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Best Air Fryers

Updated October 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 88 Models Considered
  • 49 Hours Researched
  • 2 Experts Interviewed
  • 238 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best air fryers

    Last Updated October 2018

    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.

    How it works

    An air fryer combines several different cooking methods in one convenient appliance.

    • An electric coil suspended above the food provides radiant heating, much like a broiler element or stovetop burner. This dry heat penetrates the food and warms it internally.
    • Meanwhile, a fan positioned above the coil creates a current of superheated air that flows around and under the food. This is convection heating, a cooking method often found in commercial ovens.
    • The convection action converts the small amount of oil you use into a fine mist that coats the food as it circulates. This action mimics the effect traditional deep frying has on foods submerged in hot cooking oil.
    • As the hot air flows, the food's own moisture creates the steam needed to finish the cooking process.
    Steve
    EXPERT CONSULTANT

    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.


    Steve  |  Executive Chef

    Wattage and capacity

    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.

    How to make chicken drumsticks in an air fryer

    How to Make Chicken Wings in an Air Fryer

    Size and settings

    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.

    Steve
    Executive Chef

    Pros and cons of air fryers

    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:

    • Pro: An air fryer produces crisp, moist food without the need for a deep fryer or large amounts of oil. If avoiding saturated fats and heavily fried foods is on your list of dietary priorities, then using an air fryer instead of a deep oil fryer is clearly the way to go.
    • Pro: Air fryers are much easier to clean and maintain than traditional deep fryers. There is no large container of hot cooking oil to filter and store. The air fryer's cooking basket can be washed by hand or in a dishwasher between uses.

    Here’s a look at the cons of cooking with an air fryer:

    • Con: The constant flow of dry, superheated air around many foods can eventually strip them of moisture, especially on the surface. While some people may accept a bit of dryness as the price paid for healthier eating, others could be disappointed by the dryness and/or lack of flavor in air fried foods.
    • Con: Cooking times can be considerably longer in an air fryer than a traditional deep fryer.
    EXPERT TIP

    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.


    Nina  | Gourmet Chef, Health Care Executive

    Features

    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.

    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.

    Price

    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.

    Some air fryers offer a higher temperature maximum than others. French fries and chicken typically require about 360°F to cook. Steak requires a slightly hotter setting.

    The case against deep frying

    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.

    The GoWISE USA Electric Air Fryer comes with 8 presets — pizza, fries, pork, shrimp, cake, chicken, fish, and steak — to make cooking your favorites as simple as possible. It also comes with information on how to prepare 50 air-fryer-specific recipes. 

    Here are some other reasons why people are replacing deep frying with other cooking methods:

    1. Cooking oils break down over time. Animal-based shortenings have very limited shelf life, as they do not react well with the outside air and become rancid. Vegetable oils also begin to separate into water and fat after several deep frying sessions. Replacing these cooking oils, especially in the quantities required for larger deep fryers, can become expensive and time-consuming.
    2. Deep frying creates hazardous byproducts. Small bits of batter or dry coating tend to fall into the cooking oil as products cook. Some sources believe these carbonized pieces form hazardous, possibly carcinogenic, chemicals that people could inadvertently ingest along with their meal.
    3. Deep fryers require diligent maintenance. A deep fryer remains too hot to handle for several hours after use. As such, it’s a challenge to perform important tasks like oil filtering. Working with large amounts of animal-based fat is also a messy and thankless job for many cooks. There is also the problem of having a large container of scalding hot oil within reach of small children.
    4. Ideal cooking temperatures are hard to maintain. The secret to successful deep frying is maintaining a proper oil temperature. When cooking oil falls below a certain temperature, the food's internal moisture does not repel the oil as well, resulting in greasy, undercooked food. Simply putting a bag of frozen food into a hot deep fryer will affect the oil temperature, and the heating elements of many deep fryers take a long time to recover from the shock. This is not a concern with superheated cooking methods such as convection or air frying.
    If you’re considering an air fryer instead of a deep fryer because you want to reduce your consumption of oil, you’re on the right track. But even air fryer recipes often require a little bit of oil.

    FAQ

    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 that 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.

    The team that worked on this review
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