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Nine questions everyone asks us about air fryers

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Nine questions everyone asks us about air fryers
The Ninja Air Fryer Max AF160 next to a plate of chips cooked in it



(Image credit: TechRadar)

We do love air fryers. From relatively compact models that will mainly be feeding our desire for French fries fast, to all-singing, all-dancing multifunction fryers that can tackle a roast chicken, pastries and much more in between. Not only do we love their ability to deliver crispy fried food in a more healthy form, this way of cooking is energy efficient too. So if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, or weighing up whether an air fryer deserves a space on your counter, here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions about air fryers.

1. Do I need an air fryer?

No, but there are lots of really good reasons that you might love having one. Air fryers offer a much healthier alternative to deep frying, and they cook far more quickly than convection or fan ovens. They heat up faster, and many models are small enough to sit on your countertop without getting in the way. If you like crisp fried foods, but want them to be as healthy as possible, an air fryer could be your new best friend.

Philips air fryer with various air-fried foods

(Image credit: Philips)

2. Are air fryers expensive?

Not especially. Some of the best cheap air fryers cost well below $100/£100, and even the biggest, smartest models aren’t hugely costly. If you don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of performance, you can pick up a multi-function air-frying oven that can bake, broil, toast, roast, air fry and reheat for between $200 and $300 (£200 to £300 in the UK). Air fryer deals can often be found during big sales events such as Black Friday, too. And if you’re on a tight budget there are plenty of affordable options – why not consider certified refurbished stock on eBay, for example?

3. Do air fryers use oil?

Yes, but only in tiny amounts: typically half a tablespoon. When we make fries, we only give them a quick spritz with an oil sprayer, enough to help the crisping process, but not so much that they become soggy. Being able to get that fresh-fried crispness without using gallons of oil is one of the biggest benefits of air frying: you get all the taste without all the fat.

4. Can you put foil in an air fryer?

You can, but it isn’t necessarily a good idea. The main difference between an air fryer and a convection oven is airflow: by circulating hot air very quickly around the food in the basket, an air fryer produces crisper, faster results than an ordinary oven. If you block that air – for example, by wrapping your food in foil – then you lose that benefit.

That said, sometimes a little bit of foil can be helpful – or better still, why not consider perforated parchment paper? Foil can react badly to acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and marinades containing tomato. Nevertheless, sitting food on a bit of foil or parchment paper in the basket can prevent it from sticking to the metal. However, don’t put it in until the oven has been pre-heated; it’ll blow around the inside of your air fryer if you do, and if it lands on the heating element, that could prove a disaster.

We decided to compare the different methods to see which was best. These four fillets of salmon were placed skin-down in four different ways: completely wrapped in foil; sitting in a little basket we made of foil; sitting on parchment paper; and sitting straight on the (oiled) basket.

Preparing salmon for air frying

(Image credit: Future)

And here are the results following 7 minutes of cooking at 400ºF. 

Salmon after air frying

(Image credit: Future)

The salmon cooked fully covered in foil was watery and a bit slimy, with the skin sticking to the foil. The fillet sat on top of the foil was firmer and dryer, and had stuck to the foil a little. The salmon on the parchment was firm, dry and lifted clean off the paper, while the fillet in the metal basket cooked just fine but when we tried to lift it off, the skin stayed put.

5. What can I cook in an air fryer?

Air fryers are best suited to dry foods that you would otherwise deep fry in oil: think potato or sweet potato fries, breaded fish, cajun-rubbed chicken and so on. It’s good for reheating dry foods such as pizza or chicken, if you have leftovers from last night’s takeout, and it’s also good for cooking frozen veggies and frozen snacks. 

6. What foods can’t be air fried?

Air fryers are pretty hopeless with wet-covered foods such as vegetable tempura or battered fish (the batter drips or gets blown off), and they’re not good with cheese, which melts and falls through the basket. They can cook steaks and burgers, but you don’t get the pan-fried charring that provides so much of the taste. Green leaves such as spinach don’t cook well in air fryers either, and few air fryers get hot enough to make popcorn pop.

As with deep frying, it’s important that you don’t overcrowd the basket.

The other important thing to note is unless you buy a multifunction oven or a double-basket air fryer, you’ll be limited to cooking the contents of a single, often fairly small basket. You’re not going to get an entire turkey, tons of veggies and two dozen pigs in blankets in there on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.  

7. Do air fryers use a lot of energy?

That depends on the model. The smallest air fryers may use about 700W, but some of the biggest ones run at up to 2,000W. 

8. Are air fryers cheaper to run than convection ovens or stoves?

Yes. Electric ovens typically draw between 2,000W and 5,000W, and the largest burner on an electric range or stove can be 2,000W to 2,500W. An air fryer cooks in a shorter amount of time, as is the pre-heating time, so even the most powerful air fryer will use less energy overall. And if you have a small kitchen like ours, an air fryer won’t make your kitchen uncomfortably warm as conventional ovens often do.

9. Are air fryers cheaper to run than microwave ovens?

No. Microwave ovens use less energy – even the most powerful microwaves tend to top out at 1,000W compared to up to 2,000W for the largest family sized air fryers – and they use that energy for a much shorter period of time. But they cook in a different way so, for example, you wouldn’t make French fries in the microwave; and you wouldn’t air fry a lasagne ready meal.

Carrie Marshall

Contributor

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, will be published in November 2022. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are
A player shouldering the ball



(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 23 might be the best game soccer game yet for terrible sports fans, as it lets you turn off commentary that criticizes your bad playing.

Now that the early access FIFA 23 release time has passed, EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can hop into the game ahead of its full release. But as Eurogamer (opens in new tab) spotted, they’ll find a peculiar option waiting for them.

FIFA 23 includes a toggle to turn off ‘Critical Commentary’. The setting lets you silence all negative in-match comments made about your technique, so you can protect your precious ego even when you miss an open goal or commit an obvious foul. The more positive commentary won’t be affected. 

Spare your feelings

A player dribbling the ball in FIFA 23

(Image credit: EA)

The feature looks tailored toward children and new players, who don’t want to have their confidence wrecked within mere minutes of picking up the controller. But even experienced players who just so happen to be terrible at the game might benefit.

It’s not perfect, though. According to Eurogamer, the feature didn’t seem to work during a FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals match, with critical comments slipping through the filter. Still, who hasn’t benefited from a light grilling every now and then?

Polite commentary isn’t the only new addition in FIFA 23. It’s the first game in the series to include women’s club football teams, and fancy overhauled animations that take advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S’s new-gen hardware. EA will be hoping to end on a high, as FIFA 23 will be the last of its soccer games to release with the official FIFA licence.

If disabling critical commentary doesn’t improve your soccer skills, maybe building a squad of Marvel superheroes will. Although you might not do much better with Ted Lasso wandering the pitch.

FIFA 23 is set to fully release this Friday, September 30.

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games. 

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch
The backs of the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro



(Image credit: Google)

We’re starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.

It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones’ costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).

Google pixel 7 on Amazon US. $599.99.It is still showing up in search cache but the listing gives an error if you click on it. We have the B0 number to keep track of though!#teampixel pic.twitter.com/w5Z09D28YESeptember 27, 2022

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According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn’t include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.

So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn’t make much sense.


Analysis: same price, new world

Google’s choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You’re buying year-old tech for the same price as before.

Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.

But there’s another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it’s a very different amount of money.

Some people just won’t be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.

Google isn’t the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions. 

Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.

These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don’t understand the economic hardship troubling many.

We’ll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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