How Big of an Air Fryer Do I Need?

Buying an air fryer can be a challenge for first-time buyers. With more than 100 models on the market manufactured by dozens of well-known name brands, as well as a number of generic clones in a number of available sizes.

The advice and tips listed below are intended to provide some helpful answers to your questions and concerns about selecting the best air fryer for your personal convenience.

No matter what your family size is if you batch cook or cook larger sized meals, we recommend the 5 or 6 quart.

OUR PICK — COSORI 5.8QT
  • Better Choice: We have launched a new generation air fryer-COSORI Pro II that can cook 20% faster and is easier to use as well. Search "CP358-AF" or choose "Pro II" to check it
  • PERFECT RESULT: An NTC sensor sends accurate information to the air fryer, which automatically adjusts temperatures to keep fluctuations under 5°F for evenly cooked meals
  • ONE-TOUCH COOKING: Choose from 13 convenient cooking functions with a single touch, each finely tuned by COSORI chefs to product the tastiest results. You can also choose your preferred temperature and time for your personal recipes
  • LARGE CAPACITY: The air fryer's spacious 5.8-quart square baskets can fit a whole 5-pound chicken. Additionally, the corner spaces provide more cooking capacity and flexibility than round designs. Cook the perfect amount of food for 3–5 people in one go
  • 100 INCLUDED RECIPES: Find inspiration for every meal with 100 original, COSORI-chef-created recipes that include size, cook time, and temperature. Even beginner chefs can cook with confidence

Quick Look – Best Air Fryer Choices

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.

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Side by Side Air Fryer Size Comparison

Here are some examples of what the various sizes can accommodate:

Air Fryer Size Comparisons

• Air fryers that range from 3 to 5 quarts are very popular for a range of versatile cooking.

• 5.3 to 5.8 quart sized air fryers are well suited for 3 to 5 member families.

• 2.2 to 3.0 quart sized air fryers are ideal for 1 to 2 family members.

• 6.0 to 16.0 quart sizes have lots of cooking capacity with added functionalities for grilling, baking, and roasting.

Small Air Fryer Sizes:

• 1.0 to 2.0 quart sized air fryers work well for single individuals and for frying snacks.

Large Air Fryer Sizes:

• 3.0 to 5.3 quart sized air fryers have the capacities for cooking meals and snacks for 2 to 5 people.

• 5.8 quart sized air fryers can cook a 4 pound whole chicken, have several cooking compartments, and baking cages.

Extra Large Air Fryer Sizes:

• 6.5 to 10.5 quart sized air fryers can roast whole chickens, and have the versatility for grilling, baking, casseroles, and pizzas.

• 16.0 quart sized air fryers are excellent for large families and bulk cooking.

How are Air Fryers Sized?

Philips Premium Airfryer XXL with Fat Removal Technology, 3lb/7qt, Black, HD9650/96

Air fryer models are designed to handle certain amounts of foods during a cooking cycle and this information is often shown in quarts, liters, or pounds. While the models will inform you about their size capacities, they are guidelines and not absolutes. The type of food that you are preparing will determine what will safely fit into the cooking compartment. A steak, a couple of chicken legs or wings will take up more space than a serving of sliced fries or other vegetables.

Phillips, a popular brand for top quality air fryers and they refer to their air fryer sizes in terms of food poundage. Their 2.2 quart model will state that it is an air fryer sized for 1.8 pounds of food, while their 3.2 quart model will state that it is an air fryer sized for 2.6 pounds of food.

American air fryers refer to the size of their models in terms of food quarts. The smaller model sizes are in the 2.2 to 3.7 quart range, the larger model sizes are in the 5 to 6 quart range, the extra-large model sizes are in the 8 and 16 quart range.

International models refer to their air fryer sizes in terms of liters, such as 2.0 or 4.0 liters, even when the models are designed for usage with American electrical outlets.

Which Size Air Fryer Should I Buy if I Have Limited Counter Space?

DASH Compact Air Fryer Oven Cooker with Temperature Control, Non-stick Fry Basket, Recipe Guide + Auto Shut off Feature, 2 Quart - Aqua

Logically, the larger the air fryer capacity is, the larger the model will be. If you only have a small counter area where you would like to store an air fryer between usages, consider a standard 2 to 3 quart capacity air fryer which does not require a large amount of counter space. While the 4 quart units are slightly larger, they will still only occupy the same amount of space as a 4 slice toaster.

However, if you are looking for a larger unit with more food capacity, you might consider storing your air fryer in a space under the counter or in a cabinet. Just as you would put away your pots and pans in an out of sight storage area, it’s fine to store an air fryer wherever you have the available space.

You can measure the area where you would be placing the air fryer so you will know what size model to look for when shopping. There are a number of handy, quick air fryer charts online that compare several popular air fryers, side by side, that range from 2 to 16 quart capacity with their counter space dimensions.

What Size Air Fryers will Cook a Whole Chicken?

GoWISE USA GW44800-O Deluxe 12.7-Quarts 15-in-1 Electric Air Fryer Oven with Rotisserie and Dehydrator + 50 Recipes QT, Black/Silver

One of the most popular foods made in an air fryer is a whole chicken. It does require a bigger air fryer, 5.3 quarts or larger, since even a small whole chicken can be 3 pounds or more and will not easily fit into the standard 2 to 4 quart capacity models without breaking the chicken’s backbone to reduce the needed cooking space. The added beauty of having an air fryer that will roast a whole chicken is that you can also roast one rabbit, two capons or two small ducks or pheasants at the same time.

There are a number of popular name brand air fryers suitable for roasting whole chickens and they come with rotisserie forks or rotating spits for complete even temperature cooking.

The larger capacity models have accessories such as baking cages and racks for layering the types of foods being prepared. These valuable accessories help with a number of different cooking and baking techniques. In addition to roasting a whole chicken, you can still enjoy oil-free fried meats, fishes, and vegetables. The larger units can bake casseroles, small cakes, lasagna, pizza, quiche, breads, and muffins.

Sale
GoWISE USA Air Fryer Oven /Rotisserie and Dehydrator
  • Family-sized & space saver: 12.7 quarts of cooking space makes this air fryer one of the largest on the market, while still being compact enough to fit easily on your countertop. 3 rack levels allow you to prepare family-sized quantities, or control how fast and how crispy your food cooks.
  • Built-in rotisserie: Prepare whole roasts, tenderloins, racks of Kababs, and even a whole chicken. Get crispy, tender meats, perfectly blackened fish, and expertly roasted vegetables with the GoWISE air fryer oven's built-in rotisserie - It's fast, easy, and you'll love it.
  • Includes 10 accessories: Comes with 10 accessories – everything you’ll need to make a homemade meal with ease. Accessories include a rotisserie tong, rotisserie rod, oven rack, drip pan, skewer rotisserie, rotisserie cage, rotisserie steak cage, shallow mesh basket, and two mesh trays.
  • Easy-to-use: Easy to read, simple to use control display with 15 presets takes the guesswork out of cooking times and temperatures. Cook for convenience or to impress without ever having to turn on the range. And when you’re done, the stainless-steel interior and remove-able, non-stick drip pan makes for easy clean-up.
  • 50 recipes to get you started: Your purchase includes a recipe book specifically made for the GoWISE USA Air fryer oven. Get started today with 50 step-by-step recipes to explore all that your new kitchen gadget has to offer. Get more tips, tricks and recipes through our influencers on social media and our GoWISE community.

Depending on your culinary skills and how often you intend to make meals, snacks, and desserts, the larger air fryers may well be the best selection for your small or large family.

A larger air fryer, with its versatile cooking applications, can easily replace a number of other appliances such as a toaster, toaster oven, convection oven, or bread maker that are currently occupying counter space. Not only will you have all these conveniences in one appliance, but you will have freed up valuable counter space for other kitchen accessories such as a coffee mug tree or a butcher block knife holder.

Sale
Emeril Lagasse Power Air Fryer 360
  • Emeril's 9-1 Air Fryer replaces your countertop convection oven! 5 all-over heating elements mimic a commercial-quality oven for perfect, even cooking. Most convection ovens only have 3. 12 pre-set cooking functions let you choose what you want to cook and how: custom toaster oven setting for up to 6 slices of bread, roast a whole turkey, bake desserts, air fry fried chicken, slow cooking up to 10 hours, roast vegetables, dehydrate jerky and fruit, bake crisp-crust pizza & more.
  • Better Than Your Ordinary Convection Oven with 360° Quick Cook Technology and five super powerful heating elements mean your meals cook evenly on all sides in a whirlwind of super-heated air for crispy, delicious flavors. No added fats, oils, or unhealthy grease required. Get chef-quality results in one compact, 1500-Watt countertop oven - 40% faster than regular ovens
  • Extra Versatile LCD Digital Display with 12 Cooking Functions: Air fry, bake, rotisserie, dehydrate, toast, reheat, roast, broil, bagel, pizza, slow cook, and warm / reheat. Using an air fryer over a traditional deep fryer can help reduce the number of unhealthy calories you consume by up to 70% while still letting you enjoy your favorite foods.
  • Stainless-Steel Construction : A sleek, state-of-the art appliance to complement your kitchen and surrounding accessories, this all-in-one air fryer, rotisserie, and dehydrator oven provides long-lasting versatility and an XL 930 cubic inch capacity. Includes a crisper tray, rotisserie spit, pizza rack, baking pan, drip tray, and cook book with recipes written by Emeril himself!
  • Trusted Emeril Lagasse Quality : Every multi-purpose hot air fryer we produce is backed by chef-quality design, construction, and support to ensure it lasts through every evening meal, holiday dinner, and quick bite of delicious fries!

Several top named larger models that can easily roast whole chickens are the Phillips HD9240 XL Hot Air Fryer, the GoWise USA Turbo Air Fryer 10.5 quarts, the Power Air Fryer XL 5.3 quarts, and the Big Boss Oil-Less Fryer 16 quarts.

How to Buy and Pick an Air Fryer

  • Most top name brand air fryers offer you a choice of purchasing a model with LCD digital or manual analog controls and displays.
  • The number of available pre-set modes also vary from one air fryer to another. Some models offer you the convenience of pre-setting your frequent timings. Be sure that the model you are interested in buying has the number of temperature settings and wet/dry cooking modes that you want in an air fryer.
  • Air fryers with automatic On/Off controls mean that you do not have to be near the food while it is cooking unless your recipe requires that you turn the food over during the cooking process.
  • Check out the number of cooking compartments available with the model size of your choice. Some air fryers will only allow you to cook one food item at a time, while other units have more than one cooking compartment for complete meal preparation all at once.
  • If you want to do more than frying in air fryer, check out the other cooking applications available in the model size that you select. Larger air fryers are also useful for grilling, roasting, and baking. Some models come with the required rakes, rotisserie forks, and baking cages while other models sell these accessories separately.

Summary

Whether you have a small or large kitchen, whether you are single, have a small or large family, whether you entertain a lot, or whether you are the next Julia Child, there is an air fryer that will meet your cooking expectations. With a reasonable amount of research, you will find your ideal air fryer that will fit perfectly into your cooking needs.

Cooking with an air fryer means that you and your family will be able to enjoy the taste and flavors of the food without any lingering scent remaining in the kitchen from having just cooked fried foods. No smoky haze in the air or fishy smells, if you’ve just fried fish. A very real, great dining advantage.

Once you have experienced the ease of cooking with an air fryer, savored the delectable foods, and have enjoyed the health benefits gained from using only a tiny amount of oil or no oil at all, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without this totally efficient and modern kitchen appliance.


Recommended Reading

How Big of an Air Fryer Do I Need?

Buying an air fryer can be a challenge for first-time buyers. With more than 100 models on the market manufactured by dozens of well-known name brands, as well as a…