Air fryers and other household items that are sure to cause a debate
Telegraph readers love to debate the merits of various household items against their counterparts; think household steamers, air fryers, induction hobs, log burners, heat pumps and more.
Particularly with the advent of newer and smarter household appliances and gadgets on the market, the discussion over whether their place alongside – or in replacement of – more traditional means has become ever more prevalent.
To air fry or to use the oven? To hand steam or to iron? Here’s a look at the best of the debate – don't forget to join the conversation in the comments section below.
Hand steamer vs iron
The news of the rise in demand for handheld steamers had readers debating whether they are a better alternative to the traditional iron.
While the ease and convenience of handheld steamers appeals to some of our readers, for others the iron remains a staple in their household.
Susan Lundie: “I purchased a good quality handheld steamer after reading an article a few years ago. My experience was abysmal and it remains unused since. I followed the instructions and used the provided glove, but the creases did not get ‘ironed out’ and the effort involved took more time, energy and personal risk of scalding than a proper steam iron.
“I loathe ironing and really wanted to succeed, but unless one has a utility room or spare corner where one hangs the clothes to work on them, it seems to me it's a dead loss - unless of course one wishes to stumble over a stand in a bedroom. The booklet that came with mine showed a need for a hanging or freestanding frame which had not been mentioned in the article.
“I am short with proportionately short arms. Maybe that made a difference, and maybe I need to have a lesson, but quite frankly I'd rather get the job done with a good steam iron where necessary. I was very disappointed and annoyed at myself for the unwarranted expenditure. A local charity shop will benefit when I get around to it.”
Susie De Carteret: “My steamer cost me around £30 and it is always plugged in ready to go by my wardrobe - it's brilliant. I don’t iron regularly and I am fed up with the iron making a mess of delicates – which is whenever I am in a rush to get ready. My steamer is great, especially for silk anything, cashmere, scarves but also jeans.”
Hilz Wilz: “There is no substitute for ironing when it comes to linen and pure cotton shirts. The steamer has its place - usually in shops trying to get wrinkles out of clothes- but as a replacement for ironing? I don't think so.”
Air fryer vs oven
Elsewhere, Telegraph readers discussed the fad that is the air fryer – the kitchen gadget readers clamoured for last year (and likely this year).
While some leapt to the defence of the air fryer, arguing that it saves them time and money, others joined with the likes of this newspaper’s consumer champion, Katie Morley, in preferring instead to stick with more traditional means, such as their trusty oven, to cook their meals.
Ian Fraser: “As an elderly man, living alone, the air fryer is a godsend. The oven is just too large but the three litre air fryer is perfect for steak and chips, chicken pieces and so much. So simple to set up and so easy to clean.”
Kay CT: “It doesn’t do anything that other gadgets you already have can’t do, it takes up a huge amount of space, and isn’t good for large quantities. We gave ours away after three months. It’s probably good if you are cooking for one, but for three or more, it’s no use.”
Stephen Thariyan: “I barely read the instructions for my air fryer, yet chips, sausages, bacon, and salmon have turned out perfectly with the minimum of turning or shaking. Furthermore, it’s more energy efficient than conventional ovens.
“My daughter is at university, sharing a house with seven others. They micromanaged their tiny subsistence budget, bought the cheapest air fryer and shop religiously at budget supermarkets and now air fry items such as crispy kale. Healthy, fun, cheap and energy efficient. Air fryers also eliminate the horrible smell of fried food and are a lot easier to clean than an oven.”
Induction hob vs gas hob
Meanwhile, the gas vs induction hob debate intensified following the US federal Consumer Product Safety Commission’s announcement that it is considering a ban on gas stoves, citing concerns over the “pollution” they cause.
Readers were also divided over which is the better alternative, as evidenced by a poll this newspaper conducted (you can still vote below), but which showed the narrow preference of gas hobs with 55 per cent of the vote.
Fran Pitt : “Having recently moved to a property with an induction hob, I acknowledge many of the advantages, but I just don’t find it controllable enough. The heat has to be on a setting from one to nine. I tried making a risotto - for which there is a very precise sweet spot for simmering the stock - and found that three was too low and four was too high. I experimented with moving the pan to other rings, but to no avail. In contrast, it’s easy with gas hobs to set it exactly as you want it.”
W.L.: “I love my induction hob. I grew up with an all gas cooker and I only changed this eight years ago when we redid our kitchen. I liked the sleek look of the induction hob and took a chance that I would like cooking on it. I am a total convert.
“My kitchen itself somehow smells and is cleaner, let alone the actual hob which is a doddle to clean. Secondly, it is so much more adjustable and efficient to cook with than gas. The boost function can heat things up very fast and my hob can also ‘join’ the front and back rings together. I was very lucky in that my pots and pans were compatible with induction so I didn’t have to buy new ones.
“I wouldn’t dream of going back to a gas hob.”
Peter Kurilecz: “For two years in Dallas, Texas, we had a major winter storm hit us. The result was rolling power outages, but with my gas stove/oven I was able to enjoy hot meals and a hot cup of tea. Therefore, no induction hob for me.”
Wood burning stove vs electric or gas
With wood-burning stoves facing tighter restrictions and with many trying alternatives to electricity and gas in order to beat the energy crisis, a debate has emerged on whether they are an effective alternative for heating our homes.
Some readers praise the wood burning stove, arguing that it's cheaper, reliable and has a certain mystique you do not get with electric or gas heating. Nevertheless, others discuss the pollution burning wood emits, as well as the nurturing that it requires.
Joan Cecil: “We have a wood burner, but we did not use it for the first five years as we were happy with the gas heating. Now, after months of horrendous fuel bills from Eon, it sings a happy song, snug, smug and very warm. We have loads of timber taken from this old house when it was repaired. In fact, we just burnt the old garden fence. The log burner heats the whole house except the utility. I can't think why we didn't use it before.”
Colin Carroll: “A good thing about this market is that a lot of stoves are made in the UK, and a lot of the wood is UK sourced, often locally within 30 miles or so. Trees grow everywhere.
“Somehow, we've managed to avoid importing firewood on a large scale, and we don't need to buy any from Russia, which is good for our balance of trade. Additionally, when you buy wood, you know what the price is and how much you've got.
“Mind you, keeping a stove going needs some effort. You can't light it up and expect it to be still burning 12 hours later without doing anything. It's a bit of a hobby in its own right - like riding a motorbike instead of driving a car.”
Call me Misterhibs: “I will continue to burn free wood, of any type, to offset my extortionate energy bills.
“Wood stoves are an excellent back up during power failures or oil delivery failures. As the UK infrastructure and ability to generate electricity will be worse year on year from now on, then investment in a wood stove seems immensely sensible.”
Heat pump vs gas boiler
As the Government pushes for the installation of heat pumps to replace gas boilers, readers were not shy in rejecting the perceived solution. Many deem heat pumps too expensive and argue how they’re only feasible and efficient in isolated buildings.
Neil Hannay: “One can’t put a heat pump in a traditional building without insulating it to within an inch of its life. So the cost of installing a heat pump includes both the heat pump and the insulation works. The problem with insulation in a traditional building is that it stops air flow and leads to dampness.
“In short, heat pumps for the vast majority of housing are not a solution. Back to the drawing board.”
H Jones: “We had a ground source heat pump installed as part of a new build - to run underfloor heating. It works fine, but with the soaring cost of electricity, it costs more to run than gas or oil would have.
“I am pleased with the heating - the house is warm throughout with no cold spots - but disappointed with the high cost of running it.”
John Bower: “If people are forced to remove gas boilers they will fit log burners and multi fuel stoves. People are already doing this in response to high gas prices. The policy of preventing people from fitting new gas and oil boilers will not work.
“Until heat pumps deliver the same heat as a boiler at lower cost the policy will fail.”
Tumble dryer vs dehumidifier or air drying
Claire Coleman’s quest for the most energy-efficient way to dry your clothes led her to the conclusion that it is, in fact, the tumble dryer - and many of our readers agreed.
However, others took to the comments to challenge her verdict, arguing that methods such as air-drying are more cost-effective and do not lead to dampness around the house.
Clive Hammond: “Drying clothes on radiators makes the whole house ‘wetter’ and so more difficult to heat. On the other hand, the dehumidifier is actually doing two jobs: it is drying your clothes as well as drying out your house which helps enormously when you want to feel cosy.
“One other point - do not buy a tumble dryer if you have no easy way to vent it outside. The tumble dryers that don’t need a vent are a waste of time and simply increase the humidity within your home and that is where you get black mould from.
“If you are having condensation problems - then a dehumidifier is most likely the best option.”
A Ramage: “A condenser tumble dryer is invaluable in British damp, rainy and cold weather. At other times, if you have somewhere to dry wash outside, do that, and then air it over a radiator or in the cupboard with the hot tank.
Moira Taggart: “I do a combination dry. I hang the washing on my airer for a few hours in a warm room and then finish off in the tumble drier. The cost rarely goes above 50p a load and that’s for a full mixed load three times a week.
“Tumbling also cuts down on ironing so there’s a significant saving there that is rarely talked about.
“I can’t bear having wet washing hanging around for days as that can cause damp and mould.”