Why buy an air fryer?
Air fryers 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 salmon and other proteins, prep those delicious Thanksgiving side dishes, 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 look out 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.
|The Best Kitchen Gadgets|
|Air Fryers | Toaster Ovens | Hand Mixers | Electric Tea Kettles | Milk Frothers | Slow Cookers | Waffle Makers | Garlic Presses | Rice Cookers | Jar Openers | Kitchen Scales | Immersion Blenders | Stand Mixer Attachments | Citrus Juicers | Sous Vide Cookers|
COSORI Air Fryer Oven Combo
Experience a versatile cooking solution with this 12-in-1 air fryer that offers a wide temperature range for air frying up.
Pros: This air fryer/oven combo boasts versatile cooking options with 12-in-1 functionality and a wide temperature range (100 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit), allowing for healthier meals with up to 85% less oil needed. It also features a large capacity and includes extra accessories, including a crumb tray and two dehydrating racks, for added convenience. The nonstick coating and dishwasher-safe accessories make cleaning easy, while smart control through a smartphone app and voice assistants provide added convenience. Additionally, a support group for recipes and tips is available for those who want to expand their cooking options.
Cons: You may experience issues with the airfryer/oven door not properly closing or removing the fryer basket or shelves, while others have found the basket design to be awkward. Cooking times and temperatures may also need to be adjusted from recipes meant for general air fryers, and there is limited visibility into cooking progress without opening the door. Some also thought the manual was unhelpful in regards to finding recipes and learning how to use the product.
Bottom Line: Overall, this air fryer oven offers a convenient and healthy cooking solution with a range of features and options to fit a variety of needs. Even with potential issues concerning visibility or the basket and shelves, this air fryer still offers a range of features, temperatures, and options for convenient and healthy cooking.
CHEFMAN Compact Air Fryer
This compact yet effective air fryer won't take up more than its fair share of room on the countertop.
Pros: This compact Chefman air fryer has surprisingly versatile cooking options that make it perfect for simple dishes like fries, frozen snacks, and roasting vegetables. It’s ideal for single people or small families and heats up quickly, both thanks to its small size. It also has a quick cooking time and is one of the more affordable air fryers out there, especially for the value it provides. This model comes with a smartphone app for extra recipes and tips, something that anyone who has never owned an air fryer will particularly appreciate.
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. Additionally, the timer knob can be difficult to read, and it doesn’t have precise temperature settings, making it challenging to achieve the desired results. Some users have also reported issues with the drawer getting stuck or the handle falling off.
Bottom Line: At such a low price, it’s safe to say that this Chefman air fryer 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.
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.