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An air fryer cooks food with hot air instead of oil, making it a very healthy appliance to have in the kitchen. The best air fryers on the market are durable and dependable with features that address everyday cooking demands.
If you’re looking to buy an air fryer — and you’d like some advice about what constitutes a good one and which products to consider — you’ve come to the right place. At BestReviews, we perform extensive research and interview experts in order to determine which products sit at the top of the market.
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Please continue reading this shopping guide to learn more about this useful cooking appliance. And when you’re ready to make a purchase, please refer to our product matrix, above, for our endorsement of the top five air fryers on today’s market.
An air fryer combines several different cooking methods in one convenient appliance.
Nina is a longtime gourmet chef, interior designer/decorator, and events planner. She has accomplished all of this in addition to maintaining a stellar career as a healthcare executive, where she helps alter the course of people’s lives via preventive care and healthy living. Nina’s hobbies include learning new recipes, planning and executing amazing dinners to impress local chefs, and hiking around the world.
To work their magic, air fryers typically require between 800 and 2,100 watts of power. Before you buy an air fryer, make sure your kitchen outlet can support this kind of wattage.
Another important pre-purchase consideration is an air fryer's capacity. Most fryers can cook between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds of food at a time. This capacity would probably suffice in most households, but your personal circumstances might be different.
The Philips Digital AirFryer with Rapid Air Technology comes with a cooking basket that can hold 1.76 pounds of food. The machine's generous 1,425 watts of power allows it to cook food quickly. Owners tend to like the food quality they achieve with this air fryer, although some say they wish it had a larger capacity.
The GoWISE USA 8-in-1 Electric Air Fryer can cook up to 3.7 quarts of food at a time. This generous cooking space can accommodate everything from cakes to a big batch of French fries. It’s sufficiently propelled by 1,500 watts of power, but at least one owner told us that the appliance cooks food a bit too fast, often burning it in the process.
Open the air fryer basket every 5 to 10 minutes and shake the contents around. This prevents foods like chips and fries from compressing.
One of the T-Fal ActiFry's standout characteristics is its large capacity. This fryer can accommodate 2.2 pounds of food, which is pretty significant, especially for larger families. With 1,450 watts of power, the T-Fal can cook multiple servings at once. For example, you could easily whip up two pounds of French fries — enough to feed a family of four or more. One criticism we encountered during our research is that soft foods don't always cook as well as harder foods in this machine.
The Kalorik Convection Air Fryer has a large cooking capacity of 4.2 quarts. With that amount of space, it's easy to prepare everything from a whole chicken to baked potatoes, French fries, and onion rings. This appliance requires 1,230 watts of power to operate.
Cooking oil helps form a crispy outer layer. This crispiness is often associated with deep fried food, but air fried varieties contain far less oil.
Most air fryers are relatively compact and easy to fit on a kitchen counter. But despite their straightforward design, some air fryers have settings that may be more or less appealing to you. Most machines include timers and can reach at least 360° Fahrenheit. We prefer those that stretch a bit higher than that.
The Philips' digital touch interface lets users easily adjust temperature, which can climb up to 390°F. Cord storage is located at the bottom of the appliance, saving space without cluttering the counter. Because this unit is a bit large and "clunky," people with cramped kitchens and tight cabinets may have difficulty finding a place for it.
The GoWISE fits nicely on most kitchen counters and offers temperature control between 176° and 392°F, a range that’s sufficient for food items large and small. Its timer reaches up to 30 minutes, allowing plenty of cooking time for most dishes. A user note: after "pausing" the machine, time and temperature must be reset. If you don't do this, you could end up cooking your food at the wrong temperature or for too long.
The oversized air chamber of an air fryer is a necessary design element, but for people with limited counter space, it could present a challenge. Some products are smaller than others; the GoWISE air fryer is better for limited kitchen space.
The T-Fal ActiFry includes a digital countdown timer/buzzer that lets you know when your food is ready. A single on/off button controls the temperature, which remains constant throughout the cooking process to ensure even results. Although we like the ActiFry's generous cooking capacity, this machine is a bit bulky and can take up precious counter space, especially in smaller kitchens. Some users also complain that the timer doesn't always turn off automatically.
The Kalorik Air Fryer's temperature can be adjusted up to 400°F. Because of this adjustability, owners can cook smaller and more delicate items at low heat as well as larger portions that demand high heat. This appliance comes with a 60-minute timer (long enough for most meals) and a convenient auto-shutoff feature.
There is no doubt that air fryers serve a multitude of purposes in the kitchen, from creating an oil-less version of fried foods to steaming vegetables to baking cupcakes and brownies. But an air fryer does have its limitations and drawbacks.
Here’s a look at the pros and cons of cooking with an air fryer:
If you’re cooking a meal with an air fryer, plan your time accordingly. It can take up to twice as long for foods to reach a satisfying level of crispness in an air fryer.
Many air fryers use just a small amount of oil, but some health-conscious consumers might opt for a completely oil-free fryer. “Multipurpose” air fryers can cook two or more types of food at once. Other features you might be interested in include digital programmable settings, rapid-cook technology, and nonstick surfaces.
One of the Philips' greatest features is the taste of the food it prepares. This fryer cooks French fries and other items that, despite a 70% reduction in fat, taste delicious. Food cooks evenly and quickly thanks to Rapid Air technology, a unique design on the bottom of the unit that evenly distributes hot air. Even after reaching high temperatures, the Philips' stay-cool handles are easy to grab with bare hands. Other notable features include a simple, touch-screen interface, fast and efficient warm-up before cooking, a double-layer rack to maximize cooking surface, and dishwasher-safe parts.
This machine comes with several handy cooking presets: warm-up, cake, chips, steak, chicken, meat, and fish. A large LCD display makes it easy to see and choose from these presets. Other features include an automatic standby mode, safety features like overheat protection and automatic shut-off, and GoWISE's Rapid Air Circulation system.
Unlike some of the other products on our shortlist, a segment of T-Fal ActiFry owners told us that food cooked in this appliance does not have that coveted "deep fried" taste. The T-Fal does offer some nice features, though, including an on/off switch, digital countdown timer/buzzer, dishwasher-safe parts, colorful recipe book, and a transparent, steam-free lid. Like other fryers on our shortlist, the T-Fal prepares low-fat foods that require little to no oil, including vegetables, risotto, meats, and seafood.
The Kalorik's halogen heating system makes cooking even more precise than some other models, ensuring fast and accurate cooking times for a variety of foods. This fryer comes with a viewing monitor so you can see what's happening inside the appliance. Satisfied owners tell us Kalorik food is crisp on the outside and moist on the inside.
In an air fryer, superheated air is forced to the bottom of the food chamber by a fan. It then travels upward through the food and back into the fan for recirculation.
Air fryer prices commonly begin above the $100 mark. However, the best of these appliances make up for their high price tags with efficient frying and easy cleanup. Budget-conscious consumers can definitely find fryers in their price range, as can those who are looking for a high-end model.
A price tag of $249 makes the Philips AirFryer one of our most expensive options. For the money, this fryer offers an impressive blend of features and quality performance, including a digital touch screen interface that lets you set the temperature up to 390°F and a double-layer rack that maximizes cooking surface area. We particularly like how the fryer uses little to no oil, requiring one tablespoon at most per meal. One drawback for people with smaller kitchens/limited space is the fact that this deluxe machine is rather large and bulky.
Given all of the features that it offers, the GoWISE is an exceptional deal at just $225. This fryer features Rapid Air Circulation technology for low-fat cooking, a 2.5-quart cooking capacity, and eight cooking presets. The temperature control, which ranges from 176° to 392°F degrees, accommodates most of your cooking needs. However, some owners mention that the accompanying timer, which reaches up to 30 minutes, does not always offer enough time for thorough cooking.
At $166, the ActiFry is a decent deal. Highlights include a 2.2-pound cooking capacity, dishwasher safe parts, and the ability to deliver low-fat meals using little to no oil. The product comes with a colorful recipe book, but some owners say they would have liked a more comprehensive recipe source. Also, this fryer has been criticized by some for not producing the "crispy" results that other air fryers do.
The Kalorik Convection Air Fryer, at $150, is another affordable option on our shortlist, and it offers more cooking space (4.2 quarts) than some other models. Like all of the air fryers on our shortlist, this machine promotes cooking without the use of oil. Convection air cooks and fries food easily and precisely, and the viewing monitor lets you keep an eye on your food as it cooks.
Once upon a time, deep frying foods in either animal or vegetable oil was an economic way for people to prepare meals communally. The hot oil could penetrate meats and vegetables better than boiling water, and it added its own unique flavor.
As air fryers grow in popularity, it’s important to understand the reasons why traditional deep frying has become an “issue” with many health-conscious cooks.
First off, the amount of saturated fat contained in lard and other animal fats is high. Diets rich in saturated fats can lead to arterial clogging, which in turn can lead to strokes and heart disease, according to some medical sources.
Here are some other reasons why people are replacing deep frying with other cooking methods:
Most air fryers don’t need to be preheated. The cooking process starts when you place the loaded cooking basket in the chamber and select your preferred cooking time and temperature.
The Philips Digital AirFryer's outstanding features and reliable results earn it our "Best of the Best" award. Yes, it’s an expensive air fryer, but in the case of the Philips, you get what you pay for.
High customer ratings, coupled with numerous handy features and a history of durability, make this air fryer a useful addition to any kitchen. We particularly like the double-layer rack that maximizes cooking surface and the digital touchscreen that allows you to adjust temperature up to 390°F. What's more, when you're done preparing your food, dishwasher safe parts make cleanup easy and quick, allowing you to sit back and enjoy your meal.
Speaking of food, the Philips has a knack for producing delicious, delectable sustenance without the added calories and fat of fried food. According to the manufacturer, total fat content is reduced up to 70% when prepared in this appliance. Best of all, customers tell us that air-fried Philips food has the taste and texture of fried food — but without the guilt! If you're looking for an appliance that will assist you in creating scrumptious, healthy recipes, you can't do better than the Philips Digital AirFryer.
Even if your air fryer is dishwasher safe, as are the Philips and T-fal products in our matrix, you should never expose the electrical components of your air fryer to water.
A generous mix of features and positive performance ratings prompt us to give the GoWISE USA 8-in-1 Electric Air Fryer our "Best Bang for Your Buck" award. You get a lot from this machine for an appealing price. The GoWISE can handle everything from meat to vegetables, and best of all, its cooking method keeps you eating healthy without sacrificing delicious taste and food quality.
With the GoWISE's Rapid Air Circulation technology, you get the taste and texture of fried food without the added fat and calories. You can also opt to grill, roast, or bake food with this appliance; it's a versatile addition to any kitchen. And while it's true that a few discerning customers told us they don't like the taste of air-fried food, most people we surveyed find the GoWISE to be an excellent cooking solution.
The GoWISe includes several important safety features, including a removable pan with a cool-touch handle, overheat protection, and automatic shutoff. When you consider the attention to detail the manufacturer has given this product — great taste, healthy food prep, safety features, and a low price to boot — it's hard to deny that the GoWISE USA 8-in-1 Electric Air Fryer is the best budget-friendly air fryer on the market today.
You can bake a cake in an air fryer. All you need is batter, a pan, a little oil, and a little time.
Q: What if I need to add a seasoning or ingredient to a dish? Can I remove the cooking basket?
A: It depends on the model, so consult your owner's manual to be certain. Many air fryers do allow you to pull out the basket during the cooking cycle in order to stir the product or add seasoning. The unit should shut off automatically if it has this feature.
Q: Can I cook more than one food item at the same time?
A: Many models offer dividers which keep different food items separate during a cooking cycle. We recommend only combining foods with similar prep times or temperatures to avoid overcooking or undercooking.
Q: Can I cook frozen meats or vegetable in an air fryer?
A: Yes, in most cases you can prepare meats and vegetables from a frozen state in an air fryer. The superheated air and convection action draw excess moisture to an exhaust port, so frozen foods won't become mushy from unwanted steaming. It is important to keep in mind that cooking times may be extended considerably when starting from frozen.
Q: Can I use aluminum foil or other baking paper in an air fryer?
A: Since air fryers do not use microwave technology, you can safely use aluminum foil or metal containers. Parchment paper will also work in an air fryer. The important thing to remember is that the superheated air requires free circulation to work. Food wrappers should not block the natural flow of hot air around the cooking chamber.