All 21 Air Fryers We Recommend
Best Air Fryers for Most People
Air fryers are the perfect solution for those looking to enjoy the taste of fried foods without the added fat. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use air fryer without the bells and whistles, our top picks for the best air fryers are a great choice. These have all the needed functionality you’d expect without over-complicating the design.
Best air fryer for: Health-conscious people looking for simplicity
COSORI CP158-AF Max XL
Instant Vortex 4-in-1
NuWave BRIO 36011
Best Large Air Fryers
If you’ve got a large family or you regularly batch cook your food, a large air fryer is the best choice for you. The larger capacity makes cooking a breeze while eliminating the need for all the pots and pans.
Best air fryer for: Large families, batch cookers
GoWISE USA GW44800-O
Best Small Air Fryers
Small air fryers are the best option for singles, couples and college students with limited space. These compact models don’t take up as much space on countertops or in cupboards but still offer the health benefits and simplicity of air frying.
Best air fryer for: Couples, singles, students
Best Air Fryer Ovens
For those looking for more functionality than a standard air fryer, an air fryer oven has all the bells and whistles. As well as being able to air fry, you can toast, broil, bake, and warm foods all in one handy appliance.
Best air fryer for: Baking, toasting, broiling
Ninja Foodi SP101
Best Air Fryers with Rotisserie
For meat lovers who spend a lot of time in the kitchen, an air fryer with rotisserie will make life much easier. As well as the rotisserie, these models can fry, bake, roast, toast, and grill all in one machine. For your average person though, this one might be overkill.
Best air fryer for: Meat lovers who love to host
Instant Vortex Plus 10
Best Pressure Cooker Air Fryer Combos
An air fryer pressure cooker allows you to cook almost any food at high pressure, then easily switch over to the air fryer setting to give a crispy, fried finish. Since pressure cookers are suitable for a much wider range of foods than an air fryer, this combo means you can cook almost anything in one easy-to-use machine.
Best air fryer for: Saving time and energy in the kitchen
Ninja Foodi FD401
Instant Pot Air Fryer
Ninja Foodie OP101
Best Instant Pot Air Fryer Lids
If you already have an instant pot, an air fryer lid will transform it into an air fryer, giving it much more functionality. If your budget is tight, an air fryer lid is a great way to get all the functionality of an air fryer without the price tag.
Best for: Price-conscious instant pot owners
Instant Pot B07VF7J5VQ
Best Air Fryer (All-round)
An air fryer is the perfect kitchen appliance for making crispy fried food without worrying about unhealthy fat. Using 85% less fat than traditional frying, it can cook a range of foods from steak and seafood to bread and desserts. Here are a few things to keep in mind before buying:
- Capacity varies: Air fryers range in size from 1 Quartz all the way to 16 Quartz. 3-4 Quartz is the best air fryer for a family of 4.
- 1-click Pre-sets: Air fryer pre-sets are built-in functions that allow one-button cooking. Most models have several standard pre-sets for air frying, roasting, baking, and warming.
- Dimensions: Ranging from 10 inches high to over 30 inches, most air fryers fit nicely on countertops.
- Recipes included: For the air fryer novices, a recipe book is perfect for finding the best air fryer recipes.
Best Air Fryer (All-round) Reviews of 2020
COSORI CP158-AF Max XL 5.8 Quart Air Fryer
Best air fryer for families
An intuitive display and plenty of built-in settings make this the best air fryer.
1 COSORI CP158-AF Max XL Review
The COSORI CP158-AF is our top pick in the all-round category. Not only has this model won awards, but it also has thousands of great reviews online. With 11 built-in pre-sets, this air fryer cooks steak, seafood, chicken, French fries, bread, and even desserts with the click of a button. Plus, it comes with 100 of the best air fryer recipes to get you started with some delicious meals.
The angled screen is an especially nice feature, making it easy to use when sitting on the countertop. One of its unique features is the ability to adjust the temperature of pre-sets, giving you the option to tweak the recipe to your liking.
With an impressive size of 5.8 quartz, the COSORI CP158-AF is perfect for families of 4. Yet the compact, sleek design means it sits nicely on countertops without taking up too much space. It’s even fingerprint resistant, so will never be an eyesore in your kitchen, no matter how many messy hands help with the cooking.
Instant Vortex 6-Qt 4-in-1 Air Fryer
Best for most people
With 4 pre-sets and a modern design, this air fryer offers great value for money.
2 Instant Vortex 4-in-1 Review
Unlike our best in class pick, the Instant Vortex 6 Qt only has 4 pre-sets. However, this is the beauty of this model. The simple controls and easy-to-use design make this the perfect choice for anyone looking for an air fryer without the bells and whistles.
The 4 settings allow you to air fry, roast, bake, and heat – which are the standard controls for most air fryers. However, there are no additional settings for specific food types, meaning some extra work is needed to make sure food is cooked to perfection.
With a large capacity of 6 Quartz, the Vortex 6 Qt is perfect for large families. It boasts enough space for 2 pounds of fries or 4 pounds of chicken wings, which is impressive.
Overall, the Instant Vortex is great value for money considering its large capacity and simple but effective interface.
NUWAVE 36011 BRIO 3-Quart Digital Air Fryer
Best budget-friendly air fryer
Affordable and compact, this air fryer is a great choice for budget-conscious buyers.
3 NuWave BRIO 36011 Review
If you’re looking for a high-quality air fryer on a tight budget, the NuWave BRIO 36011 is for you. Don’t let the price tag fool you, this model doesn’t compromise on design or performance.
With 6 pre-sets and advanced preheat and reheat functions, this air fryer has built-in settings for air frying, grilling, roasting, broiling, dehydrating, toasting, warming, and reheating. What more could you ask for from a budget air fryer?
Rated the best air fryer 3 years in a row, the NuWave 36011 also comes with the NuWave Cooking Club App which is full of recipes to try out.
The downside of our budget pick is the small capacity. At just 3 quartz, this air fryer isn’t big enough for families.
Our budget pick is the best air fryer for the money for anyone living in a small apartment or RV where space is limited.
Best Large Capacity Air Fryer
For families or anyone who loves to host gatherings, a large air fryer is the best option. The larger capacity means cooking for a family of four or more is quick and easy and takes away the added stress of dirty pots and pans.
- Calculate capacity: Any air fryer over 4 Quartz is considered large. If you’re planning to use your air fryer to cook for 8 people or more, you’re better off with one that is 8+ Quartz.
- Consider dimensions: Even large air fryers can be compactly designed. So if countertop space is tight, keep an eye on the dimensions as well as the capacity.
- Added Accessories: Some air fryers come with built-in features such as rotisseries or toasting trays. This boosts the functionality and gives you more bang for your buck.
- Overheat protection: Auto-shutoff or overheat protection give the added peace of mind that your food isn’t going to be ruined if you forget about it.
Best Large Capacity Air Fryer Reviews of 2020
GoWISE USA GW44800-O Deluxe 12.7-Quarts 15-in-1 Electric Air Fryer Oven
Best for large families
With 15 pre-sets, 10 accessories, and 50 bonus recipes, this air fryer does it all.
1 GoWISE USA GW44800-O Review
The GoWISE GW44800-O is packed with features making it perfect for large families and parties. 15 pre-sets give one-touch cooking for whole chickens, pizza, meat, fried food, cakes, fruit, and more.
It also comes with 10 added accessories including a rotisserie tong, oven rack, rotisserie cage, mesh basket, and more to make hosting parties a breeze.
The 12.7 Quartz capacity makes this one of the largest air fryers on the market, and the 3 different levels give enough room to easily cook for a family of 8 or more with ease. For such a large capacity, the compact design is surprising and fits nicely on a countertop.
The downside to the GoWISE GW44800-O is that the display is very dimly lit making it a little difficult to see in the evening in low light.
Overall, the GoWISE is a great choice for large families who love big family meals or hosting parties.
Ultrean AF0401 8.5-Quart Electric XL Hot Air Fryer
Great value for money
Family-sized capacity but limited functions.
2 Ultrean AF0401 Review
Although the Ultrean AF0401 is smaller than our best in class pick at 8.5 Quartz, this is still plenty big enough for a family of 6-8.
It comes with 7 cooking pre-sets for French fries, meat, shrimp, cake, chicken, steak, and fish, making it great for most family meals.
The Ultrean AF0401 doesn’t come with additional accessories, meaning it can’t be used for rotisserie chicken or dehydrating, but it does come with a rare auto-shutoff function. This means it will never overheat and ruin your food which offers great peace of mind.
The LCD touchscreen is simple and easy to use and the detachable pan is dishwasher safe, making the clean up incredibly quick.
Overall, the Ultrean is the best value air fryer for large families looking for simple air frying capabilities.
GoWISE USA GW22931 8-in-1 Digital Air Fryer with Recipe Book
Large & affordable
The intuitive alarm and settings make this a great budget choice.
3 GoWISE GW22931 Review
With a 7 Quartz capacity, the GoWISE GW22931 is the smallest in this category but still easily large enough for 6 to 8 people. It comes with 8 pre-sets which makes it quick and easy to cook fries, pork, chicken, steak, shrimp, cake, fish, and pizza to perfection.
Where this one differs from our other picks is the intuitive alarm function that reminds you to shake the ingredients at set intervals for a more even finish. It also allows you to change the pre-settings mid-way through the cycle if needed, ensuring your food is never overdone.
The basket divider is another nice element. This allows you to cook two different types of food at the same time without them mixing. Although the GoWISE GW22931 doesn’t have as many settings or accessories as the other picks, it the best large air fryer on a budget.
Best Small Air Fryer
Do you love the idea of air frying but don’t want to make family-sized meals every time? A small air fryer allows you to make smaller portions of the crispy fried foods you love.
- Maximum capacity: Compact air fryers have a maximum capacity of around 3 Quartz, which is around 2.8L of food. This makes them perfect for individuals or couples.
- Multi-functional: When space saving is top of mind, you want an appliance that is multi-functional. Small air fryers allow you to fry, roast and even bake, all in one compact appliance. No need for multiple tools cluttering your countertops.
- Cook for one: With a compact air fryer, you can easily cook small meals for one without worrying about the hassle of cleaning up.
- Great for college: If you’re heading to college, this is a great compact appliance to take with you that won’t take up tons of dorm space.
Best Small Air Fryer Reviews of 2020
Chefman TurboFry 3.6-Quart Air Fryer Oven
Best compact air fryer
The sleek design and innovative flat basket make this a great choice.
1 Chefman TurboFry Review
The modern design of the Chefman Turbofry makes it a popular choice. This air fryer looks great sitting on a countertop and the compact design means it won’t take up too much space. But it doesn’t just look great, the innovative flat basket means it has an impressive 3.6 Quartz capacity while remaining compact.
As well as air frying, the Chefman Turbofry 3.6 Quart allows you to bake, roast and warm, making it a handy gadget that earns its spot in your kitchen.
Overall, this air fryer is perfect for style-conscious cooks looking for a compact air fryer that looks great.
AmazonBasics DF7005-UL 3.2-Quart Compact Multi-Functional Digital Air Fryer
Great value for couples
With multiple functions and a small capacity, this air fryer is perfect for couples.
2 AmazonBasics DF7005-U Review
Although the AmazonBascis 3.2 Quart is slightly smaller than our best pick, it does have the added function of grilling, which is handy for those who love grilled veggies or chicken on a regular basis.
The 3 liter capacity is perfect for couples who don’t want to heat up the oven constantly. And the automatic shut-off means you never have to stress about whether you’ve left the oven on.
Overall, the AmazonBasics DF7005-UL is the best small air fryer for couples looking for an easy-to-use air fryer.
Dash DCAF150GBAQ02 Compact Air Fryer Oven Cooker
Best for college students
A compact air fryer in a range of fun colors that will look great in a small kitchen.
3 Dash DCAF150GBAQ02 Review
The 1.2 Quart capacity makes our budget pick the smallest air fryer in this category. This makes the Dash DCAF150GBAQ02 the best option for singles who live alone. It can be a hassle making meals for one, but this air fryer makes cooking single portions of fries, chicken or even bacon quick and easy.
The Dash air fryer also comes in a range of colors, making it a stylish addition to your countertops. Plus, it’s compact and half the weight of the average air fryer, so it won’t take up much space at all.
The slimline design and fun colors also make this one a great gift for new college students moving into a dorm.
Overall, this is a great choice for single people who enjoy the delicious taste of fried food without the unhealthy oil.
Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven
An air fryer oven is like having a professional-grade appliance right at home. If you’re looking for a quicker, easier way to cook than a conventional oven, an air fryer oven is a great option.
- Multiple functions: Easily air fry, toast, broil, bake, and more all in one small convection oven.
- Large capacity: With the capacity for a 3lb-chicken, an air fryer oven makes cooking for a family of 4 or more much quicker than traditional methods.
- Energy Saving: Food cooks faster and at a lower temperature in an air fryer oven, saving energy on cooking.
- Easy clean up: Gone are the days of washing up multiple pots and pans after cooking a family meal. An air fryer oven means you’ll have less to clean up after cooking.
- Healthier Eating: Just like a normal air fryer, this appliance gives the delicious flavor and crispiness of conventional frying or roasting without the need for unhealthy oils and fats.
Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven Reviews of 2020
Ninja Foodi SP101 Convection Oven Toaster & Air Fryer
Best air fryer oven
The slim design makes this the best air fryer oven to save space.
1 Ninja Foodi SP101 Review
The Ninja Foodi SP101 cooks food 60% faster than a conventional oven. And since it’s also an air fryer, you can cook almost any food quickly and then make it deliciously crispy straight away.
Unlike a conventional oven, the Ninja Foodi SP101 takes up almost zero space. It has a ‘flip-away’ design, meaning you can store it on its side and free up much-needed counterspace for prep. This is a great feature for small apartments or RVs.
This flat design also means it has 40% more usable space than a conventional oven. Which is perfect for large pizzas, fries, or fish. However, the flat design means it isn’t the best option for roasting whole chickens.
Overall, the compact design makes this the best air fryer oven for anyone with limited kitchen space.
Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Oven Airfryer
Great value, quality design
The premium design and great value make this air fryer oven perfect for heavy-duty use.
2 Cuisinart TOA-60 Review
The Cuisinart TOA-60 is the best value toaster oven with built-in air fryer. This gives the power and functionality of a premium-grade oven with all the added benefits of oil-free frying. From crunchy French fries to full a full roast chicken, this handy appliance will replace conventional oven cooking for family meals.
Although it does look bulky, with a width of 16 inches, it sits comfortably on most kitchen countertops. It is fairly heavy though, so it’s best to find a permanent spot for it on the kitchen countertop – moving it into a cupboard might become a hassle.
Overall, this is the best air fryer oven for families looking for a quicker, easier way to prepare most meals.
Best Air fryer Rotisserie
With a large capacity to cook everything from a whole chicken to a large pizza, an air fryer with rotisserie is an all-in-one tool for the kitchen. Check out the following factors before buying yours:
- 360° air circulation: The rotisserie tool allows air to circulate a full 360 degrees while slowly turning food, giving in an even finish and a restaurant-quality crispy coating.
- Up to 400℉ cooking temperature: With temperatures reaching 400 degrees, food is cooked much quicker than traditional methods, giving a quick and even finish. Plus, with complete control of the temperature, air fryers with rotisseries are perfect for all recipes.
- Extra-large capacity: With internal capacities of up to 10 Quartz, these are excellent for large family meals and parties. Easily cook large quantities of food in one simple step without worrying about a massive clean up at the end.
- Cooking pre-sets: Whether you want to roast an entire chicken on the rotisserie or air fry a batch of fries, one-click pre-sets make this incredibly easy.
Best Air fryer Rotisserie Reviews of 2020
Innsky IS-AF001 10.6-Quarts Air Fryer Oven with Rotisserie
Best air fryer with rotisserie
With an extra-large capacity and enough pre-sets for all meals, this is the perfect choice for party hosts.
1 Innsky IS-AF001 Review
With 9 cooking pre-sets, 6 accessories and an impressive 10.6 Quartz capacity, it’s easy to see why the Innsky IS-AF001 is our best in class choice.
This air fryer with built-in rotisserie is the perfect kitchen appliance for anyone who loves hosting parties. From an entire rotisserie chicken to perfectly cooked chicken wings and pizza, this all-in-1 machine makes catering stress-free.
It has a 10 liter, extra-large capacity and a double layer interior to fit the most inside. Yet you’ll be surprised how compact this powerful air fryer is. It can easily fit on a kitchen countertop and the sleek design will impress guests.
Overall, the Innsky IS-AF001 is the must-have air fryer for those who love to host.
Instant Pot Vortex Plus 10 7-n-1 Multi-Use Air Fryer with Rotisserie
Large capacity, great value
The impressive 10-Quart capacity and added rotisserie basket make this great value.
2 Instant Vortex Plus 10 Review
Coming in just a fraction smaller than our best in class pick, the Instant Vortex Plus 10 still offers 10 Quartz of cooking capacity – plenty for at least 8 to 10 people.
The rotisserie basket is perfect for tumble frying fries. This gives a light, fluffy inside with a crunchy outside. The basket is also perfect for crispy scallops and prawns. And since it’s easy to detach, it makes the entire process simple.
This model also comes with the rotisserie spit for whole chickens. Plus, the Rotisserie Smart Program means you can cook a chicken perfectly with just one button.
The Vortex Plus 10 does have a plastic smell when first used, so be prepared for that. But overall, a great choice for large families looking to save time on large family meals.
Chefman 6.3 Quart Digital Air Fryer+ Rotisserie
A smaller capacity but great functionality for families.
3 Chefman 6.3-Qt Review
If you’re looking for an air fryer with built-in rotisserie without the hefty price tag, the Chefman 6 Liter Digital Air Fryer is a great option.
Our budget pick is the smallest in this category, coming in at 6.3 Quartz. Although this is plenty of room for a family of 5 to 6, it may not be enough space if you plan on using it at parties.
The rotisserie basket and rotisserie spit are both smaller than our other picks. So although the overall capacity may be big enough for large families, the Chefman 6 Liter won’t have the rotisserie room for whole chickens larger than 5lbs. You’ll need to consider a larger model for that.
Overall, this is a great pick for anyone looking for the added functionality of an air fryer with rotisserie without the expensive price tag.
Best Air Fryer Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker makes short work of slow cook dishes. And with the added health benefits of air frying, an air fryer pressure cooker combo the best tool for the kitchen. Here are some things to consider when finding the right one:
- Reduced cook time: In as little as 20 minutes, you can cook an entire chicken and then use the air fryer function to make it deliciously crispy quickly and easily.
- Large capacity: With up to 10 Quartz of cooking space, an air fryer pressure cooker makes easy work out of large meals for families of 6 or more, as well as making hosting parties a breeze.
- Set it and forget it: One of the best features of a pressure cooker is the cooking pre-sets and automatic shutoff. There’s no need to stand over the pot like regular cooking, you can set it and forget it knowing your food is going to be cooked perfectly when finished.
- Multiple Accessories: To make air fryer pressure cookers as useful as possible, they come with added accessories for crisping, dehydrating, and broiling, eliminating the need for multiple appliances taking up valuable space.
Best Air Fryer Pressure Cooker Reviews of 2020
Ninja Foodi FD401 9-in-1 Pressure, Broil, Dehydrate, Slow Cooker & Air Fryer
Best air fryer pressure cooker
The large capacity makes pressure cooking family-size meals quick and easy.
1 Ninja Foodi FD401 Review
If you’re looking for a simple appliance that can take care of all your meals, the Ninja FD401 is for you. With 9 different functions, you’ll be able to air fry, bake, broil, roast, and even make yogurt in this single appliance.
The 8 Quartz capacity makes the Ninja FD401 Foodi large enough for families of 5 or more. And is a great appliance to rely on for hosting parties.
This large capacity means our best in class pick can pressure cook an 8lb whole chicken. This locks in all the moisture that’s usually lost with traditional oven cooking. One press of a button then turns on the air fryer, giving a crispy finish.
Overall, the Ninja Foodi is the perfect choice for large families in need of healthy, varied meals without the time and effort.
Instant Pot Air Fryer + EPC Combo 8QT Pressure Cooker
Perfect for large families & parties
The extra-large capacity makes this one great value for large family gatherings.
2 Instant Pot Air Fryer Review
With all the same functionality as our best pick, the Instant Pot comes with an additional 2 Quartz of space, making it great value for money. If you have a large family of 6 or more, or regularly host gatherings, this extra-large air fryer and pressure combo is the best option for you.
The downside to the increased capacity is that this air fryer is heavier, making it cumbersome to get in and out of cupboards. But if you have a dedicated spot on your kitchen counter, it will easily fit and looks great.
Overall, the Instant Pot Air Fryer + EPC Combo is great value for anyone looking for a large air fryer to cook for large crowds.
Ninja Foodi 7-in-1 Pressure, Slow Cooker & Air Fryer
Small and budget-friendly
A smaller capacity and less pre-sets makes this one the best budget-friendly option.
3 Ninja Foodie OP101 Review
The Ninja Foodi OP101 is the smaller sibling of our best pick. The smaller 5 Quartz capacity is less useful for hosting parties, but gets the job done for families of 6 or less.
It also has less built-in functionality with only 7 pre-sets. However, the smaller design makes this one a great choice for anyone looking to save space in the kitchen.
Overall, this is a great choice for those looking for the quality of a Ninja air fryer on a budget.
Best Air Fryer Lid for Instant Pot
If you already own an Instant Pot, you can easily transform it into an air fryer with an air fryer lid. This will give you the functionality of an air fryer at a fraction of the price.
- Right size: Different air fryer lids are made for specific Instant Pot models, so make sure you buy one that is compatible with your Instant Pot.
- Detachable lid: Easily snaps on and off, giving you the functionality of an air fryer whenever you want it.
- Built-in pre-sets: Air fryer lids come with built-in cooking settings to make air frying food a breeze.
- Cheaper than an air fryer: An air fryer lid gives you the functionality of an air fryer at a much more affordable price.
- Great in small kitchens: No space for another kitchen appliance? This is a compact way of air frying food without having to find space for a bulky air fryer.
Best Air Fryer Lid for Instant Pot Reviews of 2020
Instant Pot B07VF7J5VQ Air Fryer Lid
Best Instant Pot lid
This versatile Instant Pot lid comes with 6 different settings to make the most out of your Instant Pot.
1 Instant Pot B07VF7J5VQ Review
The Instant Pot B07VF7J5VQ Lid will fit most 6 Quart Instant Pots, however only the stainless-steel versions. This won’t fit the ceramic models.
It easily clicks in place to give the functionality of an air fryer. And the easy-to-use one-touch display with 6 cooking pre-sets means you won’t need to spend hours figuring out how to get the perfect result.
When you’re done, the lid detaches to immediately return the functionality of your Instant Pot. The only downside is the Instant Pot B07VF7J5VQ Lid doesn’t have a handle, making it slightly cumbersome to take off and store.
Overall, this is a great option for anyone looking for the functionality of an air fryer without the need for a whole new appliance.
ROZMOZ Air Fryer Lid for Instant Pot 6QT Pressure Cooker
Made for the Instant Pot 6QT
The sleek design and retractable handle make this instant pot lid great value for money.
2 ROZMOZ RA10 Review
The ROZMOZ RA10 was specifically designed for the Instant Pot 6QT Pressure Cooker but is compatible with most 6 Quart Instant Pots.
What makes this one stand out is the retractable handle, making it much easier to lift off after use and store away. No more worrying about burning your fingers on the hot edges.
With the same pre-sets as our best pick, the ROZMOS RA10 is great value for money.
Overall, this is a great choice if you want to turn your Instant Pot 6QT Pressure Cooker into an air fryer.
MOOSOO 6-QT Air Fryer Lid for Instant Pot with 7 Optional Presets
Budget-friendly Instant Pot lid
The simple display and intuitive controls make this instant pot lid easy to use.
3 MOOSOO MA10 Review
The MOOSOO MA10 has an identical LED display to our best value pick with all the same pre-sets. The difference in this one is the carry handle isn’t retractable, making it slightly more awkward to store away after use.
Even so, the front-facing display makes it easy to use when sitting on a kitchen counter. And the real-time temperature display makes it easy to get the best brown crisp on food each time.
Overall, this is a great option for budget-conscious buyers who have a little more room for storing the lid between uses.
Air Fryer Buying Guide
Why buy an Air Fryer?
Air fryers are the perfect solution for those who want a healthy diet makeover, but can’t give up satisfying fried foods.
Air fryers help you cook home-style classics like French fries, fried chicken, fried vegetables, and other deep-fried, oil-heavy American delicacies.
Why are fried foods bad?
The occasional plate of French fries won’t hurt you. But research shows that too much fried food can lead to health problems like obesity, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. That’s primarily because they’re cooked in oil, which is a high-fat, high-calorie addition to otherwise benign foods.
What’s different about air fryers
On average, they use about 70-80 percent less oil than a deep-fryer. They’re also impressive technological innovations: they use quick-circulating hot air to cook your fries, chicken, or other typically deep-fried food evenly on all sides.
What this means is a quick-cooking, less greasy, less oily version of your favorite foods that’s generally received as just as crispy, flavorful, and enjoyable as its deep-fried counterpart.
Air fryers also tend to cook your food quicker than an oven, stovetop, or regular deep-fryer.
They’re ideal for people who want to lose weight but don’t want to give up their favorite foods—with air fryers, you can cut out the fat without cutting out the fried foods.
Plus, they’re typically more energy-efficient than an oven, so the initial investment pays off in energy savings in the long-term.
Don’t let their name fool you—air fryers do more than fry. They can also boil, bake, broil, and even grill, but they’re far more mobile than an oven (great for camping trips or efficiency apartments in the city) and take up a lot less space.
And, finally, there are some things most people just don’t cook at home—most people don’t have a deep-fryer in their kitchen—so investing in an air fryer can save you tons of money on diner runs and fast food in the long-term, too.
Of course, not all air fryers are created equal. The right one for you will depend on its cooking capacity, wattage, extra features, and other model-specific options.
First and foremost, let’s talk basket size. Air fryers range in size from the very small to the family-sized. For reference, your average bag of frozen French fries is about 1 pound. Use the chart below as a general guide for finding the right fryer.
A single person
A couple or 2-person household
A family of 3-6, depending on serving size
These are general estimates. Exact serving sizes will vary depending on the type of food you plan to cook, whether you entertain, and how much you and your family eat in a sitting.
Generally speaking, if you’re certain that you’ll be the only one (or two) using it, it’s safe to save money by getting a .5-1-lb model. But, if you have a larger family or like to host dinner guests, an investment in a larger model will be more versatile.
Analog Air Fryers vs. Digital Air Fryers
Another important consideration is how the air fryer operates. Like watches, phones, and other modern devices, some have a touch screen, some have a screen with buttons on the side, and some use old-fashioned knobs.
All of these options are equally as effective, but it’s important to consider which is most convenient for you before settling on an air fryer.
Pros of a touch-screen or partially screen-operated air fryer
- They look more modern.
- They’re more intuitive for people accustomed to smart devices.
- They often come with more options.
Cons of a touchscreen air fryer
- They are more expensive.
- They can sacrifice looks for efficiency (but not always).
If you can’t stand knob-operated anything, a simpler air fryer won’t be satisfying for you. But if you’re on a budget, it may be just what you need.
The difference between touchscreen and analog air fryers largely comes down to preference, as the more modern touchscreen designs don’t necessarily come with more options than their simpler counterparts.
How to Clean an Air Fryer
Is the air fryer on your shopping list dishwasher-safe? Washing by hand will almost always save you a few dollars, but the best air fryers come with dishwasher-safe parts that can save you cleanup headaches.
How easy is it to take apart?
Also keep in mind how easy it is to disassemble. Even if you’re washing by hand, parts that don’t detach from each other—especially the electronic elements—can make it nearly impossible to scrub them thoroughly.
Air Fryer Temperature Settings
Just like with a regular oven, cooking something at the wrong temperature—or for the wrong amount of time—can be disastrous.
How to choose a temperature range
Luckily, most of the mid- to high-end air fryers out there have adjustable temperatures. Generally, the temperature (and time) at which you cook something in a regular oven is a good starting guide. And many air fryers will come with a temperature guide or pre-set options for certain foods.
Temperatures range from 100-400°F (38-204°C), and the more range you can get in your air fryer, the more cooking options you’ll have and the faster you’ll be able to prepare food. However, most modern air fryers go up to (or get close to) 400°F (204°C).
Things like frozen French fries and chicken nuggets fare best around 350°F (176°C), while fresh meats like chicken breasts and pork chops can be cooked at between 300 and 400°F (148 to 204°C) for the fastest results. Remember, though, that you can always cook something at a lower temperature for more time.
Air Fryer Cook Time
Temperature and cook time are inseparable. So, remember that with lower temperature options, you need more cook time options. Most air fryers offer timers ranging from anywhere between 15 minutes and 60 minutes.
Obviously, if you can set the time instead of monitoring it manually, that’s ideal. Some units also have pre-set options (for French fries or burgers, for example), and these can help ensure your food is thoroughly cooked too.
Volume of food affects cook time
Although it likely goes without saying, even these pre-set options are meant as guides. That means that, if you cook a lot of food at once or have a larger family, you’ll want to make sure you have longer cook times available.
Air Fryer Size & Weight
Here is where storage options come into play. Cooking capacity and air fryer size are often intertwined, so those who need to cook more food at a time can reasonably expect a larger fryer.
However, sizes of air fryers can vary widely, with heights, lengths, and depths as low as five inches and as high as 40 inches or more. That’s a lot of variability, but size doesn’t have anything to do with quality. Just measure your intended storage space (or be prepared to make room for your fryer) before buying to make sure it will have a convenient place to sit.
Fryer weight can also vary widely, from as little as 10 pounds to as many as 20 or more. Go for a lighter model if strength or high-up storage is an issue.
Other Helpful Features
There are also a range of smaller features that vary widely between fryers. Some of the bonus features available on air fryers can make or break your cooking experience.
- Pre-programmed settings: These are useful for those who value convenience, and are most common on touchscreen air fryers. Some common options include cook times and heats for French fries, burgers, chicken, steak, and other popular foods.
- Adjustable heat: As mentioned earlier, adjustable heat settings allow you to prepare a variety of foods to a variety of consistencies as easily as in an oven.
- Adjustable cook time: With this feature, the machine monitors the cook time for you so you don’t have to. Available options typically range from 15-60 minutes, but you do usually still have to turn the machine off manually when the time is up.
- Pre-set timer with auto-off function: These are incredibly helpful for the busy chef. Cook times range from 15-60 minutes and, upon completion, the fryer will turn itself off.
- Buzzing timer: Much like an oven, this alerts you when your cook time is up so your food doesn’t get overdone.
- Removable basket and pan: This makes cleaning and serving much less of a hassle.
- Temperature light: This feature activates a light to let you know when your desired temperature has been reached.
- Cooking tray: These may come either separately or with the air fryer. They’re like oven or toaster trays and broaden the cooking “styles” your fryer is capable of.
- Grill pan insert: A must-have for burgers, meats, and other typically pan-fried foods, this provides an alternative to a frying pan. Make sure it has holes in it to keep the air flow in your machine even.
- Recipe book: Many air fryers come with either a leaflet or a full book of recipe ideas to get you started. They also serve as great guides for cook times and heats, even if you don’t use the recipes themselves.