When it comes to buzz-worthy kitchen items, an air fryer is right up there with the Instant Pot. If you’re looking for a way to enjoy healthier versions of your favorite fried foods, these handy little contraptions, which have become kitchen staples since their 2010 inception, are made for you.
The best air fryer offers up all the flavor you love, without all the oil you want to avoid. That means you can enjoy french fries, onion rings, fried chicken and more — guilt-free.
How does an air fryer work?
An air fryer replaces hot oil frying with, well, hot air. In traditional deep-frying, food such as meat, poultry, and vegetables are submerged into a vat of hot oil that flash cooks and crisps it up in minutes.
An air fryer, meanwhile, circulates hot air around the food — much like a convection oven — creating that delicious crispness you expect from fried foods.
How healthy are air fryers?
When it comes right to down to it, there’s no such thing as truly “healthy” fried food. However, air fryers do make these tasty delights healthier, so you can enjoy them more often.
The biggest difference between air-fried foods and ones that are fried in the traditional way is the amount of oil you use to cook them. It’s recommended that people toss their food in one to two tablespoons of oil before air frying, to help replicate the texture of traditional fried foods. And while cooking your food in such a small amount of oil is obviously a whole lot better for you than dropping into an entire vat of oil, it’s important to remember that moderation is key.
Not all air fryers are created equal. From air fryer and toaster oven combos, to models that can also serve as a rotisserie or dehydrator, these little machines can pack quite the punch — and there’s one for every kitchen, whatever your needs. Keep scrolling for FIRST’s picks for the best air fryers to help you make your favorite crispy treats in half the time — with half the fat!
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Best Large Air Fryer
Philips Premium Digital Airfryer XXL with Fat Reduction Technology
Where to buy: $349.95, Amazon
Compared to deep fryers, air fryers offer a larger amount of frying space. However, if you're looking for an air fryer that can cook up big batches of delicious fried treats (perfect for the upcoming holiday season!) this is the one for you. With enough room to fit an entire chicken, this fryer has a three-pound capacity, a quick-clean basket with non-stick mesh, and seconds-long heat up for big meals to be cooked in record time.
Best Air Fryer Under $100
OMORC 6-Quart Air Fryer
Where to buy: $89.99, Amazon
For the budget-conscious out there, this air fryer gives you the most bang for your buck. Ringing in at under $90, this affordable machine packs a punch when it comes to whipping up delectable fried treats. It features a removable, non-stick frying basket and touch screen and knob controls, making it extremely user-friendly. With the simple turn of a button, you'll be well on your way to concocting your favorite fried foods in a healthier way.
Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven
Cuisinart Convection Toaster Air Fryer
Where to buy: $194.99, Amazon
As we mentioned above, the air-frying technique has a lot in common with a convection oven, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that air fryer/toaster oven hybrids are beginning to pop up. One we're particularly fond of is the Cuisinart convection toaster air fryer. With the ability to air fry, convection bake, convection broil, warm, and toast, this air fryer toaster oven is one to beat. Complete with a non-stick interior, this device will also make for easy cooking and cleanup.
Best Small Air Fryer
Cosori Air Fryer
Where to buy: $89.98, (Originally $99.99), Amazon
If you're looking for an air fryer that won't take up too much real estate on your counter, you'll love the top-rated Cosori air fryer. Slim and square, this appliance will fit neatly in any space. It features a 3.7-quart non-stick frying basket that's both removable and dishwasher-safe and an improved ergonomic angled display that provides a clearer view, making it one of the most advanced fryers on the market today. It also comes complete with 11 pre-set options (steak, poultry, seafood, shrimp, bacon, frozen foods, french fries, vegetables, root vegetables, bread, desserts, and pre-heat), so all of your favorite foods can be prepared with the tap of a button. Genius!
Best Air Fryer With Rotisserie
GoWISE Deluxe Electric Air Fryer
Where to buy: $125.01 (Originally $149), Amazon
One of the coolest new design features for air fryers is a rotisserie option. We all know how delicious a good rotisserie chicken can be, and with the GoWISE Deluxe electric air fryer, you can make your very own — and much more — from the comfort of your own kitchen. This air fryer/rotisserie/dehydrator combo is a great option for families. Coming with 10 accessories (a rotisserie tong, rotisserie rod, oven rack, drip pan, skewer rotisserie, rotisserie cage and steak cage, a shallow mesh basket, and two mesh trays), this easy-to-use air fryer oven will inspire you to spend more time in the kitchen.
Best Air Fryer Pressure Cooker
Ninja 6.5-Quart Pressure Cooker, Steamer & Air Fryer
Where to buy: $199.99 (Originally $249.99), Amazon
If you're torn between buying a pressure cooker and an air fryer, why not get both? With the Ninja pressure cooker, steamer and air fryer, you can. Known as "the pressure cooker that crisps," this 6.5-quart ceramic device allows you to quickly cook up your favorite foods, complete with a crispy, golden finish.
Best Versatile Air Fryer
Chefman 6-Liter Digital Fryer
Where to buy: From $138.50, Amazon
While many of the air fryers on this list are multi-purpose, the Chefman 6-Liter digital fryer takes the cake. Featuring a spacious 6-liter compartment, this machine can do it all. It's got a temperature range that spans from 90 to 400 degrees, allowing you to fry and dehydrate food with ease. It also serves as a personal rotisserie, complete with every utensil and accessory you could need. One of the largest air fryers on the list, the Chefman also comes equipped with an intuitive touch-screen display and eight cooking pre-sets that will make your next air frying experience a breeze.
Best High End Air Fryer
Breville Convection and Air Fry Smart Oven
Where to buy: $399.95 (Originally $499.95), Amazon
For those looking for a top-of-the line air fryer, the title goes to this Breville model. With 13 different cooking pre-sets to choose from, this air fryer is more like a mini-oven with all of its capabilities. Featuring two airspeeds, this smart oven offers greater cooking control for a faster, more even heat distribution. Plus, it has enough space to cook up everything from a pan of delicious french fries to a 14-pound turkey (yes, you read that right!).