Air fryers have become a quintessential part of every fitness geeks dietary schedule. If you want to enjoy some good fried food without the guilt of calories, an air fryer is a pretty great kitchen appliance to invest in. However, with so many different types of air fryers in the market, and so many different brands, choosing an air fryer under 100 can be a little daunting.
Not only do you need to be mindful of the functionalities, but you also need to be mindful of the quality of the product that you are investing in. If you are considering buying the best air fryer just to hop on the trend, we’d recommend that you do it today without any delay.
In this guide, we are going to walk you through every single piece of information that you need to know about air fryers and what you need to consider before getting your hands on one of the air fryers under 100.
Table of Contents
- What is an Air Fryer?
- 8 Best Air Fryers Under $100 in 2021
- How do Air Fryers Actually Work?
- What kind of foods can you cook in an Air Fryer?
- What are the different types of Air Fryers?
- Important Tips to Keep in Mind When Using an Air Fryer
- What Size Air Fryer Should One Get?
- Should you Preheat an Air Fryer before Cooking?
- Quick Mistakes you Should Avoid While Using an Air Fryer
- Things to Consider Before Buying an Air Fryer
What is an Air Fryer?
Let us start the discussion with the most basic question. What is an air fryer? For those who aren’t aware, an air fryer is a kitchen appliance that enables you to enjoy deep-fried foods without actually having to deep fry them in oil. It uses hot air and a little sprinkle of oil to give the same results.
The concept is patented by Phillips Electronics Company since they were the first to release an air fryer into the market, creating a breakthrough for all the fitness enthusiasts who wanted to enjoy the tasty fried foods without the unhealthy calories it came with. In short, an air fryer is like a compact, tabletop convection oven.
8 Best Air Fryers Under $100 in 2021
How do Air Fryers Actually Work?
Even though the concept of air fryers is pretty diligent now, there are several people across the work that don’t know how a digital air fryer works and the fryer that cooks crisps without needing to be deep-fried.
There are several parts to an air fryer and the top part is where the heating mechanism is fitted into. Also, you place your food of desire in the basket that comes attached to an air fryer. Once inside, you can set the desired temperature and timer and the heat from the coil should circulate the hot air into the basket of the air fryer and enable you to cook the meal without any guilt.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Place the food in the basket
The first and likely the most important step in the process is to place the food in your air fryer’s basket. Generally, people can either directly put the meat or veggies in the basket, or you can line it with parchment paper and then place your food to avoid risks of stench and grease in the basket. Once you have laid out your food inside the air fryer, you can spray some oil on the top to help the food crisp up while it’s cooking inside.
2. Set the timer
Once you are done sorting out your food, you can then move onto the settings of the best air fryer that you have got your hands on. Generally, the control panel comes attached to the top part of the air fryer. You can adjust the temperature and the timer from there. Keep in mind that the majority of the air fryers under 100 won’t come with premeditated recipes, so you need to customize the timing according to your needs.
3. Leave it alone
Unlike an oven where you can keep an eye on the food from the outside, you can’t do the same with the food in the air fryers. If you want an air fryer that cooks your food optimally, you need to leave it alone. Consistently, opening and closing the basket won’t do you any favors and will eventually delay the cooking process even more.
What kind of foods can you cook in an Air Fryer?
Well, just about anything.
Much like your oven and microwave, even an air fryer is pretty versatile. They come in varying shapes and sizes with multi functionalities to meet your cooking needs. So, it goes without saying that not only can you use an air fryer under 100 to cook your marinated meats, you can also use it to cook your frozen foods.
Following are some of the best meals that you can cook in an air fryer:
1. Frozen foods
One of the best and fastest meals that you can likely cook in the air fryer includes the frozen foods. Since they are traditionally meant to be deep-fried, we’d recommend using an air fryer if you are particular about improving your health and well-being instead of eating unhealthy calories that gives you a quicker chance of heart attack.
2. Homemade finger foods
How often does it happen that you have prepared some meals at home but want to take it a notch higher in terms of health? Happens quite often, doesn’t it? Well, this is your chance to make the most out of this. Getting the ninja air fryer is considered perfect if you want to invest in a compact yet functional air fryer. If we had to recommend one, we’d suggest you go for the Ninja DZ201 Foodi 6-in-1 2-Basket Air Fryer.
3. Chicken, Fish or Meat
The best quality electric hot air fryers are designed to cook your favorite non-veg items without any hassle. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking to making chicken tenders or some steak for lunch, an air fryer should be enough to take care of all those needs without any issues.
From making the crispy chicken options to some grilled fish recipes, your air fryer should complement all your needs. Cosori air fryer is a pretty great brand, especially if you are looking into larger baskets for cooking larger portions of meat. The COSORI Air Fryer Max XL is a steal, especially because it comes with integrated recipes that you can directly cook from.
4. Roasted vegetables
Given that people are using air fryers for their health kick, it isn’t surprising that you can easily cook roasted vegetables in an air fryers oven oilless. All you need to do is take your vegetables and toss them in your favorite seasoning and oil and chuck them into the air fryer’s basket and let the veggies load and roast for your delicious and healthy meal.
The Dash DCAF200GBAQ02 Tasti Crisp Electric Air Fryer is one of the bestselling and budget-friendly electric hot air fryers that you can get your hands on. The reason why it is considered ideal for roasting vegetables is because of the separate temperature adjustable settings it comes with.
Although not very extensively, an air fryer can enable you to bake a few things, thanks to its rapid air circulation technology that allows the heat to evenly distribute all along the basket for faster cooking. Remember that you can’t expect to cook a full-blown cake in an air fryer but smaller and portioned desserts like cookies and tarts can be done in them.
If we had to recommend an ideal one for cooking, we’d suggest looking into the Chefman 4.6-Quart Air Fryer.
What are the different types of Air Fryers?
When looking for an air fryer under 100, chances are that you’d be faced with a few varieties of products. Knowing about them individually always comes in handy, especially when you are trying to make the most out of the meals that you are cooking.
As for the types of the fryer that cooks crisps, we have the traditional basket-designed air fryers that come with a detachable basket that you can remove and place your food in. The Sboly 8 in 1 Air Fryer and NuWave Brio 6-Quart Air Fryer are two popular options when it comes to the ones with a detachable basket.
Also, there are multifunctional boxy multi-function air fryers that you can use for extensive cooking options. These are the versatile options that allow you to achieve similar results as an oven would. As for these, the Cuisinart Airfryer is a pretty great option to tend to your multiple needs.
Important Tips to Keep in Mind When Using an Air Fryer
If this is your first time using one of the air fryers under 100 for cooking, there are a few important pointers that you need to be mindful of. Not just the cooking experience, timing, and the settings, there are quite a few other factors that dictate the usability of this kitchen appliance. For your convenience, we have sorted them out in this section:
1. Be ready for some noise
Although not too much, a hot air fryers oven does create a whirring noise when it’s cooking your meals. So, if you hear some loud and unpleasant noises while it’s cooking your meals, it is likely that you need to get used to the same. The noise is mainly coming from the whirring fans inside that prevents the machine from getting too hot and causing an accident.
2. It is a tedious process
Unlike deep frying your food where you can more or less dump the food into the hot oil and call it a day, that is not how an air fryer that cooks. It is quite a hands-on process where you need to flip the food halfway through to ensure both sides of the meat or veggies are done cooking. You need to keep an eye out for the progress in order to avoid the risks of ending up burning your food.
3. Peeking is okay (but not too much)
Often, when you are using an electric air fryer for the first time, it is confusing to know if the 10 minutes will be enough for the large cooking capacity it comes with. In such cases, it is always best if you pull out the basket and check the cooking progress. While many people would tell you that doing so is not okay, we’d recommend that you limit the number of times you do it. Once or twice is okay but doing the same every 2-3 minutes is going to interfere with the air frying process.
4. Food cooks a lot faster
If you are tired of using a deep fryer that takes longer to cook your meals, the same isn’t the case with air fryers. You can easily cook your meals without having to wait for long hours or minutes. Most of them come with an integrated recipe and menu that allows you to adjust the settings and the timers and get the cooking done in no time at all. The cooking time also depends on the cooking capacity. If your air fryer has less capacity, it will likely cook a lot quicker as opposed to the ones with a large cooking capacity.
5. Cook in lower temperatures
You might often be tempted to cook your meals in higher temperatures, like that in a deep fryer. However, that isn’t always the case with an air fryer. Since they use hot air circulating inside the basket to cook and fry your meals, you want to cook them at a slightly lower temperature than the standard counterparts. Doing so ensures that the exterior is a lot more crispy and delectable like the standard fried foods.
What Size Air Fryer Should One Get?
Another common question that people have about air frying and air fryers, in general, is the size that you need. Should you invest in an option with a larger capacity or you need to invest in an option with a smaller capacity?
At the end of the day, it all comes down to the available space in your kitchen or home and the kind of family size you have. If you live alone, a 1.75 to 3-quart air fryer is considered ideal. The Kalorik 1.75 Quart Personal Air Fryer is a pretty great option if you are looking for something similar.
The larger air fryers, measuring over 5 quarts are ideal for larger families. This is also ideal for commercial use where you need to invest in multiple batches of food. The Ultrean 8.5 Quart Air Fryer is one of the best options that come with a wide temperature range with a digital screen and temperature control to allow you seamless cooking. It features a non-stick basket, which again is a pretty great reason why you wouldn’t regret investing in it.
Should you Preheat an Air Fryer before Cooking?
Since an air fryer functions pretty similarly like an oven, it isn’t surprising that people have questions about the preheating function. Unlike an oven and deep fryer that requires preheating to ensure even and uniform cooking results, even an air fryer needs the same, if the recipe requires it.
However, preheating functions should only be for a minute or two before you pop the food in. Most of the leading air fryer brands recommend that you preheat the machine before cooking your food. However, it is not a mandatory process, which means that you can skip it if you want.
The only downside to not preheating your air fryer before cooking fried food is that it takes longer for the food to cook. You will notice that preheating reduces the cooking time by 2-3 minutes, which isn’t the case when you haven’t preheated it.
Quick Mistakes you Should Avoid While Using an Air Fryer
It doesn’t matter whether you are cooking french fries or other meals, there are some common air fryer mistakes that you need to avoid. Doing these will not just hamper the taste and quality of the food, it will eventually impact the overall taste too, which is definitely the last thing you need.
1. Avoid going overboard with the oil
Air fryers are often called oven oilless cooker because that is what they are. So, if you think that adding more oil will air fry the meals better, you are mistaken. That is not how things work. Instead, you need a quick spray or drizzle of oil and let the hot air around do the rest of the deep-frying work.
2. Avoid spraying the basket with grease
You’d be surprised but many people spray oil onto the basket. The reason why you shouldn’t do that is because its unnecessary. The basket comes with a non-stick coating, which means that your food won’t stick to the surface of the air fryer’s basket. Instead, you can easily place parchment paper on the inside if you want to create less mess inside.
3. Avoid crowding
Air fryers come with limited space inside the basket, which means that you can cook a limited amount of food. If you overcrowd the inside, it will limit the spread of the hot air around, which will either take it longer for your meals to cook or leave the inside of the food uncooked. So, try to keep a single layer of whatever you are cooking instead of stuffing everything in one go.
4. Keep an eye out
While all the air fryers do come with temperature control, we’d recommend not relying on it 100%. You never know how long it will take for your chicken tenders to air fry until you have done it a few times. You need to cook and improvise each time. So, it is okay if you pull out the basket every now and then to check the progress instead of being solely reliant on the wide temperature range.
Things to Consider Before Buying an Air Fryer
It isn’t even a surprise that air fryers are costly. So, if you want to make yours a worthy investment, you need to ensure that you keep a check on a few factors. From the capacity of the air fryer to the design, there are quite a few factors that you need to be mindful of.
The first and the most important factor to look out for is the quart capacity. You need to choose an option depending on what you deem the best for your cooking needs. Generally, they start from 1.75 quart capacity and can go and high as 10 quart capacity. You just need to find the ideal option based on the amount of food you cook in one go.
2. Brand reliability
Like any other kitchen appliance, even for the air fryers, you need to find a good option from a reliable brand. The last thing you want to do is end up buying a cheaper and unbranded item with no warranty support. We’d recommend that you spend a little more but on a good brand that will last you through the test of time.
Cleaning and maintaining an air fryer is no joke. Not only do you need to clean the grease and stench, but you also need to ensure that you are doing so without damaging the product. Most of the air fryers are dishwasher safe, which means that you wouldn’t have to worry about putting in excess labor in cleaning the insides of the air fryer every now and then.
Last on the list of considerations is the price. We have tried to sort you out with some of the best products under $100. However, there are expensive and premium options too. The choice all comes down to the kind of budget you have and the kind of functions you are looking for in the control panel. Some of them come with adjustable temperature and grill and toast functions and will cost you more.
1. Is buying an air fryer worth it?
Yes, if you want to enjoy some good quality meals, an air fryer comes with all the settings that allow you to cook without any issues. It is perfect for enjoy fried foods without deep frying them.
2. What shouldn’t you cook in an air fryer?
If you are a beginner with air fryer, you should avoid cooking battered meats, whole grill, and roast or even fresh greens, for that matter.
3. Can I cook popcorn in an air fryer?
You’d be surprised to know this but it is possible for you to cook popcorn in an air fryer. All you need to do is put the kernels inside a foil and add some butter or oil and then let it cook in the air fryer for a minute or two.
4. Should I put water in the air fryer to clean?
While it is okay for you to use water to clean the grease and the stench inside your air fryer, the last thing you want to do is submerge your air fryer inside water.
If you have been meaning to buy a good-quality air fryer with a nonstick basket and LED touch screen functions, we hope this article gives you all the insights that you need to know. From the best air fryers under 100 to help guide you about all the details, we have tried to keep this guide comprehensive for better understanding.