Currently, there are over 100 air fryer models available, spread across more than 20 brands. Are all air fryers the same? What is the best air fryer to buy? More specifically, which air fryer is best suited to the unique needs of you and your family?
We’re here to help. First, we’ll introduce you to the types of air fryers that are out there and to our own unique rating system. Then, we’ll examine our top picks in a number of categories to help you make an informed buying choice.
Philips XL HD9240/94
|2100w||4 qt.||Digital||2-year||See Price|
GoWISE USA GW22731
|1700w||5.8 qt.||Digital||1-year||See Price|
As Seen on TV
|1700w||5.3 qt.||Digital||60-day||See Price|
|1500w||4.2 qt.||Manual||2-year||See Price|
|1500w||4.2 qt.||Manual||1-year||See Price|
Types of Air Fryers
All air fryers have a heating unit and a fan to circulate the hot air around the food, but each type offers a unique approach.
Basket Type (Recommended)
Basket type air fryers are by far the most popular on the market. Their applications and features make them well suited to everyday use in cooking at home.
These cookers typically come in two designs
- Round (egg-shaped)
Square vs. Round Baskets
The square shape actually allows for a larger cooking area. How? Well, picture a square that is 10 inches in diameter. Now, imagine a circle that is also 10 inches in diameter. The circle fits neatly inside the square, does it not? In fact, it cuts off the square’s edges.
In the same way, a square cooking basket has more volume than a round cooking basket of the same width. Those corners make the difference.
Square cooking baskets are also better for baking. The larger area allows for larger baked goods – especially if using a square or rectangular pan. Metal cake pans, stoneware baking dishes, and even disposable aluminum baking pans can be used in a square basket air fryer. This includes both pans meant to be air fryer accessories, as well as those small baking dishes that just happen to fit well.
The shape of the air fryer is more important for compact and smaller air fryers than the larger ones. A 5.8qt or larger air fryer has more than enough space for most types of cookware.
Oven style air fryers are a relatively new design, and as such can be difficult to find. Like other models, the fryer circulates air heated by an element. The difference is in the design of the cooking surface.
Rather than utilizing a basket or pan as do other fryers, oven style air fryers have a number of horizontal racks, just like a traditional oven. The advantage of this is that different types of food can be cooked simultaneously on the various racks. For example, you could place chicken strips on one rack, tater tots on another, and roast corn on still another.
A number of accessories can be used with this type of air fryer, including small baking dishes and kabob skewers. Uniquely, a rotisserie spit is also available to cook small chickens or other carved meats.
Countertop Convection Ovens
Technically an air fryer in design, counter top convection ovens can be used for a range of cooking and heating purposes, such as steaming, baking, roasting, grilling, and dehydrating. Some are designed to stir or turn the food while cooking, similar to the paddle style fryer.
The primary difference is in the appearance of these ovens. Rather than being compact and self contained, as are basket air fryers, the counter top convection ovens typically consist of a transparent bowl with a lid, a stand, and an upper heating and control device.
First released in 2006, the paddle design is sometimes considered the “original” air fryer. Paddle type fryers contain a rotating paddle that stirs and turns the food while it cooks.
Halogen air fryers differ from standard basket types in the type of heat source used. While most air fryers possess a heating element similar to that of a conventional oven, halogen models rely on halogen bulbs instead. This is reminiscent of the heat source in the classic Easy Bake Ovens for children.
Advertised as the appliance that can do it all, multi cookers purported to “grill, bake, steam, saute, pan fry, stew, stir fry, slow cook, roast or make sauces.” Like the paddle style fryers, multi cookers feature a paddle or stirring wand, and air is circulated.
How Do We Rate Air Fryers?
Our process of determining which airfryer is best. We examine a number of categories, asking the following questions when deciding on a rating for a particular model of air fryer.
What type of display and controls does it use? What colors or accessories does it sport? What does it offer that makes it unique?
Wattage and Capacity
How many people can it feed? Can you cook more than one type of food at once? How quickly does it heat, and how hot does it get?
Do customers report equipment failures with this model? Are important parts made of plastic or metal? Does it have any maintenance issues? Does it come with a warranty?
What do real users say about this model? Are their any legitimate, recurring complaints?
Does it come with accessories? Can dedicated accessories be purchased directly from the manufacturer? Will it accept universal accessories?
what is the best air fryer to buy
Which Size is Best for Me?
Should you exercise restraint and opt for a small, affordable air fryer, or is it go big or go home? How can you tell how much food a particular air fryer can handle? And how do measurements in quarts compare to measurements in liters?
Generally, North American consumers think of food volume in terms of standard measurements, such as quarts. It can be very confusing when product manufacturers use metric measurements, such as liters. A good rule of thumb is, a quart and a liter are roughly equal. If you want to get technical, a liter is about 1.1 quart.
What does this mean for you? How many liters will feed your family? Small air fryers of 2 to 3 quarts are generally recommended for feeding individuals or groups of up to 3 people. Large air fryers have capacities of 5 to 6 quarts, and are recommended for groups of 2 to 4 people.
The largest air fryers have capacities of more than eight quarts, and can easily sate the hunger of large groups of people.
So, what size is best for you? While working within your price range, remember that bigger is always better. Why? Because even the largest of air fryers can cook a single serving. Even if just one or two people will use the air fryer on average, expanded capacities are good for entertaining.
The Complete Buying Guide to Choosing the Best Air Fryer
Don’t be intimidated by the buying process. Consider the following aspects in order to find the perfect air fryer to fit your family’s lifestyle.
- Display, Presets & Controls
- Cheap Vs Expensive
Air fryers come in a wide range of sizes as well. The smallest holds just over one quart (about one liter) of food and are suitable for one person. Small air fryers are capable of preparing one to two servings of, say, French fries at a time.
Large capacity air fryers – up to sixteen quarts – may be able to make six or more servings of food at a time. When purchasing your air fryer, think of the size of your household and how much food you may desire to cook at once.
Also, consider how many people you typically entertain when feeding guests. Remember, smaller air fryers can still be used to feed a crowd (by filling and refilling), and larger ones are capable of cooking one serving or many.
We’ve created this comparison chart to help you pick the right air fryer size.
Bigger is better: You get the most ‘bang for your buck’ when you buy a larger air fryer.
Don’t let the number of air fryer brands overwhelm you. You don’t have to examine every air fryer on the market to discover which is the right fit for you. Why? Because we’ve done the hard work for you.
Best selling brands:
- Tristar (Power XL / Power Oven)
Best value brands:
- Cooks Essential
Air fryers differ in power or wattage. Typically, air fryers range from 1,200 watts to 2,100 watts. What do watts mean to you? Higher wattage air fryers will be able to heat faster and maintain hotter temperatures. You may notice that lower wattage air fryers max out at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit, while higher wattage models often top 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher wattage models are generally more energy efficient, heating and cooking more quickly.
Digital vs Manual
What type of control and display panel is best? Manual (analog) knobs or digital touch screens? This is purely a matter of preference, as both styles are equally effective. Some large-print digital displays are advantageous for those with vision impairments. Manual knobs may be preferred by those seeking an escape from the pervasive effects of modern technology.
Some models of both manual and digital air fryers come with handy presets for automatically cooking foods such as meats, fish, fries, and more. Some allow for custom presents as well, in which you can save the cook time and temperature of your most often prepared foods. These options can help you save valuable time.
Another consideration is that of buying additional warranties for air fryers with digital controls. Control panels have been known to go bad over time due to the amount of heat they are exposed to. Many retailers offer an extended warranty – typically one to two years beyond the manufacturer’s warranty – for a small fee. Further, some halogen style air fryers use halogen bulbs that are not replaceable; these are known for having a relatively short lifespan. Therefore, extended warranties are advisable for this type of air fryer as well.
Air fryers are available in a wide range of prices. If you are on a budget, you can commonly find high-quality air fryers for as little as $49.00. If you’d like to go all-out and bring home all the bells and whistles, high-end air fryers sell for as much as $299.00. These prices are, of course, subject to change, and prices typically drop the longer a specific product is on the market. A good practice is to decide on a budget for your new appliance, then get the most powerful air fryer available for that price.
The different air fryer brands have warranties of different lengths. Some warranties are as short as 60 days, while others may extend to two years or more. Warranties can be viewed as a company’s vote of confidence in their product – the product is designed to outlast the warranty, at least. The longer the warranty, the more sound the product may be.
Especially if purchasing an air fryer brand known to have a short lifespan, be sure to opt for an extended warranty. No matter which model you purchase, be sure it offers a warranty of at least 1 year.
Are All Air Fryers the Same?
What is the difference between more and less expensive air fryers? More expensive fryers come with all the bells and whistles, so to speak. The additional features can be fun to use but are not entirely necessary. You can achieve all the benefits of using an air fryer – healthier and faster cooking, reduced energy usage, and delectable flavors, for instance – with even the most basic of models.
Air fryers may also differ in basket shape. While both round and square baskets are dishwasher safe and easy to clean, square baskets offer a distinct advantage. The design of square basket are fryers encourages air flow, so food may cook more easily. This increases potential capacity and reduces burns around the edges which, in turn, leaves less burnt-on residue for you to clean up.
Buyer Beware(Noname Knockoffs Brands)
Everyone wants a piece of the air fryer pie – pardon the pun. There are unscrupulous companies out there who offer inferior products, untested and constructed of lightweight materials.
While such air fryers may look like a bargain, the product itself may not last long. You may be able to identify such a product by a large number of negative product reviews. If most of the reviews say that the appliance worked for only a few days, weeks, or months, or if it does not offer a warranty, that air fryer may be a dud.
Do your research. If you’ve never heard of a certain “generic” brand, look it up. If you can’t find adequate information about the company and the quality of their products, opt for a brand you already trust.
Why Should I Buy an Air Fryer?
Here are the top 5 reasons to buy the air fryer – the essential kitchen gadget for every home:
1. Save Time – Speed of Cooking(up to 25% faster)
Air fryer superheated air and convection technology to cook food more quickly than comparable conventional methods. This small appliance is also able to preheat more quickly than a conventional oven, saving you even more time.
2. Ease of Use – No Experience Required
Air fryers are designed to be very simple to use. Even a child could do it – with proper adult supervision, of course. Most air fryers have only two settings – cook time and temperature. These may be regulated using knobs or a digital display, depending on the model. Some have presets for specific for types, allowing you to prepare your food with the touch of a button.
3. Save Calories – Healthier Cooking (up to 30-70% less)
Air fryers typically use one tablespoon of oil or less – sometimes none at all. This effectively reduces fat content by seventy-five percent or more when compared to traditional deep frying. You can also prepare an array of healthy, kid-friendly dishes, such as crispy “fried” vegetables, helping everyone in the family to maintain a healthy diet.
4. Save Space – Oven Replacement.
An air fryer can do everything that a traditional oven can do – it can bake, roast, steam roast, grill, and broil. Larger models can even be used to bake whole small chickens. If you’re short on space – such as in a college dorm room or efficiency apartment – or if you are looking for an economical oven replacement, air fryers are for you.
5. Easy Cleanup – Dishwasher Safe
No more difficult scrubbing of burnt-on food from the oven, or dealing with messy and dangerous grease from a deep fryer! The basket, drawer, and accessories of the air fryer are coated with non-stick surfaces and are dishwasher safe.
All Brands of Air Fryers
We hope this guide has helped you to make an informed decision. Overall, the Philips air fryers are outstanding in performance. If you’re feeding a family on a budget, the GoWise USA 8 in 1 air fryer is an excellent option. For small families or individuals, the space-saving Secura air fryer is an ideal choice.
There are definitely a lot of air fryers out there. No matter which model you pick, you’ll have crunchy air-fried French fries, but we hope that this guide has given you the confidence to make the leap.