Air fryers are having a moment. Some may even dare to say they’re the next George Foreman Grill. If you’re on “food” Tik Tok, you know the hype.

Air fryers offer endless cooking possibilities and claim to cook your favorite fried or baked foods to perfection without the extra calories and fat — in half the time. They almost seem too good to be true, especially in a year like 2020. Fear not, I did the research so you don’t have to! 

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Let’s talk about the basics. The typical air fryer ranges in price anywhere from $50 to upwards of $100, so it’s a little bit of an investment depending on how many bells and whistles you’d like.

Most have a capacity anywhere from two to 5.8 quarts, which isn’t a ton of space. Many reviews do recommend being mindful of how full you’re filling your air fryer basket, or you’ll end up with either half-cooked food or soggy french fries. 

Contrary to popular belief, air fryers do not actually fry food at all. Rather, they are small convection ovens that cook food from the outside in. The air quickly heats up to 400 degrees maximum and circulates to produce the fried-food effect. Although a little oil may still be necessary, air fryers are generally regarded as a much healthier alternative to frying food completely in oil. 

Quick, easy and fully equipped to fake-fry your favorite snacks, they’re capable of elevating even the healthiest of meals to the next level. We’re talking vegetables, banana bread, tofu, salmon you name it.

Thanks to the air fryer’s recent spike in popularity, a simple google search can show you how to make both old favorites and new recipes using your new appliance. Another little bonus to air frying dinner is that not many dishes are required, and clean up is easy since you only have to wash the removable basket.

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I will add a small disclaimer. Maybe my air fryer is just cheap, but these things are loud. Loud as in if you’re in the kitchen at 3 a.m. chef-ing it up, your early rising roommates may not appreciate your cooking efforts. Don’t be surprised if they start passive-aggressively leaving their dishes in the sink more often. And don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

If your go-to meal is leftover chicken tenders and fries, an air fryer may be a worthy investment, because it’s common knowledge that reheating french fries in the microwave results in disaster and disappointment.

If you consider yourself a top-notch chef, you may have some fun with this as well. Either way, it’s fair to say the air fryer passes the college convenience test.

So do yourself and your roommates a favor, and get yourself the new college cooking essential — the air fryer.