Salter EK4221 XL Digital Air Fryer Review: Versatile Cooking At Great Value

A Modern Kitchen puts the sizeable Salter XL Digital Air Fryer to the test.

Salter XL air fryer

by Ellen Kinsey |
Updated on

Air fryers have undoubtedly risen in popularity over the last few years, with everyone's sister, mum or uncle receiving this nifty appliance as a Christmas present. Yes, air fryers offer a way to have all the tasty fried foods we want without the unhealthiness that comes with deep-frying, but their main advantage is their versatility. It can replace your oven, deep-fat fryer, or even your microwave and save you on your energy bills too.

Those looking to minimise the number of appliances on their kitchen surfaces love this device, and with good reason. In some households, air fryers have become the family's preferred way to cook pretty much everything, and this family-sized air fryer from Salter really fits the bill. We put the Salter Hot EK4221 4.5L Air Fryer to the test to see how versatile this appliance is.

This time around, A Modern Kitchen's writer, Ellen Kinsey, put the Salter Digital Family Hot Air Fryer to the test to see how the XL 4.5L appliance compared against oven cooking and deep frying and how crisp food gets with little to no oil.

The Salter EK4221 4.5L Digital Air Fryer Review: Summary

When it comes to frying, cooking or baking, I wouldn't be without an air fryer. Perfectly roasted potatoes, flavourful crispy chicken, and toasted chickpeas perfect for salads - air fryers are an appliance for the novice cook to the Michelin Star extraordinaire.

This Salter EK4221 Digital Family Air Fryer is perfect for a family of four to a one-person household. With a sizeable deep capacity, you can cook frozen chips in a jiffy or even reheat leftovers. It is a versatile air fryer that is well-suited to any home. One of the biggest wins of owning an air fryer is how quick it is to heat up - no preheating needed. Nothing is more wasteful than heating the entire oven only to add a couple of fish fingers.

Salter claims that this air fryer can save 67 per cent off energy bills compared to the energy used to cook a chicken in a 1.8 kW electric oven. In this current climate, it makes a huge difference using this smaller, more compact appliance.

Pros

  • Large 4.5L capacity
  • Easy-to-navigate touch-sensitive display
  • Simple to clean
  • Affordable price for the size

Cons

  • The circular design feels a little clunky

This fantastic 4.5L air fryer is a standard circular design and contains an easy-to-clean non-stick cooking basket, an easy-to-use touch-sensitive display and seven preset functions that make cooking up a storm a breeze.

The air fryer circulates hot air around to cook the food through and makes an excellent alternative to a deep-fat fryer, making it a healthier choice to cook your meals quickly with little or no oil needed.

Featuring 1300W power and a capacity of 4.5 litres, this air fryer is a user-friendly device with seven convenient and straightforward cooking functions, a touch-sensitive display and a 30-minute timer. It is a suitable size for families.

Price

The machine is currently priced a £69.99 directly from Salter or £63.99 on Amazon. The affordable price places this Salter model at the mid-range point of the market at around the same price as similar products such as the Tower T17021 Family Size Air Fryer and just under the Russell Hobbs 5L SatisFry Large Digital Air Fryer.

Rating: 4/5

Special Features

Healthier cooking - Requires little to no oil, circulating hot air for even heat distribution to produce those crispy golden results you know and love.

30-minute timer - Tracks the cooking time for you, so leave the air fryer to its own devices without monitoring your food.

Removable, non-stick rack - Makes for easy access and serving whilst leaving less food mess behind to ensure cleaning up is easy.

Testing the Salter EK4221 4.5L Digital Air Fryer

Performance

The Salter XL Hot Air Fryer looks the part and covers all the basics regarding air fryers. Although it doesn't have any particular special features such as a self-stirring arm that you can find in an Actifry or dual baskets, it’s very difficult to find much fault with it when you consider its excellent value price.

This air fryer lets you cook meals with little to no oil for a healthier end result. From homemade chips and wedges to chicken, fish and veggies, there’s not much it can’t cook. I was impressed by just how deep the basket was and could fit in a whole small roast chicken.

Another aspect I liked was how easy it is to take off the basket. Even when the internal basket is covered with grease and other foodstuffs when removed, it is simple to tip all the crumbs out and wash it in the sink.

After using the Salter EK4221 4.5L for a few months now, it is by far the most used appliance in my kitchen. When I recently moved flat, it came without any kitchen appliances, so this felt like the right time to cut back on the number of devices in my space to allow for more room to prepare meals.

I decided to ditch the microwave and opted for using the air fryer and stove to reheat meals, and now I wouldn't have it any other way. I had a 2L air fryer before, which served me quite well before it stopped working. Although it worked well, I found the capacity was insufficient to cater to two people. When filling the basket high with chips, hash browns or vegetables, it often didn't cook through or remained quite mushy.

Additionally, I tend to opt for an air fryer over using the oven as it can be a huge waste of energy when you want to heat up your leftovers, and the two-litre basket was not large enough to fit my meal. I currently use my Salter Air Fryer to reheat most of my leftovers instead of a microwave. I line the basket with some parchment paper and have heated up leftovers from my Sunday roast to salmon.

One of the main draws of an air fryer is getting that crispy finish. One that can only be replicated by deep-frying or barbecuing. From crispy chickpea croutons to flaky reheated pastry, the air fryer works like a dehydrator, so you don't get the soggy finish like you would in the microwave.

One of my favourite things to make in the air fryer are chicken thighs, legs and wings. I rub on a spice blend with minimal oil, and the skin comes out beautifully crispy every time.

Build

I was happy with the size when I first unboxed the Salter EK4221. It was compact for a sizeable 4.5-litre capacity. I loved the simple-to-use touch display, which was easy to navigate. Removing the mess from the air fryer is quick and easy; you only need to pull it out of the drawer and hand wash it.

The generous 4.5-litre basket capacity provides suitable space for bulk cooking or single portions serving up to four people. Though it is compact enough to be left out on the counter, the circular design takes up more space than a more structured build - however, that is my personal preference. The design is the ideal size to neatly store away in your kitchen cupboard too.

Salter

Usability

I read the instructions briefly but found it reasonably easy to figure out how to use it. It works well without complicated settings. The default is 15 minutes at 180 degrees, which is helpful as a one-touch control can cook most things.

The digital touchscreen is the most prominent feature of this appliance and takes up most of the space on top of the machine. You will be prompted to tap the power-on icon when you plug it in and switch it on from the mains. When this is activated, the main screen will show that the air fryer automatically selects a default temperature and a time, but there are on-screen options to customise both.

The LED display will alternate between ‘180 °C' and '15 minutes'. These are the default cooking settings on the factory default mode. The time and temperature can also be programmed if other settings are required.

You can press the timer control buttons and change the cooking time to a maximum of 30 mins. If you press the temperature control buttons, you can adjust the cooking temperature between 80-200 °C. These digital buttons can be held down to change the time or temperature quickly.

When you have set the time and temperature, tap the power button to begin cooking. A red heating icon will appear to indicate that the hot air fryer is heating up, and the spinning LEDs around this icon are there to let you know that the fan is operating. The red light will switch on and off throughout cooking to indicate that the hot air fryer is regulating temperature.

Another feature to look out for is the ‘M’ button which you can tap to go between the preset cooking modes displayed above the machineIf you’re not sure what temperature to start with, the included booklet has some handy tips to help you manually adjust the temperature.

OUR VERDICT: Is The Salter EK4221 4.5L Digital Air Fryer Worth It?

Score: 4/5

This air fryer from Salter comes at a reasonable price for its features and capacity. The rounded body of the central unit does come across as a little clunky compared to more structured boxy models, but it could work in favour for other people's kitchen layouts. The easy-to-use blue digital display looks good and makes navigation simple. The air fryer comes in black, so it would blend into most kitchen decor, though greasy fingerprints on the high-gloss finish might bother you if you don't wipe the LED display after use. In terms of its functionality, it does everything an air fryer should do with ease and has been a pleasure to use.

Alternative Salter Air Fryers

Salter is huge household name in the UK and a market leader for all-things kitchen related. It has an excellent range of air fryers that help speed up the cooking process. You can read our in-depth review of the Salter Dual Cook Pro Air Fryer or the versastile Salter AeroGrill.

There are 16 cooking functions on the control panel; they are grill, manual, dumplings, chips, beef, pork, chicken, drumsticks, wings, fish, shellfish, sausage, BBQ skewers, pizza, bake and dehydrate. The appliance reaches a maximum temperature of 230 degrees. The touch control display means you can precisely adjust the time and temperature. On Salter's website, the product description states this is a chargrill-infused multicooker.

Pros

  • It cooks meat, grills chips, bakes buns and dehydrates perfectly
  • Cooks food from frozen
  • Easy to clean
  • Less intense cooking smells and no fumes

Cons

  • It has to preheat -, if you're heating up some flatbreads, it's quicker to use a toaster
  • It's as loud as a standard microwave
  • Power cable is short

Salter EK4548_
Price: £129

The Salter Dual Air Fryer may sound like a luxury addition to your kitchen, but until you have one, you don’t realise how much of a necessity it is. It gives you the luxury of extra time to improve your skills as a cook, to produce tasty food quickly, without complicated recipes and cooking times.

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Straightforward to sync and match cook functions
  • Affordable

Cons

  • On the larger side
  • Presets don't always apply

FAQs

Which kitchen appliances cost the least to run?

Air fryers, slow cookers, electric pressure cookers and microwaves consume significantly less energy than a standard oven. They cook faster and have a lower wattage. A typical microwave costs just 8p a day, and an electric cooker works out at 87p. This statistic is current to energy bills before the new energy price cap.

What can we do to save money?

Firstly, identify the bills where you can make changes to save money. There are simple things that we can all do, such as switching off 'vampire' appliances rather than leaving them on standby (saving £147 a year). Buy new electrical appliances which have been designed to be more energy efficient. Larger electrical goods, such as ovens and washing machines, have an energy efficiency rating from A to G. If your appliance is rated A to C it is efficient, and the running cost is low.

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