CNET First Look
Don't believe the hype about air fryersCNET editors spent the past two weeks testing air fryers. Ashlee Clark Thompson and Ry Crist break down what we did and didn't like about these appliances.
I'm Ashley Clarke Thompson. And I'm Ry Crist. And we're here at the CNET applicanes office to talk about what has been on our mind and in our stomachs for the past two weeks. Which is air fryers. Yeah, so air fryers, the thing you have to understand about these things, is that they aren't really frying anything. It's just blowing hot air over your food in this kind of small, contained space and that makes them sort of a small, counter top, convection oven And nothing that you cook in them is gonna be much different than what you get out of a convection oven. It's just kind of a different way of doing it. And you know, it has good marketing. It's all about, like you can fry up foods healthier, you know? But at the end of the day, we really weren't Too impressed with most of these. Yeah, I mean, it's the same difference between frying and air frying as frying and baking. If I just put a bunch of frozen french fries out on a baking sheet and baked them, I'm not using oil, I'm not deep frying them in their own juices or anything. It's just going to be what we get out of an air fryer. Which is just this, golden brown, kind of crispy, kind of dry. Frozen fries. And these are perfectly reheated, these are snackable. I enjoy these fries, it's fine. But a lot of these new fryers cost $200, $300 and that just feel absolutely ridiculous. I wouldn't spend more than a $100 for a Unitasker like this that's just heating up frozen stuff. You know, I honestly couldn't especially for the more expensive fryers that we tested. I mean, some of them the MSRP is $300. Which for me was a lot of money for something that essentially does one thing really well. I mean, as somebody who tests small appliances, I think you would be better off with a toaster oven. It can do the same thing, especially if it has convection in the toaster oven, and it can toast, which these cannot. Yeah, thank you for talking while I was chewing by the way. Now it's my turn. Your turn, yeah. The one that we have here, the Simple Chef, is just 70 bucks. So it's the cheapest we tested. Did a fine job with fries, did the cheese sticks and pizza rolls and frozen snack tests pretty well Didn't do great with fresh fries, and burgers, and chicken wings. It was okay. But again, nothing better than you'd get out of your oven. So if you understand that you're not getting a special cooking appliance that's gonna unlock some new recipes and really just Convenient oven for your counter top, I think this one is fine. But I wouldn't spend much more than that. Yeah, I agree. I mean, if you have just some spare money and a love of pizza rolls and mozarella sticks then sure, 70 bucks, not too bad.