Air fryers offer a healthy alternative to deep-frying, cooking up crispy, juicy foods without the extra calories and trans fats.
Crispy chicken wings, french fries, tasty desserts—or anything else that you might deep fry—are just a button push away. Some can even do double-duty as a toaster oven or a pressure cooker.
After several years of extensive research and testing many dozens of appliances, we can confidently say that the Philips Premium Airfryer XXL(available at Amazon) is the best air fryer you can buy. It yields results closest to food cooked in a deep fryer. Plus, it includes dishwasher-safe parts, making for easy cleanup.
If you prefer a more budget-friendly option, our best value pick is the Cosori Air Fryer Max XL 5.8-Quart (available at Amazon). It cooks food evenly at a low price.
We also recommend the Cuisinart AirFryer Toaster Oven (available at Amazon) if you want an appliance that can really multitask.
These are the best air fryers we tested ranked, in order:
Philips Premium Airfryer XXL
Cosori Air Fryer Max XL 5.8-Quart
Cuisinart Compact AirFryer
Cuisinart AirFryer Toaster Oven
Dash Deluxe 6-Quart
Ninja Air Fryer
Breville Smart Oven Air
GoWise 8-in-1 Air Fryer XL 5.9 Qt.
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The Cosori Premium 5.8-Quart rivals the Philips XXL for air frying prowess and costs about a third the price, making it a very good value. Even a large load of two pounds of frozen crinkle fries came out well browned and crispy.
The appliance is big, boxy, and unlike many models, not at all bad-looking. It has digital controls with preset cooking programs for a variety of foods that work well. You do have to manually preheat the oven before you select your setting, but halfway through cooking, a helpful beep will remind you to shake or rearrange your air-fried food.
It takes a little bit of effort to pull out and replace the baskets—we found the inner basket especially tricky to remove as you have to slide a small safety cover and then depress a button before lifting it out. After cooking, you can chuck both pieces into the dishwasher. The Cosori comes with a paperback cookbook packed with tasty-looking recipes and colour photos.
While not inexpensive, the Cuisinart Airfryer Toaster Oven is definitely cheaper, not to mention more space-efficient, than buying two relatively large countertop kitchen appliances. It comes with an air fryer basket to be used along with a specific setting. I found it worked as well, and in some cases, its heat element was better at browning and crisping than other appliances we tested. In addition, it toasted exceptionally evenly.
Unlike most models in this price category, it doesn’t have a digital control panel, which keeps it from being our top choice. While it’s not a huge appliance, it is taller than typical toaster ovens. It accommodates two pounds of fries, six slices of bread, and according to Cuisinart, a four-pound chicken.
If you love to toss everything in the dishwasher, be aware that all the parts need to be cleaned by hand. But unless you already have a toaster oven that you love, the Cuisinart is a good buy for its versatility.
To read our reviews of all the multipurpose models we tested—including Gourmia Digital Oven, Yedi Total Package, Emeril Power AirFryer 360 Plus, and Cosori Air Fry Toaster Oven—see our guide to the top Air Fryer Toaster Ovens.
Hi, I'm Sharon Franke, and I’ve been reviewing kitchen equipment for more than 30 years. Before that, I worked as a professional chef in NYC restaurants for seven years. Now I’m an avid home cook.
While I’ve made French fries and pan-fried chicken cutlets countless times, they’re not in heavy rotation in my house these days. Just like you, I want to avoid the oil and all that work that comes with frying. That’s why I was thrilled to test top-rated air fryers and see if they could satisfy my hankerings for crispy food, fat, and fuss-free.
To find the top performers, I've tested dozens of air fryers on the market over the past few years, including appliances that can double as toaster ovens or multi-cookers. Each appliance was rated on how well the air fryer cooked fresh and frozen French fries and chicken nuggets.
Since each appliance is unique, you’ll be relying on the manual to get started. I checked to see if each explained how to use the product thoroughly, provided guidelines for cooking specific foods, and included recipes.
I considered how easy it was to use the controls, slide the basket in and out, and of course, clean up. As you may not cook with this appliance daily or even weekly, I checked to see how easy it would be to stash away, too. I also took note of customer reviews on Amazon and other popular retailers.
How Does an Air Fryer Work?
For starters, it's not actually a fryer, but rather a countertop convection oven that circulates hot air around foods in a basket. Using at most a half tablespoon of oil, the appliance will brown and crisp up food but not as evenly as frying.
And things don’t always come out with the same combination of all-over crunchiness and perfect tenderness as they do when they’re dropped in hot oil. However, these appliances don't require more than a few minutes to preheat, which means from start to finish, they deliver the goods faster than deep- or oven-frying. Plus, I discovered they didn’t give off any cooking odours, so your house never smells like a chicken shack.
How to Use an Air Fryer
These devices are easy to use and often easy to clean. Always check with the manufacturer's instructions, but most will follow these basic procedures:
1. Preheat before cooking
Your air fryer needs time to come to temperature before you use it, just like your oven or skillet. In general, preheat the appliance at 375°F for three to five minutes, depending on the size of the fryer.
2. Don’t overcrowd the food and lay food down flat
Just like conventional frying, overloading your air fryer will not produce the best results. Adding too much food—especially frozen foods—in the basket could produce soggy or uneven cooking results. It could also increase the cooking time.
3. Flip while frying
Some of the same principles of deep-frying apply to an air fryer: Don't forget to batter and/or bread items properly before dropping them into the air fryer, and be sure to flip your food halfway through the cooking process.
Also, keep an eye on your food while it cooks. This will let you adjust timing as necessary and help get you used to your new appliance.
4. Clean the air fryer when you're done
Don’t forget to clean the appliance after cooking, and the device has cooled down. Food particles can get lodged in the nooks and crannies, building up over time and causing issues down the line.
What Can I Cook in an Air Fryer?
A good air fryer can also be used as an oven to bake, broil and help cook meats, casseroles, or even desserts. They are, of course, limited by their size and don’t offer any advantage here over a traditional oven. But if you use your oven for storage, it tends to heat up the kitchen, or you often wish you had an extra oven, these countertop appliances can come in handy.
One thing to know: These kitchen tools are big and oddly shaped, so they take up a lot of countertop space and aren’t easy to store.
Bottom line: If you find crispy foods irresistible but want to avoid the fat, this might be just what you're looking for.
Some popular cooking options include:
Vegetables you like to roast, such as potatoes, carrots, and squash
Meat dishes, such as battered chicken, bacon, burgers, and hot dogs
Frozen foods like chicken nuggets, mozzarella sticks, tater tots, onion rings, and french fries
Baked goods such as donuts, fritters, and funnel cake
Other Air Fryers We Reviewed
Cuisinart Compact AirFryer
Unlike most of these appliances, the Cuisinart Compact AirFryer isn’t oddly shaped like a huge egg or space capsule. Rather it’s a big stainless-steel cube that looks like a truncated toaster oven. While its boxy shape helps it fit more neatly on a countertop or in a cabinet, the Cuisinart still takes up a bit of countertop real estate (despite its name).
You’ll find the Cuisinart is a relatively uncomplicated appliance in terms of heating elements. It doesn’t have cooking preset programs for specific foods or additional cooking functions like “keep warm” or dehydrate, to make the cooking process easier. You simply turn dials to set the temperature and the cooking time, and there’s no need to preheat. There’s also a straightforward manual that includes recipes to get you started.
Since it has a wide air frying basket, food can be spread out to get more even and crispy results with relatively quick cooking times without the food drying out. Most others force you to pile the food on top of each other, which can create uneven results. Using the Cuisinart Compact AirFryer, homemade fries looked and tasted like they had been bobbing in a deep fryer vat of oil.
The stainless-steel basket and the drip pan aren’t dishwasher safe, so it’s not necessarily easy to clean. When you cook drippy battered items like tempura shrimp or onion rings, you may need to use a little effort to get them spotless. However, if you’re looking for an appliance to air fry and do it well, and don’t want to pay an exorbitant amount, this Cuisinart is well worth your consideration even though it wasn’t our top pick.
Food comes out browned and crispy from the Dash Deluxe 6-Quart Air Fryer as long as you don’t overload it. Although it’s dubbed a 6-quart model, the basket has a small diameter, so it holds less food in one layer than larger models, like the Philips Airfryer XXL.
While this model doesn’t have digital controls, it's very simple to operate; simply turn the temperature and time dials for a totally intuitive two-step process. If you’re tired of boring-looking appliances, the Dash comes in glossy red or aqua as well as white and black.
Even though you have to hand wash the baskets, they're nonstick and easy to get clean.
The Ninja Air Fryer performed so well, you could have convinced me that both breaded and battered chicken pieces were fried in a cast iron skillet.
French fries came close to the real thing but didn’t have quite the allover crunch that you get from a fryer or the Philips (which can even crisp up a whole bag of frozen french fries at once). However, the Ninja is about a quarter of the price of the Philips and is nowhere near as big or heavy.
You’ll find digital temperature controls and settings for reheating, roasting, and dehydrating on the Ninja. More options make for more complicated programming, but you’ll easily master the necessary steps after a few cooks. The nonstick-coated basket can be chucked in the dishwasher. With this appliance, you also get a stainless-steel rack for multilevel cooking.
I admit to having had a healthy dose of skepticism when it came to the Ninja Foodi, an appliance that, in addition to being an air fryer, is also a pressure cooker and a slow cooker.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it not only does both, but it also does them both well. In fact, it cooked the crunchiest, most well-browned results in our cook-off, plus it pressures cooks as well as any I’ve ever tested.
If you like, you can even combine the two functions, pressure cooking a chicken and then browning and crisping the skin on the air-fry setting. Additional programs on the Foodi allow you to broil, dehydrate, steam, slow cook, and sauté, making it the most versatile multi-cooker on the market. One thing of note: During air frying mode, it’s noisier than most.
As you would expect with so many options, it takes a little practice to get the hang of programming the digital control panel. However, the screen is well designed with large easy to read lettering.
The Foodi is space-saving compared to owning both an air fryer and a multi-cooker, but it is a large, heavy appliance that you won’t want to be lifting in and out of a cabinet. It’s worth giving it a dedicated place on a countertop if you plan to take advantage of its versatility and use it often.
Considering the multi-functionality of this machine, I wish the cookbook that comes with it was better organized and had recipes and charts for all of the cooking functions. The basket and the pot are nonstick coated and safe for dishwasher cleaning, but the lids require TLC.
This little guy is just so darn cute you can’t help loving it (It's probably why so many Amazon reviewers go gaga for it). The Dash Compact does a decent job of “frying” as long as you confine it to about a half-pound of food at a time. No preheating is required, but you need to toss or turn items a few times during cooking to achieve great results.
With its dial temperature controls, you can’t set the Dash precisely. For the most part, the manual is helpful and even includes a few recipes, but some of the temperatures specified in the charts and recipes are different from the ones printed on the machine. You have to guess where to set the dial if you want to cook at a specific temperature.
The basket has a nonstick coating and is small enough to go in the dishwasher without hogging too much space. You can choose the Dash with a glossy red, aqua, white, or black exterior.
You'll pay a high price for the handsome brushed stainless-steel Breville Smart Oven Air, but you get a state-of-the-art toaster oven in addition to an air fryer, which consistently turned out crispy food and chicken nuggets that tasted fried. The digital temperature controls are intuitive to program and include automatic preheat. The Breville also has a bright oven light.
Although it’s large even by toaster oven standards, it can truly replace your oven. No need for special toaster oven-sized cookware here. And Breville claims it can accommodate a 6-kilogram turkey.
I do have one major quibble with this product. The manual doesn’t contain any recommendations for what, how much, or how long to cook various foods. This may not be a problem for baking or roasting, but if you’re new to air frying, you’re on your own when you’re getting started. Also, keep in mind all of the parts require hand washing.
It's an air fryer, toaster, and countertop oven
Has digital controls
Foods come out crispy
Manual isn't helpful
Parts aren't dishwasher safe
GoWISE USA 8-in-1 Air Fryer XL
The GoWise 8-in-1 does very well and has some nice advantages. In addition to its large capacity, it has digital controls with eight preprogrammed settings (hence the name) and an alarm that you can set to remind you to toss food during cooking.
It doesn’t require preheating, and the basket is both nonstick coated and dishwasher safe. With the GoWise USA, you get a cookbook to give you lots of recipe ideas. In addition to black and white, you can choose from red and purple housing.
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