Need to know
- Kmart has added to its range of air fryers with a new 9L-capacity twin air fryer but CHOICE experts say its cooking performance is disappointing
- With two separate baskets, a dual air fryer lets you cook two different types of food at different temperatures at the same time
- CHOICE experts review the performance of a range of different air fryers from brands including Philips, Kmart, Kogan, Sunbeam, Tefal and more
If there's one thing people have talked more about in the past few years than COVID-19, it could well be air fryers. The popularity of this relatively new appliance on the kitchen block continues to grow, as many of us look for convenient ways to cook meals at home.
Kmart has launched several air fryers in the past few years to meet the seemingly insatiable appetite for this new cooking companion. Starting from $59 for the Kmart Anko 3.2L air fryer (there's also a 5.3L and a 7L option), its range comes in at the budget end of the scale and are some of the cheapest air fryers you can buy.
If there's one thing people have talked more about in the past few years than COVID-19, it could well be air fryers
And now the company has unveiled the latest addition to its air fryer range – the Kmart Anko 9L twin air fryer for $129.
Unfortunately, in our recent expert review of 25 air fryers, the new Kmart air fryer ranked dead last with a score of just 58%. CHOICE experts say that while there are good aspects to the air fryer – such as how easy it is to use and clean – it falls down on how well it actually cooks things, in particular frozen chips and frozen chicken nuggets.
What do CHOICE experts say about the new Kmart twin air fryer?
CHOICE air fryer expert Chantelle Dart recently put the Kmart air fryer through a series of tests in the CHOICE kitchen labs, comparing it with other brands such as Philips, Sunbeam, Kogan and Tefal. "Overall this Kmart air fryer received the lowest score of all the air fryers we tested," she says.
"When we give each air fryer a score, we look at a range of things such as how easy they are to assemble, store, operate and clean, and how helpful the instructions are. But the most important thing that makes up most of the score is how well they cook and this is really where the Kmart air fryer lets you down. I cooked a batch of frozen chips and frozen nuggets in the Kmart air fryer and, after 25 minutes, they were hardly browned and not at all crisp. When you consider that you could cook your chips in a standard oven for that time and likely get better results, it's disappointing."
Twin-basket function and how easy it is to use
The Kmart twin air fryer allows you to use both baskets at the same time while using different functions and temperature settings, and our experts say that this aspect operates well. "It is easy to clean because the black exterior is easy to wipe over, and the cooking drawers fit easily into a domestic sink for washing," says Chantelle.
"Although, it can be difficult to clean around exposed elements inside the unit and the digital display panel shows fingerprint marks, which may require extra attention."
It scored 'good' on how easy it is to use, however it scored a little less on this aspect compared to the other dual air fryer we tested, the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer (find out more on how they compare below).
The Ninja Dual Zone Air Fryer is another double air fryer that has recently become available.
What is a twin air fryer – and are they any good?
Also known as a dual air fryer or double air fryer, this is basically an air fryer that has two baskets that you can cook different foods in at different temperatures at the same time.
"We've seen a couple of dual air fryers starting to pop up, first the Ninja Dual Zone Air Fryer and now this Kmart one," says Chantelle.
"One of the downsides of single air fryers is that you can only cook one type of food at once in relatively small batches. A dual air fryer allows you to cook different foods at the same time at different temperatures, which gives the appliance a bit more versatility."
Even wider than single air fryers
Another downside of single air fryers is that they're quite large and take up a lot of valuable space on your benchtop. Well, dual air fryers won't solve this problem – in fact, with their two baskets, they're even wider still. As a comparison, the Kmart Anko 3.2L air fryer measures 29cm (width) x 35cm (depth), whereas the new Kmart Anko 9L twin air fryer, according to the Kmart website, measures 36cm (width) x 33cm (depth).
According to the Ninja website, the Ninja Dual Zone Air Fryer measures approximately 39.5cm (width) x 36cm (depth). So you'd need some clear space in your kitchen or somewhere you can store it.
Smaller basket capacity – but you get two
Whether a twin air fryer would suit you also depends on what kinds of foods you want to cook. Keep in mind that the capacity of each of the baskets in a twin air fryer is likely to be slightly smaller than the basket you'd get in an average-sized single air fryer. So it may not accommodate a larger piece of pork or a small whole chicken (but would be fine for foods such as a salmon fillet, fries or chicken nuggets).
Each of the baskets in the Kmart 9L twin air fryer has a 4.5L capacity (the capacity of each of the baskets in the Ninja Dual Air Fryer is 3.8L). Single air fryers can have baskets ranging in size from 2.5L up to about 7L (or more for air fryer ovens).
Kmart Anko twin air fryer vs Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer
If you're considering a twin air fryer, there are only a few brands currently available. Chantelle recommends looking at one that automatically syncs cooking times. This is a feature the Ninja model has which the Kmart does not.
"One of the advantages of a twin air fryer is obviously cooking two different foods at the same time – and ideally you would probably like these foods to be ready to eat at the same time, even though they may have different cooking times," she says.
"With the Kmart model, you need to manually enter cooking functions for each zone, one at a time, even when using the same temperature and cooking time.
"If you wish to cook a complete meal using both baskets and have them finish cooking at the same time, you need to start cooking in the second basket and manually match up the end cooking times. The Ninja model has a 'sync' function that will do this automatically, which is handy."
The Ninja Dual Zone Air Fryer also performed better in our cooking performance tests. CHOICE members can read the full review for the Ninja Dual Zone Air Frye and the full Kmart twin air fryer review.
What features does the Kmart twin air fryer have?
- Cost: $129
- 2 x 4.5L baskets (total of 9L capacity)
- Independently adjustable temperature in each drawer up to 200C
- Manual LED controls with 11 pre-set functions
- 12-month warranty
What features does the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer have?
- Cost: $450
- 2 x 3.8L baskets (total of 7.6L capacity)
- Independently adjustable temperature in each drawer up to 240C
- 6 customisable programs: Max Crisp, Air Fry, Roast, Bake, Reheat, and Dehydrate.
- Sync function that automatically syncs cooking times between drawers
- 12-month warranty
What about the other Kmart air fryers?
When CHOICE experts tested the Kmart Anko 3.2L single air fryer in our kitchen labs, it received a Choice Expert Rating of just 64%, which was the lowest score of all the air fryers we tested (a batch that included a line up of brands including Philips, Kogan, Kitchen Couture and Sunbeam). But at $59, it was also the cheapest we tested – the rest ranged in price from $69 up to $599.
Still sitting on the fence when it comes to buying any kind of air fryer? Our experts have put together a handy list of pros and cons to help you decide.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.