Article updated 17/12/2023
After using an air fryer at our friend’s place we were really impressed with the results. Our sweet potato fries were delicious, crispy and they were ready in no time at all!
These small ovens have been on the market for a while now and as they come in a variety of sizes, shapes and have different strengths and functions, we thought it was time to explain more about them.
Air fryers available right now!
- Best overall – Ninja OS101 Foodi 9-in-1 Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer
- Most popular – COSORI Pro II Air Fryer combo oven
- Best Large capacity – Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven 7 in 1
- Best compact – Dash Tasti-Crisp Electric Air Fryer + Oven
- Best budget – Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet Personal Compact Space Saving Electric Hot Air Fryer
What is an air fryer?
It is a small countertop convection oven designed to simulate deep frying without submerging the food in oil. A fan circulates hot air at high speed, producing a crisp layer via browning reactions.
Nowadays, air fryers come with extra functions and some also function as an oven or pressure cooker.
Is food healthier when prepared with an air fryer?
Because you only use the minimum amount of oil it is automatically seen as a healthier alternative to the classic deep frying of food.
Some will say that you don’t use any more oil when oven-roasting, which is correct, but the fact is you will never be able to get your vegetables or fries as crispy as when using an air fryer.
So to us, food is surely healthier if you use it solely to replace the deep fryer.
What to look for in an air fryer?
To find the best air fryer suitable for your family or usage, there are some features you should keep in mind before deciding to buy.
- Safety – There are air fryers with front drawers while others have a flip-top lid. The front drawers prove to be more convenient, and easy to handle and it is safer when taking the food out of the machine.
- Easy to use – It should be clear and straightforward to operate. It should also be easy to clean after use.
- Controls – Does the air fryer of your choice have one temperature or is there a regulator for temperatures? A reheat button is also handy if you have leftovers or if you want to cook multiple foods in it.
- Size – You can find models for one person or those with extra-large capacities. It’s up to you to decide what works for your family and how often you will use it.
Best overall: Ninja OS101 Foodi 9-in-1 Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer
If you have the space, this machine performs the best of pressure cooking and air frying all in one pot. The 9-in-1 versatility allows you to pressure cook, slow cook, steam, make yogurt, sear/sauté, air fry crisp, bake/roast, broil, and keep warm.
The air fryer basket sits inside the ceramic pan so the air can circulate around and create the perfect crispy food.Because this air fryer works equally as a pressure cooker you should not have anything above this machine for when it releases steam.
Be sure to use care with utensils, read instructions, and clean it after every use. Cleaning is easy as many of the parts are dishwasher safe.
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Most Popular : COSORI Pro II air fryer oven combo
Rapid air circulation cooks your food more quickly than ovens and with a minuscule amount of oil compared to deep-fried foods. Frozen fries require around 10 minutes less cooking than the manufacturer’s instructors, so it is recommended to keep an eye on the food and get to know the machine well.
It is very user-friendly with 12 one-touch cooking functions for steak, chicken, seafood, frozen foods, vegetables, and toast. Indicator lights, clear tick marks, and a non-slip dial which ensure you’ll never have trouble selecting the settings you want. It’s safe, ETL listed, BPA free, and features auto shut-off protection. It’s easy to clean and the removable, lightweight, non-stick coated basket is dishwasher safe.The 5.8-quart basket’s larger surface area can cook enough food for 3–5 people.
It’s easy to use and with almost 35,000 buyers and a rating of 4.7/5 it is the most popular air fryer on Amazon.
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Best Large capacity: Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven 7 in 1, 10 Qt
The 7 built-in smart programs include baking, roasting, toasting, broiling, dehydrating and rotisserie. It does it all with one touch of a button. The oven even remembers your settings. The instant vortex plus replaces your microwave, pizza oven, convection oven, dehydrator and toaster.
The air fryer oven circulates super-hot air around your food, so it cooks evenly and locks in moisture, giving you the crispy, golden texture and delicious taste of deep-fried food, without the guilt. Preheating is not required which means a more economical use of the air fryer.
The square basket creates more space than round competitors and the front door allows more safety when removing or adding food.
Minimal grease means minimal mess. Sleek surface wipes clean. Plus, the drip pan, cooking trays, rotisserie basket, rotisserie spit and forks are all dishwasher safe.
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Best compact: Dash Tasti-Crisp Electric Air Fryer + Oven
Because it is more compact and the capacity is only 2 qt your food will be ready in less time than it takes to preheat your oven, making it more energy efficient.
Overcooking is difficult with the auto-shut off function, and the cool touch housing and handle makes it safer to use. The non-stick fryer basket is dishwasher safe and easy to clean.
Because of its lightweight and compact, it is ideal for a couple or for people with tiny kitchens.
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This air fryer wins the category of best budget buy but be aware it is a very compact model which is only suitable when cooking for one or two people.
It still has enough features with adjustable time and temperature functions and it allows you to fry, bake, grill and roast all in one!
When it comes to safety, the 30-minute timer automatically shuts off the air fryer at the end of the cooking cycle. A cool touch handle lets you safely remove fried foods from the air fryer without burning your hands.
The removable PFOA/PTFE free non-stick coated drawer pan with removable frying rack is practical for easy cleaning.
Do you really need an air fryer?
If you have the counterspace, an air fryer can be very helpful to change your eating habits and learn different ways of cooking.
As said earlier in this article, we didn’t think very much about getting an air fryer until we tried one at a friend’s place, and it does make some delicious food. Our personal preference for the best air fryer goes to a compact version, since we have a tiny kitchen. Besides the compactness, the available colours of this model are funky too! The healthier options and the minimum of cleaning are bonuses.