Best Budget: Chefman 37
Quieter than other air fryers
Temperature cannot be set above 400 degrees
Cooking basket can be tricky to insert
If you want to try air frying, but don’t think you’ll do it often enough to justify investing in a more pricey model, the Chefman 3.5 Liter Air Fryer is worth considering. Its dome shape is compact to save counter space, but the basket easily fits enough food for several people. The black finish is sleek and the matte model resists fingerprints so it’s easy to keep looking new.
There are both digital and analog versions of this air fryer. We tested the digital version and found the touch controls simple and intuitive to use. The temperature can be set from 200-400 degrees Fahrenheit and the timer up to 60 minutes, which is plenty of cooking range for most air-fried recipes and basics like frozen fries and tots. Although, if you’re interested in using an air fryer to dehydrate snacks, you might want a model that allows you to set the timer for longer.
The Spruce Eats / Sharon Lehman
Capacity: 3.5 liters | Power Rating: 1000 watts | Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 12 inches | Warranty: 1 year
“This has become my go-to air fryer. It barely takes up any space on my countertop, has basic, intuitive controls, and turns out crisper frozen fries and tater tots than my standard oven.” Sharon Lehman, Product Tester
Best Air Fryer : Our Top Picks
Reasons to avoid
Not only does it air fry like a dream, but the Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer has six setting to bake, reheat, broil, and even dehydrate.
What we love
First off, we found that the Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer made the best homemade fries of any air fryer we tested. They had a fluffy interior and crispy exterior, with evenly browned edges and consistent cooking throughout.
Because there is a removable air fry insert, you can also use the Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer to reheat things such as rice or pasta, which would usually fall through the slots in the air fryer tray.
The six-quart capacity is perfect for families, and it will easily cook for over 5 or 6 people. We also found that our food cooked far faster than the estimated cooking time for a regular oven, so if you want speedy meals, it’s a game-changer.
Homes & Gardens rated: 5 out of 5 stars
Reasons to avoid
What’s better than one air fryer? Two, in one. The is incredibly versatile, so prepare for it to replace your oven.
Why we love it
There are six modes: air broil, air fry, roast, reheat, dehydrate, and bake. We found that the air fry mode is great, especially when you use the removable crisper plates, and you can use one in one drawer to air fry chicken while baking or roasting vegetables in the other drawer to make fajitas or simply a balanced meal.
Homes & Gardens rated: 5 out of 5 stars
Reasons to avoid
Why we love it
What To Make With An Air Fryer
For folks new to air fryers, the simplest foods to make are no-prep. Start with basics like frozen french fries, frozen mozzarella sticks or similar snacks. To make sure they come out looking perfectly golden, use this trick .
Once youve got a handle on the basics of the air fryer, you can make so many tasty recipes from scratchand not just typical fried foods either. The air fryer can be used to get your favorite veggies nice and crisp, like these Garlic-Rosemary Brussels Sprouts . You can even bake in an air fryerbelieve it! These shortbread cookies are almost too good to be true. Ready for a healthy crunch? You can make air-fryer tortilla chips with way less oil than deep-fried tortilla chips! Dont miss these addicting air-fryer appetizers.
When all the air frying is done, be sure to care and clean for your appliance the right way. This will ensure you can air fry for years to come.
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Best Compact: Cuisinart Afr
Suppose youre working with limited countertop space. In that case, whether youre in an RV or an NYC apartment, this compact air fryer oven from Cuisinart will still let you air fry with ease. This sleek and stylish air fryer oven is also simple to use with its two-dial control panel. It has up to a 2.5-pound capacity, perfect for one or two people.
What 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 youre 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.
Dont want a single-purpose appliance? The Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven is an air fryer that doubles as a toaster oven. Another option is the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro which is a large, multitasking appliance that in addition to serving as an air fryer and toaster can just about replace your full size oven. While it doesnt come cheap, you get a beautiful, well-made product for your money. If the kids are always arguing about what they want for dinner, the Ninja Foodi 2 Basket Air Fryer could be just the ticket. It has two baskets that can cook chicken nuggets and hamburgers at the same time.
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How Much Money Do You Want To Spend
Many of our experts mentioned you should expect to spend around $80 on a good air fryer, though top-tier models can cost as much as $300 and there are some smaller models under $80 that experts recommend for smaller quantities of food.
Are they worth it? Thats up to you, Weinstein said. His $300 air fryer has lasted him a long time, but he owns air fryers half that price that have worked their way through testing the thousands of recipes in his books, too. For the uninitiated, its probably worth spending less at first to allow room for experimentation and growth.
Best Overall: Ninja Air Fryer
When we tested air fryers the first time, the Ninja proved itself the best model for chicken wings. That’s still the case, but we found this machine also cooked many other things well in this latest round of air fryer testing, landing in the top spot on our updated list. The Ninja was the most powerful air fryer we tested, blasting chicken wings to crispy goodness the fastest. Speed is a big draw since it means you’ll get that desired crispy outer layer faster with less risk of drying out the inside of a chicken wing, French fry or whatever else you’re making.
The Ninja also made frozen mozzarella sticks that were nicely browned with bubbly cheese inside. They started out frozen and were transformed into crispy, crunchy and gooey cheese bombs in 6 minutes flat. If you’re into fries, the Ninja won’t disappoint either. Frozen French fries turned out golden brown and delicious in just 10 minutes in both rounds of testing.
One thing to note is the Ninja lacks a special cooking method or mode for vegetables so, much like in our previous testing, the fresh Brussell sprouts emerged a tad overdone, even burnt in spots. This is not a terribly complicated fix and simply requires a little bit more checking when you are air frying certain foods for the first time.
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Shopping For An Air Fryer This Is The Best One To Buy
There are many air fryer options out there, but this one is my favorite.
My search for the perfect air fryer has come to an end.
Making a decision on what type of air fryer you should buy can be challenging with so many options to choose from. But I can help you decide thanks to my long and, at times, bumpy history with them. I love the idea of a kitchen appliance that circulates hot air to cook food nice and crisp in a matter of minutes without the oil needed for deep frying. But I had one problem. While most of the countertop appliances work the same, every air fryer I bought somehow managed to let me down, except for one: the Ninja Foodi 8-quart, 4-in-1 Dual Zone Air Fryer. And it’s worth every penny.
My fiancé and I started out with a $50 Dash Compact Air Fryer that was perfect for small spaces, but it didn’t hold enough food to have leftovers. I used a Bella air fryer next, and it didn’t have the settings we needed for our cooking preferences. We later upgraded to a Chefman air fryer that’s no longer available. Despite cleaning it the right way, the grill plate clips came off and the finish started to peel. We knew it was time for an upgrade that would last.
Update: While this story describes the author’s experience with the $139 8-quart, 4-in-1 Ninja Foodi, we’re linking the newer, $130 8-quart, 6-in-1 model. It’s a similar but updated model that is widely discounted this holiday season.
Instant Pot Vortex Plus
- Large capacity and cooking area
- Easy-to-use dial control
- Buttons can sometimes be hard to press
We were impressed with the performance of this air fryer from one of our favorite multi-cooker brands. Instant Potâs Instant Vortex Plus is sleek with its stainless steel face and large, easy-to-read buttons. It boasts six cooking settings, including air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat and dehydrate, with different programmable temperature and time settings. The dial allows for easy selection so you don’t have to click a button 100 times to get to the temperature youâre looking for. The air fryer basket is large and square, which creates more cooking space than its round competitors, making it a smart investment for a family. Its removable tray has a thin, hinged handle, so it’s easy to pull out but also lays flat to preserve the full cooking area.
Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven
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Cosori Air Fryer Max Xl
COSORI Air Fryer Max XL 5.8 QT Electric Hot Oven Oilless Cooker LED Touch Digital Screen with 11 Presets, Preheat& Shake Reminder, Nonstick Basket, Black
Cosori has rarely shied away from making top quality air fryers. The Max XL is visible proof of this statement. It boasts an award-winning design as its easy-to-use presets and the angled display has made it a darling of its users and experts alike.
Everything from mozzarella sticks, to frozen foods like French Fries and chicken nuggets, to onion rings turns out golden brown and delicious out of this air fryer. It also performs admirably with Brussels sprouts, thanks in no small part to its root vegetable mode.
Aside from offering 11 preset recipes, this unit has also made them easy to choose. A simple tap on display is all that is required to select any of them. With similar ease you can select cooking temperature and time. You may not have to read its manual to get up to speed with this air fryers working.
Cosori has provided this model with a non-stick, dishwasher safe and removable basket to sweeten the deal further. One that is free of harmful substances like BPA and PFOA and has the ability to fit a 6lb chicken with minimal fuss.
- Outside may get warm
Powerxl Air Fryer Pro
PowerXL Air Fryer Pro, Crisp, Cook, Rotisserie, Dehydrate 7-in-1 Cooking Features Deluxe Air Frying Accessories 3 Recipe Books
PowerXL has always been one of the best air fryer brand on the market. Models like this are the reason why. It comes with a huge 6-quart capacity to let you prepare big meals in one go. You wont have to trouble yourself with preparing food in batches with this unit.
More important is this units 6-in-1 functionality. The first of the six functions let you air fry rotisseries, savory chicken pieces and pork roasts. Then comes the dehydrator using which you can make healthy veggies, fruits, herbs, and more.
Your food will be surrounded by air throughout the time its inside this air fryer. Thats because of its super-heated turbo cyclone that ensures 360-degree air circulation at all times. The cyclone is the main reason why this unit is a perfect replacement for oven toasters and deep fryers.
Using this model is incredibly easy as well. It features eight digital pre-set programs whose one-touch functionality lets you roast, bake, steam, grill, sauté and air fry with a single tap. Also among those functions is an air timer and a temperature programmer.
- Only two months warranty
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When To Replace Your Air Fryer
An air fryer will last for as long as you take care of it. There are reports of some breaking within a few months, while others last up to eight years. Most brands will offer around three years of warranty. The best way to extend the life of your air fryer is to keep it clean and wash it thoroughly between each use. If you hand wash the basket and avoid using metal tools, the non-stick finish wont take damage this is one of the most common problems with air fryers.
Another common complaint is the handle breaking away from the basket. The answer to this, once again, is washing by hand, as being exposed to the high temperatures within a dishwasher wont help the plastic. Try not to pull on the handle with too much force during everyday use as well. If your air fryer malfunctions, and its not under warranty, its best to replace it. If you request a repair quote, and find its more than half the price of a new air fryer, we recommend replacing the model.
Check out more of our appliance coverage:
Is Air Frying Healthy
In comparison to deep-fat frying, air frying is a healthier alternative, since using convection cooking rather than oil means less fat in the finished food, which in turn means fewer calories. However, air frying does have some negatives, so it should be considered as part of a balanced diet. Read more about the health credentials of air fryers in our guide is air frying healthy?
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What Is The Air Fryers Loading/unloading Mechanism
Air fryers offer one of the following two mechanisms to load/unload food:
Models with a front drawer loading/unloading mechanism are extremely easy to operate. They allow you to place the food and take it out by pulling out the tray.
Such units are easy to use because they open towards you. You wont have to load/unload food from above. They also take up less counter space and can be used in small kitchens.
As their name implies, air fryers with a flip-top lid require you to open their lid towards the roof to load/unload food items. Heres why these units fail to get our recommendation.
Apart from forcing you to load/unload food from above a burdensome and challenging mechanism, fryers with a flip-top lid also require that there are no shelves above them.
Best Air Fryers Of 2021
Models from Amazon, Gourmia, GoWise, NuWave, and Oster jockey for top spots in Consumer Reports’ air fryer ratings
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Crispy fries without all the oil? Thats the golden promise of air fryers, and it might explain why, in the U.S., the market for these appliances continues to grow 10 percent year over year. In fact, air fryers are predicted to progress at that rate for the next five years, according to research firm NPD Group.
These irregularly shaped countertop cookers dont fry food at all. Theyre actually small convection ovens. A fan circulates hot air to quickly cook food in the basket from the outside in. These little appliances initially seemed right for finger foods . But you can use an air fryer to cook virtually anything youd throw in the oven or deep-fry. Most have small capacities, though, from 2 to 5.8 quarts .
In the lab, we found that the models in our air fryer ratings turned out nicely cooked food, though staffers who sampled the results werent fooled into thinking they were deep-fried. “You can tell the difference,” says Larry Ciufo, the Consumer Reports test engineer who oversees air fryer testing.
Go to Consumer Reports Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.
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What Is The Best Air Fryer
The very best air fryer you can buy is the Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer. It has a generous capacity, several cooking modes, and is easy to clean with great results. If you want an air fryer to cook every element of your meal at once, try the Ninja Foodi 2-Basket Air Fryer with DualZone. The two drawers and removable inserts give you so many cooking options, all in one device.