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 traditional ovens could ever dream of. It combines a high-powered heat source and a speedy fan to evenly cook, fry, 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 definitely 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 also allows air fryers to efficiently “fry” food while using minimal oil. 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 big family?
- 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 balk at the long-term savings or the convenience that multifunctional air fryers provide.
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 on healthy 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 handwash.
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 that you probably won’t have to stress out about finding space for it in your kitchen. While some finer points of its design can use some tweaking, this does little to subtract from its value based on how well it performs its primary function.
Dash Compact Air Fryer
This air fryer sports basic dial controls to keep the cooking process simple. It also features auto-shutoff functionality for added safety.
Pros: The Dash Compact Air Fryer is the perfect size for a small apartment or cluttered kitchen and comes in some really cute styles for people who desire a pop of color. Its dual-dial design is incredibly simple to use. Just set the timer and temperature dial, 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.
Cons: Unless your household consists of one or two people, you’ll probably find that this air fryer isn’t large enough for your needs. For two very hungry people, you can probably expect to air-fry your food in several batches due to its limited capacity. Additionally, the timer isn’t as accurate as modern digital alternatives, so meals with precise air-frying instructions will have to be given extra care to ensure that they turn out just right.
Bottom Line: At such a low price, it’s safe to say that this product delivers where it really counts. However, even if you live alone, you might want to consider a larger option if you tend to entertain a lot or prefer to cook large quantities of food to ensure that there are 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 the yard or outdoor grill space. In terms of size, this is a great choice for large families who tend to 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.
Cuisinart Air Fryer
Sporting the functionality of an air fryer, toaster oven, and convection oven, this appliance offers a lot of versatility in a compact package.
Pros: With the ability to air-fry, toast, bake, and broil in addition to its convection settings, this is a very versatile appliance for the price. Due to its compact design, it will also likely save space on your counter, assuming that you’re willing to let go of the appliances that it will make redundant. This air fryer also scores points for its easy-to-learn interface. It’s an amazing alternative to the microwave for reheating leftovers without leaving them soggy and unappetizing. For people who love toast with their breakfast, it delivers this well and quickly.
Cons: Although this is a nice option for small families and singles, many might find this product to be too small to meet their needs. Additionally, due to its compact size, you might need to frequently remove or reshuffle the interior trays in order to adequately fit your meal inside. This air fryer also tends to cook hot and (like most convection ovens) isn’t a model for set-it-and-forget-it cooks.
Bottom Line: With its wide array of functionality and the type of quality that most associate with Cuisinart appliances, there’s a lot to like about this product. While large families or big eaters can likely find a larger option at around this air fryer’s price range, people who haven’t invested in an air fryer or toaster oven yet will find that this little gem offers a lot of value in their kitchen.
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, however, 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.