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We loved that we could make anything from yogurt to steak in this Ninja. Not only does it have a broad range of cooking functions, it also has intuitive controls that make it accessible to even novice home chefs. After we heated our food, the nonstick coating made the unit a breeze to clean.
The hinged lid must be raised at some point, so you need at least 21 inches of overhead clearance for this model.
The big benefit of the Speedi is it makes an entire meal very quickly. We made chicken with rice and beans in about 25 minutes. It cooks evenly and is versatile and easy to use. Like other Ninja air fryers, it has a nonstick coating that makes the unit easy to clean.
To open the hinged lid, you need 20 inches of clearance, which means it might not fit under all cabinets.
The key to this air fryer is its maximum temperature. Instead of the typical 400 degrees, this one maxes out at 450, which can make quite a difference when cooking, especially when taking food directly from the freezer to the air fryer. It is versatile and quiet and can cook over 2 pounds of french fries at a time.
When using the Max Crisp feature, you need to adjust cooking times to keep food from drying out or burning.
The FlexBasket design gives you the option of cooking food in small or large batches. You can also cook different foods at the same time even if they require different temperatures. The appliance is versatile, accommodating everything from dehydrating to air-frying.
Using this model takes a little trial and error because a full basket can increase the cooking time by as much as 5 minutes.
Ninja's Indoor Electric Grill reaches the highest temperature of all the company's products. At 500 degrees, it gives steaks and burgers pronounced grill marks. While this model is best suited for cookout foods, it can also air-crisp, roast, bake and more, making it much more than a one-trick pony.
While the compact size is desirable, this Ninja is best for two people; it won't make enough for a hungry group in one batch.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Ninja makes so many kitchen products that it can be hard to choose which one is right for you. For instance, choosing the best Ninja air fryer means knowing how one model differs from the others. Do you need an appliance that crisps to perfection in minutes? Or would you prefer an air fryer that can also function as a steam cooker, allowing you to make full meals at the press of a button?
To learn which Ninja air fryers were the best and why, the BestReviews Testing Lab ran several models through a rigorous set of cooking tests. We wanted to find out not only what each air fryer could do but also where each appliance excelled and where it fell short.
Since all the air fryers were from the same manufacturer and offered a similar level of quality, to determine which was best, the BestReviews Testing Lab had to dive deeper into performance and functionality. Ultimately, our top pick was the Ninja Foodi 12-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer for its excellent performance and versatility.
Most versatile Ninja
Type: Pressure Cooker | Capacity: 8 qt | Dimensions: 14.57" D x 16.1" W x 14.2" H | Weight: 26 lb | Material: Plastic and metal | Control Type: Touch and dial | Number of Functions: 12 | Temperature Range: 80 to 400 degrees
If you’re looking for a Ninja that does it all, the Ninja Foodi 12-in-1 Deluxe XL is remarkably versatile because it can cook with both dry and moist heat. Plus, the pressure-cooking function speeds up the process. We found this model was just as adept at crisping french fries as it was at steaming rice. It even encourages combining functions, so we could pressure-cook a large chicken and then give it a quick, crispy finish.
Despite the many abilities of this Foodi, we didn't have any trouble operating it. The single dial and push-button controls let us quickly select any mode and zero in on the exact parameter (temperature or time) needed. We were also happy that the nonstick coating made cleanup easy.
The Deluxe XL is large enough to make enough food for a family. For entertaining guests, the pressure cooker can make up to eight portions. The only downsides were the appliance’s weight and size, particularly the height with the lid open. Still, after considering everything this versatile unit can do, we gave it a near perfect rating of 4.75 out of 5.
Best Ninja for quick meals
Type: Basket air fryer | Capacity: 6 qt | Dimensions: 14.1” L x 13.8” W x 12.4” H | Weight: 16 lb | Material: Plastic and metal | Control Type: Push button | Number of Functions: 12 | Temperature Range: 90 to 450 degrees
The Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker's claim to fame is its ability to make an entire meal — proteins, vegetables and more — in a short amount of time. While the company touts that it can cook meals in 15 minutes, that was for a limited selection of foods. We found under 30 minutes to be a better estimate for most meals.
On the downside, this model isn't large. It only comfortably fits two 4-ounce burgers. Also, the hinged lid required a little extra overhead space (the unit is 20 inches tall with the lid fully open). But the speed and versatility helped offset those minor annoyances, making it a highly desirable model.
We liked that it is easily cleaned and has intuitive controls. Even with the minor drawbacks, we gave this air fryer 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is a quality item that performs reliably and offers consistent cooking.
Best Ninja for crisping
Type: Basket air fryer | Capacity: 5.5 qt | Dimensions: 14” L x 11” W x 14.75” H | Weight: 11.7 lb | Material: Plastic and metal | Control Type: Push button | Number of Functions: 7 | Temperature Range: 105 to 450 degrees
Every air fryer is on this list because it has a feature that sets it apart in some way. This model has a high-temperature setting (450 degrees Fahrenheit). While the purpose is to take food from the freezer to a tantalizing crisp in a short amount of time, we found it also worked well as a finishing touch to give dishes a quick crunch.
While the capacity is only 5.5 quarts, the depth of the basket allowed us to easily cook a large amount of loose food — such as 2 pounds of french fries. However, we could only fit one large 8-ounce burger at a time in the air fryer.
The Ninja Max XL was the quietest Ninja we tested, and cleaning it was simple. Since it cooked so efficiently, we gave this air fryer 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is a great option if frozen foods are what you will cook the most.
Best Ninja for making small-to-large batches
Type: Basket Air Fryer | Capacity: 7 qt | Dimensions: 18.19” L x 11.81” W x 11.26” H | Weight: 17 lb | Material: Plastic and metal | Control Type: Push button | Number of Functions: 6 | Temperature Range: 80 to 450 degrees
Whether we wanted to cook one or four burgers, or two burgers and a serving of french fries, the FlexBasket design let us do that. The large basket has a divider that creates two separate cooking chambers for cooking different foods. We could also remove the divider for one large cooking space.
The Smart Finish feature ensured that the food in each chamber finished at the same time, so we didn't have to worry about making the calculations. And the variety of cooking functions lets us do everything from dehydrate to bake to broil.
While it wasn't the simplest model we used, operation wasn't too difficult. And we loved that it was quick and easy to clean. When we tallied the score, this flexible air fryer got 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you want to make more than one dish at a time, this is a good, affordable option.
Best Ninja for indoor grilling
Type: Grill/basket air fryer | Capacity: 6 qt | Dimensions: 14.9" D x 14.9" W x 11.02" H | Weight: 14.5 lb | Material: Plastic and stainless steel | Control Type: Push button | Number of Functions: 5 | Temperature Range: 105 to 500 degrees
The Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 electric grill stands out from every other model because it has a high-temperature grilling feature that let us cook proteins like burgers and steaks and create pronounced grill marks. Besides grilling, this model has Air Crisp, Roast, Bake and Dehydrate modes, offering a broad range of cooking techniques.
The compact design ensures that it fits easily on the counter even in a small kitchen with limited space, while the air-frying technology meant we could cook food with up to 75% less oil. The appliance comes with a grill grate, 4-quart crisper basket, 6-quart cooking pot, cleaning brush and recipe book.
The unit’s small size and complaints of it smoking while cooking pushed us to knock a little off the final score, giving it a still impressive 4 out of 5 stars.
Best Ninja with an extra-large capacity
Type: Oven/air fryer | Capacity: 12.7 qt | Dimensions:16.39" W x 21.5" D x 13.26" H | Weight: 31 lb | Material: Plastic and stainless steel | Control Type: Dial/push Button | Number of Functions: 12 | Temperature Range: 105 to 450 degrees
The Ninja 12-in-1 Smart Double Oven with FlexDoor might not be on your radar because it's a little older and not as popular as some other models. However, we think it deserves attention for its quality, performance and flexibility. It is two ovens in one, each with different abilities. The top oven didn't offer much cooking space, but it let us bake, broil, reheat, warm and toast. The more spacious bottom oven let us air-fry, convection bake, cook pizza, air-roast, dehydrate and more.
The key feature that makes this dual oven such a great idea is the Smart Finish. This enabled us to cook different items while ensuring that they completed cooking at the same time. On the downside, this oven takes up a lot of counter space and is power hungry. But other than those two drawbacks, it is a solid option for someone looking to replace their toaster oven with a much more advanced and versatile product. We gave it a 4 out of 5 stars.
It's easy to think that all an air fryer needs to do is heat and circulate air, but there's more to it than that. Here are some ways Ninja compares to other top brands.
We've spent an extensive amount of time — several months — testing and using a variety of Instant and Ninja air fryers. To be honest, these two leading brands run neck and neck. Sometimes, the Instant beats the Ninja, while at other times, the Ninjas just have more to offer. For instance, we liked that no Ninja air fryer we tested had a smell, while nearly every Instant starts with a pronounced odor that must be burned away.
Instant offers models with a pressure-cooking feature, just like Ninja. We do admit to favoring the design of the Instant pressure cooker/air fryer, but only because it is several inches shorter and fits better under our cabinets. Also, the Instant air fryers offered more information throughout the cooking process, showing countdown times and dinging to remind us when to add food and shake food.
Overall, the Ninja models were more intuitive to use — the control panels just made sense at a glance. As far as capacity and cooking times are concerned, both brands excel. Ninja models, however, are more distinct. The functions, such as Grill and Max Crisp, seemed to have greater purpose. But if budget is your primary concern, the Instant wins every time because comparable models cost anywhere from $20 to $50 less than Ninja.
When comparing the Ninja to the Cosori, we pulled back to take in general functionality because the Cosori is laid out a little differently from the Ninja. For example, when selecting presets, the Ninja jumps to cooking functions, such as Air Fry, Dehydrate, Broil or Bake, while the Cosori often has one-touch settings for specific foods like french fries or bacon.
On the plus side, Cosori air fryers are extremely quiet. However, the noise is generated by the fan, and a louder appliance usually means more consistent cooking (because the air circulates better). Like the Instant brand, Cosori tends to cost slightly less than Ninja, but it isn’t a significant difference.
While some Cosori models outperformed their comparable Ninja model, Ninja air fryers cooked more quickly — shaving off as much as 5 minutes — and heated the food more evenly.
Comparing Ninja to Breville is a little easier. That’s because the two brands don't really line up to offer a great deal of competition. An individual interested in a Breville air fryer has an extremely limited selection: all the options are essentially convection ovens. Also, Breville appliances that offer air-frying are not inexpensive. The top-of-the-line model, Joule, offers incredible function and capacity that can easily accommodate enough food for a family, but it costs $499.95. That's $150 more than our top pick for Ninja's oven air fryer, the Ninja 12-in-1 Smart Double Oven with FlexDoor.
Also, Ninja air fryers are designed with a sleek and stylish flair that looks good in your kitchen. The Breville models, for our money, just don't offer the same aesthetics. If you want a high-end professional-level oven/air fryer, the Breville is the way to go. However, if yours is a family on a budget, but you still want a versatile, high-quality air fryer, we would lean toward the Ninja.
At its core, an air fryer has to have certain features to function properly, at least a heating element and a fan. But it's the features that are unique to the brand that make it stand out. Depending on the model, there are several standout features you might find on a Ninja air fryer.
Instead of Teflon, Ninja air fryers have a special ceramic coating. This coating is critical in making the appliance easy to clean. We found that even after cooking chicken or bacon it was easy to wipe down the basket and crisper plate using warm water, mild dish detergent and a nonabrasive sponge.
Most dual air fryers have two baskets for cooking. Ninja's DualZone FlexBasket air fryer is a little different. This model has one large basket and a divider. When we wanted to cook one large 7-quart serving of fries, we filled the basket and followed the recipe. However, when we wanted to cook two separate dishes (or a half-basket), all we had to do was slip in the sturdy divider. This gave us two zones that could cook independently of each other.
The unique design of the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer uses both dry heat and moist heat to cook food. This meant we could steam rice and vegetables while crisping chicken all at the press of a button. While it was possible to have full meals done in about 15 minutes, we found the Speedi was most satisfying with meals that took closer to 25 minutes to cook.
For those who want it all, Ninja pressure cookers offer an incredible advantage. These models combine several appliances and let us perform a variety of tasks all in the same pot: steaming, pressure-cooking, air-frying, slow-cooking, searing, sous vide and more. This unique ability turns Ninja's air fryer into one of the most versatile cooking machines on the market.
Typically, an air fryer has a maximum temperature of 400 degrees. However, there were a few cookers that allowed us to dial up the heat beyond the norm. The Max XL, for instance, has a Max Crisp setting that takes the temperature up to 450 degrees. While this is excellent for quick crisping, we found that we needed to monitor the air fryer closely so we didn't dry out or burn the food.
As a very general rule of thumb, we found that a serving in most Ninja air fryers requires about 2 quarts of capacity. If we wanted to make enough french fries for two people, we would use a 4-quart model. For a family of four adults, we would suggest an 8-quart model. However, if there are young children with smaller appetites, a 6-quart model might be sufficient.
It's important to remember that for models with two drawers, the serving size is cut in half. For example, while the FlexBasket air fryer has a 7-quart capacity, when using both baskets independently, we could only make enough food for two people. And the shape of the basket is important to consider as well. Even though the Speedi Rapid Cooker is a 6-quart model, the deep basket only let us make two burgers at a time.
Just like any product, Ninja's line of air fryers has its share of pros and cons. While many of these are specific to certain models, such as the Max XL can dry out food, we stayed generic for this list to offer a broad overview of the brand.
There is a wide range of Ninja air fryers. It is essential to match features to needs. Finding the best model means considering these options.
One great thing about Ninja's line of air fryers is the company has carefully considered its potential range of customers, and there is a model for every price point. For people who want a small, budget model for one, something that only cooks at one temperature, Ninja has the AF080 Mini Air Fryer. This model regularly costs just $79.99. At the other end of the price spectrum is the Ninja Combi Ultimate Chef's Package. This all-in-one model has 14 cooking functions and a variety of accessories to cook a full meal in about 15 minutes. This high-end model is a $383 value that retails for $329.95.
In between, Ninja offers a range of models. As the price increases, the cooking capacity and versatility increase. At around $150, the models are large enough to make meals for a small family and begin to include special features, such as a steamer or a Max Crisp setting. At $180, the company introduces dual baskets to cook two different foods at the same time. Above the $200 price mark, the air fryers have a combination of larger capacity and multiple cooking functions to accommodate food for larger families and a wider variety of cooking styles.
To learn how well the Ninja air fryers performed cooking tasks, we established a baseline by cooking the same foods in each model. We used the same brand and the same recipes and evaluated the results, placing our focus on flavor, juiciness and crispiness.
To test an air fryer's ability to cook french fries, we filled each basket with 2 pounds of steak fries (or to capacity if it was a smaller model) and cooked them at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. We were careful not to overfill the basket and did not add any oil or seasonings.
For chicken wings, we mixed olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper. The olive oil kept the spices from blowing around the chamber while cooking. We set the air fryer to 400 degrees and heated the wings for 18 minutes, flipping after 9 minutes to ensure even cooking.
We made several diagonal slits across each hot dog to help the meat cook more evenly. We cooked an entire pack at 400 degrees for 6 minutes. Halfway through the process, we rolled the hot dogs so they would crisp evenly. After 6 minutes, we put each hot dog in a buttered bun and toasted them for an additional 2 minutes.
We trimmed and soaked enough Brussels sprouts to fill the basket. After 15 minutes, we dried them and added olive oil, salt, pepper and minced garlic. The olive oil kept the seasonings on the sprouts while we cooked them at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.
Cooking bacon was easy but messy. We laid out six strips across the bottom of each Ninja air fryer basket and set the temperature to 350 degrees. We cooked the bacon for 9 minutes and evaluated the texture and flavor. If the bacon needed more time, we added as needed.
There are many highly desirable features and functions in Ninja air fryers. The brand is well made and reliable, with models that cook with consistency and, thanks to the nonstick coating, clean easily. The price point may be a few dollars higher than that of some other brands, but the versatility is worth it. Some Ninja air fryers, like our top picks, the Ninja Foodi 12-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer and the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker & Air Fryer, can perform virtually any cooking function. And if you want a specific feature, such as the ability to grill or cook multiple dishes at once, Ninja has you covered there as well. In conclusion, if you’re willing to pay a few dollars more to get an outstanding product, there is a Ninja air fryer that’s perfect for your needs.
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