That represents a tenfold increase in two years, according to the market research firm NPD Group. A fan circulates hot air to quickly cook food in the basket from the outside in.
In the lab, more than two dozen models in our air fryer ratings turned out nicely cooked food, though staffers who sampled the results weren't fooled into thinking they were deep-fried. “Even when we held cooking times and temperatures constant, the results were very similar, with no discernible differences in taste,” says Caught.
“The real difference among air fryers comes down to convenience, so we designed our tests around that.” We evaluate capacity, how easy the controls are to read and use, noise levels, and how much elbow grease it takes to clean a model.
Here's a roundup of the six bestir fryers from CR's latest tests, listed alphabetically (not by rank order). It can slow down cooking and keep air from reaching all the food, giving you uneven results.
CR's take: The shape of the Elite Platinum EAF-1506D air fryer makes it seem bigger than it is; its measured capacity is 3.4 quarts. The dials are fairly easy to read and use, but the nooks and crannies of the food basket make it tough to clean.
Its touch buttons and programmed settings are among the easiest to see and use, earning an Excellent rating in our assessment. The exterior’s crevices and the basket’s nooks and crannies take some effort to clean, however.
CR's take: Testers found that the 3-quart Ninja AF100's electronic controls with preprogrammed settings were also among the easiest to see and use, earning a rating of Excellent in our assessment of them. Like the bigger Nu Wave, the Trio has electronic controls with preprogrammed settings that are among the easiest to see and use of the tested air fryers, earning an Excellent rating.
CR’s take: The Nu Wave 37001 air fryer boasts a measured capacity of 5.8 quarts. This air fryer is on the noisy side, earning only a Good rating in our noise tests.
It has 15 different cooking functions and room to fit a 13-inch inch pizza, so you can either make a meal from scratch, or crisp up leftovers in no time. It cooks quickly, thoroughly and is small enough that if you’re low on counter space, you won’t feel as though the fryer is adding any clutter.
Best for game day If you’re looking to dish up some Buffalo wings or cauliflower bites (or fries, obviously), the Ninja Max XL is certainly the way to go. It has a large basket that can handle big batches of game day grub for your hungry crowd, and the ceramic interior and removable tray make cleanup a breeze.
One of the more high-tech options comes from Color, whose large-volume air fryer has 11 preset cooking modes that can add crunch to anything from brussels sprouts to mozzarella sticks. The Color can be linked to your smartphone via mobile app, which provides you with cooking alerts, timers and reminders to shake up your frying basket when needed.
Rather than relying on digital displays and preset buttons, the Dash fryer leverages manual settings, which are very easy to use. The single knob design coupled with the rounded profile makes for an aesthetically pleasing appliance but because it’s fully manual, you’ll have to pay extra attention to timing.
Best for complete meals While we’ve established that I could (and do) eat fries as an entire meal, for folks who are interested in using their air fryers for a main dish, the Secure 3.4-quart Electric Hairdryer has the multitasking abilities you need. It also has a grilling function, which allows you to make a juicy steak to serve alongside those onion rings you crisped to perfection.
Even if you’re completely new to the air frying game, it’s hard to mess up with this appliance. Most air fryers will require you to do some amount of shaking or flipping of the basket during the cooking process, which means that you have to do some babysitting.
The unique ring shape of the cooker also comes with built-in stirring capabilities, which means that once you’ve set this fryer, you can literally forget about it until you’re ready to eat. And if you want to check on the progress of your food, the see-through lid lets you keep tabs on the crispiness of your fries.
We evaluated each air fryer by making frozen, store-bought French fries, bone-in, skin-on chicken breast and prepared yellow cake from a mix to determine if the machine browned food well on the outside by the time it cooked inside and produced crispy texture on the outside. Extras like how aesthetically-pleasing the models were, how much noise they made while cooking, and how cumbersome they were to interact with were also measured as tiebreakers to separate the best machines from the regular does.
The result is that you get that crispy finish to your food, but it’s a healthier process, and you don’t have a vat of hot oil to clean up afterwards. Air fryers are brilliant but one of the biggest issues with them is that you can usually only cook at one temperature or setting at a time.
There are options to air fry, max crisp (a 240C turbo setting), roast, reheat, dehydrate or bake. Performance is excellent across the board, delivering crispy chips, succulent burgers and perfectly cooked corn.
The Ninja Hairdryer Max AF160UK is completely different, as this model is family-sized, designed to cook for multiple people fast. Cheaper air fryers can suffer from poor cooking and a lack of room, but the Tower 4.3L Manual Hairdryer avoids both of these pitfalls.
You’ll need to remember to shake and turn chips regularly to prevent this issue. What’s good about this budget machine is that the 3.2-litre basket means that there’s room inside for larger items: we managed to cook three chicken legs to perfection.
Spend more and you can get machines that cook faster and more evenly, but the benefit of this model is that it’s well priced and does a good job. The Ninja Food 6L Multi-Cooker OP300UK is designed to save space and acts as a pressure cooker, grill and air fryer all-in-one.
On the air crisp setting, we cooked our potato wedges, and ended up with them having a nice crispy finish and soft and fluffy inside. Thanks to the 6-litre capacity, we could even cook an entire chicken inside, taking roughly half the time of traditional oven.
The downside of the Ninja Food 6L Multi-Cooker OP300UK is its size and price; however, if you’re already thinking about buying a pressure cooker and an air fryer, this model gives you everything you need in one package. The oven can also employ its Element IQ tech to direct power where it’s needed to eliminate cold spots in food.
In practice, it worked perfectly, leaving us with evenly cooked home chips that had a crispy outside and fluffy inside. And, the size the oven means that you can use it for larger items, including chicken legs or even an entire pizza.
Comparatively expensive, this model won’t be for everyone, but its unique design lends itself to foods that other air fryers can’t even think about. While you’ll get similar results for most food, air fryers aren’t very good when it comes to wet batters, such as for fish and chips.
Some air fryers have optional basket separators, which let you cook different foods at the same time. Some models even have muffin or cake trays, although you’ll probably find it easier to just use a regular oven.
A larger basket also upgrades what you can cook, with some models even managing an entire chicken. Starting life on the consumer PC press back in 1998, David has been at the forefront of technology for the past 20 years.
The most popular models have a capacity from 4 to 6 quarts, which can fit an entire chicken or two pounds of fries. Names like Philips, Ninja and Seville have strong long-standing reputations in the general appliance market, and air fryers in particular.
Some people want a single gadget to replace multiple appliances, some want an air fryer for a very specific task, and some simply want to try out different things to cook using one. The dedicated air fryer with a drawer-style cooker, reminiscent of the original invention from Philips, is still the most common design.
Something to keep in mind, though, is that the fan on many models may be so powerful it can ruin an attempt at baking or making sauces. An air fryer ’s fan-cooking approach is intended for toasting and browning food, similar to the classic toaster oven.
Not so long ago, revamped multifunctional pressure cookers like the Instant Pot revolutionized fast and simple hands-free cooking. They’re normally intended to use jointly to broil or brown food that you’ve prepared with the pressure cooker.
According to reviews, these devices produce great results on dishes like roasted chicken and BBQ ribs, and don’t sacrifice much for the sake of multi-functionality. Here are our picks in some different categories of air fryer you’ll find, from dedicated models to the multipurpose versions.
To start, we focused on the specs, including price-to-size ratio, brand reliability, and proprietary features. The brand has a longstanding reputation for making durable, high- quality small appliances for the kitchen, so buyers can feel good about their purchase.
It may sound disappointing that the capacity is only 4 quarts, but the XXL maximizes that space with a square basket that makes it easy to brown multiple items evenly at the same time. Since cooking that much food requires more power, the Advance uses a bit more energy than regular fryers, helping it maintain heat better as well.
And unlike other models offered for similar low prices, which are usually entirely made of plastic, the Gourmet has a stainless steel exterior to protect it from fingerprints, scratches, and cracks. There have been some complaints about the Teflon pot affecting taste, but overall, the Gourmet delivers even, consistent cooking at a low price.
Combining an air fryer with a pressure cooker seems like a no-brainer, and both Instant Pot Duo Pro Crisp model and Ninja Food series do just that. Both machines can do everything a top pressure multi-cooker does (steaming, slow cooking, even yogurt-making), in addition to the air fryer functions.
However, due to its power, relatively low price for its size, and its ceramic-coated pot, Ninja takes the edge here. Or you can insert the basket and use it solely as an air fryer to make fries, French toast, or even a whole chicken.
This product is an oven first, it’s a more than capable air fryer due to the six separate heaters controlled by Element IQ (which distributes heat), plus what Seville calls a super convection fan. And thanks to its width, it makes the best use of the oven-style advantages: single-layer food distribution to avoid soggy fries trapped in the middle.
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