The Lakeland Digital Crisp Air Fryer remains at an affordable price (£109.99) despite its more moderate capacity. For your money, you get an appliance that feels reliably built and controls that get straight to the point. Cooking in this air fryer won't throw up any surprises, and you'll have the space to whip up veggies, meat, fish, cheese for lunches and dinner with a lot less oil than usual.
A good middle of the road size
Gave a good all-over browning
Detachable basket element for thorough cleaning
Touchscreen takes a minute to get used to
Remember to press the central button
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Lakeland air fryers have been flying off the shelves in light of the cost of living crisis, with the affordable price point of these appliances making them a popular choice in the run-up to Christmas. The Lakeland Digital Crisp Air Fryer is one of the brand's medium sized offerings, with the kind of capacity that would suit two or three people. Lakeland even claim that it can cook 500g of chips at a time.
I put this Lakeland air fryer to the test at our testing facility to see how it compared to a range of more familiar brand names in the air fryer world, including Instant and Tower. Though Lakeland are new to the air fryer game, they've taken the market by storm, and I wanted to establish what the features are that are making these fryers so popular.
As part of my search to find the best air fryers out there, I tested this Lakeland option with a variety of foods; we're talking everything from broccoli to halloumi, to see the kind of results it could achieve. Keep reading to see how I got on.
- Material: Aluminium, Plastic
- Colour: Black
- Capacity: 2.8 litres
- Modes: 8 presets: fresh fries, fish, seafood, frozen fries, pizza, baked goods, chicken, steak
- Weight: 2.54kg
- Power: 1350 watts
- Size: 35.26 x 20.1 x 28.26 cm
Molly is an Ecommerce Editor at Ideal Home, covering all things appliance related, from coffee machines to cordless vacuums. She tested this Lakeland air fryer and several other models during a testing day at the Future testing facility in Reading, as you'll be able to see from the photos.
Unboxing the Lakeland Digital Crisp Air Fryer
I was pretty excited to try the Lakeland Digital Crisp after the great results yielded from the space-saving Lakeland Digital Compact Air Fryer review, which is perfect for single households. This particular model is bigger in capacity, meaning it was also a little heavier in the box at 5kg. It's still a pretty nifty pick and doesn't have much weight to it, so hauling it up onto the counter wasn't too much of an issue.
The air fryer came wrapped in a thin plastic bag, presumably to keep it from being scratched during transit, as it has a shiny black exterior. That means it lost some eco-friendly credibility, but it did at least arrive unscathed.
The controls of this air fryer are pretty different to any of the other models I was trying that particular day. On the top you'll find the LED touchscreen, but it's important to note that you can't touch the entirety of the screen to control it.
Instead, you just click the temperature and time icons to start to modify, and then use the dial on the front to take those up or down. It's the same for deciding between presets, which you can get to by pressing the button in the middle of the screen.
That means the dial in the middle of the air fryer is very central to the running of this air fryer, and I think it's a design most people will like using. Just remember to press the power button to set your air fryer into cooking mode, or nothing will start to happen.
The entire look of the air fryer is quite cleverly sleek. It has a cylinder shape rather than a blocky square one and the vents are situated at the top to control air flow. The design of the basket is also fairly unique, as the entire inner basket pulls out of the plastic case (like a deep fat fryer) so that you can thoroughly wash both of those separately.
Using the air fryer
All air fryers are fairly intuitive to use, and this Lakeland number is no exception. Plug it in and select the number of minutes you want to cook for (or use a preset to do those calculations for you) and you're away. There's no preheat function here but at this price point that doesn't really surprise me. To make up for that, I tend to add a few minutes onto my estimated cooking time of whatever I've thrown in.
Air frying Quorn nuggets
Quorn nuggets could convert any beige or veggie food hater, which is why they are an air fryer staple for me. I set them to cook for ten minutes at 180 degrees, and waited for my golden nuggets of joy to emerge.
There's no beeping to let you know when it's time to flip, so you have to remember to rearrange them halfway through. If you're forgetful, then a flip function might be worth your investment, and it can be found in more affordable models sometimes, like with the Dreo Air Fryer, which we tested alongside this one.
The nuggets emerged reliably golden and well-cooked, with minimal amounts of grease collected in the basket. The fact that they only took ten minutes to come out is evidence of how efficient air fryers are, and should reassure any queries you have about how much it costs to run an air fryer.
Air frying bacon
Bacon is another quick and easy air fryer staple that will speed up any breakfast-time work you need to do. I popped in 4 rashers for 6 minutes at 180 degrees, and returned to crispy bacon with absolutely no need to watch the pan or keep an eye on the grill. Heaven.
There was a bit of curling of the rashers with this particular test, which isn't ideal if you want to whip up breakfast butties. I think that this curling might stem from not flipping the bacon enough, so next time I would definitely make sure to flip the rashers.
I've always used a George Foreman-style grill to cook bacon in the past, but the rise of the air fryer has completely changed my tactics. You don't need to position a drip tray to catch the grease, you can instead just let it fall down into the bottom of the basket, and sort it out when it comes to clean-up, which is much more convenient in my view.
Air frying broccoli
After those grease heavy tests, this air fryer needed to face a healthier challenge. I placed five Tenderstem broccoli stems into the basket for six minutes and was militant about checking in on their progress at half time. I found they didn't need the full six minutes, and were ready after 5 instead.
There's a guaranteed crunch element with air fried broccoli, which I personally like. From the photos, you'll see that if you wanted to, you could fill the basket with many more stalks, and have greens readily available for a family dinner.
Air frying halloumi
Cheese melts amazingly in an air fryer (especially in toasties), but to go for a healthier touch, and to try a cheese you could add to salads, I opted to pop some halloumi in the basket.
I applied a spray of low-calorie oil and set the halloumi for ten minutes. I think this was ultimately too long, but the end effect was still pretty good. The cheese was golden brown, and I'd cook halloumi again like this to avoid washing up a separate frying pan.
Air frying fish
If you're new to air frying, you might not know whether sauces and glazes work with this type of cooking. To test it out, I opted for cooking a piece of frozen glazed fish using the fish preset.
I made sure to turn the piece at the halfway point, and I can safely report that the glaze stayed firmly in place, rather than seeping through the grill. You could cook up several of these at the time for a family lunch too.
The separate basket element really shone when it came to the dreaded clean up after these tests. Usually air fryers have a grill plate which slots in, which can be difficult to hold and wash up. The handle of the basket made it much easier to get in there and banish any grease or food residue left over.
I first scrubbed the basket and then moved onto soaking the plastic bucket element into hot soapy water and got rid of the grease left mainly by the bacon, and the sauce from the fish. It's essential to either leave your basket out to dry or to hand dry it before you pop those elements back in.
As Lakeland air fryers have been soaring in popularity, it seems like an excellent opportunity to compare the two different offerings from the brand we've tested. The Lakeland Digital Compact Air Fryer is the inexpensive (£79.99) smaller sibling of the Lakeland Digital Crisp, with a litre less space to work with.
While we were impressed with the Digital Compact's performance, the Digital Crisp is undoubtedly the better option for families, with a bigger capacity and more presets to work with. The results cooking-wise are similar here (both impressed during testing).
What it really comes down to then is price. If you are only cooking for yourself or one other person, the Digital Compact is a steal, coming in at under £100. If you need more space, or would just make good use of it by cooking up leftovers at the same time, then the Digital Crisp will win out for you, and is still relatively affordable at £109.99.
Should you buy the Lakeland Digital Crisp Air Fryer?
Lakeland is most definitely on to a winner with the Digital Crisp Air Fryer. The design is sleek (as far as air fryers are concerned), and the controls and pre-sets are nicely integrated into the exterior.
The pop out basket design is perfect for those who want to ensure that their air fryer is thoroughly cleaned, and the results you'll get from this air fryer are sure to impress you routinely. It is missing the swish features that air fryer fans love (a preheat setting, and a fully realised touchscreen panel), but for an affordable pick that you can rely on, you can't really go wrong here.
About this review, and the reviewer
Molly is an Ecommerce Editor at Ideal Home and covers all things appliance related, meaning that she's constantly submerged in the world of air fryers. She received this sample from Lakeland for testing at the Future facility in Reading, which is a space that allows her to expand her testing process. It's also much prettier than her flat and produces much nicer hands-on photos.
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After writing for all of Future's Homes titles, Molly is now an Ecommerce Editor at Ideal Home, working across a range of shopping content to find the best buys for your space. Previously, she was the Staff Writer at TopTenReviews, another Future site, where she covered home content, which to a US audience is anything from turkey fryers to ride-on lawn mowers. Now, she spends her time writing reviews of appliances she’s tested at home and at our testing facility (we're talking air fryers, vacuums, dehumidifiers and more!), as well as curating buying guides. She's a certified Consumer Expert for several product categories after passing a five-step program including hands-on experience, consumer interviews and extensive research into her specialist areas including kitchen appliances and vacuums.
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