14 Best Air Fryers for Versatile Cooking

Winning over a home cook’s heart is easy with the trusty air fryer. It may not be as fancy as a cast iron skillet or sous vide cooker, but it’s the must-have kitchen tool of the decade.

After lots of testing and research (plus plenty of French fries), we’re confident in recommending the best air fryers. We’ve seen the good and bad ones, so we’re experts in spotting a great air fryer.

We’ve read many reviews, tested lots of machines, and gathered loads of air fryer knowledge. Now, we’ve put all that expertise into this guide to save you time.

14 Best Air Fryers

1. Instant Vortex Plus 6-Quart Clear Cook Air Fryer

Instant Vortex Plus 6QT ClearCook Air Fryer, Clear Windows, Custom Program Options, 6-in-1 Functions, Crisps, Broils, Roasts, Dehydrates, Bakes, Reheats, from the Makers of Instant Pot, Black

The Instant Vortex Plus 6-Quart Clear Cook Air Fryer is a versatile kitchen appliance designed for air frying and various other cooking methods like roasting, baking, broiling, reheating, and dehydrating. It features a 6-quart capacity and a square bottom to ensure even cooking and crispy results. With a user-friendly touchpad and stainless-steel knob for adjusting time and temperature, this air fryer heats up quickly and includes a clear window for easy monitoring of food as it cooks.

Pros:

  • Versatile cooking options including air frying, roasting, baking, broiling, reheating, and dehydrating.
  • Quick heating, reaching cooking temperature in just two minutes.
  • Clear window allows for easy monitoring of food without opening the fryer.
  • Durable construction suitable for daily use.
  • Easy-to-use touchpad and stainless-steel knob for adjusting settings.

Cons:

  • Some users may find the 6-quart size too large for their needs.
  • Limited cooking space for larger items.
  • May require additional cleaning effort for thorough maintenance.

2. Philips Premium Air Fryer XXL

Philips Premium Airfryer XXL, Fat Removal Technology, 3lb/7qt, Rapid Air Technology, Digital Display, Keep Warm Mode, 5 Cooking Presets, NutriU App, Family Sized, Black (HD9650/96)

The Philips Premium Air Fryer XXL is a top-of-the-line kitchen appliance designed for cooking large family meals with ease. Its standout feature is its 7-quart capacity and durable stainless-steel mesh food tray, which efficiently cooks various dishes while minimizing excess fat thanks to its grease management system. Cleaning up is simple with dishwasher-safe removable parts.

Pros:

  • Large 7-quart capacity suitable for family meals.
  • Durable stainless-steel mesh food tray promotes even cooking and longevity.
  • Grease management system reduces excess fat for healthier meals.
  • Easy cleanup with dishwasher-safe parts.

Cons:

  • May be bulky for smaller kitchens.
  • Initial investment cost may be higher compared to smaller air fryers.

3. Ultrean Air Fryer

Ultrean Air Fryer, 4.2 Quart (4 Liter) Electric Hot Air Fryers Oven Oilless Cooker with LCD Digital Screen and Nonstick Frying Pot, UL Certified, 1-Year Warranty, 1500W (4L, Blue)

The Ultrean Air Fryer is a compact kitchen appliance designed for healthier cooking by using less oil. With a 4.2-quart capacity, it’s ideal for individuals and small families. Its simple interface features two knobs—one for temperature control and the other for setting cooking time. Notably, it doesn’t require preheating, saving time in busy households. It operates by circulating hot air around the food, producing crispy exteriors while keeping the insides tender.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use interface with only two knobs.
  • No preheating needed, saving time.
  • Versatile for baking, particularly great for cookies.
  • Compact size, perfect for small kitchens.
  • Affordable option for those wanting to explore air frying.

Cons:

  • Limited capacity suitable for small portions.
  • May not achieve the same results as deep frying for certain foods.
  • Some users may prefer digital controls over manual knobs.

4. Crux Touch Screen Electric Air Fryer

The Crux Touch Screen Electric Air Fryer is a compact kitchen appliance designed for air frying. With a capacity of 3.7 quarts, it’s suitable for individuals and small families. Unlike some air fryers that require preheating, this one starts cooking immediately upon selection. Its user-friendly touch screen interface allows you to easily set the cooking temperature and time, making it a convenient choice for beginners. The removable cooking basket simplifies cleanup, and it consistently produces crispy, delicious food without breaking the bank.

Pros:

  • No preheating required; starts cooking right away
  • Easy-to-use touch screen interface for setting temperature and time
  • Compact size ideal for individuals and small families
  • Removable cooking basket for easy cleaning
  • Consistently delivers crispy, delicious food

Cons:

  • Limited capacity may not be suitable for larger families or gatherings
  • May lack advanced features found in larger, more expensive models

5. Dash Tasti-Crisp Electric Air Fryer

DASH Tasti-Crisp™ Electric Air Fryer + Oven Cooker with Temperature Control, Non-stick Fry Basket, Recipe Guide + Auto Shut Off Feature, 1000-Watt, 2.6 Quart - Teal

The Dash Tasti-Crisp Electric Air Fryer is a compact kitchen appliance designed for air frying, roasting, and reheating food quickly and conveniently. With a capacity of 2.6 quarts, it’s suitable for individuals or small households. It features two dials for setting the temperature and time, making it incredibly easy to operate. Its lightweight design and small size make it perfect for compact kitchens or dorm rooms.

Pros:

  • Simple and straightforward operation with just two dials.
  • Compact and lightweight, ideal for small kitchens or dorms.
  • Quick cooking time of around 20 minutes.
  • Budget-friendly option for beginners or those wanting to try air frying without splurging.

Cons:

  • Limited capacity may not be sufficient for larger households or bigger meals.
  • Basic design may lack advanced features found in other air fryer models.
  • Some users may prefer more control over temperature and cooking settings.

6. Dash Compact Air Fryer

DASH Compact Air Fryer Oven Cooker with Temperature Control, Non-stick Fry Basket, Recipe Guide + Auto Shut off Feature, 2 Quart - Aqua

The Dash Compact Air Fryer is a handy kitchen appliance that cooks food by circulating hot air around it, giving it a crispy texture without needing to deep fry. It’s compact, easy to use with simple temperature knobs and a timer, and can hold up to 2 quarts of food, making it perfect for individuals or small families. Despite its lower wattage, it can still whip up a variety of quick meals, from corn dogs to cookies, making it a versatile addition to any kitchen.

Pros:

  • Simple and user-friendly design
  • Compact size, perfect for small kitchens or dorm rooms
  • Budget-friendly option for those looking to try air frying
  • Versatile cooking capabilities for various quick meals

Cons:

  • Longer heating time due to lower wattage
  • Limited capacity for larger batches of food

7. Cuisinart Air Fryer Oven with Grill

Cuisinart Air Fryer + Convection Toaster Oven, 8-1 Oven with Bake, Grill, Broil & Warm Options, Stainless Steel, TOA-70

The Cuisinart Air Fryer Oven with Grill is a compact kitchen appliance measuring 12 by 16 by 14 inches. It offers seven preset cooking functions, including air frying, convection baking, convection broiling, baking, broiling, warming, and toasting. This versatile tool utilizes a combination of hot air circulation and high-powered heating elements to cook food quickly and evenly, resulting in crispy exteriors and moist interiors.

Pros:

  • Compact size perfect for small kitchens or limited countertop space.
  • Versatile cooking functions allow for air frying, baking, broiling, toasting, and more.
  • Efficient cooking ensures even browning and delicious results.
  • Clear buttons and easy tray adjustment make it user-friendly, even for kids.

Cons:

  • Can only handle one level of cooking at a time.
  • Limited capacity compared to larger, more expensive models.
  • May not accommodate larger food items or meals for larger families in a single batch.

8. Ninja DZ201 Foodi 8 Quart DualZone 2-Basket Air Fryer

Ninja DZ201 Foodi 8 Quart 6-in-1 DualZone 2-Basket Air Fryer with 2 Independent Frying Baskets, Match Cook & Smart Finish to Roast, Broil, Dehydrate & More for Quick, Easy Meals, Grey

The Ninja DZ201 Foodi 8 Quart DualZone 2-Basket Air Fryer is a large kitchen appliance that can cook two different foods simultaneously. With its two baskets, each capable of holding 4 quarts, you can prepare two dishes at once, saving time in the kitchen. The air fryer allows you to set different temperatures and times for each basket, ensuring perfect results for each dish. It offers various cooking methods such as air frying, roasting, baking, and broiling, making it versatile for different cooking needs. Although it may take longer to heat up due to its lower wattage, it provides even cooking and excellent results.

Pros:

  • Can cook two dishes at the same time, saving time and effort in meal preparation.
  • Customizable temperature and time settings for each basket allow for perfect results for each dish.
  • Versatile cooking options including air frying, roasting, baking, and broiling.
  • Provides even cooking and consistent results.
  • Large capacity of 8 quarts allows for cooking ample servings.

Cons:

  • Longer heating time due to lower wattage.
  • May take up considerable counter space due to its size.

9. Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer

Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer that Cooks, Crisps, Roasts, Bakes, Reheats and Dehydrates, with 5.5 Quart Capacity, and a High Gloss Finish, Grey

The Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer is a versatile kitchen appliance designed for cooking a variety of meals quickly and efficiently. With a spacious 5.5-quart basket, it can air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, and dehydrate food. Its rapid three-minute heating time ensures fast meal preparation, and the removable basket allows for easy shaking or turning of food during cooking to achieve desired crispiness. Cleaning is hassle-free, with no leftover grease or stains, making it suitable for cooking a range of dishes, from chicken wings to bacon.

Pros:

  • Can air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, and dehydrate food.
  • Perfect for cooking large meals, ideal for families.
  • Reaches cooking temperature in just three minutes.
  • Removable basket allows for easy shaking or turning of food for consistent results.
  • No stubborn grease or stains, even after cooking messy items.

Cons:

  • May be bulky for smaller kitchens.
  • Learning curve for first-time users to master all functions.
  • Requires occasional maintenance to ensure optimal performance.

10. Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro

Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro

The Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro is a multifunctional kitchen appliance designed to handle various cooking tasks efficiently. With a spacious 1-cubic-foot capacity, it offers 13 preset cooking functions, including toasting, baking, roasting, broiling, dehydrating, and air frying. Its versatility allows it to toast nine slices of bread, cook a 14-pound turkey, or accommodate a five-quart Dutch oven, making it a powerhouse in the kitchen. The appliance features a clear window for easy monitoring of the cooking process and includes two levels for cooking multiple items simultaneously. Cleanup is simplified by placing aluminum foil under the racks.

Pros:

  • Versatile with 13 preset cooking functions.
  • Spacious interior can handle large items like a 14-pound turkey.
  • Clear window for monitoring cooking progress.
  • Two levels for cooking different items simultaneously.
  • Easy cleanup with aluminum foil under racks.

Cons:

  • Takes up significant counter space due to its size.
  • May not be suitable for small kitchens with limited space.

11. Instant Pot Duo Crisp Air Fryer Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11-in-1 Air Fryer and Electric Pressure Cooker Combo with Multicooker Lids that Fries, Steams, Slow Cooks, Sautés, Dehydrates, & More, Free App With Over 800 Recipes, 8 Quart

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp Air Fryer Pressure Cooker is a versatile kitchen appliance that combines the functions of a pressure cooker and an air fryer. With an 8-quart capacity, it’s ideal for preparing large meals for families. It offers 11 preset functions, including pressure cooking, air frying, roasting, and broiling. This allows for quick pressure cooking followed by crisping using the air fryer function, all within the same appliance.

Pros:

  • Combines the functions of a pressure cooker and an air fryer.
  • Generous 8-quart capacity suitable for cooking large meals.
  • Offers 11 preset functions for versatile cooking options.
  • Saves time with quick pressure cooking.
  • Ideal for busy households and apartment living.
  • Efficient cooking with consistent results.

Cons:

  • May take up considerable counter or storage space.
  • Might not be suitable for smaller kitchens with limited space.

12. Instant Vortex Plus

Instant Pot 10QT Air Fryer, 7-in-1 Functions with EvenCrisp Technology that Crisps, Broils, Bakes, Roasts, Dehydrates, Reheats & Rotisseries, Includes over 100 In-App Recipes, Stainless Steel

The Instant Vortex Plus is a highly regarded kitchen appliance renowned for its spacious design and versatility in performing various cooking tasks. With an impressive 10-quart capacity, it stands out as one of the largest air fryers available, perfect for preparing substantial meals for families or entertaining guests. It boasts a range of cooking methods, including air frying, roasting, broiling, baking, toasting, and reheating. Special features include a metal spit for rotisserie-style cooking, ensuring crispy skin all around, and a perforated cylindrical basket for achieving maximum crispiness with items like French fries and vegetables.

Pros:

  • Large 10-quart capacity ideal for cooking big meals.
  • Versatile with multiple cooking methods available.
  • Special features like a metal spit for rotisserie-style cooking and a perforated cylindrical basket for crispy results.
  • Easy to use and clean.
  • Dishwasher-safe parts for convenient cleaning.
  • Removable front door for handwashing and easy access to the interior.

Cons:

  • Requires significant counter or storage space due to its size.
  • May not be suitable for smaller kitchens with limited space.

13. SHAQ Air Fryer

SHAQ Air Fryer Review

The SHAQ Air Fryer is a kitchen appliance that offers a healthier way to fry foods by using hot air instead of oil. With a 6-quart capacity, it can cook a variety of dishes like chicken and fries. It works by circulating hot air around the food, creating a crispy exterior while keeping the inside moist. Powered by a 1700-watt heating element, the SHAQ Air Fryer evenly distributes heat through a cyclonic air system, ensuring thorough cooking from all angles.

Pros:

  • Healthier frying alternative without sacrificing taste.
  • Easy to use and clean.
  • Spacious basket for cooking large portions.
  • Preserves texture and flavor of fried foods.
  • Stylish design options available.
  • Affordable with payment options for budget-conscious buyers.

Cons:

  • Food may turn out slightly dry at times.
  • Overcrowding the basket can affect cooking quality.
  • Requires careful monitoring due to high heat.
  • Cooking time may be longer compared to traditional frying methods.
  • Not ideal for cooking for large groups.
  • Requires adequate storage space in the kitchen.

To learn more, read the honest SHAQ Air Fryer review.

14. Emeril Lagasse French Door 360

Emeril Lagasse Everyday French Door 360 Air Fryer, 25-QT Capacity, Dual Temperture Zone cooks 2 different ways, Stainless Steel

The Emeril Lagasse French Door 360 is a cutting-edge countertop air fryer that simplifies cooking while enhancing flavor. It utilizes hot air circulation to cook food, eliminating the need for excessive oil. With powerful heating elements and high-speed fan blades, it ensures even cooking and crispy results. The appliance offers a variety of cooking functions, including air frying, roasting, baking, and dehydrating, catering to diverse culinary preferences.

Pros:

  • Healthier cooking without sacrificing taste.
  • Versatile functions for a range of recipes.
  • Generous cooking capacity suitable for families.
  • User-friendly design with transparent doors and easy cleaning.

Cons:

  • Requires counter space.
  • Learning curve for adjusting cooking techniques.

To learn more, read the honest Emeril Lagasse French Door 360 review.

What Is an Air Fryer?

An air fryer is like a super handy mini oven on your countertop. Its magic trick? A fan that circulates hot air around your food, cooking it, making it crispy, or even giving it a caramelized finish way faster than your regular toaster or conventional oven, which mostly use radiant heat.

At first, air fryers were known for being a healthy choice because they can make favorites like chicken wings and French fries with very little oil. Nowadays, they’re found in many kitchens, whether you want quick and easy meals or an oven/stovetop alternative for cooking for a group. Personally, I am using Emeril Lagasse French Door 360, which has become an important appliance in my kitchen.

How Air Fryers Work

Air fryers operate using a straightforward method:

  1. Heat Source and Fan: Most air fryers have a heat source at the top and a big fan. This duo is crucial for fast cooking.

  2. Hot Air Circulation: The fan inside the air fryer blows hot air around the food. This hot air cooks the food quickly, similar to convection ovens.

  3. Perforated Trays: Many air fryers have trays or baskets with holes to let air flow better. This ensures that the hot air reaches all parts of the food for even cooking.

  4. High-Temperature Cooking: Tests and recipes have shown that most foods turn out best when cooked at high temperatures, like 400°F (200°C), for shorter times. Small items usually don’t need flipping, but it can make them even better. For larger foods, turning them during cooking makes sure they cook evenly.

In short, air fryers create a hot cooking environment using a top heat source, a fan, and trays with holes. This allows them to cook a wide range of foods quickly.

Types of Air Fryers

When it comes to air fryers, there are a few different styles, but the main ones are basket-style (either single or dual baskets) and toaster oven-style (often with multiple functions and trays). Their performance can vary, and what matters most for good results is how well they circulate heat (convection power) and the size of the basket or tray.

We won’t say one type is better because it depends on your kitchen needs.

How to Choose an Air Fryer

When picking the perfect air fryer for your needs, remember these important factors:

  1. Style: Air fryers come in various styles, but we’ll focus on countertop models in this guide:

    • Basket-Style: These have a pull-out basket and work well for small quantities and foods you can shake, like fries and veggies.

    • Air Fryer Ovens: Slightly bigger, they can air fry on multiple shelves but might need food rotation.

    • Air Fryer Toaster Ovens: Versatile machines that can toast, bake, roast, broil, and even rotisserie, in addition to air frying.

    • Pressure Cookers with Air Frying: Some pressure cookers also air fry, along with other functions like rice cooking and slow cooking.

  2. Size: Think about how many people you usually cook for. A small air fryer (around 2 quarts) suits one to two people, while a bigger one is better for groups of three or more. Consider the types of foods you make, whether it’s a dozen egg rolls or single servings like salmon.

  3. Price: Air fryers come in different price ranges. Digital models are usually more expensive than mechanical ones, and stainless steel options often cost more than plastic ones. If you want an air fryer with extra functions like steaming or slow cooking, be prepared to pay more than basic air fryers.

What’s the Difference Between Air Fryer Styles?

Air fryers come in three main styles, each with its own features:

  1. Basket Style: These air fryers have evolved from their original round design to a more angular shape, offering more cooking space. For example, a 6-quart model of this type can easily hold a pound of chicken, making it great for families.

  2. Dual Basket Style: Introduced in 2021, these air fryers allow you to air fry two different foods at the same time with separate settings. They’re handy for making complete meals but need more countertop space.

  3. Air Fryer Toaster Ovens: These have improved over time and are versatile countertop ovens. They can do various cooking tasks like air frying, baking, roasting, toasting, reheating, dehydrating, broiling, and more. They have larger capacities for things like cake pans and casserole dishes, making them great for holiday cooking.

There are also air fryer lids for pressure cookers, but they don’t perform as well as standalone air fryers or air fryer toaster ovens, and their prices are often similar to budget-friendly air fryers.

What Size Air Fryer Do I Need?

The size of your ideal air fryer depends on your specific needs:

  • 1-2 People: If you’re cooking for one or two, a 2- to 3-quart air fryer should do the job.

  • 3-4 People: For families of three or four, a 5 to 6-quart air fryer is better for larger portions.

  • Larger Families or Gatherings: If you have a big family or often host gatherings, there are models with 10-quart capacities or more to satisfy everyone’s hunger.

Also, consider how you’ll use it. If you mainly cook small servings or side dishes, a slightly smaller model might be perfect for you.

What to Cook in Your Air Fryer

Air fryers work wonders with these foods:

  1. Frozen Foods: Things meant for the oven and typically frozen turn out great in an air fryer. The fast hot air circulation makes them wonderfully crispy, just like a convection oven. Don’t bother thawing; put frozen food straight in.

  2. Leftovers: Air fryers revive soggy leftovers like magic. They bring back a crispy outside and warm them up inside. So, yesterday’s dinner in the fridge? Give it a second life in the air fryer.

  3. Foods That Caramelize: If a dish benefits from caramelization, it’ll do great in an air fryer. Think juicy chicken wings or parsnip fries that get that sweet, caramelized goodness. Experts say it brings out their best.

But here’s a tip: avoid really wet batters in your air fryer. Unlike deep frying, where batter sets right away, the air fryer can struggle with wet batters and get messy.

Drawbacks of Using an Air Fryer

Air fryers are great for busy home cooks but have some limitations compared to regular ovens. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  1. Limited Capacity: Air fryers are smaller and hold less food than traditional ovens. For example, the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL can hold around 5.5 quarts of food, which is about 3 pounds of fries or wings. It’s good for a mid-size family. In contrast, an oven can handle multiple pans or dishes for larger quantities.

  2. Temperature Range: Ovens can reach higher temperatures than air fryers, giving you crispier results for things like pizza. Air fryers might not get things as crispy.

  3. Limited Cooking Options: Air fryers are versatile, but they can’t do everything an oven can. Ovens handle baking, roasting, broiling, and more.

In short, while air fryers are handy for reheating, low-oil crisping, baking, and roasting small items, they can’t fully replace traditional ovens. They’re still a useful addition to your kitchen tools.

How to Keep Your Air Fryer Clean and Fresh

To keep your air fryer running smoothly and free from unwanted odors or issues, follow this simple cleaning guide:

  1. Turn Off and Unplug: After each use, be sure to turn off your air fryer and unplug it for safety.

  2. Let It Cool: Allow the air fryer to cool down completely before you start cleaning.

  3. Dishwasher or Hand Wash: Check if the basket or tray is dishwasher safe. If it is, put it upside down on the top rack and run a cycle. If it’s not dishwasher safe or you don’t have a dishwasher, wash the removable parts in warm soapy water. Make sure to clean the vents and any tricky spots on the tray, being careful not to damage metal or nonstick surfaces. Rinse everything thoroughly and let it dry completely.

  4. Wipe Inside and Out: Use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe the inside of the air fryer, especially the fixed parts. Don’t forget to clean the outside of the machine too. Ensure everything is dry before plugging it in for your next use.

  5. Empty Drip Tray Properly: If your air fryer has a drip tray, empty any collected oil or grease. Don’t pour the oil down the sink; instead, put it in a sealable container or bag that you can safely dispose of when it’s full.

By following these steps and keeping your air fryer clean, you’ll ensure it works efficiently and stays odor-free for all your cooking adventures.

Toaster Oven Air Fryers vs. Basket-Style Air Fryers: Which One is Right for You?

When choosing an air fryer, you’ll encounter two main styles: basket-style and toaster oven-style. Each has its pros and cons. Here are some things to think about when deciding which one suits you best:

  1. Counter Space: Check how much counter space you have. Do you have room for a bigger appliance, or do you prefer something compact?

  2. Serving Size: Think about how many people you cook for. Is it just you or a family of five?

  3. Cooking Tasks: What will you mainly use it for? Quick frozen food like fries, or bigger tasks like roasting a whole chicken?

  4. Storage: Do you want to store it in a cabinet when not in use, or is it okay to keep it on the counter?

Toaster oven-style air fryers can also work as toasters, but they usually take up more counter space and are meant to stay on display. Smaller basket-style models can be stored away when not needed.

Considering these factors will help you choose the right style of air fryer for your cooking habits and kitchen setup.

Is Aluminum Foil Safe to Use in Your Air Fryer?

Yes, you can safely use aluminum foil in your air fryer without any worries. Unlike microwaves, air fryers don’t have a microwave element, so there’s no risk.

But think about what you’re cooking and how easy it is to clean up. Often, it’s better to leave the air fryer grates uncovered. This lets the hot air flow well for the best cooking.

Also, keeping foil away from greasy food helps it get super crispy. So, while you can use aluminum foil, it’s best to use it sparingly for the tastiest results.

Is Parchment Paper Safe to Use in Your Air Fryer?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe to use parchment paper in your air fryer. But there’s an important tip: never leave the paper inside while preheating. The strong airflow during preheating can push the paper into the heating element.

To use parchment paper well in your air fryer, you can get parchment paper made specifically for air fryers. It has little holes that let air through, helping with cooking and making cleanup easier. Always put something on top of the paper to keep it from blowing around due to the air.

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