The best air fryers will save you time and effort in the kitchen like never before. Air fryers are essentially small, countertop convection ovens which circulate hot air to cook within. They require minimal oil to produce a delicious, crispy texture, and will have the dish ready to serve in a matter of minutes. They’re most well-known for preparing French fries and breaded chicken, but the possibilities on what you can cook are pretty endless. One of the latest fads is air frying Brussels sprouts — who knew?
For more versatility, toaster ovens also exist which can air fry as well as toast, roast, bake and broil. These tend to cost more than standalone air fryers because of the increased functionality. They’re also bulkier in design, with a drop-down door, and take up more countertop space. Whichever type you decide to invest in, we’ve tested a range of models to help you find the best. We cooked a selection of recipes in each from classic French fries, to beef burgers and chicken wings to assess the performance in full. These are the best air fryers.
We think the Cosori Smart Wifi Air Fryer is the best air fryer for most people. In our tests, it consistently gave crispy results. Plus, it has digital controls and nonstick-coated, dishwasher safe baskets that make it easy to use and clean. At about $125, it’s also not too expensive.
If you’re looking for the best air fryer on a budget, we think the GoWISE USA 3.7 Quart 8-in-1 Air Fryer is the best value at well under $100. In spite of its low price, it has digital controls and preset programs to take the guesswork out of air frying.
Air fryers vary in size, shape, capacity and price. The most expensive ones are solidly built, but not necessarily the best at air frying, nor the most convenient to use.
Size: Most air fryers are not only large, but they’re irregularly shaped. Be sure to measure the space on your countertop where you plan to keep your air fryer and the machine itself before making a purchase. Don’t forget to check how much room you have from the counter surface to the bottom of your cabinets if you want to be able to move the fryer back and out of the way when you’re not using it. If you don’t plan on using it often, also consider how heavy the appliance is to see if it will be convenient to lift it in and out of a cabinet or closet.
Capacity: Air fryers are labeled with a wide range of capacities from as little as two quarts to as much as eight. However, the stated capacity is not necessarily a good indication of how much food you can cook at one time. For best results, it’s not a good idea to pile up food to the top of the basket. Few models can cook more than a pound of food like French fries or veggies at a time. When you’re making chicken or hamburgers you’re limited to how many pieces you can fit on the bottom of the basket. It’s more important to check the diameter of the basket than its volume.
Type of Controls: Dial controls are intuitive to operate but offer less precision. To set the time you’re basically turning a mechanical timer that dings when time is up. While digital controls can take a little more work to figure out, they are exact and allow for special settings for various types of food so you don’t have to guestimate what temperature to use and how long to cook.
Other functions: Some air fryers double up as other appliances. This gives you more versatility and means you’ll have fewer products taking up space in your kitchen. However, it also adds to the price of the air fryer so be realistic about whether or not you need the extra functions.
Price: You can spend anywhere from $50 to $400 on an air fryer. While the best air fryers tend to cost more, you can get a very good one for about $100. If you are not sure that you will use your air fryer often, resist the temptation to spend top dollar.