsa and Philips don’t label the preset icons because it is a digital panel. But, Kent has membrane buttons in the control panel.
Overall, it is definitely one of the best budget-friendly options available.
Guide To Air Fryers For First-Time Users
Air fryers are simply compact convection ovens. They have a heating element at the top and a fan behind which runs to distribute the heat uniformly and cook the food. The main advantage, as you know, is that it reduces oil consumption. If you are adept at using your convection oven, you needn’t get an air fryer as both have similar functions. But if you are intimidated by your oven and are confused about its temperature, time, function and other settings, an air fryer could be a boon as it is simpler and easier to use.
Using an air fryer, you can expect to fry chicken, french fries, samosas etc and hope to achieve the right browning and crispiness. But, we have noticed that most of them are not able to achieve a proper browning on fried fish like what you see when it is pan-fried. The main reasons behind it are, first of all, there is a larger gap between the heating element and fish slices. Next, on a stovetop, the pan reaches 250°C or higher temperature which helps create a nice browning on its surface- something which air fryers fail to do.
Coming to its operations, most brands provide a detailed manual that is helpful in understanding how to use air fryers properly. Though air fryers have preset functions, they often don’t work optimally. Most of them need to be run longer for proper cooking. So, you would be better off referring to the recipe booklet that comes along for deciding the temperature and time to be set for optimal results.
Though air fryers reduce oil consumption drastically, you shouldn’t avoid them completely while cooking food in air fryers. Drizzling a teaspoon of oil on chicken, fish and paneer helps retain the succulence inside and makes the food crispy. It is also necessary that you spread some oil on french fries for a crispy texture. It would be a good idea to get an oil spray bottle if you plan to use air fryers on a regular basis.