One of the things that surprises people the most when looking into oil less fryers such as the Philips AirFryer, the TEFAL Actifry or other available solutions, is the size of these appliances. And the funny thing is people don’t find them big or small, they find them big and small at the same time! The first impression is that these appliances are larger than expected from the outside and smaller than expected on the inside.
Brands are very well aware of this fact and try to make their product look smaller than it actually is from the outside and larger than it actually is on the inside in all their promotional material. After all we all want an oil less fryer that takes up little counter space but allows us to cook lots of food at once. In the official photos of these products you might see a lettuce beside the fryer and a whole chicken inside it, but the truth is that lettuce is huge, and that chicken is small!
If you are going into the store to purchase your oil less fryer you’ll be able to see for yourself, but if you are considering buying one online I strongly recommend that you first take a look at an unboxing video from anyone unrelated to the brand to actually get a better sense of the dimensions of the product you are about to buy.
Why are Oil Less Fryers so Big from the outside?
There are a few reasons why hot air fryers are relatively large from the outside.
The first reason is that the elements that actually cook your food, such as the ceramic infrared burner or the fan that keeps the air in constant movement are all placed above, below or around the cooking basket, as opposed to traditional deep fryers were on of the main cooking elements (the oil) is inside the cooking basket itself, sharing that space with your food.
It is also true that the shape of the interior walls of an air fryer need to be carefully designed to ensure that air reaches all areas of the cooking basket evenly at the same temperature and speed. In order to achieve this the cooking chamber needs to have some padding between the cooking basket and its walls to allow the air to flow properly.
The second reasons why air fryers are larger than expected form the outside is safety. We need to remember that inside this appliance very hot air is circulating at very high temperatures. However, in order to avoid getting ourselves burned, the appliance needs to remain at a safe temperature at all times on the outside, even when cooking food at the highest temperature for long periods of time. The way to achieve this is by creating a double layer between the cooking chamber and the exterior plastic housing of the product. This air chamber obviously takes up some space and makes the appliance larger overall.
Why are Oil Less Fryers so Small on the inside?
The reasons why oil less fryers are smaller than expected on the inside has actually a lot to do with their exterior size.
You can’t fit just any new appliance in your kitchen, no matter the size. Oil less fryers manufacturers have to consider the appliance size that will fit most homes and work backwards from there. So if you take a decent sized appliance and start adding the double layer skin for safety, all the cooking elements and the cooking chamber padding for air circulation, you are left with a cooking basket which is relatively small.
That isn’t the only reasons for the small size of the cooking basket though. It’s also technically more challenging to build a larger oil less fryer than it is to build a smaller one. Remember that in order for oil less frying to work the air inside the cooking chamber needs to move at very high speeds and reach all corners of the cooking chamber at the same speed and temperature. This might sound simple but is actually quite hard to achieve, and the larger the cooking chamber is the harder it gets. So smaller cooking areas ensure that all your food is cooked evenly.