Kitchen appliance company Chefman has a pretty wide range of air fryers of all different sizes, designs and functions. But for this review, we are honing in on the Chefman Air Fryer RJ38, which is the 2.5-litre/.64-Quart size. However, there are similar models in the same range with much larger capacities (a 2.6, a 3.5 and a 5.5-litre model to be exact).
The Chefman Air Fryer RJ38 is a black, rounded machine with manual dials and a, well, interesting customer experience history. Lucky you are doing some good research into this model, as there are a few things you really need to be aware of before handing over any dollars.
Is this a reliable, long-lasting air fryer? Is it easy to use and clean? Is it easy to find extra parts and replacements? Is it worth the money?
All this and more to come.
====>> In a rush? Click here to see the current price for a Chefman Express Air Fryer on Amazon Table of Contents
Table of Contents
What Interesting About The Chefman Air Fryer?
Unlike some other air fryers which are decked-out with buttons, screens, symbols, and multiple dials, this is a really simple machine. It has 2 controls, (a dial and a sliding knob) and 2 indicator lights.
This means that all you have to do (well, all you can do) is set the time and the temperature and let the machine get to work. I like the simplicity of this design. To me, this is an air fryer for people who only want to have a healthier option for all of their favourite fried dishes. It’s not one for people who want to double-up and roast, bake or grill in their air fryer as well. Sure, you can cook almost anything in this (as long as it’s not too wet or full of liquid), but it doesn’t have all the preset functions and symbols other models have.
What do other customers and reviews say?
This is a polarizing air fryer, some love it. Some hate it. The 5-star category has 40% of votes, and the 1-star category also has 40%. It doesn’t take long to figure out that the overall consensus is that it’s “great…while it lasts”. Here are the most common comments:
Helps with healthy eating: happy customers have noted that they are really enjoying the fact that they can eat healthily while still enjoying the same foods. Less fat, grease and oil means they feel as though their diet is cleaner, fresher and safer for their heart. That’s one thing an air fryer should provide. I think that this is more of a comment on the nature of air fryers themselves, rather than this particular model.
Great-tasting results: apart from a few complaints in the negative section about uncooked fries, most people have been really happy with the flavour and quality of the food their air fryer has cooked for them.
Easy to use and easy to clean: there are many comments praising how easy this air fryer is to use and to clean. A few people have said that the coating on the basket begins to peel away, making food stick more easily, therefore creating a bigger cleaning job. Apart from that, it seems to be pretty low-maintenance (while it lasts, but keep reading for more on that issue).
Eventually quits working: almost every comment in the negative review section says the same thing: the air fryer quit working after a month or so. Some people have found that it quit after only a few uses, while others found they had 4 months of use before it died. The fan, light and heating coils simply ceased to turn on for these customers. Most of them said that while the machine was working, it was great and they were more than happy with it. What a shame. To make it worse, many of these unhappy customers have found that the Chefman customer service has been slow and unhelpful.
Takes too long to cook: there are a few comments here and there about the cooking duration, some have found it to be too long for food such as fries and wings. The manual suggests that frozen fries take between 12 and 20 minutes, with fresh-made fries from 18 to 30 minutes.
Control numbers wipe away easily: quite a few people have found that the numbers on their temperature and time controls have wiped off. This is one of the downsides of manual dials as opposed to digital controls.
Basket not big enough: some people have found that the basket does not hold quite enough food for their needs. It holds 2.5 liters/2.64-Quarts. Chefman does have a 3.5-litre option too.
What are the technical specifications?
|Cooking capacity||2.5 litres (2.64-Quarts)
Chefman also has 3.5 and 5.5-litre options as well
|Temperature control (yes/no)||Yes|
|Special Features||Temperature-control: the temperature is adjusted and controlled by a horizontal “knob” which slides along a scale between 180 to 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
Time control: the time is adjusted and controlled by a manual dial, with a maximum of 30 minutes.
Fryer basket: the fryer basket has vents in the bottom, and it slots into the basket tank. Any excess fat or grease from your food will drip through the vents and into the tank during cooking.
Fryer basket tank: this is basically the “outer basket”, the unit which the fry basket sits inside. The tank will gather fat, grease and oil that drips from your food from the fryer basket.
Fryer basket eject button: on the fry basket handle, there’s a button which releases the fryer basket from the tank when pressed.
Carry handle: as this is a rounded, smooth machine, there’s a carry handle on the top of the unit for safe and easy transporting.
Dimensions & Weight
|Size for the RJ38 2.5 liter||14.2 x 14.2 x 14 inches|
|Weight for the RJ38 2.5 litre||13.5 pounds|
How do you use it?
It’s really, really easy. To set it up, find a heat-resistant surface with a good amount of space so the air fryer can sit reasonably clear of walls and objects. Get rid of all the packaging and get used to clicking and releasing the air fryer basket with the tank.
Here’s quick run-down of the cooking process so you know what you’re in for if you purchase this model:
When you’re ready to cook, make sure the fryer basket and the tank are neatly clicked together. Place your ingredients in the fryer basket, making sure not to overcrowd it. Slip the basket and tank into the unit until it clicks into place.
Use the sliding knob to select the temperature, and the turning dial to choose the time. Once you have chosen the time, the cooking process will begin.
If you want to preheat the unit, you can do so, but it’s recommended that the machine is only preheated up to 4 minutes.
You can give the food a good shake or toss/turn during the cooking process if you wish. Just remove the air fryer basket and tank (don’t disassemble them), tend to your food, then slot the basket back into the unit.
When the set time is up, the timer will ring out. Remove the basket and tank from the unit and check on your food. You can pop it back in to cook for longer if you like, just turn the timer dial again.
To get the food out, press the “eject” button on the fryer basket to remove the basket from the tank. Be careful, there might be hot oil or grease in the tank.
That’s about it. Enjoy your food and pop the tank and basket into the dishwasher.
How do you clean it? Is it easy to clean?
Yes, it is really easy to clean, thanks to the fact that the fryer basket and tank are dishwasher safe.
The unit itself can be wiped clean, and the heating element can be wiped clean too. Just make sure the unit is cold and unplugged before you wipe down the interior and exterior with a soft, damp cloth.
You can either hand-wash the basket and tank with a soft cloth and dishwashing liquid or put them in the dishwasher. The basket and tank both have a non-stick coating so be careful not to use any harsh brushes or cloths.
How does it compare to other models?
Chefman Air Fryer vs. Power Air Fryer Oven
These two models are both black and rounded, but they have very different control systems and general construction. The Power Air Fryer oven has a transparent, oven-style door with a square cavity inside. The cooking cavity fits racks and trays for multi-level cooking. This contrasts with the Chefman’s pull-out, drawer-style basket.
The Power Air Fryer Oven has a digital control display with 8 pre-set functions. The Chefman has a simple dial and knob for the time and temperature, with no digital features or pre-set functions.
Which one’s for you?
I’d go for the Power Air Fryer Oven. It is more expensive, but it is more versatile and has more features. It has a slightly better review history too, despite having some apparent issues, just like the Chefman.
Chefman Air Fryer vs. Philips XL
The Philips XL is far more expensive than the Chefman Air Fryer, but the reviews are much more positive and customers are getting more for their money in the long run. The cooking cavity is very similar: a pull-out, drawer-style basket. The Philips XL has a simple control panel too, with a temperature and time adjuster. The key difference here is that the Phillips has a digital display as opposed to manual dials.
Which one’s for you?
It’s one of those situations where saving up and spending more is going to save you money in the long run. The Philips XL is more expensive, but it should last for much longer and make many more meals for you than the Chefman. I see the Philips XL as the better version of the Chefman, as they are both similar in design and functionality.
Where can I find a replacement basket?
If your basket breaks or is faulty within your 1-year warranty period, call the Chefman customer service and they’ll send you a new one (in theory, but people have found the service to be slow). There’s nowhere to buy one as of now.
Are there other replacement parts or accessories? Where do I buy them?
This is a tricky machine to find replacement parts for. There does not, as of now appear to be anywhere to purchase any extra parts. However, as mentioned above, Chefman customer service can send you a new basket if you contact them well within your warranty period.
What’s the warranty?
Does it come with a recipe book or cookbook?
Yes, it comes with a cookbook, the “Frying Skinny” recipe book.
Can I find it at Kohl’s, Walmart, bed bath and beyond, Target or Costco?
- Kohl’s: they don’t stock it as of now
- Walmart: they do stock the 2.5-litre, but currently it is sold out. Keep checking though, because when it comes back, the price is pretty good at just below $75.00. But they do have the larger version, the 3.5-litre in stock
- Bed, Bath and Beyond: as of now, they don’t have the Chefman Air Fryer
- Target: currently, they only have the Chefman Digital Air Fryer, but not the Air Fryer Express
- Costco: no, Costco does not stock this product as of now
What’s the best price for the Chefman Air Fryer and where can I buy it?
Check back in with Walmart to find it when it comes back into stock. The best option is usually to check often at Amazon.
Verdict: is this air fryer for you?
I am going to have to say that no, it’s not for you. I say this because the risk of having the unit die and become an obsolete piece of clutter in your home is just too high. This is a real shame because it seems that this air fryer works really well when it’s healthy and functioning. I would recommend spending a little more and getting something more reliable like the Nuwave Brio 6-Quart Air Fryer.