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Air fryers to avoid buying

These not-so-hot air fryers will leave you underwhelmed.

air fryer to avoid with red cross
Last updated: 22 September 2021

Hailed as a kitchen appliance that's easy to use and can handle a multitude of tasks, the air fryer is enjoying its moment in the sun. 

But while there are plenty of fly fryers on the market, there are also many that won't give you much crunch for your cash, so make sure you know what you're buying. 

These five air fryers disappointed our kitchen experts with their air frying capabilities. If you're looking to up your kitchen game, give these models a miss.

What to look for when buying an air fryer

"When choosing an air fryer it's important that it comes with comprehensive instructions including cooking guidelines and recipes, particularly if you have never used an air fryer before," says CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair

"Digital controls give better accuracy, and pre-programmed settings take the guesswork out of choosing a temperature and cooking time, and may also give you a reminder to shake the food to ensure even cooking."

The worst performing air fryers in our tests

Kmart Anko AF606 3.2L Air Fryer

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 64%
  • Performance score: 63%
  • Price: $59

While we've found many a Kmart appliance that delivers great bang for your buck, unfortunately this isn't one of them. 

It disappointed our testing experts on tests like cooking homemade French fries and frozen thick-cut chips, and was rated as only OK overall. 

It does have some redeeming features, however. It has seven pre-set cooking functions, is easy to clean, a cooking temperature guide on the front of the unit, an audible sound when the timer ends, and an automatic shut-off function. 

Overall it's just not worth it, even for the bargain price of $59

But overall it's just not worth it, even for the bargain price of $59. Save your money for an air fryer that'll actually do the job. 

Unfortunately for bargain hunters, air fryers are one appliance that you do need to spend a little more on for good performance. Of the air fryers we recommend, the cheapest is $149, but most are over the $300 mark. 

EasyCook E727

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 70%
  • Performance score: 75%
  • Price: $199

Look, a score of 70% overall isn't terrible – it's still classed as 'Good' by our experts. And a 75% performance score is good, too. 

But if you're going to drop $200 on an air fryer, you might as well buy one that works well (and doesn't look like a UFO). 

On the upside, the EasyCook has an auto clean function for ease of cleaning, and its glass bowl is dishwasher safe. Plus, you can keep an eye on your food through the clear viewing window. It warms up quickly, too, so doesn't need to be preheated, except when grilling. 

An air fryer that costs this much should deliver out-of-this-world performance – the EasyCook does not

But that glass bowl, for all its benefits, is quite large and awkward to handle, and the unit overall is quite large and heavy and requires a fair bit of cupboard space to store. The exterior of the lid reaches temperatures above 60°C when cooking at 200°C, so you'll need to be careful not to burn yourself. 

The EasyCook's dial controls for temperature and time are simple to use but may not be accurate, our experts found.

Overall, an air fryer that costs this much and looks like something from outer space should deliver out-of-this-world performance – but the EasyCook does not. 

The least best of the rest

Next in our line-up of sub-par air fryers are three units that received the same overall score. Two of them are from the same brand (Tefal), and one of them is a shelf unit (Miracle Chef). 

They all have different features, and different pros and cons. But they have one thing in common: our kitchen experts don't recommend them. 

"Unfortunately both Tefal models have only basic instructions that can be difficult to comprehend," says Fiona. 

"Having easy-to-read instructions with guidelines and recipes allows the user to get the most from their purchase."

Miracle Chef 7 in 1 multi cooker TXG-DT10L

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 71%
  • Performance score: 73%
  • Price: $349

Despite scoring a very healthy 85% for cooking homemade French fries, this unit isn't the miracle it claims to be. We've tested plenty of models for this price (and cheaper!) that perform far better. 

It's particularly poor at cooking marinated chicken wings, scoring just 40% for this test, and our experts say it's not especially easy to use and the shelves only have a small surface area. 

Don't expect a hallelujah moment with this unit. 

Tefal Easy Fry Deluxe Digital EY401D

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 71%
  • Performance score: 73%
  • Price: $280

This unit didn't score too badly on most of our tests, but really bombed out on cooking homemade French fries – it scored just 45% on this test. It did ace the crumbed chicken cooking test, scoring 80%. 

But even if you're crumbed chicken-obsessed, there are better buys out there. 

Tefal Easy Fry Classic EY2018

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 71%
  • Performance score: 75%
  • Price: $200

Again, this Tefal unit did clock up some great scores in our test, and a score of 75% for performance isn't to be sniffed at. But you can still find air fryers for the same price that will perform better. 

Our kitchen expert Fiona has cooked marinated chicken wings and roast pork in this unit and rates it as 'Excellent' for these, but still doesn't recommend it. 

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE