We've been wanting an Air Fryer for a while now but never got around to getting one. We've never owned a deep fryer, just because of the massive amounts of oil it takes and the fact that it is so unhealthy. When I seen this, I decided it was time to see what all the rage was about.
The retail box is standard packaging fare. Nothing too special or fancy. It includes the unit, wrapped in plastic and secured by Styrofoam. Included is a VERY small measuring cup, perfect for no more oil than it uses, instruction manual and a hard-bound cookbook. When I seen the cookbook, I was immediately impressed...WOW, I had said to myself. They actually give you a REAL cookbook? Then I opened it. Only 1/4 of it is recipes. In English. The other 3/4 are the same recipes, just in 3 other languages.
Outside of the recipe book, there is a recipe app. I only installed it and flipped through it for a few minutes. It looked very basic, similar to the manual that came with the fryer. Also, the app hasn't been updated since late 2016 and still hadn't been formatted to fit the larger Plus sized iPhone screens.
Now, aside from my minor niggles with the recipe book and app, everything else is GREAT! I love the device. Yes, it is huge, but that is a plus because you can use around 3+ lb of potatoes and other things. Initial use was a breeze. Just wash the top plastic view-cover, the inside container and the paddle. Everything goes back into place nicely. Cord is of an O.K. length...about average. Overall, I can't find very much to complain about with the overall design. Plus, its not an eyesore either, so that helps!
First time cooking, I wanted to go with something super easy and familiar. Chicken nuggets (because we have an 8-year old, lol) and Arby's frozen fries. We did the nuggets first and I have to say, for frozen nuggets and the way the aroma filled the house as they cooked...they seriously tasted like we brought them home from a fast food place. The same goes for the fries. They were nice and crispy and tasted like we just got them from Arby's! Neither the nuggets or the fries required adding extra oil, but we used the paddle on both to keep them "stirred" while they cooked, for evenness.
The cooking times for the machine itself is about on par with the bag cooking times. It's just a matter of referencing the manual for the specific food type you are making to determine 3 things. A) If it requires adding oil or not. B) If it requires activating the bottom heating element. C) If it requires use of the paddle. These all vary from one food type to another and if it's frozen or fresh. I can see this being pretty easy to get used to and learn/memorize. Also, there is an included timer that is also removable. This is the only thing about the unit that just felt "cheap" to me. I used the timer on either the stove or my Watch, since this timer is so small and near impossible to hear.
The only complaint I have with the unit itself is that the plastic vent cover on top gets EXTREMELY hot while using. Seriously, touching it will burn you. The sides of the unit itself get hot, but not as hot as the top cover. Just make sure any unsupervised children are not around while using this. Also, it does make a bit of noise while it cooks. It sounds to me very similar to that of an exhaust on a stove range. You get used to it pretty quickly. However, the aroma of the food that fills the air makes every bit of it worth it, including the finished item. Oh, and not only is this a multi-fryer, it's a multi-cooker as well!
Overall, we love, love, love this item. Very easy to clean and the finished product is great. It will just take some experimenting to get the cooking times right for amounts less than the manual uses. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is in the market for an Air Fryer and especially to anyone who wants to eat fried food, just with less oil. :-)