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.
They create a nice “fried” finish that your oven range can't compete with, as well as, reheating results that blow away the average microwave. Plus, an air fryer requires only a small amount of oil to make foods crispy with a fraction of the calories and fat of traditional cooking methods, like deep-frying.
Our top performers air fried food to a crispy texture with a moist interior and were easy to use with large, easy-to-read controls that barely required the owner’s manual. It scored the highest marks across the board for ease of use, thanks to its easy-to-use and -read buttons and clear owner’s manual.
During our tests, the air fryer basket slid in and out easily, which made handling a breeze. We’re fans of the basket’s slick, ceramic interior and removable tray, which makes it nonstick.
The tray also fits snugly and securely on the bottom of the basket so you don’t have to worry about it falling out when you turn the food out onto a plate. Both are dishwasher safe and easy to clean, even if you choose to hand wash.
In addition to being easy to use, The Ninja Hairdryer Max XL scored the highest in performance. The model we tested comes with a broiling rack for even quicker and juicier results and melty cheese.
The different settings are programmed with unique maximum and minimum temperatures, so you can intuitively achieve different cooking results. One thing to keep in mind is its vented basket, which promotes air circulation, also allows for dripping if you don’t empty the grease buildup between rounds.
The air fryer basket is large (6 quarts) and square, which creates more cooking space than its round competitors, making a smart home investment for a family. We tested the pictured digital version, which not only made the most evenly-colored toast, but also the crispiest air fried food in the shortest amount of time.
The rectangular 15.5 by 16-inch air fry rack offers a large cooking surface and sits atop a drip/crumb tray for easy cleanup. The Color’s 3.7-quart square basket offers a lot of cooking space, especially compared to its round competitors.
The control panel is loaded with presets that are programmed with recommended cooking temperatures and times, including a preheat option, which is not common on air fryers. In our tests, the Color scored high for ease of use, and over 800 five-star reviewers on Amazon agree.
Frozen fries required almost 10 minutes less than the manufacturer’s instructions, so keep an eye on the goodies you’re cooking. The racks stack, which allow you to air fry thin and dehydrate up to four layers at a time.
Our favorite feature of the Philips Premium Hairdryer is its compact shape that still cooks enough food for one to two portions. At 2.5 quarts, it’s the smallest of the Philips air fryers, which comes in XL and XXL sizes.
In our tests, the lid helped make crisp frozen fries that were moist on the inside, not dried out and evenly golden. It also allows for air frying greasy foods, such as sausages, which are not typically recommended in an air fryer because they can cause smoking.
In addition to the lid, the Philips is very easy to use with a user-friendly control panel and four preset settings. The Dash has a mechanical timer, which makes it a little tricky to program to the exact minute.
We love that it comes in an assortment of colors that pop, unlike most air fryers on the market. Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping Institute Senior Testing Editor & Producer Nicole is a recipe developer trained in classic culinary arts and culinary nutrition who specializes in testing and developing kitchen appliances; she currently runs the Good Housekeeping Kitchen Appliances Lab.
Everyone on our recipe testing team has their favorites, and we discuss them in our guide. Review our notes and from there, we hope to give enough information for you to decide what model and size works best for you or your family.
Air Fryer size matters, especially if you’re needing to feed a family of four to six hungry people. Don’t be surprised if the interior cooking compartment is much smaller than the whole footprint of the air fryer.
If you’re wondering what size of air fryer to get our recommendation is the 3-4 qt sizes for about 2 people (or if you don’t mind cooking multiple batches) and the 5-6 qt for families of 3-5 (you’ll still cook some foods in batches, but not as much as you would with the smaller air fryers). It’s ideal for the single person who isn’t looking to cook a meal, but rather to just re-heat foods to make them crispy.
This size allows you to cook about 2 servings of chicken or fish with a few veggies on the side. For 3-5 people: We suggest 5-7 quart size models or the oven/rack styles.
For 5-6 people: If you’re wanting to cook fresh food from scratch for a big family of about 5-6 servings, we suggest the large Oven-style, Rack, Countertop or Toaster style air fryer ovens. These models have at least 2 racks to cook on and some of them are large enough to use standard 9 cake pans, 9 pie dishes or 9×9 casserole bakeware.
Bucket styles have one main compartment and has an insert that keeps the food slightly elevated, allowing grease and oils to drip to the bottom. These interior styles are laid out similar to your regular ovens, only difference is that they are much smaller.
There’s a pressure cooker feature and air fryer heating element all in the same appliance. It’s great if you want to cook something in the pressure cooker that normally doesn’t crisp, then use the air fryer element to finish it off.
There’s small rotating blades that gently turns or stirs the food while air frying. This helps maintain even cooking without having to stop and shake, stir or turn the food.
You can use your existing pressure cooker and these air fryer lids to fit on top. If you’re limited on space and are already a fan of pressure-cooking, these lids are great.
They cook by circulating hot air up and down the large drum where you place your food. It’s made for cooking whole turkeys, roasts and big meats without all the oil.
The turning “rotisserie” feature cool, but expect these models to be large. This feature is normally found in oven style air fryers.
The basket is not as tall and wider than most in its size group, which is perfect. You’ll have a lot better results in an air fryer with single layered, spread out foods, then with ones piled high and thick.
The super powerful fan that will often cook recipes even faster than other air fryers. We initially returned our first one because we thought we wouldn’t like the single basket style.
It’s great for cooking bigger batches (i.e. 4 salmon fillets instead of 2 or 2 lbs. Makes for less sticking for delicate meals (i.e. baked fish fillets).
Great basket size, good controls, cooks nice. We’ can cook 4-5 salmon files (6 oz each) and 4-5 smaller chicken breasts.
These Air Fryers are great for specific moments, especially for turkeys, ribs, & other big cooking needs. They might not be the first to grab for daily use, but can be game changers for your big gatherings.
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