Air fryers have quickly become a must-have for quick eats due to their convenience and innovative cooking method. To some, the air fryer offers more than many traditional ovens could ever dream of. It combines a high-powered heat source and a speedy fan to evenly cook, fry, toast, and roast fresh and frozen foods such as chicken breasts, wings, french fries, veggies, and even delicious Thanksgiving side dishes.
If you’re in the market for a brand-new air fryer, you’ve come to the right place!
Why buy an air fryer?
If you’re looking for a quick and efficient way to cook food, air fryers are hard to beat. They outperform conventional ovens in terms of cooking speed thanks to their ability to circulate hot air so that they can evenly cook every nook and cranny of your meal. This allows air fryers to “fry” food while using minimal oil. They’re often a more effective way to cook appetizers like mozzarella sticks, french fries, and chicken tenders than the oven, though they’re not limited to classic fried foods by any means. They can be used to roast vegetables, cook chicken and other proteins, and even bake a cake. While a quality convection oven serves a similar purpose, you can often find a great air fryer at a fraction of the cost while saving precious space in your kitchen.
What should you look for in an air fryer?
- Interface: A good air fryer should be easy to operate on all fronts. The interfaces that you’ll find in air fryers are pretty evenly split between digital and button-knob-based ones. It’s the perfect battle between modern edge and simplicity. However, air fryers come easy to use as is, so you likely won’t go wrong in either direction.
- Cooking Capacity: A good air fryer should also offer ample space to cook as much food as needed. Most standard air fryers should offer you 3 to 5 quarts of food-cooking space. High-capacity air fryers can offer you over 10 quarts of cooking space, although it might cost you a pretty penny. It’s just a matter of considering your needs: Are you buying this for your first-year college student or for a family of four to six people?
- Unique Features: Multifaceted cooking settings and a space-saving design are two factors that can help add a ton of value to your air fryer. Kitchen appliances can be a pain to clean, so keep a lookout for dishwasher safe parts and easy-to-clean designs that will save you time and stress when dinner is finished.
Is purchasing a multifunctional air fryer worth the investment?
Many modern kitchen gadgets offer a wide range of functions, from air frying to pressure cooking and everything in between. These multifunctional kitchen appliances can be great for people who seek to maximize counter space, but they can be a hit-or-miss when it comes to some of their less-celebrated functions. However, they tend to be a great choice for people who haven’t already invested in many kitchen appliances. While you’ll spend more on a high-quality 10-in-1 air fryer than you would on a standard model, it’s hard to walk away from the long-term savings or the convenience that multifunctional air fryers provide.
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Cosori Air Fryer Max XL
This air fryer utilizes 85% less fat to cook your frozen or fresh foods with amazing results.
Pros: This Cosori air fryer sports an intuitive interface that takes very little explaining to get started, so you can get cooking in minutes. It’s also adept at cooking fresh and frozen goodies to perfection and is ideal for medium-sized families. Unlike many kitchen appliances, this model also features 13 handy preset options that actually work, so whether you plan to chow down on bacon or veggies, this air fryer has you covered.
Cons: While this air fryer exceeds expectations in terms of performance, it also comes with some minor design issues. Removing the basket when you’re finished cooking can be pretty difficult when you first start using this product, which can lead to spills. Thankfully, this is something that you’ll likely get the hang of fairly quickly. Additionally, although this product features dishwasher safe materials, they can be tricky and time-consuming to wash by hand.
Bottom Line: In terms of capacity and air frying quality, this is one of the very best options at its price range. Despite its larger capacity, it’s also fairly compact, meaning you probably won’t have to stress out about finding a home for it in your kitchen.
DASH Tasti-Crisp™ Electric Air Fryer
This compact yet effective air fryer won't take up more than its fair share of room on the countertop.
Pros: The Dash Tasti-Crisp™ Air Fryer is the perfect size for a small apartment or cluttered kitchen and comes in some really cute shades for people who desire a pop of color. The compact size will fit even the smallest kitchens, it’s easy to tuck away into a drawer or cupboard, and it’s nice and lightweight for greater portability. The dual-dial design is incredibly simple to use. Just set the separate timer and temperature dials as needed, and you’re ready to rock and roll. Despite its compact size, this air fryer can crisp your favorite treats with the best of them and even comes equipped with an auto-shutoff feature for added safety. And the price is much lower than those of its larger cousins, so it won’t break the bank either.
Cons: Unless your household consists of only one or two people, you’ll probably find that this air fryer isn’t large enough for your needs. If you’re making more than a single serving, you’ll likely have to air fry your food in several batches.
Bottom Line: At such a low price, it’s safe to say that this product delivers where it really counts, especially for single-serving meals. It’s a great choice for limited kitchen space, college dorms, or RVs and campers. However, even if you live alone, you might want to consider a larger option if you entertain a lot or prefer to cook large quantities of food for leftovers to eat the next day.
The higher price is reflected in this air fryer's great power and cooking capacity.
Pros: In terms of versatility, this is a product that can’t be topped. Even thicker cuts of meat, where air fryers usually falter, are fast and easy to prepare. This is because you can seamlessly switch between the pressure cooking setting and the air fryer function to ensure that your meal is thoroughly cooked, with delectable crispiness left on the outside. This device will likely make some of your other kitchen appliances redundant, leaving you with more counter space after all is said and done.
Cons: As a result of its versatility, the Foodi can be a little daunting to get started with, especially for people who have never used a pressure cooker or air fryer. Also, since the air fryer lid is permanently attached, this device takes up more vertical space than you might imagine, making it difficult to use under cabinets or in other tight spots.
Bottom Line: For people who haven’t yet started filling out their kitchen with specialty appliances, this 10-in-1 unit works miracles. For a product that isn’t billed as an air fryer, its air frying functionality is incredibly hard to beat. However, people who already have an Instant Pot or who lack vertical space in their kitchen might find the Foodi to be a little much, both in terms of size and cost.
NuWave Brio Large Capacity Air Fryer
Featuring loads of cooking capacity, a rotisserie kit, and dishwasher safe stainless steel inserts, this air fryer is as user-friendly as it is versatile.
Pros: This air fryer sports an integrated temperature probe, so you can feel confident when air frying thick cuts of meat. Its grilling functionality also works well, making it a great choice for people who lack outdoor grill space. In terms of size, this is a great choice for large families who prepare a lot of food at once. (Don’t worry, though, the internal components are all dishwasher safe.) Its rotisserie functionality also works like a charm and can help ensure even cooking in a way that most other air fryers can’t.
Cons: This air fryer is on the delicate side, so it isn’t a model that you would want your young children messing with. However, when used with care and patience, it should be just fine. It also cooks food somewhat slower than expected, so it’s important to pay close attention to your food and possibly deviate from the cooking times found in air fryer recipes and cookbooks.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for something that combines a large cooking capacity with plenty of unique functionality, then this model is your best bet. Its multi-level design is also ideal for people who want a product that can cook multiple foods at once. However, if durability is a key factor for your air fryer, there are heavy-duty options on the market that you’ll likely want to consider.
Instant Pot Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven
An air fryer sporting the functionality of several kitchen devices in a single package.
Pros: This model may look like a classic air fryer, but it’s essentially six different kitchen appliances in one. With the ability to roast, bake, broil, reheat, and dehydrate in addition to its air fryer setting, this is a very versatile appliance. It’s essentially an air fryer, small oven, microwave, and food dehydrator all in a single device. This air fryer also scores points for its easy-to-learn interface. Each separate function is separately and clearly marked by different buttons, as are the temperature, time, start, and cancel buttons. If the 6-quart model isn’t big enough for you or your family’s needs, there are three larger sizes available plus a dual basket model so you can cook two different foods at once without them overlapping; for instance, you can air fry meat and vegetables at the same time without getting raw meat juice on your veggies. And the basket and tray are both dishwasher safe to boot.
Cons: Although this is a nice option for families and singles alike, several users noted that the air fryer had an odd chemical-like smell when first opened. You may have to clean the entire appliance a few times before it goes away. And while the touch panel is quite clearly marked, it can be a bit finicky at times. You may have to press the buttons a few times before they register.
Bottom Line: With its wide array of functionality and the type of quality from the same company that invented the Instant Pot, there’s a lot to love about this highly functional air fryer. If you don’t own or are willing to let go of the other kitchen appliances that it will make redundant, it’ll save you a good chunk of countertop space as well.
A cluttered kitchen can be a stressful place, especially when it’s filled to the brim with appliances that rarely get used. If you make a smart choice when selecting an air fryer, you likely won’t regret your purchase. Whether your decision to buy is based on health considerations, convenience, or saving space with a multifunctional model, there are plenty of great air fryers out there that would make a worthy addition to your kitchen counter.