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.
So if you’re looking to get your hands on a new air fryer, which air fryer is best? Canstar Blue finds New Zealand’s favourite air fryers, awarding the winner its Most Satisfied Customers | Air Fryers Award.
Living & Co delivers 5-Star results
For this year’s inaugural award, we asked 699 air fryer owners to rate their brands across the following categories:
- Overall Satisfaction
- Cooking Performance
- Ease of Cleaning
- Ease of Use
- Functions and Features
- Value for Money
And taking out top honours is the Warehouse’s Living & Co brand, which scores a remarkable clean sweep of 5-Star results. Customers are clearly impressed with the budget-friendly models, awarding them 5 Stars in every category. It is also the only brand to earn 5 Stars in the coveted Overall Satisfaction category.
New Zealand’s favourite air fryers
Here are New Zealand’s favourite air fryers, based on Canstar Blue’s customer survey:
- Living & Co
More money doesn’t always equal better results, as two budget-friendly models battle for the top spot. The Warehouse’s Living & Co model is closely followed by Kmart’s Anko range.
The Anko range is also a popular choice, boasting a sweep of 4-Star ratings, plus a 5-Star rating for Value for Money. This shows that it pays to shop around and to explore your options. While price can often be an indicator of an appliance’s quality and features, it isn’t always the case.
Top-rated air fryers
Below is an overview of the brands rated, and some of the models on offer. Note prices listed are accurate at the time of writing and may include sale prices and discounts that are no longer offered. They should be used as a guide only.
Living & Co
Living & Co provide a range of homewares, most notably for the Warehouse. However, their products can be found on other popular retail websites.
Living & Co offers four different air fryer models:
- 2.5L air fryer – $69
- 3.5L digital air fryer – $89
- 6L digital air fryer – $119
- 11L air fryer with rotisserie – $149
In addition to greater cooking capacities, the larger models also offer more features. For example, while the 2.5L option features manual dials, more expensive models have digital control panels. In addition, the larger models feature more cook options, features and accessories.
As Canstar Blue’s inaugural Most Satisfied Customers | Air Fryers Award winner, Living & Co is a fantastic option for those looking to purchase a new air fryer. Along with outstanding value for money, its air fryers also offer ease of use, great features and, most importantly, excellent cooking performance.
Anko is Kmart’s answer to Living & Co, and offers a huge range of affordable homewares. So, unsurprisingly, Anko also ranks highly among consumers.
Anko’s range of air fryers include:
- 3.2L air fryer – $69
- 5.3L air fryer – $99
- 7L air fryer – $129
- 11L air fryer – $139
Anko offers unparalleled value for money, alongside excellent performance in all other categories measured. The 3.2L air fryer is one of the cheapest on the market, at $69 (alongside Living & Co’s 2.5L air fryer). However, like the smallest Living & Co model, it offers stripped back features, just a 30-minute timer.
Sunbeam has been a trusted name for over 100 years, and are well known for quality homewares and appliances. Sunbeam’s range of air fryers includes smaller models, up to larger, countertop style ovens. This makes Sunbeam a great choice for customers who want larger air fryers with more versatility, or sleek and stylish design. They also offer great value for money, while still providing excellent quality. In our customer survey, Sunbeam scored a highly respectable 4-Star rating across every category measured.
Some of the models on offer are:
- Copper Infused DuraCeramic air fryer – $159
- Halo+ DuraCeramic air fryer – $239
- Multi-function oven + air fryer – $269
Sunbeam offers some interesting features, particularly on its Halo+ DuraCeramic air fryer, which has a unique tilted, rotating bowl design. This means food is gently tumbled during cooking to ensure even browning.
Breville is another trusted brand. Well known for its excellent quality and stylish design on high-end products, particular espresso machines, Breville offers a range of common household appliances. And its air fryers are no different. Breville offers just one dedicated model of air fryer. However, it also offers some stunning stainless steel countertop ovens, which have air fryer options. Though these come at a higher price.
- Air Fryer Chef – $249.95
- Smart Oven air fryer – $729.95
Breville’s Air Fryer Chef model features an impressive 11 pre-set cook functions, which stands out among many of its competitors’ models.
Well known to our friends across the ditch, Australian brand Kogan has been making waves here in New Zealand recently. Its affordable and sleek appliances have seen it grow into a recognisable brand name, and its range of air fryers is no different. Kogan has a huge selection of air fryers, with well over a dozen models to choose from. So finding the right model for you shouldn’t be an issue.
Some of the models on offer are:
- 4.2L digital low-fat 1400W air fryer – $89.99
- 6.5L SmarterHome stainless steel digital air fryer oven – $109
- 7-in-1 air fryer & grill – $129
- 12L 1800W digital air fryer oven – $199.99
Kogan’s models largely offer the same features. For example, the 4.2L digital low fat 1400W air fryer features an adjustable 60min timer, and a non-stick coating. While the larger models offer more power, the remaining features are more or less the same.
Philips is a huge name across the tech sector and, whatever its product, you can expert innovation and clever design. The Philips range of air fryers spans large models for the whole family and smaller ones, for singles and couples. Some models on offer from Philips include:
- Daily air fryer – $149.99
- Twin Turbostar digital air fryer – $359
- Twin Turbostar digital air fryer XXL – $449
Italian brand DeLonghi offers the design and quality that is synonymous with European manufacturing. Currently, in New Zealand, there is only one DeLonghi air fryer available: the Multi Fry Hot Air Fryer ($399.99).
The Multi Fry Hot Air Fryer from DeLonghi cooks everything from fresh and frozen vegetables, to pizza, cake, risotto, stew, fish, meat and more.
Compare electricity providers with Canstar Blue
Because they cook faster and are smaller than conventional ovens, air fryers can also cut the amount of electricity you use in the kitchen, resulting in smaller power bills. But the best way to ensure you’re not paying too much for your electricity is to shop around and compare power companies. And this is where Canstar Blue can help. Our awards, based on in-depth consumer research, rate power companies for customer satisfaction and value for money. The table below is an abridged version of our full results, available here.
^ By clicking on a brand or 'details' button, you will leave Canstar Blue and be taken to either a product provider website or a Canstar Blue NZ brand page. You agree that Canstar Blue NZ’s terms and conditions apply (without limitation) to your use of this service,to any referral to a product provider from our website, and any transaction that follows. Canstar Blue may receive a fee for referring you to a product provider. See How we are funded for further details.
Canstar Blue NZ Research finalised in April 2021, published in June 2021.
See Our Ratings Methodology
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a benchtop kitchen appliance that cooks food by circulating hot air around it, much like a fan oven. It usually looks like a large rice cooker, or a mini oven, if it’s an air-fryer oven combination. You pop your food on a removable tray and slot it inside the fryer to cook.
One of the main benefits of an air fryer is that it uses significantly less oil than a deep-fat fryer (about 70%-80% less), giving you healthier and less greasy food. According to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay: “The air fryer doesn’t quite replace that deep-fried taste, but with just a tablespoon of oil, chips (and other foods) come out crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. They’re healthier and taste great.”
How do air fryers work?
The basic principle of air fryers is that they use circulating hot air to heat your food. They use rapid air technology to cook any type of food that you would otherwise cook in deep fat, such as chips and chicken. The rapid air technology circulates the air to temperatures up to 200C. And the cooking chamber (where you store the food) keeps the food close to the heating elements, allowing food to cook faster.
Above the cooking chamber is an exhaust fan. This helps provide the necessary airflow to ensure that every part of the food heats to the same temperature, and that it goes nice, crispy and brown. An internal cooling system prevents super-heated hot air from being vented into your kitchen!
What you can cook in an air fryer
Pretty much any frozen food that you would put in an oven can be cooked in the hot air of an air fryer. The most common one is chips – this is what a lot of people basically assume they are made for. But you can also do snacks such as chicken nuggets and frozen battered fish fillets. Cooking times vary depending on the food, but they tend to take approx 10 minutes. In some cases, food can be cooked in as little as six minutes, with appropriate pre-heating! This is very impressive, and much faster than a full-size oven.
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 BBQ 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.
You can also roast vegetables in an air fryer, if they are the kind you would normally bake or grill, such as capsicum and 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.
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. You can also cook anything in an air fryer that comes with a liquid or sauce, such as a casserole or curry. Muffins and cupcakes can be made in as little as 10 minutes. If you plan on doing baking with your air fryer, then be sure to buy one that comes with a baking dish.
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.
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.