When you want some comfort food, but want to try and be healthy, one of the best air fryers could be the ticket. That's because these machines let you cook up fries, chicken nuggets, wings, and more, but use much less oil in the process.
Air fryers are less like a traditional deep fryer, where food is submerged in hot oil, and more like a convection oven, where hot air is circulated around the food. As a result, you use a lot less oil in the cooking process, which not only makes things somewhat healthier, but also means you won't have a tub of oil that you have to dispose of afterward.
What are the best air fryers?
Air fryers range in size, shape, capacity and price. Typically, the best air fryers come with a relatively steep price, and due to their size and odd shapes, they're somewhat difficult to store in a cabinet if you are short on space. Higher-priced units are likely to come with a digital temperature gauge so you can easily pick a specific temperature, while less expensive models may just have a simple dial with temperatures indicated by various colors.
Based on our research, we feel that the Philips TurboStar Digital is the best air fryer for most people. At $149, it's not overly expensive, has intuitive controls, and is easy to clean. It also has a relatively compact shape, making it easier to store in a cabinet. However, it has a fairly small capacity of around 3 quarts, so if you're cooking for a crowd, you'll have to fry up your food in batches.
If you're looking for something with a larger capacity, the GoWise USA Digital Air Fryer comes in 5, 5.8, and 7-quart sizes, making it easier to cook more food at once. And, it's pretty inexpensive, too: The 7-quart model is just $89. The GoWise is available in white, black, plum, and red, and uses a digital touchscreen to control all its functions. It has eight presents, and can vary its temperature from 180 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Be sure to read on for all our top picks for the best air fryers.
The best air fryers you can buy today
The Philips TurboStar Digital appeared at the top of more lists than any other air fryer. Just shy of $200, the TurboStar Digital is not the cheapest option, but it offers consistent performance and easy cleaning, with a removable drawer design as well as a relatively compact form. Unlike some air fryers that are big and bulky, the TurboStar Digital should fit under most cabinets and easily tuck away for storage.
Although it has one of the smaller capacities of air fryers on our list, at under 3 quarts, its more compact size may make it easier to store, especially for those with smaller kitchens. Additionally, the removable drawer makes it easy to put food in and take it out, without direct contact with a heating element, so it's safer, too.
Boasting eight presets for different foods, a wide temperature range and an affordable price, the GoWise 8-in-1 Digital Air Fryer is our top budget pick. Priced at $68, the GoWise 5.8-quart fryer gives you some of the conveniences of the Philips TurboStar Digital Air Fryer without the high price. You get a decent range of temperatures, from 180 degrees to 400 degrees, which should be more than enough for most foods. However, make sure you put away any plastic utensils before you use the fryer, since the heat radiating from the appliance can melt them.
Unlike other models on this list, the Cuisinart Compact Air Fryer is a versatile cooking appliance that can do much more than a typical air fryer.
While the air fryer function will air fry up to 3 pounds of chicken wings, this multipurpose device will also make toast, roast a 4-pound chicken and even bake a 12-inch pizza, among other things.
The downside is that it is much larger than other air fryers and will likely be a permanent fixture on your countertop rather than something you take out when you want crispy wings or french fries.
Ninja is known for its line of multiple-blade blenders. You should also know the company for its air fryer, which is one of the highest rated on Amazon. With more than 1,700 reviews, the fryer has an Amazon rating of 4.8 stars, with 87% giving it 5 stars.
Consumers seem to love the Ninja Air Fryer's smaller footprint as well as how much faster the cooking time is than a traditional oven. Professional reviews said it performed quite well, coming in just behind top choice Philips TurboStar Digital at a significantly lower price.
Like many air fryers, there are multiple cooking modes on the Ninja. With temperatures ranging from 105 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be used for everything from baking a cake to dehydrating meats and vegetables.
Most consumers don't want to invest in a single-use device, especially if it's a kitchen appliance. With that knowledge, Ninja has taken air fryers to another level with Foodi doubling as a pressure cooker.
For example, you can cook an entire chicken using the pressure-cooker mode, and then switch to the air fryer lid and let the forced air envelop the chicken, crisping the outside of the skin while keeping the inside nice and moist.
Similarly, you could make rice with vegetables on the bottom of the device on the pressure-cooking setting while putting a chicken breast on the upper rack for an entire meal before switching the lids and air-frying your dinner to completion.
The Krups Fry Delight is the lowest-rated air fryer in our list but its performance and compact size makes it a good alternative to some of the more expensive models here.
Compared with other air fryers on this list, whose temperature range is measured in the hundreds of degrees, the Krups has a much smaller delta — from 300 to 390 degrees Fahrenheit — so you can't use it for much more than air frying. Customer reviews on Amazon praise the Krups for crunchy and great-tasting food, but a number of critical reviews complained that the handle fell off after a short period of use.