Advanced touchscreen with presets for many popular fried foods. Start/stop button changes time and temperature mid cook cycle. Alarm function reminds you when to shake. Temperature ranges from 180 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 30-minute cooking timer. Includes non-stick, FDA certified and PFOA-free pan and detachable basket with cool touch handle. Convenient, easy to use. May take some practice to figure out frying times.
To help prevent the fryer coating from peeling, do not use with cooking spray or clean while still warm.
Can be used as a fryer, oven, roaster, and grill. Uses a tablespoon or less of oil. 30 minute timer. Temperature adjusts up to 400 degrees. Dishwasher safe. Perfect for bacon. Many say it works just as well as more expensive name brand air fryers.
Cooking surface holds lots of small items, but only a couple of chicken breasts or fish filets at a time.
4 liter basket. 60-minute timer with auto shut-off. Indicator lights for heating and power. Comes with recipes, toaster rack and skewers. Temperature range from 180 degrees to 390 degrees Fahrenheit. Power cord measures 3'8" long. Unit stays comfortable to the touch while frying. Doesn't heat up the kitchen. Intuitive controls.
This unit has analog controls, and the writing on the dial is a bit small.
Includes presets for popular fried foods. Cooking timer for up to 30 minutes. Temperature control from 180 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Easy to use. Cooks evenly. Perfect for a family of 2-4 people. Cooks crispy food fast.
Non-stick coating can peel over time. To help prevent it, wash gently by hand, not using any abrasive scrubbers.
Heats up in just 3 minutes. Operations include fry, roast, bake, grill and reheat. Temperature settings range from 180 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 60-minute timer. Auto-shut off. Indicator lights for heat and power. Includes skewers, toaster rack and recipes. Easy cleanup. Able to fit a whole chicken in the basket. Doesn't heat up the house.
Noisy. Controls are analog, so you must guess at temperature setting.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Who doesn’t love a plate of crispy French fries or fried chicken? But with all that oil, they’re not very healthy for you. The good news is that you can still enjoy your favorite fried treats without the guilt. How? Meet the air fryer.
An air fryer is a small countertop appliance that allows you to prepare crispy fried foods with little to no oil. It doesn’t really fry your food, though. Instead, it functions as a convection oven, so it moves hot air around the food via a fan. Because the air hits the food from all sides, you get that crisp texture that you love in fried foods. However, since it works like a convection oven, you can use an air fryer to bake, grill, and roast foods, too.
And with plenty of air fryers that come in under $100, you don’t have to break the bank to give air frying a try. But first, you’ll have to decide what size works best for your needs, what temperature range is required for your favorite recipes, and what other features to look for to make using your air fryer as easy as possible.
Our handy shopping guide has all the tips and product recommendations you’ll need to help simplify the shopping process, so you can easily choose the right air fryer for your kitchen.
Air fryers are countertop appliances, so they are all compact in design. However, there is some variety in terms of how much food you can fit inside. If you’re cooking for a family, keep in mind that you may have to cook multiple batches of food to prepare enough for everyone in your household.
You can usually find air fryers in the following sizes:
All air fryers run on electricity, but those with a higher wattage can heat up more quickly and regulate the temperature more easily when cold food is added to the appliance. Most air fryers use 800 to 1,500 watts, which most standard electrical outlets can support. Some higher-end models can reach up to 1,800 watts, but they’ll work in most kitchens, too.
When you’re choosing an air fryer, it’s important to consider its temperature range to make sure it’s compatible with your favorite recipes. The lowest temperature setting for most air fryers is usually 175°F or 180°F, though you can find some that go as low as 105°F for dehydrating purposes. Some models can reach up to 390°F, while others can heat to over 400°F. The greater the temperature range that an air fryer offers, the more recipes that you’ll be able to use it for.
Easy to use and clean
Forget feeling guilty about indulging in French fries and onion rings with the Cozyna Digital Air Fryer. Not only does it allow you to prepare your favorite recipes with 70% less oil than traditional frying methods, but it also offers extremely easy operation with its digital touchscreen controls and six preset food options. All the removable parts are dishwasher-safe, too, so you won’t dread cleaning up afterward. We also love that it includes two cookbooks to provide plenty of recipe inspiration.
Many air fryers feature simple dial controls to choose your temperature setting and cooking mode with. However, some models offer digital controls, which usually feature a touchpad for easy operation. With digital controls, you’re able to choose more precise temperature and timer settings to give you greater control over the cooking process.
For the easiest operation, choose an air fryer with indicator lights. Most models have two lights: one that shows that the appliance is on and one that lets you know when it has preheated to the selected temperature. Not only do the indicator lights keep you aware of each step in the cooking process, but they also serve a safety purpose, so you know to handle the fryer more carefully when it’s hot.
Presets and modes
Many air fryers have a fairly simple design, so you must manually set the temperature based on the recipe that you’re preparing. However, some models with digital controls have built-in presets for popular fried foods, which take all the guesswork out of preparing your favorite dishes. Some common presets include:
Because you can also use your air fryer for baking, some models also include a cake and/or pizza setting. You can also find air fryers with reheat, roast, and dehydrate modes for greater versatility.
A timer is often a convenient feature in an air fryer because it alerts you when your food is done to prevent overcooking. Most models feature simple timers with an indicator light or chime to let you know that the food is done cooking, but some air fryers have timers with an auto-off feature, so the appliance automatically shuts down when the timer goes off.
Ease of cleaning
While air frying typically requires much less oil than traditional frying, cleaning up after you’re finished cooking can sometimes be a pain. If you want an air fryer that’s as easy to clean as possible, choose a model with dishwasher-safe components. That way, you can simply place the food basket and other removable parts on the top shelf of your dishwasher to clean them.
An air fryer includes a basket to hold the foods that you’re preparing. However, some models include other accessories to make preparing your favorite recipes even easier. You may want to look for a model that includes a grilling rack or skewers if you like grilled foods. Some air fryers also include a cookbook to give you some recipe ideas if you’re new to air frying.
While an air fryer is ideal for crisping up frozen French fries, it also works perfectly for homemade fries.
Inexpensive: The most affordable air fryers are small compact models with a 1- to 3-liter capacity. They usually cost between $39 and $55 and work best for preparing snacks or cooking for small groups.
Mid-range: These air fryers usually have a capacity between 3 and 5 liters and typically range from $55 to $73. They are ideal if you’re cooking for a family or a group of about five people.
Expensive: The priciest air fryers are extra-large models with a capacity of 5 liters or more. They usually cost between $73 and $99 and are best if you need to cook for a large family or group.
If you’re adding breading to chicken, fish, or other foods, be sure to press the breadcrumbs or other coating ingredients into the food well. The hot air that circulates through the air fryer can blow off the breadcrumbs if they’re not firmly stuck to the food.
In addition to actually cooking food, you can use your air fryer to reheat leftovers.
Large enough for a family
If you want to be certain you have enough fried shrimp and French fries for all the hungry mouths in your family, the Secura 4-Liter Extra Large Capacity Electric Air Fryer is the perfect addition to your kitchen. Its generously-sized basket can hold plenty of food for three to five people, and the 60-minute auto shut-off timer prevents overcooking to take all the stress out of air frying. We also appreciate the included grilling rack and skewers that increase the fryer’s versatility.
With plenty of excellent air fryers priced under $100 out there, you should easily be able to find an option that suits your culinary needs. The Chefman 2.5 Liter Air Fryer is an ideal choice if you need a compact model that works well for small groups. It has digital touchpad controls for easy operation, and all the removable parts are dishwasher-safe to make clean-up a breeze, too. We also love the Ultrean Air Fryer if you prefer a model that can accommodate a larger group, because it has a 4-liter capacity. It also features digital controls and an automatic shut-off timer, so your food is never overcooked.
Q. What kinds of food can I prepare in an air fryer?
A. Because it functions like a countertop convection oven, there are few foods that you can’t make in an air fryer. All your favorite frozen snacks like French fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, and jalapeño poppers are ideal candidates for an air fryer, but you can also prepare beef, chicken, fish, and vegetables. If your air fryer is large enough, you may even be able to bake pizzas and cakes.
The only foods that you should avoid putting in your air fryer are those with wet batters. That’s because hot air that circulates through the fryer can actually blow the batter off the food and make a mess.
Q. How do I clean an air fryer?
A. It varies from model to model, so you should always consult your owner’s manual before cleaning your air fryer. If your model features dishwasher-safe components, you can usually place the basket, bucket, and any other removable parts on the top shelf of your dishwasher for cleaning. Otherwise, you should typically soak the removable components in warm, soapy water for five to ten minutes and then scrub the basket and other parts with a non-abrasive sponge or rag before rinsing and drying.
Q. Do I need to add oil to an air fryer?
A. The benefit of an air fryer is that it doesn’t require the same large amounts of oil that a deep fryer does. However, if you want your food to have a nice, crispy exterior, you can mist or brush it lightly with oil to coat it before adding it to the air fryer. You’ll still cut down on the fat and calories without sacrificing the crunchy texture you’re after.
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