The 8 Best Air Fryers, Tested by Allrecipes
If any kitchen appliance has taken home kitchens by storm, it's the air fryer. And honestly, it makes sense.:Everyone wants to satisfy their fried food cravings without all the guilt, so who wouldn't want an air fryer?
The name can be a tad misleading though. Air fryers don't actually fry food at all. Instead, they act as a small convection oven that circulates hot air around the food. So it's important to know going in that you aren't necessarily going to get that deep-fried, greasy food you get by frying in oil. However, you will get that satisfying crisp texture without the excessive amounts of oil. And you'll get it in less time than you would with a traditional oven.
Once you get your hands on one of these nifty devices, the opportunities are truly endless. Use it to fry up delicious golden fries, crispy chicken wings, and crunchy vegetables. Intrigued? We put the top air fryers on the market through rigorous testing, and we've determined our favorites. Keep reading to discover the best air fryers to buy now.
Best Air Fryers at a Glance
- Best Overall: Phillips Premium Airfryer XXL
- Best Value: Cosori Premium 5.8-Quart Air Fryer
- Most Versatile: Ninja 4-Quart Air Fryer
- Best for a Small Kitchen: Cuisinart Compact AirFryer Toaster Oven
- Best Budget Buy: GoWise 5.8-Quart 8-in-1 Digital Air Fryer
- Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven
- Best Dual Basket: Ninja 2-Basket Air Fryer With DualZone Technology
- Best Air Fryer Lid: Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid
What to Consider When Buying an Air Fryer
Size: Counter space is precious real estate, especially when you're dealing with a small kitchen. While air fryers are designed to fit neatly on your counter, consider how much space you have to spare when you go to purchase an air fryer. Compact air fryers are available for those looking to save on counter space.
Capacity: In the same vein as size, capacity varies greatly among different types of air fryers. They typically range in size from two quarts all the way up to seven quarts. It's important not to overcrowd the basket, so consider the size of your family when choosing an air fryer. A two-quart air fryer would be suited for one to two people, while a seven-quart air fryer can accommodate up to six or seven people.
Wattage: Wattage levels can go up to 1800 watts and beyond, so make sure your kitchen outlet supports the watts consumption of the air fryer you choose.
Price: Air fryers are an investment, but you don't have to break the bank to get one. You can find an air fryer for under $100, or you can splurge and spend almost $400 on a top-of-the-line model. Keep your budget in mind as you choose the right air fryer for you.
Presets: Air fryers sometimes have presets for popular foods, like chicken or vegetables. If you're planning to use your air fryer to cook specific dishes, you may want to go with one that comes pre-programmed with that setting to make life a little easier.
Additional Features: One way to maximize counter space is to get an all-in-one appliance. Some air fryers feature extra features like a toaster oven, dehydrators and rotisserie cookers. Of course, this can cause a bump in price, so consider whether or not you really need these features before choosing an air fryer.
How We Tested Each Air Fryer
To test the top-rated products on the market, we called on seasoned Allrecipes product tester Rachel Johnson. Johnson rounded up top air fryers from popular brands including Philips, Cuisinart, Ninja, Hamilton Beach and more.
Johnson then tested each air fryer two ways: 1) by cooking pre-made frozen French fries in each air fryer and 2) by making from-scratch air fryer chicken nuggets in each air fryer. Each air fryer was rated on the following metrics:
- Fry Power: How long does the air fryer take to heat up?
- "Crisp" Factor: How crunchy does the food get?
- Ease of Use: Are the controls easy to follow? Is the basket easy to remove?
- Clean Up/Storage: Can you easily clean the removable parts in the dishwasher? Does it fit reasonably on a countertop?
The testing is finished and the results are in. Keep reading for our favorite air fryers on the market today. Want to see what else we tested? We'll tell you about that, too.
Best Air Fryer Overall: Philips Premium Airfryer XXL
"This air fryer's large, flat basket was key in producing an even crisp on the food's surface," says Johnson. She found that this air fryer from Philips produced the most reliable crisp on both the French fries and the chicken tenders.
It's extra-large size is perfect for feeding a crowd - Johnson was able to fit 10 to 12 nuggets and two to three servings of fries in the basket. The easy pull-out drawer allowed for smooth and secure motion when checking the food for doneness.
The basket, drawer, and "fat reducer" heat plate are all dishwasher-safe, making for easy cleanup. "This is the most expensive unit, but it was also the most effective," says Johnson. "This air fryer would be ideal for families with larger kitchens. It would be cumbersome to move from cabinet to counter, so the best case scenario is that it would live on the counter full time."
Best Value: Cosori Premium 5.8-Quart Air Fryer
For less than half the price of the Philips air fryer, this Cosori air fryer makes for efficient crisping and even cooking every time. At 5.8 quarts capacity, Johnson was able to fit 9 to 10 nuggets and two servings of fries at a time.
"The basket of this unit is significantly deeper than other air fryers, taking it a little longer to fully preheat and cook food," says Johnson. "However, it can fit larger objects (like a small roasting chicken) and more taller items."
The sleek LED screen features a number of presets, plus displays for time and temperature. It even reminds you when you need to shake the basket.
In terms of cleaning, the basket and drawer of the unit are dishwasher safe. The only issue Johnson found with this unit was the condensation collected at the bottom of the basket and spilled on the counter when opened. While this is frustrating, it can be easily overlooked for the air fryer's many features and efficient cooking abilities.
Buy It: Cosori Premium 5.8-Quart Air Fryer, $120; Amazon
Most Versatile Air Fryer: Ninja 4-Quart Air Fryer
In addition to an air fryer feature, this Ninja model also boasts dehydrating, roasting, and reheating features. When tested for its air frying capabilities, Johnson found the fries and nuggets to have a reasonable amount of crisp, although there was some uneven surface browning.
Compared to the other air fryers tested, this one worked more quickly than others, helping to cut down on cook time. The large holes of the crisper plate help to catch any fallen crumbs at the bottom of the basket. Both the basket and crisper plate are dishwasher safe.
We would not recommend this air fryer to larger families, as it only fits one to two servings of food per basket.
Best Air Fryer for a Small Kitchen: Cuisinart Compact AirFryer Toaster Oven
For anyone living in an apartment or with limited counter space, this compact air fryer from Cuisinart is a great investment. It acts as a replacement for a toaster and toaster oven, in addition to giving you crisp, air-fried foods.
"This air fryer also functions as a toaster oven and would fit easily under a cabinet without taking up too much space on a counter," says Johnson.
Despite its versatility and size, there were a few drawbacks to this appliance. The air fryer created some burnt bits around the surface of the food. There is also no digital screen for accurate temperature reading. And in terms of cleanup, the removable parts aren't dishwasher safe, and the mesh basket is a little hard to clean by hand.
This air fryer would take some trial and error to get things just right, but overall it acts as an all-in-one appliance that's great for small kitchens.
Best Budget Buy: GoWise 5.8-Quart 8-in-1 Digital Air Fryer
At a third of the cost of some of the air fryers on this list, you might not expect much from this GoWise air fryer - many other air fryers in this price range are very small or lack a lot of cooking power - but it excels, if the more than 24,000 glowing Amazon reviews are any indication. With eight cooking presets, you can get the air fryer warmed up and cooking quickly. A built-in alarm function will remind you to shake the food so you don't have any soft spots (or any burned ones, for that matter).
The non-stick pan and detachable basket aren't dishwasher safe, but they're easy to remove so you can clean the whole air fryer easily. GoWise offers a one-year warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee if you decide to get it and aren't satisfied. That will take a little pressure off your first few batches of air fried wings as you get used to. And spending less than $75 for one of these appliances may seem easier when you consider how much it does and how much easier it is on the budget than comparable versions.
Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven
Air fryer toaster ovens are the clever merger of the stand-alone air fryer and classic toaster oven. This one from Cuisinart happens to also be our selection for best air fryer toaster oven overall, too. How can it keep beating out so many top-rated appliances? Because, quite frankly, it's an amazing air fryer, with great high-volume convection capabilities and crispy, delicious results. But if you don't need it to be an air fryer, it can also multitask as a regular toaster oven, a classic oven, or broiler. And for this level of investment, you need the petite oven to do multiple things.
With enough space for a 12-ounce pizza, or up to six slices of bread, you may find that you never need to turn on your oven again.
Best Dual Basket Air Fryer: Ninja 2-Basket Air Fryer with DualZone Technology
For air fryer fans, there's little worse than chicken nuggets or wings getting cold while you wait for fries or onion rings to crisp up. But with the introduction of dual basket air fryers, you won't have to fear chilled nuggets in the future.
Ninja's two-basket air fryer packs a whopping eight-quart capacity, with two equal-sized baskets. The machine is divided into two temperature-controlled zones, too, so each basket can cook at different degrees if necessary. You can even split cooking styles, as each zone will air fry, air broil, roast, bake, reheat, and dehydrate. Crispy veggie fries in one basket and roasted Brussels sprouts in the other? That's only possible with this two-basket air fryer.
Best Air Fryer Lid: Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid
If you've already invested in an Instant Pot, you might be able to upgrade the electric pressure cooker to work as an air fryer with the help of an air fryer lid that costs barely more than a stand-alone air fryer. The Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid, which is designed to fit atop a handful of Instant Pot machines, turns that chamber into a mini convection oven, helping to get food crispy and cooked in less time than traditional ovens.
The lid also comes with a few other attachments, including a multi-level air fryer basket with dehydrating and broiling tray. This helps make sure the air is circulating the food well. But beyond air frying, the lid can also be used to broil, bake, roast, reheat and dehydrate, which makes the lid worth its money quickly.
Other Air Fryers We Tested
We can't all be winners. But there are some other air fryers we tested that performed relatively well, although they had drawbacks that kept them out of the running for the final list. Keep reading for Johnson's thoughts on the air fryers that didn't quite make the cut.
Hamilton Beach 5-Liter Digital Air Fryer with Nonstick Basket
While this model from Hamilton Beach did give foods an even, crisp surface, it took a little longer to get there than the other models we tested. The removable parts are not dishwasher safe, and the temperature only works in increments of 15 degrees F. For these reasons, we didn't pick it as a top choice. However, this model does perform well for the price.
Buy It: Hamilton Beach 5-Liter Digital Air Fryer with Nonstick Basket, $120; Wayfair
Dash Compact Air Fryer
As cute as it is, sadly Johnson found this compact air fryer to be ineffective in terms of even crisping. Out of all the air fryers we tested, this one took the longest amount of time to fully cook the food. Plus, the small holes in the basket didn't allow for the crumbs to effectively fall to the bottom, resulting in noticeable burnt bits.
At such a low price, we wanted to love this air fryer, but it just didn't perform. "This machine is the cheapest air fryer out of all tested units, and it definitely shows. It is simple to use, but the cheap material suggests that it won't last very long," says Johnson. This unit would be best for a single person, as it only held about four to give nuggets at a time and one to two small portions of French fries.
Buy It: Dash Compact Air Fryer, $50; Amazon