Philips Airfryer Avance Collection review: This air fryer isn't worth your money or counter space
Pizza rolls were a substantial part of my diet during my college dorm days. They were easy to pop in a microwave and gave me enough sustenance to stay up all night reading about post-Civil War American history.
I would've been in heaven if I'd have access to the $300 Philips Airfryer Avance Collection . Frozen foods like pizza rolls are the air fryer's sweet spot -- during cooking tests, it heated these items evenly, cooked them faster than a full-sized oven and created a crispy exterior that you can't get in the microwave.
But if you're like me and have matured past pizza rolls (and your metabolism just can't handle the processed cheese like it used to), you're going to be unsatisfied with the Avance. The air fryer can cook fresh, not frozen, foods such as homemade french fries or chicken wings, but the results are barely on par with what you could do in the oven you already have. Plus, it takes just as long to cook fresh food in the Avance as it would in an oven.
The Avance is part of an appliance category that has really good PR and buzz right now. While air fryers are popular, you don't really need one if you have an oven. Want something on your countertop to heat up some snacks? Go with a toaster oven, which has more functions than the Avance or its brethren (air fryers can't even toast bread).
If you insist on the addition of an air fryer to your kitchen, go with a cheaper option than the Avance, such as the $70 Simple Chef HF-898. The Simple Chef performs just as well as the Avance, but with a few more useful features like a handle with which to carry it and a much better price.
A convection oven, but for your countertop
The Avance gives you a similar cooking power that you'd get from an oven, but in a compact, countertop form. Just dump your food into the Avance's basket, insert the basket into the cooker and select your temperature and cook time with a control dial located above the basket's handle. Hot air blows over your food to cook it. With most frozen foods, you have to pause the machine so you can remove the basket and give the contents a shake to ensure even cooking.
The Avance is smaller than Philips ' huge Airfryer XXL model, but it will still take up a noticeable hunk of your counter space at 365 by 266 by 287 millimeters (roughly 14.37 by 10.47 by 11.3 inches). But the cooking space inside the Avance's basket is smaller than you'd expect judging from its overall size. The air fryer will hold .8 kilograms (about 1.76 pounds), which is smaller than the Airfryer XXL and the T-Fal Actifry FZ7002. The Avance isn't the air fryer you use for a big party. Its size makes it suitable for cooking food for two to three people.
Great with frozen foods, but stumbles on fresh ingredients
The Avance made heating up frozen snacks a breeze. Through a medley of tests in which I cooked mozzarella sticks, pizza rolls and frozen fries, the Avance repeatedly churned out tasty results. Philips' recommended cook times for frozen foods were spot on. Each batch of food would be hot in the center with a crunchy outer crust. Plus, it cooked the food in half the time it would take to cook the same items in an oven.
This wasn't the case when it was time to cook food made from frozen ingredients. I made a batch of homemade, thin cut fries, hamburger patties and chicken wings during separate tests. The time it took to cook these foods were comparable to how long it would have taken me to cook them in a conventional oven (or, in the case of the burgers, longer at a whopping 21 minutes). The hand-cut french fries had the best result from all of the fresh food. The fries came out brown and crispy after 19 minutes of cooking. The burger was decent, but it had a spongy texture and no outer char to speak of. The chicken wings were just as tolerable and cooked through after 19 minutes, but the skin was slightly gummy rather than crisp.
If you pride yourself on a diet that expands beyond pizza rolls, skip the Avance and air fryers in general. The Avance is at its best when it's time to make a quick meal from frozen appetizers. It won't make you a better cook, nor will it cook fresh food better than what you'd get from appliances you already one.
However, if you really want an air fryer and I can't convince you otherwise (maybe the peer pressure or good marketing just got to you), go with a model that's less than $100, like the Simple Chef Air Fryer. Even if you don't use the Simple Chef as much as your originally planned, at least you're only out $70.
Are you curious about all the other air fryers we tested out? Check out our air fryer roundup here.