Advice and Inspiration

The Essential Guide to Buying an Air Fryer

Author: Matt Donnelly Published: Mar 14, 2024

Air fryers are all the rage right now. They’re the healthy way to cook an array of tasty meals, snacks and treats. But, what exactly are they and which one is right for you? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about air fryers…

What is an air fryer? 

Let’s kick things off with a definition. What exactly is an air fryer? 

As the name suggests, an air fryer is a fryer which uses heated convected air as the ‘cooking medium’. 

This is in contrast to fryers such as deep fat fryers, which use hot oil as the cooking medium. 

By avoiding the use of lots of cooking oil, air fryers are able to cook foodstuffs in a way which is far healthier. It’s why you may sometimes see air fryers referred to as health fryers.

How much healthier? Well, according to some sources, air fryers can cut calories by 70% to 80% and significantly reduce the amount of fat present in a cooked piece of food. 

Although originally conceived of as a healthier way to cook chips, people have realised they can be used to cook a much wider array of foodstuffs, from mushrooms and onions to chicken wings, pork chops and nearly anything in between.

Air fryers may have exploded in popularity in recent years, however their roots stretch back to the early days of convection ovens, which first became commercially available in the mid-1940s. The air fryers of today, however, were first developed in 2005 by Fred van der Weij, a Dutch inventor. Following several years of development, his air fryer was introduced by home electronics giant Philips in 2010.

It’s thanks to the work of Weij that you’re able to purchase compact, highly-effective and efficient air fryers that you can use to rustle up super healthy meals.

What are the different types of air fryer?

Start shopping around for an air fryer and you’ll immediately notice that there are a number of distinct ‘types’ of air fryer you can purchase. 

That’s because there are different types of air fryers that are designed to lend themselves more favourably to certain types of foodstuffs/frying. 

Below, we’ve detailed the most common types of air fryer you can buy. 

Basket air fryers

Named after the basket which sits inside the fryer and which is used to hold the foodstuffs whilst they are fried, basket air fryers are a highly versatile type of air fryer. 

The baskets that sit within this type of air fryer will typically be perforated with multiple holes. This allows the convected hot air generated by the fryer to freely circulate around the food in the basket. 

Tower T17127MNB Air Fryer

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As a result, the food is heated from all angles, creating a consistent and delicious finish. 

Another advantage of basket air fryers is that the basket ‘suspends’ the food, keeping it away from any accumulations of cooking oil or fats. Super healthy!

Dual air fryers

If you’re consistently cooking using your air fryer, then you may find that a dual air fryer is the best option. 


Not only do dual air fryers (also known as dual basket air fryers) typically allow you to cook larger volumes of food, but the fact that they have two independent baskets means you can cook two different foods at the same time. As such, you can cook family favourites like chicken and chips in no time at all!

Tower Vortx 8.5L Dual Basket Air Fryer


Other than that, dual basket air fryers operate in the same way as basket air fryers, cooking the food in perforated baskets which allow the food to be cooked from all angles, to achieve a consistent, tasty finish. 

Like the other types of air fryers featured in this article, dual basket air fryers are available with a wealth of features such as digital touch controls, smart finish functions, match cook functions and more.

Paddle air fryers

Do you want an air fryer that can practically do all the cooking for you? Then you’ll want a paddle air fryer. 

Paddle air fryers feature an integrated paddle which is located within the main body of the air fryer. When switched on, this paddle will gently, and continuously, stir the food within the fryer. 

This ensures the food cooks evenly and consistently throughout, and means you don’t have to manually stir or shake the food. This is perfect for convenience, as it frees you up for other tasks in the kitchen. 

For added peace of mind, many paddle air fryers, such as Tefal air fryers, include an automatic shut-off function which brings the paddle action to a halt once the food has finished cooking. Paddle air fryers will also typically feature a ‘viewing window’ on the top lid. This makes it easier to monitor the food within the fryer during cooking. 

Rotisserie air fryers

Are you a big meat eater? Then a rotisserie air fryer could be the perfect type of air fryer for you. 

As the name suggests, rotisserie air fryers feature a spit on which you can skewer meat. Once skewered, the meat is then turned on the spit whilst hot convected air is circulated around it. 

Tower Xpress Pro Combo Air Fryer with Rotisserie


The use of a steadily turning spit means that the meat is cooked in a consistent and ultimately satisfying way. 

Depending on the model of rotisserie air fryer that you buy, it may include features such as a pause function, which allows you to pause the spit, open up the air fryer and add seasoning/oils as required. 

Other features typically found on rotisserie air fryers include ‘keep warm’ functions, various pre-programmed modes and more. Many rotisserie air fryers also include dedicating sections below the spit, allowing you to roast chips etc. 

Oven-style air fryers

Another common type of air fryer that you’ll encounter is oven-style air fryers. These are, you guessed it, compact air fryers that have a similar form and dimensions to a mini oven. 

They are perfect for smaller kitchens where space is at a premium and will happily sit on a kitchen countertop.

Oven-style air fryers tend to feature a single-hinged door on the front, which is opened to reveal two or three ‘cooking racks’. This makes these types of air fryers ideal for when you want to not only cook larger amounts of food, but a variety of different foods at the same time.

Oven-style air fryers can take a little longer to heat up compared to their basket and paddle siblings, but this is offset by the larger volume of food they can cook. 

Like the other air fryers listed in this article, oven-style air fryers are available with a variety of features such as pre-set programs, auto cook programs, touch screen controls and more. 

The ‘multi-function’ air fryer

You’ll also find that there are air fryers which sit within more than one of these categories. These are what we class as ‘all-rounder’ air fryers. 

These types of air fryers will often be advertised as 3-in-1 air fryers, 5-in-1 air fryers or even 10-in-1 air fryers depending on the number of cooking functions they possess. That is, they allow you to rotisserie meat, bake breads and pastries, and roast vegetables etc. 

Because of this, all-rounder air fryers are ideal for busy households that cook a wide variety of meals throughout the week. 

How do air fryers work? 

So, what exactly can you do with an air fryer? And, how do they work? 

Air fryers work on the principle of convection, whereby air is heated and then circulated around a foodstuff, such as meats and vegetables. This air is heated via a heating element, and then circulated using one or two electric fans located within the body of the air fryer.

In an air fryer, this air can reach temperatures as high as 180ºC to 200ºC. When this air comes into contact with food, it cooks it, but in such a way as to create a deliciously crunchy, crispy exterior. It’s for this reason that air fryers are particularly suited to cooking meats like chicken, beef and lamb. 

As we stated at the outset of this article, by using convected hot air, air fryers don’t require food to be immersed in unhealthy cooking mediums such as oils or fats. 

It’s important to note that - despite their name - air fryers don’t actually fry food (which is a common cause of confusion). They cook it using hot air. This means that you can use an air fryer to cook food in a variety of ways, including:

  • Baking.
  • Roasting.
  • Grilling. 

In short, air fryers can cook the same type of foods that you’d cook in a regular oven or deep fat fryer - but do so in a way which is far quicker and healthier than these other appliances.

Do you need to use oil in an air fryer?

Because of the confusion caused by the term ‘air fryer’, many people think it’s necessary to use oil in an air fryer (in the same way you’d use oil in a deep fat fryer). 

This is incorrect. You do not need to use oil in an air fryer. 

Foodstuffs such as meats contain plenty of juices prior to cooking. An air fryer will simply use these innate juices to cook the meat. 

If you’re cooking other, drier, types of foodstuffs such as vegetables, then you’ll generally only need to add a few very small drops of vegetable oil to ensure a good result. 

In short, air fryers generally don’t require any oil to cook food. And, when they do, they only need miniscule amounts of oil. 

Why are air fryers so popular?

Are air fryers really that popular? Yes! Don’t just take our word for it, though. 

According to market research group NPD, sales of air fryers have increased by 76% over the course of 2021 and 2022, with a staggering 25 million air fryers being sold in total during that period!

The main reasons for their popularity is because they provide their owners with the opportunity to cook food that’s simultaneously tasty and healthy. 

However, as you’re about to read, air fryers have a whole host of other benefits…

What are the benefits of air fryers?

Okay, you’ve probably got the picture so far. Air fryers offer an incredibly healthy way to cook a broad range of foods - spanning from meats to vegetables to baked goods.

But, that’s not all they’re renowned for. Air fryers have a number of other benefits.

Lower levels of acrylamide

Recent studies have found that foods cooked in air fryers contain 90% lower levels of a compound called acrylamide, compared to foods that have been cooked in a deep fat fryer. 

This is a significant finding as acrylamide is a known carcinogen. It’s formed when starchy foods such as potatoes are cooked at high temperatures (above 120ºC).

So, if you’re a fan of chips or other starchy foods, it’s much much better to cook them in an air fryer than a deep fat fryer.


Air fryers are far safer kitchen appliances than deep fat fryers. Fact. 

As anyone who has used a deep fat fryer will tell you, hot oil can be extremely dangerous and in the worst cases can catch fire - especially if exposed to water. 

Combine that with the fact that air fryers are packed with safety features (such as automatic shut-off functions) and you’ll find that an air fryer is a far safer appliance to keep and use in your kitchen at home. 

Can preserve nutrients

Air fryers offer a much more ‘gentle’ cooking process than deep fat frying. As such, air fryers may better retain the nutrients within foodstuffs - even after they’ve been thoroughly cooked. This isn’t a hard fact, but there are a number of studies that indicate this may be the case.

Supporting a healthy lifestyle

Air fryers are highly convenient kitchen appliances. Chuck in some meat and/or vegetables, and before you know it, you’ve got a healthy meal. 

It’s for this reason that air fryers can support a healthy lifestyle and are found in the kitchens of athletes and fitness fanatics alike.

In other words, air fryers make it super simple to regularly cook healthy, yet filling and tasty meals. 


Air fryers can cook foods, such as fish, in as little as 20 mins. With speed like that, they’re almost as convenient as a microwave oven (but far healthier)!

They get very hot, very quickly, and the nature of convected air means that foodstuffs cook evenly, achieving a nice brown, crispy texture. 

Crispy and crunchy food

Mouthfeel matters - certainly when it comes to food. Air fryers allow you to achieve a lovely crispy, crunchy texture - particularly on meats such as chicken wings and chicken legs. All you need to do is add a light spray of cooking oil to help the skin crisp up. 

Reduce food waste

Air fryers can help you reduce the amount of food you waste. This is especially true if you buy an ‘all-rounder’ air fryer that allows you to bake, grill, roast or rotisserie foodstuffs.

Easy to clean

Hate cleaning? Then you’ll love air fryers!

Air cleaners - especially those that feature removable frying baskets and removable wire racks - are easy to clean, particularly if you stay on top of things and give them a quick clean after every use. 

A small amount of warm soapy water and a non-scratch sponge scourer are all you need to get your air fryer looking like new again. 

Ease of use

Air fryers are incredibly easy to use! In contrast to certain types of traditional oven, using an air fryer can be as simple as filling it up and pushing a single button.

As we saw earlier, air fryers such as paddle fryers and rotisserie fryers take a significant amount of work out of the cooking process, tending to the food on your behalf and ensuring a perfect finish. 

Minimal heat and odour spread

Because air fryers are small, well-insulated appliances (some have two cell constructions, meaning their outsides stay cool to the touch even when in operation), they don’t heat up your kitchen like traditional ovens do. 

This is ideal if you want to prepare a meal in the warmer months of the year and don’t want to end up with a red-hot kitchen!

Plus, because the majority of foods require little to no oil when cooked in an air fryer, you’ll find there are fewer odours spread around your house when cooking with an air fryer.  

Energy efficient

Another tick in the box for air fryers is that they’re a really energy-efficient way of cooking food. 

Because they are compact appliances which use concentrated amounts of convected heat to cook, they use considerably less energy than other types of kitchen appliance. 

Your typical air fryer will use between 800 W to 2,000 W plus. This is usually determined by the size of the air fryer you buy. This means that your average use of an air fryer (e.g. 30 minutes) will only cost you tens of pence at most. 

For example, a study by Utilita found that air fryers only cost around £50 a year in electricity. That works out to be around £250 less than if you were to cook using a traditional oven.

Air fryers also cook foods much faster thanks to the use of convected heat. Tower - the manufacturer of some of the most popular air fryers - claim their fryers will cook food 30% faster than conventional ovens. This in itself saves you money as the appliance won’t be drawing electricity for as long.

So, if you want to save money whilst you cook, you’ve got to get yourself an air fryer!

How much do air fryers cost? 

How much should you expect to pay for an air fryer? Given that they’re a hugely popular new piece of kitchen technology, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re expensive and out of reach of the average consumer. 

But, you’d be wrong.

Air fryers are affordable small kitchen appliances ranging in price from just over £75 for basic models that have all the essential features you need, up to £200 plus for premium, high-end air fryers that are packed with advanced features and cooking technologies. 

Here at Comet, you’ll find air fryers to suit every budget.

Air fryer buying considerations

Hopefully, by now, we’ve convinced you that an air fryer is a worthwhile and wise investment for your kitchen.

If that’s the case, then you’re probably wondering exactly what type of air fryer will be suitable for you. Well, below, we’ve outlined the main points you need to think about in order to buy the perfect air fryer for your home. 

What capacity air fryer is best? 

Arguably the most important thing when it comes to selecting an air fryer is capacity. Choose an air fryer that’s too small, and you won’t have enough space to cook everyone’s food in one go. That’ll certainly lead to some unhappy diners…

When it comes to looking at air fryer capacities, you’ll find that most of the leading air fryer brands like Swan, Tower, Tefal, and Princess list the capacity of their air fryers in litres. 

However, some manufacturers also list the capacity of their air fryers in kilograms (kg). 

In the table below, you’ll find a rough approximation as to how many servings each size air fryer can produce:

Litre Capacity


Number of Servings (Approx.)

2 - 2.5 L

0.5 kg - 1 kg

2 to 3 servings

2.5 - 4 L

1.1 - 1.5 kg

4 to 6 servings

5 L+

1.6 kg+

7+ servings

Note - the table above is only an estimate. The actual capacity of individual air fryers can differ considerably from model to model and brand to brand. Capacity will also be affected by the foodstuff(s) you’re cooking. 

Power and cooking performance

Once you’ve decided upon what capacity air fryer you require, you should think about how much power you’ll need in your new fryer. 

The power of air fryers is normally listed in watts (using the symbol W). The higher the wattage of your air fryer, the faster it’ll be able to cook food. However, with a higher wattage, your air fryer will use more energy. 

As we mentioned earlier, there’s a trade-off to be made on this point. A higher wattage air fryer will use more energy, but it’ll be able to cook your food faster, saving energy over a slower air fryer!

The wattage of air fryers varies considerably, ranging from lower power 800W models through to high-power 2,000W+ models that’ll cook large volumes of food in very short periods of time. 


Feature, features, you can never have too many features! At least, that’s the case for air fryers. 

In fact, the list of features available on today’s air fryers is simply too large to list here, but popular ones include: 

  • Digital displays for ease of control and monitoring. 
  • Multiple cooking modes and presets for specific foods and recipes. 
  • Manual temperature control. 
  • Multiple cooking trays enabling the preparation of several meals/foods simultaneously.
  • Timer - allowing you to cook your food to perfection.

In short, the best way to decide which features you need on your air fryer is to select those features that’ll best complement and match your cooking style.

Build quality and durability

If you want your air fryer to last a long time (and who wouldn’t?!), then pay attention to the build quality of your chosen air fryer. 

Look for solid outer cases and shells that are made from a durable thermoplastic, such as polypropylene. With regard to the ‘innards’ of your air fryer, look for stainless steel and even die-cast steel baskets, and cooking trays. 

You’ll find that air fryers made from materials like these stand up much better to day-to-day wear and tear. You’ll also find that they’re easier to clean and maintain. 


Ever since air fryers exploded in popularity, the market has been flooded with air fryers of all kinds - some of which are far better than others. 

If you want to buy a quality, long-lasting air fryer, then ensure you buy one from a recognised brand. Here at Comet, we only sell models from the very best air fryer brands such as Black + Decker, Princess, Swan, Tefal, and Tower.


A warranty can help you protect your investment in an air fryer. Depending on the brand of air fryer you purchase, the warranty or guarantee you receive could be anywhere between 12 months and three years. 

Cleaning and maintenance

Given the fact that they don’t use much, if any, cooking oil, air fryers don’t require much cleaning or maintenance (particularly compared to deep fat fryers!). 

However, you’ll still want to select one which has ‘easy clean’ features. 

For example, some air fryers are ‘dishwasher safe’. Other easy clean features include removable drawers and cooking trays which can be easily cleaned in a sink or dishwasher.

Safety features

As with any type of home appliance, you want to ensure that the air fryer you select has built-in safety features. These can include automatic shut-off, cool-touch exteriors, non-slip feet and locking lids/doors to prevent accidental opening during a program.

Comet: your first and last stop for air fryers

We hope you’ve found our guide to buying an air fryer useful and interesting. If you’ve decided it’s time to add an air fryer to your home, then buy one from Comet today. 

We stock leading air fryer brands including Black + Decker, Princess, Swan, Tefal, and Tower. Plus, we can help you spread the cost of your new air fryer into three interest-free payments with our pay-in-3 options from Klarna and PayPal Credit. 

Shop air fryers at Comet now.

For more buying guides, advice and information, explore the Comet Advice Centre…

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