Do you dream of indulging in your favorite fried foods — without the extra calories or health risks? Are you tired of spending hours in the kitchen, or do you simply not have time? Say hello to the air fryer, a must-have kitchen gadget that definitely won’t end up gathering dust at the back of a shelf.
That’s right! You can now enjoy crispy and flavorful meals with none of the hassle, all while turning your “naughty” comfort foods into healthy dishes.
There’s just one problem. With so many options, choosing the right air fryer can be a real challenge. Don’t worry, though — we’re here to help! We’ve rounded up the five best air fryers that cater to different budgets and needs. So, get ready to say goodbye to greasy foods and welcome a healthier way of cooking.
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Why Consider Getting an Air Fryer?
This one’s really simple. Get an air fryer because these awesome kitchen appliances allow you to enjoy the illusion of fried foods, minus the health no-nos. The illusion? That’s right — air fryers don’t actually fry. Instead, they circulate hot air around the food, convection to cook. Air fryers require very little oil, but they do give you the beautifully-browned, crispy foods you know and love.
Investing in an air fryer is the perfect next step for anyone hoping to reduce calorie and fat consumption without sacrificing culinary enjoyment. What’s more, air fryers are so easy to use that even a school-aged child can cook quick meals, and air frying gets the job done much faster than traditional cooking methods.
Finally, air fryers are delightfully inexpensive. All but the most high-end models are essentially a steal, considering how much easier having an air dryer will make your life.
You can use air fryers to prepare chicken wings, fries, vegetables, onion rings, and much more. Some can even make desserts!
What to Look for When You Shop for an Air Fryer
If you’ve ever browsed Amazon for an air fryer, you’ll know things can get confusing very quickly. Let’s take a quick look at the types of air fryers on the market and the other factors to consider when you shop for one. It’ll make picking your ideal air fryer a lot easier!
Types of Air Fryers
- Basket-style air fryers. The most popular style of air fryer opens like a drawer and comes with a basket. You use these models by opening the drawer, lifting the basket out, and sliding it back in once you add your food.
- Oven-style air fryers. These air fryers look like mini-convection ovens, and they work quite similarly. In addition to everything you can cook with other air fryers, they allow you to make baked goods.
- Toaster-oven air fryers. The most versatile air fryers have toasting, broiling, and baking features and function like normal air fryers.
- Air fryer capacities are measured in quarts, and it’s crucial to get the right size for your needs.
- More Watt means more power. You’ll usually want to get an air fryer with at least 1400 watts.
- Some air fryers have additional functions, like dehydrating, while others incorporate smart technology. Select the functions that you know you’ll use.
- Some air fryers have preset cooking programs that make air frying your favorite meals even easier. Look for models with this advantage if that’s something you’re interested in.
- We’d recommend getting an air fryer with removable and dishwasher-safe parts so cleanup won’t be a hassle.
1. Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer: Best Overall Air Fryer
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Meet our top pick. The Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer is a mid-sized, extremely versatile air fryer that looks beautifully slim in your kitchen and is supremely easy to use and clean. The Ninja Max XL Air Fryer earned first place because it gets the job done faster and better than many competitors, but the benefits don’t end there. With several handy preset cooking programs (including air fry, max crisp, and bake), this air fryer is a real winner.
Our favorite thing — besides the fact that the Ninja 5.5 quart air fryer cooks foods efficiently and beautifully, leaving all-time favorites like chicken wings and fries soft on the inside and crispy brown on the outside? Although it takes up much less space than many models with a similar capacity, the Ninja’s basket is very roomy.
- The Ninja Max XL Air Fryer is a basket-style air fryer that cooks, roasts, bakes, and can dehydrate and reheat foods.
- It has a medium capacity of 5.5 quarts — perfect for most families and people who often cook for others.
- The Ninja’s ceramic basket is dishwasher-safe and nonstick, making it as effortless to clean as it is to cook with.
- Preset cooking programs make using this air fryer a dream, and it even ships with a recipe book.
- Above all, the Ninja Max XL Air Fryer takes less time than its competitors to air fry foods — and in our experience, the result feels a little more polished for that restaurant-like experience.
Who Is It For?
The Ninja Max XL Air Fryer is ideal for people who know they’ll rely on their air fryer heavily. You may consider this model if you have a basic air fryer and are excited to try new features, or if you like your air-fried foods extra crispy and ready in no time.
2. Chefman Small Air Fryer: Most Economical Air Fryer
Are you brand-new to air frying, and are you excited to join the club without breaking the bank? The Chefman Small Air Fryer is a compact model with easy controls and dishwasher-safe components.
Because it doesn’t have preset cooking programs, you’ll need to work out how long it takes to cook each type of dish through trial and error — something we didn’t love. However, the Chefman Small Air Fryer, with a capacity of 3.7 quarts, is a solid option for those on a budget.
- The Chefman Small Air Fryer is a compact basket-style model with a capacity of 3.7 quarts.
- It has a 60-minute timer with automatic shut-off but lacks preset cooking programs. You use five touch-screen buttons to control the appliance.
- This air fryer has a maximum temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit but seems to heat up less than many other models.
Who Is It For?
People who would love a basic air fryer for a friendly price but don’t necessarily plan to use it every day will almost certainly be happy with the Chefman Small Air Fryer. Although it’s not as powerful as higher-end models, its performance is great for its price range.
3. Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Most Versatile Air Fryer
If you’re new to the world of air fryers, you may be surprised that the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Toaster Oven looks nothing like the air fryers you’ve seen before. That’s because it’s so much more. We were immediately impressed by this appliance’s sleek stainless steel look, but were completely won over when we discovered what it could do. Consider the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer the king of all air fryers — we do!
- This Breville air fryer is essentially a mini-kitchen — if you had to, you could get by with nothing else. In addition to air frying, it can toast, broil, bake, roast, bake cookies, function as a pizza oven, and act as a slow cooker.
- Thanks to its handy collection tray, this air fryer and oven combo is supremely easy to clean.
- It’s high-powered and preheats in nearly no time. (But watch out, the door gets a bit hot).
- Smart technology ensures the appliance diverts heat exactly where it’s needed.
Who Is It For?
The Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer is best suited for people looking for an appliance that can meet nearly all of their cooking needs — including students living in dorm rooms and people hoping to complete their RV or holiday home kitchenettes. It’s pricey but worth it if you don’t already own an oven.
4. Ninja DZ201 Foodi 8 Quart 6-in-1 DualZone 2-Basket Air Fryer: Best Air Fryer for Large Families
Never limit yourself to one dish at a time ever again! The Ninja DZ201 Foodi 8 Quart 6-in-1 DualZone 2-Basket Air Fryer can cook two different foods in two ways — yes, simultaneously, thanks to two independent baskets. Even better? Ninja’s sync technology ensures that both dishes are still ready at the same time! We love this air fryer, even though it’s a little too big for our liking. Who knows? It might be perfect for you!
- This 8-quart air fryer is easy to use, easy to clean, and does a beautiful job — yes, even if you decide to cook two dishes at once.
- This air fryer is fully programmable.
5. Dash Tasti-Crisp Digital Air Fryer with AirCrisp Technology: Best Air Fryers for Singles and Couples
Not everyone needs a large-capacity air fryer. If you’re a couple or single living alone, you’re better off with a small appliance. The Dash Tasti-Crisp Digital Air Fryer allows you to cook smaller amounts of food and lets you save your favorite settings, too!
- The ultra-compact design makes the Dash Tasti-Crisp Digital Air Fryer perfect for small kitchens. Don’t need tons of food? With a capacity of 2.6 quarts, this appliance is great.
- It’s very energy efficient.
- The auto-shutoff feature ensures your food comes out perfectly crispy, and never overdone.
Who Is It For?
This air fryer is great for anyone looking for an inexpensive, high-performance air fryer with a small capacity. It’s great for singles and students living in dorm rooms — especially considering its odor-reduction features.
A Final Word
Investing in an air fryer means more than adding a gadget to your kitchen. It represents a healthier lifestyle. Enjoy cooking with up to 90 percent less oil and at least 60 percent less effort because there’s an air fryer for everyone on our list!