Air fryers are a unique class of kitchen appliances. They have been gracing countertops since their introduction to the market in 2010, but the physics of the design itself has been around for much longer than that. The best air fryer is essentially a refined design of the traditional convection oven. The appeal of the device is its ability to simulate the crispness of deep-fried foods while using much less oil.
Inside the cooker, hot air is pushed around the surface of the lightly oiled food. This initiates the browning and crisping reactions that occur at lower temperatures during traditional deep-frying. This is accomplished in a compact, countertop form that cuts cooking time down by 20 percent compared to traditional ovens. If you’re making a meal for one or for the whole family, this cooking tool will be welcome in your kitchen. We’ll take you through a few considerations and introduce you to some of the best air fryers you can buy.
- Best capacity: Instant Pot Duo Crisp
- Best for small spaces: Dash AirCrisp Pro Electric Air Fryer
- Best single-function: Dash Deluxe Electric Air Fryer
- Best air fryer and multi-cooker: Philips Digital Twin TurboStar Airfryer XXL
- Best air fryer oven: COSORI 12-in-1 Air Fryer Toaster Oven Combo
- Best with smart controls: COSORI Smart WiFi Air Fryer
- Best under $50: Chefman TurboFry
What to think about when shopping for the best air fryer
Countertop air fryers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some models offer numerous modes and function as a multi-cooker. This gives them the same one-pot appeal of Instant Pots and other appliances in their class. The best air fryer for you should have a capacity that’s appropriate for the number of portions you’re preparing. It should also offer a number of cooking modes to cut down on space usage in the kitchen. To cook remotely or to control your appliance wirelessly, a smart, WiFi-enabled model is your best bet.
The most common form factor utilizes a removable basket and rack that allows the oil to drain. The draining prevents accumulation that would otherwise make your food greasy. Other models rely upon a traditional toaster- or mini-oven design that allows more space for holding your food.
1. How many portions will you cook at once?
Capacities for slow cookers, multi-cookers, and other countertop cooking appliances can vary widely. The same is true for air fryers. Air fryers measure their capacities in quarts, and they generally range anywhere from two quarts—ideal for two to three servings of food—up to six quarts. For some, a small air fryer will satisfy their need for snacks and appetizers. But if you tend to cook food for larger groups from time to time, grab a large air fryer with a sizeable capacity. This way you aren’t left in the lurch when you’re making meals for large parties.
Capacity also plays a role when considering the types of food you’re most likely to prepare. Main courses tend to be denser items, while finger foods are more compact. When in doubt, go big. A large air fryer can handle both whole chickens and a batch of french fries, so you’ll never need to worry about whether you can’t prepare a meal or snack quickly.
2. How much storage space do you have for an air fryer?
When considering the best air fryer size and shape, think about where it will be stored, the amount of available working space your countertop has, and whether you need to store it away when it’s not in use. Some models are multi-cookers, which will allow them to replace otherwise redundant devices in your kitchen. Small air fryers are designed to save space, with a smaller footprint and a taller silhouette.
If you’re looking for a device for your small apartment or office, you don’t need a large air fryer—it’s quite possible to end up with a space-saving model that still has a relatively generous capacity. When in doubt, go for a basket-type design. The fans, heating element, rack, and basket all stack neatly together inside a small air fryer’s single central hub.
3. Do you want a dedicated air fryer or a multi-cooker?
The most basic air fryer is essentially a miniature convection oven. Even if it’s marketed as a single-purpose machine, most can perform as both an air fryer and a small oven. Others are rightfully marketed as four-in-one devices that might have a basic temperature control system to allow users to dehydrate, roast, and bake foods with a little more granular precision (see next section). But there’s a third category: Instant Pots and other true multi-cookers that can slow cook, pressure cook, and air fry—with the right “crisping” lid. Consider what devices you already have at home and whether you’re looking to replace or complement them.
4. Could you use an extra oven in the kitchen?
The typical air fryer comes with a generous number of cooking modes and functions thanks to the versatility of its internal architecture. The range of these modes can be extended further with accessories. Some manufacturers stretch this design by pivoting to more traditional form factors to increase the internal space and allow users to prepare items normally impossible in traditional air fryers, like rotisserie chicken and pizza. These designs are modular in nature and come with an array of compatible accessories, such as roasting spits and pan. You can use these units as you would a toaster oven or a full-sized oven for roasting and baking.
5. Do you want to control your air fryer with your phone?
Smart functionality is one of the newer conveniences in home appliances. It grants users the ability to control what’s going in the kitchen from anywhere, whether it’s down the street or just down the hall. This can be especially useful with standalone devices like slow cookers and air fryers—it allows busy people to cook a meal and trust that the food will be prepared properly without needing to babysit it.
Got a meeting you have to get to? With a WiFi-enabled air fryer, there’s no need to check on your meal while it cooks. WiFi compatibility allows air fryers to link up to your phone for easy control, and most models report a range of data, including timing and temperature. With a quick tap of the finger, you can easily manage everything from stopping the cooking process or adding a few extra minutes.
An Alexa-enabled device will grant you access to voice controls for hands-free control. You’ll also get verbal updates on your meal’s progress. An air fryer is already a time-saving device, and adding smart tech only serves to increase these benefits.
Best air fryer capacity: Instant Pot Duo Crisp
Instant Pot Duo Crisp
The original multi-cooker now comes with a specialized air fryer lid that crisps and roasts. Amazon
This eight-quart-capacity Instant Pot air fryer and multi-cooker from Instant Pot has a digital display to keep you apprised of your cooking time and temperature. It offers 11 one-touch cooking programs, including pressure cook, sauté, bake, and slow cook. It comes with a multi-level air fryer basket and a dehydrating and broiling tray. The sleek surfaces are easy to clean and dishwasher safe, and its safety features ensure you never overheat your food.
Best air fryer for small spaces: Dash AirCrisp Pro Electric Air Fryer
Dash AirCrisp Pro Electric Air Fryer
Dash AirCrisp Pro Electric Air Fryer Amazon
This non-stick, 2-quart compact air fryer comes with a dishwasher-safe basket. The straight-forward appliance comes in four stylish colors: stainless steel, red, black, and aqua. It’s super easy to use with its front knob timer, and its auto-off function ensures you never overcook your meals. A digital display makes it easy to control the temperature. Come up with your own recipes, or use the included air fryer recipe booklet.
Best single-function air fryer: Dash Deluxe Electric Air Fryer
Dash Deluxe Electric Air Fryer
Low-fat crisping technology and an easy-to-use interface available in four different colors. Amazon
This Dash air fryer features a generous six-quart basket capacity in a stylish and minimalist form factor. It comes with a non-stick fry basket and a recipe guide, and it features an automatic temperature control system and timed cooking with an automatic shutoff feature. Choose between five stylish colors—aqua, black, red, white, and yellow—and clean it easily in the dishwasher.
Best air fryer/multi-cooker combo: Philips Digital Twin TurboStar Airfryer XXL
Philips Digital Twin TurboStar Airfryer XXL
Stylish multi-cooker that heats up instantly and includes an array of dishwasher-safe parts. Amazon
This Philips air fryer with three-pound-capacity has a digital display to keep you apprised of your cooking time and temperature. It offers seven cooking modes as well as five one-touch programs. The fryer is designed with a proprietary fat reduction system that Is used to capture dripping excess fat. This helps leave your meals with up to 90 percent less fat than traditional fried food. You get six servings out of this easy-to-clean pick. With all the flavor and none of the fat, you’re sure to love cooking with this Philips air fryer.
Best air fryer oven: COSORI 12-in-1 Air Fryer Toaster Oven Combo
COSORI 12-in-1 Air Fryer Toaster Oven Combo
Stainless steel construction and an LCD display make this a multi-cooker Amazon
This COSORI air fryer oven is an incredibly versatile pick, offering 12 cooking modes and a capacity that allows for preparing a chicken rotisserie-style using the included accessories. The 32-quart capacity can handle six slices of toast, a 13-inch pizza, or an entire chicken. It can function as a dehydrator, toaster, fryer, and countertop oven thanks to its 1,800 watts of power and spacious interior. You can choose between four different colors to best match the rest of your kitchen appliances.
Best air fryer with smart controls: COSORI Smart WiFi Air Fryer
COSORI Smart WiFi Air Fryer
Remote-controlled cooking, with over meal ideas included in the proprietary app. Amazon
This COSORI air fryer connects to your WiFi and allows you to control your meals via your smartphone or using voice commands on compatible smart hub devices. The COSORI appliance is designed with a nonstick basket and includes a set of 11 presets that are fine-tuned for specific meals like steak and root vegetables. Its dishwasher-safe basket makes it easy to clean, and its automatic shutoff and overheat protection features keep users safe. Plus, you can easily check the temperature and timer on its digital display. With total control from the screen of your phone, there are few better kitchen appliances on the market than the COSORI air fryer.
Best air fryer brands to know
Air fryers are relatively new to the industry of household electronics. There’s a lot of room for competition and innovation amongst brands, and consumers are reaping the benefits. The very first design was invented by a marketing manager at Philips. The brand still offers one of the best available fryers on the market. While the two brands highlighted below—Ninja and Dash—aren’t nearly as old as Philips, they have both carved out a reputation for themselves as innovative brands that offer high-quality, reliable household appliances. Here, you can count on finding the best air fryer for your kitchen.
Philips is a Dutch multinational conglomerate founded in 1891 by Frederik Philips and his son Gerard. The company is well known for its wide range of electronics offerings that include personal audio devices, smart bulbs, and electric toothbrushes. Philips air fryers are part of their domestic appliance line, which includes air purifiers, coffee makers, and more.
The Ninja brand is a property of SharkNinja Operating LLC, a Boston-based designer of home devices known for their kitchen appliances. They make blenders and food processors, as well as vacuums and steam cleaners under the Shark brand. In 2017, SharkNinja was acquired by CDH Private Equity. They operate offices out of Canada, China, Japan, Germany, France, and the UK.
The Dash brand of electronics is owned by StoreBound, a consumer appliance and houseware company focused on better living. StoreBound is known for cultivating an impressive organic social media following that includes more than 1 million users on Instagram alone. Dash is named after StoreBound’s founder and CEO Evan Dash, and the company works with inventors and licensing partners to create new and innovative products.
Best cheap air fryer: What you get for under $50
There are few air fryers available on the market for under $50, but models such as the Chefman TurboFry can get you at least halfway to where the models on our list will. To save some money, you’ll sacrifice the durability and user-friendliness of pricier models. Models in this price range typically don’t offer extra accessories and cooking modes, which will cut down on the versatility of your fryer as well, which is something to think about if you’re trying to save space. However, if budget is an important shopping factor, you’ll absolutely enjoy a cheap air fryer!
A final word on shopping for the best air fryer
Air frying is an incredibly healthy alternative to deep-frying because it renders classic crispiness and delicious results with much less added fat. This unique style of cooking is something to be excited about, to be sure, but one of the most overlooked things about an air fryer is its versatility. Adding one of these to your kitchen will open you up to a whole range of possibilities when it comes to mealtime, and it just might replace a couple of antiquated appliances you have sitting around, too. If you’re looking for a solution to making cooking quicker and healthier, buying the best air fryer should be your first stop.>