When VonShef entered the halogen oven and low fat fryer market, they were taking on the likes of Tefal, Breville and Philips. They have dominated the low fat fryer market since they first came out around 2007. Since then, the technology has changed surprisingly little but what has changed is the introduction of the larger units known as Halogen Ovens. Halogen Ovens use the same technology but have a large capacity. We generally feel that Halogen Ovens, whilst more versatile, are less good at frying; especially chips. This is down to the fact that their larger space means the heat is less concentrated. That said, the increased power that the VonShef Turbo Air Fryer has means that this is to some extent compensated. At 10 Litres, this is not the largest Halogen Oven on the market (12-17 Litres are available) but with the combination of a 1200 Watt heater and smaller capacity, this means that is can actually fry food almost as good as a purpose built low fat fryer such as the Tefal Actifry. This is quite a claim given the price of these units.
In the Box
We decided to test the VonShef Turbo Air Fryer, 10 Litre, 1200 Watt Model 13/093. This comes very well equipped with a good range of accessories including tongs, dual rack, baking cage, fork, instruction manual.
As with many of the Halogen Ovens, the VonShef has digital controls. However, they are not very intuitive and we found that the instruction manual was next to useless and so had to improvise to a certain extent. Still, once we got the hang of it they did provide a good degree of control including temperatures, timing and a number of useful presets.
Having familiarised ourselves with the control panel, we decided to try out a range of different food types starting with … yes chips!
Although some of the earlier, larger Halogen Ovens were pretty poor at cooking chips, we had high expectations for the VonShef given its powerful heater. As usual in our tests, we used a full 1Kg bag of frozen chips. Frozen chips come pre-oiled and so makes for a better comparison. Home cooked chips need a small amount of oil adding. Having cranked up the heat we added the chips, having made sure that the rotating arm was in place. This keeps the chips moving around inside and ensures even cooking.
After 20 minutes the chips still needed a little more cooking so we extended to the time using the controls. After a full 25 minutes the chips were ready to inspect. Overall the color of the chips was excellent. Not all chips were the same colour; a few were cooked slightly less than the others but we were pleased overall. The chips had a nice snap to them when we broke them meaning that they were nicely crisp. The inside was soft and fluffy; just what you want from a chip.
We decided to cook a whole chicken in the VonShef Turbo Air Fryer. Although not as large as some of the other Halogen Ovens, we managed to get a medium sized fresh chicken in the unit using the rotisserie unit without too much trouble. We gave the chicken a slight basting of oil and turned it on. 40 minutes later it was cooked. A beautiful golden cooked chicken in half the time of a traditional oven. Overall we were very impressed with this.
Now time of for the fish. Clearly, there is no need for the rotating paddles with fish as that would destroy the shape of the fish. We placed several fillets of salmon inside the unit and waited just a few minutes. Fish doesn’t require much cooking at any time and with the temperature turned down it was completed in about 10 minutes. The result were good but the fish was slightly dry on the outside. Maybe we should have brushed it with oil.
The VonShef Turbo Air Fryer surprised us with just how flexible it is. It gives the low fat fryers like Tefal, Beville and Philips a run for their money when it comes to cooking chips. It also cooks chicken and a whole host of other food types given its 10 Litre capacity and 1,200 Watt Heater. The Instruction Manual is very poor but once you work out the controls they are actually very cook. It comes with a good selection of accessories and terms of value, this is excellent value for money.