You can enjoy crisp fried potatoes and fresh chicken wings without the spatter, odor and added calories of oil with an air fryer.
This small batch machine doesn't need a lot of counter space and cooks by crisping food in hot, moving air. Air fryers make French fries almost guilt free!
In this guide you will learn about the health benefits of air fryers and discover the best air fryer for you and your home through our air fryer reviews and comparison chart.
Top 5: Best Air Fryers
Brand & Model
Air Fryer Reviews
GoWISE Electric Air Fryer
The GoWISE GW22621 3.7 quart air fryer cooks between 175F and 400F. It has a built-in timer and a variety of presets to make cooking common foods fairly simple.
Like other air fryers, this machine offers great performance when cooking poultry, frozen foods, and vegetables.
You can comfortably fit a small chicken inside this machine, and it'll come out wonderfully as long as you fully defrost it first.
The wide range of available temperatures allows you to incorporate this air fryer into almost any recipe without too much hassle.
However, the heating element in this unit isn't insulated from the food in any way. This isn't unusual, but it's worth noting that you shouldn't cram as much wet food as possible into the basket.
Any juices or liquid that splash upwards will wind up on the heating element and make a lot of smoke. Things will still work fine, but your kitchen might smell like something's burning.
The non-stick coating on the fry basket may have a shorter lifetime than some other nonstick cookware. Be sure to check the manufacturer's website to see how much a replacement basket costs. You may find yourself replacing it with the first year of use.
The GoWISE air fryer may be a great addition to your household for those that want not-quite-fried chicken on a regular basis.
The Phillips air fryer has an incredibly simple user interface. It has a unique "starfish" basket that purports to cook your food completely evenly.
It's powerful enough for oven fries, chicken, fish, and other pre-cooked frozen foods you might find in your freezer.
The Philips air dryer is endorsed by Gordon Ramsay!
Many of its competitors offer fancier interfaces and more bells and whistles. You don't have to press any buttons to start cooking with this Phillips.
Instead, you turn a dial to your desired temperature, turn another dial to start a timer and then walk away. Okay, you should still keep an eye on it for safety’s sake.
The "starfish" design and any claims of cooking food more evenly than other air fryers are somewhat suspect.
Air fryers by nature do an excellent job of circulating heat throughout the entire cooking chamber.
You'll get excellent, evenly cooked food out of this Phillips, but we think you'll get the same excellent, evenly cooked food out of most of our other picks here.
Overall, the build quality and ease of use that this fryer offers make it a stellar choice for any kitchen that needs an air fryer. If you're not too worried about internal capacity and this unit is within your budget, give it some consideration.
Since the Phillips air fryer is smaller than some of its competitors, it might be ideal for 1-2 people or for preparing appetizers for small families.
Big Boss 9063 Oil-Less Fryer
The Big Boss air fryer has a beautiful clear bowl to let you look at food as it cooks. The large capacity and unique aesthetic make it perfect for hungry families that want a conversation piece on the countertop.
The bowl in this unit is much larger than many competing air fryers. You're able to fit about eight times as much food in here as you can fit in the Phillips.
It has two separate internal trays so you can keep two recipes separate while cooking both at the same time.
Capacity comes at a cost, however, and the cost here is accuracy. The temperature controls on this unit don’t appear to be well calibrated.
Each unit is internally consistent, but you should either use an infrared thermometer or experiment with some foods to get an idea how hot your unit actually gets. You might find that you need to adjust recipes by as much as 25 degrees.
When it comes to actually cooking, this Big Boss does an amazing job. It handles raw meat, frozen food, vegetables, and even some baked goods with ease.
This unit manages to be less expensive than many convection ovens while offering more capacity and similar functionality.
If you like the idea of cooking multiple servings at once or you want to cook larger baked goods, we think that the Big Boss air fryer is one of the better choices.
NuWave 33201 Deluxe Air Fryer
The NuWave 3.5-quart air fryer has a dishwasher safe basket and a simple LED control panel. With temperatures ranging from 100F to 390F, this unit should be able to cook anything you can throw at it.
Low temperatures make this perfect for reheating things from your fridge, while the higher end is great for getting a crispy skin on chicken and cooking food quickly.
The fries that come out of this machine are comparable to what you'd get out of a deep fryer. With a little legwork, you can even get restaurant quality fries by double cooking.
This unit has a preheat function for accurate cooking temperatures. While the heating element delivers consistent, powerful heat, it takes a bit longer to preheat than we'd like. Of course it's still faster than a full sized oven.
The non-stick basket is slightly less non-stick than some other models. You'll probably find yourself using a stiff brush to clean the inside of this unit at some point. You won't have to scrape bits of chicken off of it after each use or anything, but some oil will accumulate over time and make things sticky.
Overall, the NuWave air fryer is an excellent alternative to the Phillips or the GoWise above. If the capacity and cost of this model strike your fancy over either of the other units, give it some careful consideration.
T-fal FZ7002 ActiFry
The T-fal Actifry air fryer has an automatic stirring mechanism to ensure even cooking. It has a steam resistant window to allow you to watch your food as it cooks, and the ceramic nonstick pan is removable to keep cleaning simple.
The stirring mechanism is fully removable for recipes that you think are better left alone. It's quite convenient for seasoning many recipes since you don't need to mix things before starting the cooking process.
As far as heat goes, air fryers tend to heat things extremely evenly already. We're not sure that stirring things as you heat them is necessary.
The T-fal doesn't have any sort of temperature control. It's either on or off. This is a reasonably large downside compared to all of our other picks: you can't reheat things at low temperatures or adjust how crispy you want your chicken skin.
In T-fal's defense, most air fryer recipes are at pretty similar temperatures. We'd still rather have a bit more control over how we cook things.
If the idea of having your air fryer automatically stir your food while it cooks appeals to you, check out the T-fal Actifry. While you can't control the temperature, it's still adequate for most applications.
What Is An Air Fryer?
Air fryers are small batch cooking tools that cook previously fried foods such as frozen French fries in a reservoir of hot air.
It's important to note that an air fryer can crisp up a product that's been previously fried, but can't add the layer of crunch created by hot oil.
However, you can crisply cook raw foods in your air fryer with a light brushing of oil on the food.
Do air fryers work? There are two things you must consider when comparing air-cooked foods to deep-fried foods.
- Air fryers work in small batches. The more food you place in the air fryer, the less room there is for air to circulate. When you start, err on the side of less food, rather than overloading the tool and getting soggy fries as a result.
- Previously fried foods such as tater tots or frozen breaded shrimp already have an exterior coating of fried product; a caramelization of sorts, or perhaps a breading. Air fryers do a great job of crisping this outer coating without needing extra oil.
How Does An Air Fryer Work?
Air fryers are fairly simple tools. From the bottom up, you have a heating element, a fan to move air, a hopper basket to contain food, a temperature control and a timer. Note: Some air fryers heating elements and fans are located on the bottom rather than the top.
While heat and time can cook most any food, loading the hopper basket properly and adding the movement of hot air can produce crunchy fried foods.
Are air fryers healthy? If you're a fan of crisp, deep-fried foods, an air fryer can provide you with a lower-fat French fry.
Air fryers are great tools for previously fried foods such as frozen French fries. Additionally, with practice and a little oil, you can make your own chicken wings, crispy potato chips and other side dishes.
It's important to note that air fryers are not fix it and forget it tools! Keep your eyes (and nose) focused on this tool while you're learning to use it to avoid burning your dinner.
Why Buy An Air Fryer?
Deep frying foods at home can take a great deal of oil and time. Additionally, once you're done, you've got oil left to either try to re-use, or discard. Hot oil in the kitchen can be extremely dangerous, and will leave a spattered mess on countertops and cabinet surfaces. Finally, deep frying can leave a lingering odor in your home.
If you'd like to reduce the amount of fat in your diet but continue to enjoy your favorite fried snacks and side dishes, an air fryer can be a great investment.
These units generally require a little over one square foot of counter space and need no more power than a toaster or coffee pot.
Is Air Frying Healthy?
Previously fried foods such as frozen potatoes generally have fat included in them already, so cooking them in an air fryer won't make them fat-free. However, you will greatly reduce the amount of added fat in your cooking by switching from oil to air.
You will probably need to brush any raw, unprocessed foods with a bit of oil to get them to crisp up in your air fryer, but you will greatly reduce the fat content of standard oil deep frying techniques.
This tool provides plenty of heat and air movement in a very small package. While it may not be possible to cook for large groups easily in your air fryer, you can easily prepare side dishes and appetizers for plenty of folks with this tool.
Air Fryer Features
Heat Source & Air Movement
The heat source in an air fryer is located in the bottom of the cooker. You can expect temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit / 204 degrees Celsius.
Once the air is hot, it's directed through the food from a fan blade at the bottom of the air fryer. Hot air is forced from right above the heat source through the food in the hopper basket.
This handy basket is built to be easily removed from your air fryer, loaded, and placed above the heating element and fan and often features a cool to the touch handle for easy removal.
Loading this basket properly is critical. If this basket is overcrowded, or if food is stacked tightly together, the air movement won't crisp it and you'll wind up with soggy instead of crunchy. It's said that air frying is deep frying without a deep fryer.
If you've ever overloaded a deep fryer or failed to preheat the oil properly and watched your meal sink to the bottom and turn brown, you'll understand how air frying can fail.
Temperatures And Cooking Times
Like any tool that combines heat and food, your air fryer will need to be monitored. Because it's most effective when cooking in small batches, this is not a tool you can start and walk away from.
Once you've tested out a few air fryer recipes, you'll have a better idea of what your air fryer can do. When considering air fryer vs deep fryer taste, it's important to do your sampling fresh from the hopper basket for proper crunch comparison.
Your air frying machine will include both a temperature control and a timer, and most have an automatic shut-off. However, stay vigilant! The line between crisp and incinerated can be dangerous.
Air Fryer Safety
When comparing an air fryer vs deep fryer, safety concerns put the air fryer way ahead. While deep frying can lead to delicious and tasty foods, it is messy, dangerous and odorous.
Spatter is a constant concern when cooking with hot oil.
Additionally, the line between hot oil and smoking oil can get very close. The scent of burned oil can linger in curtains, carpets, and other soft goods for weeks.
Cleaning Up Your Air Fryer
Most air fryers can be taken apart and run through the dishwasher after using. Use a brush to clean away any stuck on food in the basket, and wipe down the exterior to clear away any spilled food.
Be sure to follow the instructions included with the fryer so you get the air system cleaned appropriately; it will reduce the risk of odor contamination the next time you use your air fryer.
Air Fryer Vs Deep Fryer
You don't have to worry about storing or discarding your leftover oil.
Your cabinets and countertops will not be spattered with oil, and you don't have to wait for oil to cool down before you dispose of it.
In the comparison between oil frying and air frying, air fryers make clean up a breeze.
Air Fryer Vs Convection Oven
Cooking with hot air has been popular for quite a while, and if you have a convection oven, you're probably aware of how effective hot air can be in producing delicious food.
However, not everyone has a convection oven, and the investment for such a tool can be large. If your standard oven does a good job overall but you'd like to try a hot air tool, an air fryer is a great beginning to your hot air cooking adventure.
The air fryer is functionally a small and very intense convection oven. You can take the time to experiment and get creative with your air fryer by adding a bit of water to poach fish, or grill a small piece of beef.
Do air fryers really work as fryers? Yes. They also work as ovens and grills, so have fun!
Luckily, a few air fryer manufacturers, such as Phillips, have teamed with well-known chefs to produce cookbooks that offer home cooks the chance to try new techniques with their air fryer.
Don't overload the hopper and don't leave your air fryer unattended! Have fun experimenting with this appliance, and eat healthy!
Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments with your experiences and questions about air frying at home.