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The Best Air Fryers in New Zealand

The humble air fryer is a great alternative to deep frying your meals and snacks. But how exactly do they work, and what’s on offer in NZ? Canstar takes a look at the best air fryers in New Zealand, and everything you need to know about using them.

Maintaining a healthy diet isn’t easy if you also enjoy snack foods. And it’s unfortunate that most of our favourite foods also happen to be unhealthy choices. Think hot chips and other fried treats, which are generally high in saturated fats. So wouldn’t it be great if there was a way of cooking our most-loved foods without having to worry about all that grease and oil?

Step forward, the humble air fryer. It’s not a miracle appliance that suddenly makes all those fatty foods good for you. But it will help you eat healthier versions of your favourite guilty pleasures. Or better yet, make your own healthy alternatives!

Read on for a breakdown of everything you need to know about air fryers, as well as some of the best models available in NZ


In this article, we cover:

What is an air fryer and how do they work?
Is an air fryer a healthy option?
How much does an air fryer cost?
What can you cook in an air fryer?
What to consider when buying an air fryer
Best air fryers in New Zealand


What is an air fryer?

An air fryer is a benchtop kitchen appliance that cooks food by circulating hot air around it. If that sounds the same as when you turn your oven on to fan bake, that’s because it is. Despite the clever marketing, an air fryer is essentially a small, benchtop fan oven.

But even so, as we’ll get to below, air fryers do have benefits over conventional ovens.

Air fryers are best known for cooking foods that would commonly be deep-fried, as air fryers can replicate deep-frying’s great crispy textures, only without soaking everything in hot oil. This means you can enjoy crispy chicken nuggets, hot chips, and jalapeno poppers using little to no oil.

But an air fryer can also be used to cook any food you’d prepare in a conventional oven, for example roast chicken, veges, salmon, grilled cheese toast, etc.

→Related article: Which Type of Oven Is Best? Different Oven Types Explained

How do air fryers work?

Air fryers use circulating hot air to cook food. However, the main difference between an air fryer and an oven is that:

  • An air fryer uses rapid air technology, circulating hot air more quickly than a conventional oven
  • The smaller size of an air fryer means food is typically closer to the heating element

As a result, an air fryer can achieve excellent crispy results in little time, and doesn’t need pre-heating like a conventional oven.

So an air fryer doesn’t fry?

No. That’s just clever marketing. After all, an air baker doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

The reason it’s called an air fryer is that instead of going for the nice slow bake of a regular oven, an air fryer aims to cook your food fast in a much more intensely hot environment. This lends itself to the crisper crunchier cook that is commonly associated with frying.

Is an air fryer healthier than other cooking methods?

Yes and no. Air fryers are often marketed as healthy alternatives because they require less oil than other cooking methods. Deep frying is obviously the main one, but even pan frying will likely need more oil.

But again, as an air fryer is essentially just oven baking your food, it isn’t really any healthier than a regular oven.

It’s also important to note that cooking your chicken nuggets in less oil is good but, at the end of the day, frozen, processed foods aren’t healthy. And items such as chicken nuggets are usually pre-fried in oil before they are frozen anyway.

However, an air fryer may be a good way to encourage healthier alternatives. For example, homemade kūmara chips don’t always hit the spot when done in an oven. But an air fryer may provide that crunch you’ve been missing.

How much does an air fryer cost?

Air fryers are significantly cheaper than ovens, which is unsurprising given they are a smaller bench-top appliance. Compared to an 80l+ oven, an air fryer typically has a capacity between 1.2l and 12l. Although there are larger air fryers that offer more oven-type functionality.

An air fryer can cost between $80-$800, and typical models range between $150-$300.

What can you cook in an air fryer?

Frozen foods

Pretty much any frozen food that you would put in an oven can be cooked in the hot air of an air fryer. Cooking times vary depending on the foods, but a lot of frozen foods, such as chicken nuggets and hot chips, can be cooked and crispy in less than 10 minutes. 

Raw meats

Some air fryers come with accessories, such as a baking cage or grill pan, which enable you to prepare meat in your air fryer. A whole roast chicken can be done in about 30 minutes, while roast pork chops and ribs can be ready in as little as 10 minutes.

Other popular meats that can be cooked in an air fryer include burger patties, steaks and lamb chops.

Vegetables

You can also roast vegetables in an air fryer, if they are the kind you would normally bake or grill, such as capsicum or cauliflower. Some models come with a round ceramic bowl with a stirring paddle, which allows you to fry green vegetables just like you would in a wok.

Other veggies you can cook in an air fryer include kumara, corn, zucchini, kale and asparagus.

Baked foods

You can put non-stick baking trays in your air fryer, which can be very useful for baking small items, like cupcakes, bread, muffins and lasagnas. Though a full-sized cake may not yield the best results. Remember, an air fryer only has a top element, so you might find the top of your cake is burnt while the bottom is still stodgy.

You can also cook anything in an air fryer that comes with a liquid or sauce, such as a casserole or curry.

Nuts

If you’re a nut kind of person, then you’ll be glad to know that roasting peanuts, almonds and any other type of nut can be done very easily with your air fryer. Peanuts and almonds can be done in 10 minutes, whereas walnuts will be ready to go in less than 8 minutes.


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What to consider when buying an air fryer

  • Capacity – is it just for you or a whole family? Do you want to cook chicken nuggets or a whole chicken?
  • Design – does it look stylish on your benchtop or is it an eye sore? Furthermore, some air fryers feature bulky designs that make them larger than necessary. A large capacity doesn’t have to mean a large design.
  • Stirring/shaking method – food cooked in an air fryer needs to be stirred. Some models require you to remove the draw and flip/shake food mid-cook. Others include an automatic stirrer that ensures even cooking.
  • Controls and features – is there just one cooking mode or several? Does it come with any add-ons and accessories?
  • Viewable window – can you monitor your food cooking without opening and letting out heat?
  • Energy efficiency – despite the smaller size, some air fryers suck up more energy than the larger oven you already have. Ensure switching to an air fryer won’t lead to higher power bills.
  • Price – if you’ll be using it every day, you may want something that is going to last a bit longer and has more premium features and better design. If it’s only for occasional snacks a cheaper model might be okay

Related article: Canstar Reveals New Zealand’s Favourite Air Fryers

Best air fryers in New Zealand

Below we’ve gone over some popular air fryers you can find in New Zealand, to suit different budgets and needs.

Instant Pot Vortex Plus ($259*)

A great everyday air fryer, the Instant Pot Vortex Plus has a comfortable 5.7l capacity and six smart functions for a wide range of cooking options. These include air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, and dehydrate. The cooking tray is removable and dishwasher safe, making for easy clean-up, and the clear digital display provides easy to follow instructions, such as when it’s time to add, or flip food.

But wait, there’s more!

For those who want a bit more, the Instant Pot Vortex Plus comes in a 10l option ($379.99*). Sporting a different design, this model features a clear door and adds a seventh cooking mode (rotisserie). It also includes all the necessary dishwasher-safe accessories like a drip tray, 2x perforated pans, rotisserie lift, basket, spit and forks

There is also the Instant Pot Vortex 8QT Dual Clearcook. Two baskets let you double up on the cook, or get multiple things on at once. The clear baskets allow you to watch the progress without opening it, and you can choose between Sync Cook (matches the cook settings on both baskets) or Sync Finish (independent cook settings programmed to finish at the same time).

Sunbeam Copper Infused DuraCeramic Air Fryer ($179*)

This air fryer is a bit of a one-trick pony, but a darn good one. The 3l capacity isn’t the biggest, and you won’t be cooking any elaborate meals, but if you want crispy frozen snacks, or a couple of drumsticks, you’ll get great results. Its biggest feature is the unique copper-infused DuraCeramic coating, which improves heat conduction and lasts up to 10x longer (without flaking or peeling) than a standard non-stick coating.

Kmart 3.2l Air Fryer ($69*)

For those on a budget, you can always rely on Kmart. And while not everything they sell is a hit, this basic air fryer seems to be. While it doesn’t come with many fancy accessories, functions, or a revolutionary design, it offers crunchy crispy food in little time. Which is what air fryers are all about.

For an extra $30, there is a 5.3l option that also provides a 30-minute timer.

Philips Premium Airfryer XXL ($699*)

At the other end of the spectrum, this premium air fryer from Philips comes in at almost 12x the price of the Kmart air fryer. But for the price, you get an incredible appliance.

This air fryer features smart sensor technology, which adjusts temperature and cook times on the fly to deliver the best results. It has a heap of specific cook modes, including French fries, whole chicken, chicken drumsticks, fish, etc.

Its rapid fan technology is 7x faster than a Philips Viva Airfryer with a flat bottom, and provides efficient and even cooking. And if health is of concern, which for many air fryer fans it is, the Philips XXL is the only air fryer with fat removal technology. This separates and captures excess fat, reducing saturated fats by up to 50%.

The XXL capacity lets you cook meals for the whole family, up to twice as fast as a mini oven, while the warmer function is great for when it cooks even faster than you expected. And, of course, all removable parts are dishwasher safe.

This air fryer is ideal for those that love to cook and want excellent appliances to match.

For those who want something a bit cheaper (or smaller), the Philips Daily air fryer and Essential XL air fryer are both great options worth considering.

NINJA Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer ($299*)

This dual air fryer features two independent 3.8l capacity buckets. Not only does this provide plenty of cooking capacity, but it allows you to cook multiple foods separately.

Chuck your meat in one and veggies in the other. Or a stew in one and bread in the other. The choice is yours.

Both baskets can be cooked simultaneously on different settings, and can be programmed to finish at the same time, so there’s no waiting around. It has six customisable settings and can reach a top temp of 240c for excellent crunch.

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*Prices taken from retailer websites and are correct at the time of writing. They should be used as a guide and not considered an actual quote.


author andrew broadley

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Andrew Broadley. Andrew is an experienced writer with a wide range of industry experience. Starting out, he cut his teeth working as a writer for print and online magazines, and he has worked in both journalism and editorial roles. His content has covered lifestyle and culture, marketing and, more recently, finance for Canstar.


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