Despite my best efforts and roughly 30 minutes of cooking time, I couldn't make good Buffalo wings in the Philips Viva Collection Airfryer. I'll never forgive it for that. I'm not a great cook, but I did work at a wings place in high school, and part of the appeal of air fryers is accessibility. In its defense, the Philips Airfryer is quite easy to use and mostly easy to clean.
A newly popular category of cooker, air fryers generally promise to help you whip up delicious snack food quickly. They're countertop cookers that you can use like a mini-oven, and they occasionally come close to replicating food from a deep fryer with minimal oil. While some reasonably priced air fryers impressed us enough with crispy french fries to warrant consideration, the $250 Philips Viva Collection Airfryer is too expensive and underpowered to be worth your while.
What is it good for?
I can imagine a few circumstances where you'd want an air fryer: If you have a basement bar and frequently crave wings while you're watching a game, if you have a teen that frequently wants snacks like pizza rolls and you don't want to turn on the oven every time he or she gets hungry or even if you just really like making homemade fries.
If those examples sound like you, you can buy an appliance like the Philips Viva Collection Airfryer for $250. You can find it on the company's site, as well as Amazon, Best Buy and Kohl's. It's also available in the UK on Amazon for £130 (it normally costs £180). The US price converts to AU$330.
Even if your home is a perfect fit for an air fryer, $250 is still a lot given that you can find similarly powered machines for less than half the price of this Philips model. The $95 Krups Fry Delight has more wattage than this machine with 1450 versus 1425.
Easily handled maintenance
Put the price and competition aside, and the Philips Viva Airfryer is a competent machine. Assembly only takes moments. You snap a grate into the bottom of the cooking basket, click the cooking basket into the pan that forms the lower half of the fryer, then slide the pan into place.
You can lift and move the whole pan by the handle on the front and click a button on the top of the handle to remove the basket. The latter function is convenient when you're ready to dump a fresh basket of fries onto a waiting plate. You can put the bottom pan, basket and grate into the dishwasher to clean up, and it's easy enough to disassemble the main pieces and wash them by hand as well.
Get everything into place, and you'll turn a dial on top of the machine to set the temp, then set a timer on the front to start cooking. Keep the instructions for your first couple of batches of food, as it has recommended serving sizes and cook times. A few decals on the top of the machine can help you remember the proper setting for common air fryer food. You can also check the accompanying app for more advanced recipes.