Everyone loves a deep fried doughnut. Or, if you take after Mr Presley, deep fried banana, bacon and peanut butter sandwiches, southern-fried chicken and possibly a deep-fried Mars Bar or two. After all, is there any better taste sensation than sugar and fat saturated in sizzling oil? I think not!

On occasion, though, it's a better idea to keep your schnitzels, nuggets and hot chips as healthy as possible. Okay, okay, it's always a better idea. Especially if you don't want to go the way of the King.

Viva la fryer!

That's where the Philips Viva Collection Airfryer comes in. Generally it's not a good thing to be full of hot air, but in the case of the Airfryer there are some benefits. The main one is that you get to eat fried food that's not quite as deadly as the traditional method. And using less oil means you don't have to do as many sit-ups and sprints afterward – always a plus.

The test

We sent chips, chicken legs, crumbed chicken tenderloins and chicken balls for a ride in this miniature space station (it's not exactly sleek or portable). The chicken came out juicy and tender. Unfortunately, so did the chips. Sort of. Many ended up half crispy, half not crispy – not quite what you want when you're after comfort food. True, the results were lighter and drier than with a deep fryer, but don't get the wrong idea; you'll still need to add a dash of oil, just not nearly as much as the local takeaway.

The CHOICE verdict

So what's good about the Philips Airfryer besides using less oil? Well, you don't have to be a gizmo whiz to use it. The cooking basket is easy to slide out and lift, and the unit has a nice big dial timer and graded temperature control. It's got a plastic exterior that's easy to clean, and a non-stick pan that lived up to the name when we tested it. You can chuck the pan separator and stainless steel mesh basket into the dishwasher, which means you can easily tidy up while still struggling with your fried food stupor too.

On the minus side, air frying takes longer than deep frying, and the Philips Airfryer won't win any awards for energy efficiency. We calculated running costs based on three hours use per week over 10 years and came up with a hefty $347, which makes it more of an electricity guzzler than some fully-fledged ovens we've tested! And with prices averaging around $250 last time we checked, it's verging on a big ticket item.

To be honest, the negatives tend to pile up once you set healthier eating and ease-of use to the side. You can only squeeze about four serves onto the cooking area, and while it does have a pan separator that lets you cook multiple items at once, you'll need to cook in batches if you aim to feed a sizeable family or cater for your next house party.

All up, the Philips Viva Collection Airfryer is far from a necessary kitchen tool, unless you're a fried food junky trying to cut down on cooking oil. And when it comes down to it, your oven can do the same job without jeopardising your health, if you just take it a little easier on the oil. So, while the household deep fryer may have left the building – and good riddance to it! – the Airfryer definitely isn't needed to take its place.