The Russell Hobbs Purifry cooks healthy chips and other foods using hot air as an alternative to deep fat frying. It is effectively a small fan oven on your worktop.
Its chips taste a bit better than those from rotary health cookers, but not good enough to justify the expense and worktop space.
The Purifry has a suspiciously similar shape and features list to the Philips Viva Airfryer HD9220. Perhaps one was, ahem, inspired by the other. Like the Philips, it's compact and takes up surprisingly little worktop space because it's tall and thin.
Controls are near-identical to the Philips: a dial to set temperature (80-200°C) and a timer knob that controls cooking. The top section of the Purifry is a heating element and fan, while the bottom section is drawer that pulls out to reveal the cooking basket. But while the Philips has a mesh basket, the Russell Hobbs basket is more solid, non-stick with vents in the side and base to let the hot air through.
The bottom of the drawer is flat rather than aerodynamically sculpted like the Philips. Again, there's no window for keeping an eye on cooking progress. On the plus side, the Russell Hobbs comes with a handy divider so you can split the basket in two, to cook two different foods without them bumping into each other.
But what to cook? The Russell Hobbs comes with a pamphlet of an instruction manual; it contains a handful of recipes and doesn’t even tell you what quantity of chips to cook.
Russell Hobbs describes the Purifry as having a 2-litre capacity but perhaps a better measure of it is that we weighed out 800g of fresh chips (the same as the Philips capacity) and found that these filled the Russell Hobbs up to the "max" line halfway up the basket.
We used the Purifry to cook 800g of chips, at 200°C, in 20 minutes. Its fan wasn't too noisy but we found design details annoying – the way the cooking basket clips in and out of the drawer is really fiddly, with a clear plastic cover that you have to slide to get to the button.
The resulting chips were cooked well inside but too chewy, not crisp enough on the outside. They were arguably better than oven chips and slightly better than chips from a rotary health fryer, but not a patch on the Philips.
Alongside the test, as an experiment, we cooked fresh chips made from the same potatoes in the oven with a spoonful of oil, stirring them just once halfway through the cooking time, and got better-tasting results than from the Russell Hobbs.
We also tried cooking prawn crackers in it. Like the Philips, the Russell Hobbs did a passable job of cooking these: they weren't as big and fluffy as you'd expect from a deep fat fryer, but they weren't as greasy either. With no window to keep an eye on progress, though, it was hard to tell whether they were cooked or not.
Cleaning was easy thanks to the non-stick cooking basket. Although it was hard to clean under the annoying plastic cover on the handle.
No. If you want air-fried chips, go for the Philips Viva Airfryer HD9220 instead. It's similar but it looks better, it delivers better results and it comes with a proper instruction manual and recipes.
If you want to cook large quantities of healthy chips, consider the DeLonghi Multifry Extra… or just use the oven. And if your priority is tasty chips, rather than worrying about fat content, then consider the DeLonghi RotoFry F28311 or the Sage Multi Fryer.
This hot air health cooker makes healthy chips... but so does your oven.