Many have either seen, heard of or owned the latest cooking appliances to grace our kitchens recently – the electrical ‘air’ cookers. While there are numerous companies churning out a new model each quarter, only the pioneering appliances from Tefal and Philips have proven to be invaluable kitchen items to have. We take an in-depth look at how each of these brands fare.
For the purposes of this review, we will only be taking a look at the Philips HD9230/26 Digital AirFryer with Rapid Air Technology and the Tefal FZ7002 ActiFry Multi-Cooker, as both are digital air cookers; providing a more equal basis for review.
#1: Unique Selling Points
Tefal ActiFry: The message used for this product is that only one small spoon of oil is required to cook food that can emulate the texture of deep fried foods. This makes the cooking process of the ActiFry a healthier option. Tefal states that only 3% of food is required to cook with the ActiFry.
Philips AirFryer: For the AirFryer, it is being sold based on the concept that it can help cook food in a quick and healthy way, which is done by draining off any excess fat into the bottom tray. Philips has claimed that food can be cooked with 70% less fat using the AirFryer.
#2: Size & Cooking Capacity
Tefal ActiFry: The ActiFry has a cooking capacity of 2.2 pounds, making this the larger of the two. This comes in handy when you need to feed about 4-5 people at a time. However, due to the shape of the ActiFry (which is basically shaped something like a donut), as well as the fact that is employs the use of a stirring paddle, it is not recommended to cook a very large food items such as a whole chicken Instead, the food must be cut up into smaller pieces so as to allow for an even cooking. In the 2-in-1 version of the ActiFry, there are two cooking parts that can be used, which means that multi-tasking and cooking more different foods at one go is possible. This means meals can be done faster.
Philips AirFryer: The AirFryer has a cooking capacity of 1.8 pounds, which is good for cooking food enough for about 2-3 people. An advantage that is the AirFryer has over Tefal’s product is that the main cooking component comes in the shape of a basket, which makes this a great option for larger food types or even irregularly shaped ones. A whole chicken or fish can be cooked in the AirFryer for example. Multi-tasking might not be feasible on this appliance, especially if there is a need to have the food cooked evenly, however it is not impossible. To keep up with the market however, Philips has released an XL version of its AirFryer, which has a capacity of 2.6 pounds.
#3: Cooking Visibility
Tefal ActiFry: One great thing about the Tefal Actifry is that it is built with a transparent viewing window that allows users to keep tabs on how the food is doing as it is cooking. This is a very useful feature to have, especially when one does not want to take chances with having the food burnt.
Philips AirFryer: Unfortunately, in all models of the Philips AirFryer range, there is no viewing window to allow monitoring of the food as it is cooking. This can sometimes undermine the outcome of the cooking process. However, it is possible to pause the appliance – by turning off the main electric plug switch – and opening the basket to take a look at the condition of the food contents.
#4: Temperature Control & Timer
Tefal ActiFry: The appliance comes with a fixed cooking temperature (around 338 degrees Fahrenheit), which can greatly help make the ActiFry easier to use, especially for those new to cooking. A digital timer is included and can count down from a timing of 99mins. This allows for cooking at longer periods of time at a consistent temperature without have to go back to reset the timer more than once.
Philips AirFryer: As for the AirFryer, the temperature can be control and varied between the ranges of 180 – 390 degrees Fahrenheit. With this feature, there is better versatility in cooking different kinds of foods, where even baking at lower temperatures is possible. The digital timer on the AirFryer goes up to a maximum timing of 60 minutes.
#5: Food Quality Outcomes
Tefal ActiFry: With the rotating paddle doing its work to more evenly distribute food within the bottom tray, there is little to no need to flip the food over to ensure even cooking, browning or crisping. The paddle also helps ensure that any oil added will be evenly coated over the food. This feature is a strong reason as to why food from the ActiFry turns out with a better crispier texture and perhaps better taste.
Philips AirFryer: Food that has been cooked in the AirFryer can indeed be crispy. However, care must be taken to turn the food over to ensure an even crispy texture all over. This can be done by stopping the cooking process halfway and using a pair of tongs. As the excess fat and oil is drained through the cooking basket, food cooked tends to be healthier, but also less juicy; which might affect flavour.
#6: Safety & Maintenance Features
Tefal ActiFry: The viewing window of the ActiFry is anti-steam, which means that unsuspecting viewers will not be exposed to the hot steam from the cooking food. Cooking parts of the appliance is dish-washer safe. The ActiFry does not have an auto-shutdown feature.
Philips AirFryer: The AirFryer does include an auto-shutdown feature, which is activated once the cooking process is complete. The cooking parts of the appliance (cooking basket) is also dish-washer safe.
#7: Parts & Accessories
Tefal ActiFry: Other than a measuring spoon, there are currently no extra accessories for the ActiFry. However, some parts such as the paddle are replaceable. The ActiFry comes in two main colors which are black or white.
Philips AirFryer: Accessories available for the AirFryer include a double layer rack, a grill pan and a baking dish. The parts are interchangeable based on what cooking function one would like to perform. These parts can also be purchased separately and replaced. The AirFryer also comes in black or white.
While some have mentioned that the Tefal ActiFry produces better tasting food, the versatility of the AirFryer could prove a much more useful feature especially when attempting to increase the recipe repertoire. If you are looking for an electric cooker at a more affordable price for light cooking, then the ActiFry could be your best bet. But if you’re thinking of cooking more than a whole chicken, it would be a good idea to invest a little more and get the Philips AirFryer.