The Russell Hobbs Cyclofry uses an innovative rotating basket to turn chips while cooking, which the brand says results in tasty, evenly cooked chips, without any need for stirring. At £128, it’s half the price of the latest Philips Airfryer and Tefal Actifry models. But did it impress in our tests?
We’ve found that most air fryers need regular stirring (beyond what they state in the manual) to get the best results. This rather defeats the point of having a nifty chip-making gadget that’s supposed to do the hard work for you.
Russell Hobbs, Philips and Tefal all claim that their newest models have built-in technology to ensure even cooking, so you won’t need to hover around keeping an eye on your dinner.
In our tests, one model stood up to this claim, making delicious chips even if you don’t stir them at all during cooking. The chips were so good, in fact, that our expert chip taster said they were ‘pretty much perfect’ and he wouldn’t know that they’d been air-fried.
Read on to find out more about the new air fryers we’ve put to the test, or skip straight to our air fryer reviews to discover which models impressed in our tests, and the mediocre air fryers to avoid.
Russell Hobbs Cyclofry vs Philips Airfryer vs Tefal Actifry Genius
These three air fryers have innovative designs that aim to make cooking hassle-free. We explain how they work below, and what other features you get.
Russell Hobbs Cyclofry Plus 22101-56 – £128
This unusual air fryer has a rotisserie-style design that uses a rotating basket and a halogen heating element to cook your food, unlike most other air fryers, which use fanned hot air. It also includes accessories for making mini kebabs and rotisserie chicken.
It’s cheaper than the newest models from big-brand rivals Tefal and Actifry but it also has a smaller capacity. At 1kg, it’s still enough for four generous portions of chips, though.
It would be quite tricky to manually your your chips with this model, because of the drum design. Can you trust it to do a good enough job on its own? Read the full Russell Hobbs Cyclofry Plus review to find out.
Philips Avance Airfryer XXL HD9650/99, £250
Philips says that the new Twin TurboStar technology in this air fryer swirls ‘like a powerful tornado’ through the cooking basket, which would probably leave you with mashed potato rather than chips if you took the sales pitch literally. The hot fast-flowing air should cook your chips more quickly and evenly, as well as extracting the fat. This then drips away into the lovely-sounding ‘fat reducer’, rather like the fat tray on a George Foreman grill.
To get you salivating, there’s an app, too. Download it to your phone, and the Airfryer app will provide more than 200 recipes to inspire you. This model can cook up to 1.5kg of food (about six to eight portions of chips) so it should be ideal for a larger household.
Find out whether this air fryer can make great-tasting chips with minimal fuss in the full Philips Avance Airfryer XXL review.
Tefal Actifry Genius XL AH960040 – £270
This premium air fryer includes a feature unique to Tefal Actifry models – ‘dual motion’ technology. This refers to the rotating stirring paddle that keeps food moving throughout the cooking process. Tefal says this guarantees hassle-free cooking, with no shaking or stirring required to get good results.
With access to more than 300 recipes on the My Actifry app, you can make way more than chicken and chips. Like the Philips, it has a large 1.7kg capacity, so you’ll be able to make veritable mountains of chips at once.
It’s pricey but, if it makes big batches of chips with minimal effort, it could be a good investment. Find out how our expert chef rated its frying abilities in the full Tefal Actifry Genius XL review.
Other air fryer brands: who can compete with Tefal and Philips?
Both Tefal and Philips are big names in the low-fat fried-food world, but in recent years plenty of cheaper and less well-known brands have entered the fray. So should you stick to the big brands, or are there other models worth considering?
It’s worth having an open mind – our tests have shown that a big name is no guarantee of great chips. Some Tefal and Philips models have disappointed in our tests, producing poorly cooked food, while others are Best Buys, with our expert taster happily reaching for a second helping.
Similarly, friers from some less well-known brands are so poor that we’ve had to label them Don’t Buys, but a few cheaper options have made surprisingly excellent chips.
What to look for when buying an air fryer
Make sure you get the right model for you by thinking about how much cooking space you need, and how much space you have to store the air fryer at home, before you buy:
Most air fryers can cook at least 800g (about four portions) of chips, but some can cook more than double that amount. If you have a large family or want to cook for a crowd, look for a larger air fryer, or one with double-level cooking.
Air fryers vary in design, shape and size and can occupy a lot of space. Consider how much space you have and whether you want your air fryer to live on your kitchen counter or in a cupboard. Some models are more compact than others, have a smaller footprint or a handle that’s removable or foldable.
Get all the detail on dimensions, capacity and useful storage features in our in-depth air fryer reviews.
Latest air fryer reviews for 2018
Here’s the full list of recently tested air fryers. You can follow the links below to see the individual reviews:
- Philips Avance Collection Airfryer XXL HD9650/99 £250
- Tefal Actifry Genius XL £270
- Tefal Easy Fry Precision EY401840 £110
- Tower T17024 Digital Air Fryer £50
- Tower T17021 Air Fryer £39
- Russell Hobbs Cyclofry Plus 22101-56 £128
- Swan SD90010N £60
Prices correct as of 5 October 2018.