After reading countless reviews about how air fryers are a must-have kitchen device, and writing many air fryer recipe posts, I was curious: Are air fryers really as remarkable as everyone says there are, or are they not worth the hype? Finally, I got a chance to see for myself when Philips offered to send me the compact version of the Essential Airfryer to test.
(While I did receive the Philips Essential Airfryer in exchange for an honest review, all of the following thoughts and opinions expressed below are my own and are not influenced by Philips in any way.)
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For $179.95, the Airfryer Compact comes in black and measures about 14 x 10 x 12 inches. For comparison, the XL version is 16 x 12 x 12 inches and costs $199.95. In addition to allowing you to fry food with up to 90% less fat (no oil needed!), when compared to a conventional Philips fryer, the Essential Airfryer has a touchscreen with seven presets for frozen snacks, fresh fries, meat, fish, chicken drumsticks, cake, and grilled veggies.
Though the device uses Rapid Air Technology to get your food crispy, its exterior walls remain cool to the touch. It also features an automatic shut-off, ready signal, temperature and time control, and a warm function that will keep your food at a designated temperature for 30 minutes. Plus, once you're done air-frying, the device's basket is dishwasher safe and quick to clean.
Using this air fryer was a breeze. I started off with frozen fries and was surprised at how crispy the air fryer made them. Then, I began exploring with leftovers we had in the fridge. I made cinnamon sugar chickpeas and tofu nuggets, and both dishes came out great. Immediately, I was impressed with how easy it was for me to use the device to get me to eat my leftovers, and it would take less than 10 minutes for me to reheat them.
The touchscreen is also simple to use. I like having the presets available, but most of the time, I set my own temperature and time. What I found interesting is that the temperature starts at 150 degrees Fahrenheit and goes up in increments of 25 degrees until you get to 400. That means you can't get super specific with your temperature, but honestly, I just roundup up and didn't have any issues.
During the summer months, I actually prefer using an air fryer over the oven. My oven tends to heat up my entire apartment, and makes cooking unbearable, but I didn't notice any residual heat coming off the fryer. Now, it's basically my go-to summer cooking device.
As for the size, I think the compact version is perfect for when you're tight on space. There were times when I had to cook food in batches, but because the air fryer is fast, it didn't bother me. Since I don't have a dishwasher, I also appreciated the size when it came to cleaning with normal dish soap and a sponge. It was honestly so easy to clean, I was shocked. Nothing stuck to the basket!
Are air fryers worth all the hype?
Though I can't personally speak for other air fryers, the Philips Essential Airfryer has lived up to the hype. It's easy to use, fast, makes your food crispy without oil (though sometimes I would add a tiny bit for flavor), and doesn't make you sweat while using it. And while I do love the occasionally fried-in-oil food, it was nice not having to worry about anything being too greasy or oil splattering everywhere.
So yes, I'll admit it: All you air fryer lovers out there were right. They are life-changing.