Updated May 2022
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Buying guide for Best air fryer for Dad

When it comes to choosing the best air fryer for Dad or another special caregiver, you can be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. There are dozens of models available, and when you need to narrow the choices, it’s helpful to examine the differences in size, features, and cooking capabilities.

Air fryers remain popular gifts because they’re both practical and fun to use, not to mention they offer a healthy, oil-free way to cook food. Many people also discover they’re viable alternatives to stovetop and oven cooking, in part because they’re low-maintenance and easy to clean. All things considered, an air fryer is one of few gifts that recipients can appreciate and use on a daily basis. 

The best air fryer for your dad
After you buy an air fryer, save your purchase information in case you need to open a claim with the manufacturer. Many manufacturers also encourage buyers to register their products online to expedite claims. 

How to buy the best air fryer for Dad

Is an air fryer a good gift?

Air fryers are top-rated gifts for several reasons, including their practicality. As small kitchen appliances, air fryers lend themselves to daily use, and they’re easy to clean after each cooking session. They’re also available at various price points, so no matter your budget, there’s a good chance you’ll find some options. Because air fryers are packaged in square or rectangular boxes, they’re simple to wrap. 

Necessary counter space

Before you embark on your search for the best air fryer for someone special, make sure they have adequate counter space. Small air fryers have modest footprints similar to the size of water pitchers, while larger models are as big as deluxe toaster ovens or microwaves

It’s worth noting that although air fryers are technically portable — and some even have handles for carrying — most models weigh over 10 pounds, with the largest models weighing up to 25 pounds. Unlike personal blenders and other smaller appliances, air fryers are cumbersome to move on a daily basis when people in the kitchen need to free up counter space. 

Air fryer capabilities

Most air fryers share the same basic functions, including crisping, baking, and cooking food. More advanced models also offer broiling, roasting, pressure cooking, toasting, or dehydration settings. There are also dual-basket air fryers that allow users to cook two foods simultaneously, sometimes at different temperatures.  

air fryer decor
Did You Know?
Air fryers are now available in a broad range of colors and finishes to complement kitchen decor and appliances. 

Air fryer features

Display design

Generally, air fryers have intuitive displays and control panels that are simpler than microwaves and toaster ovens. Basic air fryers, particularly entry-level models, have a couple knobs and buttons, while advanced air fryers typically have LCD displays or touchscreen panels with preset programs. 

Although air fryer displays are simple to navigate, many models have small digits that may be challenging for some people to read. If you have visibility concerns with the person you’re shopping for, opt for an air fryer with a high-contrast LCD display. 

Preset programs

Preset programs refer to specialized settings that are calibrated to cook specific foods, such as fries, chicken wings, frozen vegetables, or shrimp. They’re usually distinguished with tiny icons for one-touch cooking. Some air fryers have as many as a dozen preset programs, while others only have three or four. Entry-level models may lack preset programs altogether.


Air fryers vary the most in terms of capacity, which often plays a large role in purchasing decisions. 

  • Small air fryers: Smaller air fryers, also called personal or compact air fryers, have baskets between two and four quarts. They’re recommended for individual cooking and are popular for apartment and RV living.
  • Mid-size air fryers: Air fryers in this category have baskets up to six quarts, which is large enough to cook a rotisserie chicken. They hold four to six servings of vegetables, making them popular for everyday household cooking.
  • Large air fryers: Large air fryers, sometimes referred to as XL or XXL models, have seven- or eight-quart baskets. They’re suitable for large batch cooking as well as baking mid-size cakes.
air fryer dad
Did You Know?
Many people prefer using air fryers in warm weather because it cuts down on the amount of heat emanating from stovetop and oven cooking. 


  • Invest in accessories. The most popular air fryer accessories include cake pans, disposable liners, and silicone pot liners. They make great gifts for future holidays and celebrations, and they make cooking and cleanup much easier. 
  • Join air fryer communities. Air fryer beginners can benefit from joining online air fryer communities, such as forums or social media groups, where they can discover recipes, ask questions, or learn new ways to use air fryers. 
  • Commit to regular cleaning. Regular cleaning is important to keep air fryers functioning optimally. Most manufacturers detail specific cleaning techniques and recommend specific cleaning products that won’t damage their nonstick baskets. 
Air Fryers
Because air fryers are typically packaged in large boxes that can be cumbersome to carry, shipping the appliance directly to Dad may be more practical. 


Q. Are expensive air fryers the best ones available?

A. Although expensive air fryers may boast impressive features, it doesn’t mean they’re automatically the best options. Many feature-rich models have steeper learning curves than simpler models. Other air fryers may have features that recipients won’t use often, if at all. Instead, many people prefer giving air fryers with essential settings so users can get the most out of them. 

Q. Do air fryers come with accessories?

A. Most entry-level and mid-range air fryers don’t come with accessories. However, certain models include quick-start recipe books. Expensive air fryers, including multipurpose models with toaster oven or pressure cooker settings, sometimes come with dishes or racks for specific types of cooking. 

Q. Why do I have to shake the air fryer basket during cooking?

A. You’ll need to pull out the air fryer basket and shake it once or twice during cooking to make sure all food is exposed to circulating hot air. Otherwise, some parts of the food may not get crispy or cooked through.