This is the biggest mistake people make when getting an air fryer, according to an expert

Man using an air fryer in kitchen
Man using an air fryer in kitchen (Image credit: Shutterstock)

The best air fryers have gained popularity in recent years as the must-have, kitchen appliance. Not only are they convenient at quickly rustling up fried foods and delicious meals using very little or no oil, but also considered a healthier and safer alternative to traditional deep fat or pan frying. Plus, if you enjoy cooking tasty treats in no time at all, there are many best air fryer recipes to try out. 

Essentially, air fryers are mini convection ovens, and work by circulating hot air around foods inside to ensure evenly cooked results. In addition, the heat helps to cook food quickly and achieve that crispy texture that you would normally get from traditional frying methods. This is also safer to use without the risk of hot oil splashes or incidents.

However, if you’re considering buying this handy appliance, avoid this biggest mistake people make when getting an air fryer. According to Sam Milner, air fryer expert and co-author of The Complete Air Fryer Cook Book, this one mistake could cost you in the long run.

With that said, you may well want to find out what this big mistake is before hitting the stores for a new air fryer. Plus, beware of these 5 worst places to use an air fryer in your kitchen. 

The biggest mistake when getting an air fryer

An air fryer basket emptying out potato wedges

An air fryer basket emptying out potato wedges  (Image credit: Shutterstock)

There are several, common air fryer mistakes that anyone can make — such as overcrowding the basket, putting in the wrong things, or even not cleaning it the right way. 

However, this key mistake may not be so obvious, according to our expert. “The biggest mistake people make when getting an air fryer, is buying the wrong air fryer size,” states Milner. “There is the assumption that if an air fryer size is marketed as being for one or two people, that it's perfect for them.

But an air fryer marketed for three to four is perfect for one to two people because it allows them to cook their meat, potatoes and veggies at the same time. Whereas, the smaller one-to-two person ones would just be big enough for a meal for one, or just the meat for two people.”

A surprising, yet useful tip to bear in mind when buying an air fryer for your home. 

Ninja AF101 Air Fryer: was $89 now $62 @ Best Buy

Ninja AF101 Air Fryer: was $89 now $62 @ Best Buy
The Ninja AF101 Air Fryer comes with a four-quart capacity which is ideal to cook for a small family. In addition, it can roast, reheat, and dehydrate delicious meals in less time. It has a non-stick basket and crisper plate that can hold up to 2 lbs of French fries or other tasty foods with ease. With a handy digital display, it’s easy to use at just a touch of a button. It's designed to be lightweight and easy to clean with removable parts that are dishwasher safe.

What is the ideal air fryer size?

An air fryer with chicken nuggets laid out evenly across the basket

An air fryer with chicken nuggets laid out evenly across the basket (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Depending on your needs, air fryers vary in size, shape, capacity and price. So what would be the ideal size to buy for long-term use?

“We recommend that you go to a size of air fryer that will fit in your kitchen and to visualize placing a whole chicken inside the air fryer along with sides,” suggests Milner. “Then, that is the correct size for you — even if you don’t like chicken, you will have plenty of room for full meals and sides.”

Another thing to consider when buying an air fryer is whether you have sufficient countertop space, and storage. Since air fryers can be huge, you’ll need to find one that is suitable for your kitchen. 

In addition, it’s not recommended to use them in crowded spaces, or under low-hanging cabinets. Air fryers need proper ventilation during the cooking process and placing it under a kitchen cabinet will restrict this airflow — which may cause the appliance to overheat. And while it’s fine to store them underneath cabinets when not in use, always move your air fryer to an open space to allow enough surrounding space to vent while cooking.

In the meantime, if you’re new to the world of air frying, check out how to use an air fryer  for best (and safe!) results. Plus, knowing how to clean an air fryer properly can also help make an air fryer last longer.  

More from Tom's Guide

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!