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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.
We never accept free manufacturer samples; we use our own funds to purchase the same “off the shelf” products that you do. After we’ve put them through their paces in the BestReviews lab, we donate them to charity.
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.
Currently Executive Chef at Bon Appétit Management Company, Steve began his tenure with Bon Apetit as Chef de Partie. He has over ten years of experience, including tenures at two- and three-Michelin star restaurants. Steve is passionate about all things cooking – products, supply chain, management, menu design, and budgeting.
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.
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.
I would recommend cooking meat in an air fryer over something you want to turn out more crispy, like french fries.
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 of cooking with an air fryer:
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
The Philips Digital AirFryer with Rapid Air Technology comes with a cooking basket that can hold 2.65 pounds of food. The machine's generous 2,100 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.
Here’s a look at the cons of cooking with an air fryer:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
GoWISE USA 4th Generation Electric Air Fryer
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.
Here are some other reasons why people are replacing deep frying with other cooking methods:
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.
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.
Though inexpensive air fryers are available, we didn't find a model in the $50 to $80 range that we could recommend. But spend a little more, and the competition grows fierce. The Cozyna Air Fryer is one of several good machines that won't break the bank. At 3.2 liters (3.38 quarts), it's fractionally smaller than the 3.5-quart U.S. size, but it makes little difference, and a 5-liter version is also available. This product has earned plenty of positive remarks, but fault reports — including baskets not fitting properly and temperature fluctuations — exceeded our benchmarks.
The Avalon Bay Air Fryer is in the same class as the Cozyna, and like the Cozyna, it holds 3.2 liters. We like the inclusion of a baking dish and rack and the fact that buyers have several color choices. Initial performance is adequate if not exceptional, but a closer look at owner feedback reveals problems with rust on the interior and poor longevity.
For similar money, you can get the Secura 1,500-watt, 4-liter air fryer. This comes with an additional toaster rack, skewers, and a non-stick coated basket. However, while the cooking guides on the front of the machine are clear, the numbers around the timer and temperature controls are tiny. This is a minor gripe, but the Secura goes head-to-head with the GoWISE USA, and the latter is a better choice.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
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, a double-layer rack to maximize cooking surface, and dishwasher-safe parts.
The Gourmia GAF420 has a 4.5-quart capacity, which certainly is impressive for the price. It also has a good selection of one-touch presets and a clear LED. The problem here is build quality. It doesn't feel like it's made to last, and customers agree.
DeLonghi has an excellent reputation, and their FH1363 MultiFry is a top machine. Most owners love theirs. Frustrations are minor: the built-in paddle isn't as good as hoped; the machine is rather complicated; the plastic top grows very hot. We do like it, but at this end of the price range, a contender has to beat out the Philips XL, and the DeLonghi doesn't.
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.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.