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The 6 best air fryers of 2024, tested and reviewed

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Five air fryers are lined up on a counter while a hand holds onto an air fryer basket full of french fries.The best air fryers crisp up broccoli, chicken wings, and more faster and with less oil than traditional ovens.

James Brains/Business Insider

With the advent of air fryers, you no longer need a deep fryer or a pan full of oil to achieve the comforting crunch of fried foods. The best air fryers circulate hot air to make crispy treats with minimal oil, but can also be used to cook protein and roast veggies quickly. We consulted with three experts and tested 60 units for cooking capabilities, ease of cleaning, and user-friendliness to find the best air fryers.

Our top pick is the Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven because it cooks quickly and deliciously and has a window for monitoring your food’s progress. For a value pick, we recommend the Beautiful Touchscreen Air Fryer. It’s about $60 cheaper and makes perfect broccoli, but it lacks the window and doesn’t cook frozen fries as well.

Learn more about how Business Insider Reviews tests and researches kitchen products.

Our top picks for the best air fryers of 2024

Best overall: Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven — See at Amazon

Best value: Beautiful Touchscreen Air Fryer — See at Walmart

Best toaster oven: Oster Digital Air Fryer Oven with RapidCrisp — See at Amazon

Best small: Dreo Aircrisp Pro Air Fryer — See at Amazon

Best multitasking: Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer — See at Amazon

Best large-capacity: Ninja Foodi DualZone XL Air Fryer — See at Kohl’s


Different types of air fryers

The two main air fryer types are basket and toaster oven. Basket air fryers feature a drawer in the bottom half for the food; the controls are on top, and an internal fan blows hot air down onto the food to cook it. The best air fryer toaster ovens look just like traditional toaster ovens with a transparent door that you open to insert your food. Air fryer toaster ovens have a fan on the side or top that blows hot air to “air fry” your food.

A third type is the pressure-cooking air fryer. These appliances look like Instant Pot pressure cookers but have air-frying functionality. Check out our Instant Pot vs. Ninja Foodi article for more on these units.


Best overall

From the makers of the wildly popular Instant Pot, the Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven with ClearCook combines the best features of an air fryer and a toaster oven. It has a window in the front like a toaster oven, but it cooks quickly like a basket air fryer.

Even factoring in the time it takes to preheat, the Instant Vortex Plus cooked food the fastest in all of our tests, including producing evenly cooked hand-cut fries in just 14 minutes. Best of all, it did a good job of making moist and evenly cooked broccoli and frozen fries.

The oven is also easy to use. Select one of the six presets, use the temp/time button to adjust how long and hot the air fryer cooks, and press start. It was mildly annoying how the cook time countdown only starts once the unit preheats. You can’t just have it count down once you press the start button. 

The Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven with ClearCook, the best air fryer in 2023, is displayed on a kitchen counter.We love that the Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven with ClearCook has a window that lets us easily watch the contents cook.

James Brains/Business Insider

The Vortex Plus has an air filter to prevent odors from escaping. While I didn’t systematically test this feature, it did a good job of containing smells. If removing odors isn’t important, you can often find the model without the air filter at a lower price. Both models feature a light to see your food through the window easily.

The basket and crisping plate are both dishwasher-safe. I much preferred cleaning the basket by hand because it takes up a lot of space in the dishwasher, and the nonstick surface makes clean-up effortless.

Read our full Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven review.


Best value

We’re always a little skeptical about products sporting a celebrity’s name. However, we’d recommend the Beautiful 6 Quart Touchscreen Air Fryer by Drew Barrymore, even without the endorsement of the “Donnie Darko” star.

The controls are intuitive, with only the relevant buttons illuminated. First, you press the power button, which illuminates the presets. Once you select a preset, you can adjust the time and temp, and the flashing start button begins the cook. The unit is attractive and comes in seven colors: white icing, cornflower blue, black sesame, and more. It’s also available in 3-quart and 9-quart options.

The Beautiful 6 Quart Touchscreen Air Fryer by Drew Barrymore is displayed with a green and gold background.The Beautiful Touchscreen Air Fryer by Drew Barrymore is available in seven colors.

James Brains/Business Insider

The $79 Beautiful air fryer was one of only two units to cook hand-cut fries in 15 minutes, and the results were evenly cooked and delicious. It was also among the fastest at cooking broccoli and frozen fries. The frozen fries were a little dry, but the broccoli was just right.

The basket and crisper plate are dishwasher-safe, though the basket with its jutting-out handle will take up significant space in your dishwasher. Hand-washing is an effortless alternative thanks to the nonstick coating.

Read our full Beautiful Air Fryer review.


Best toaster oven

We tested 18 contenders for our guide to the best air fryer toaster ovens. Due to their size and popular uses, air fryer toaster ovens underwent different tests from traditional basket air fryers. You can find more details here.

While none of the air fryer toaster ovens produced perfectly even food, the Oster Digital Air Fryer Oven did the best. A juicy, delicious whole chicken only took an hour and seven minutes. The pizza was ready in nine minutes, and crispy, evenly cooked fries came out in 12 minutes. Plus, the oven preheated faster than most. The flavor was terrific in all three tests, though the chicken and pizza could have been cooked more evenly.

Using an oven thermometer, we found the Oster ran hotter than the set temperature. However, the temperature stayed consistent, only varying by plus or minus three degrees from its average.

The Oster Air Fryer Oven cooking pizza at 425 degrees.The Oster Digital Air Fryer Oven was a breeze to set up and performed the best in our air fryer toaster oven testing.

James Brains/Business Insider

Only the basics are included with the $200 Oster Digital Air Fryer Oven. Yet, there are several useful presets, like baking and dehydration. Cleaning is a snap thanks to the easy-to-remove crumb tray and dishwasher-safe accessories.

Overall, the Oster was the best air fryer toaster oven for cooking food evenly, deliciously, and quickly. It doesn’t have the features or extras of pricier appliances, but it’s a solid workhorse for producing quality food in minimal time.

If the Oster isn’t available, we strongly recommend the Ninja Foodi XL Pro Air Fry Toaster Oven (DT201). It costs about $100 more than the Oster, but it maintains consistent temperatures, makes a perfect roast chicken, and is user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

Read our full Oster Digital Air Fryer Toaster Oven review. Check out our guide to the best air fryer toaster ovens.


Best small

We considered 11 compact air fryers for our guide to the best small air fryers. Due to size constraints, we used different tests from the full-size units. We used half as much fries and broccoli and added a chicken wings test. 

No matter the test, the Dreo Aircrisp Pro Air Fryer was among the best in quality and speed. While broccoli is a challenge for air fryers, the Dreo did the best at balancing tender stems and crispy-yet-not-burnt florets. The fries and wings were evenly cooked and perfectly crispy.

Lights illuminate the buttons for time and temperature adjustments. However, the presets are confusing as they rely on ambiguous symbols, like an orange representing the dehydration mode. Still, we were happy to see a dehydration function since most air fryers don’t have one.

The basket of the Dreo Aircrisp Pro Air Fryer is full of evenly cooked fries and pulled out of the appliance that is sitting on a counter.The Dreo Aircrisp Pro Air Fryer does an impressive job of cooking food while occupying minimal space.

James Brains/Business Insider

You can wash the tray and basket in a dishwasher. If you wash them by hand, the debris slides right off. However, the rubber feet that hold the tray in place and protect the nonstick basket from scratching kept falling off during washing.

The $76 Dreo Aircrisp Pro used space efficiently with the best exterior-size-to-food-capacity ratio of the small basket air fryers I tested. The air fryer is flat on top, so you could store items on top, though you’ll need to remove the items to cook. Its 3.6-quart capacity makes it ideal for two people.

Read our full Dreo Aircrisp Pro Air Fryer review. Check out our guide to the best small air fryers.


Best multitasking

Air fryers often get a bad rap for being uni-taskers, but Instant Pot has bucked the trend by adding air fryer functionality to its already versatile multicookers. The $170 Duo Crisp comes with two separate lids — a traditional Instant Pot lid for pressure and slow cooking and another lid equipped with an electric heating coil and fan that you’ll use for air frying, broiling, dehydrating, and more.

If you’ve used an Instant Pot, you’re already familiar with the Duo Crisp’s pressure cooking. We rated it the best multitasking unit in our guides to the best pressure cookers and best sous vide cookers

The air fryer function excelled in my tests, producing tender broccoli and crisp frozen fries, though the tall cylindrical basket had some downsides. The basket allows you to stack two layers of food to compensate for the lack of horizontal space, but because the heat comes from above, the food on the bottom layer is often less crisp than the top. The air fryer basket also lacks a handle, which makes agitating the food difficult.

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp sits on a counter by bottles of cooking ingredients.The versatility of this multi-cooker makes it worth the counter space.

Jen Gushue/Business Insider

The lid’s heating coil is exposed when you remove it, which is a burn hazard. The unit has a special plate for safely setting the lid down on your counter, but you must still be careful. If you own an Instant Pot, you can purchase an air fryer lid separately for a 6-quart model. 

The Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker & Air Fryer was also one of the best air fryers for multitasking, with sous vide and slow cooking capabilities. However, it doesn’t pressure cook and costs more than the Duo Crisp.

Check out our Instant Pots vs. Air Fryers review and our full Instant Pot Duo Crisp review.


Best large-capacity

The Ninja Foodi DualZone is like having two full-size basket air fryers in your kitchen. It features two 5-quart air fryer baskets that you can program to heat independently or for the same time and temp. A “smart finish” function ensures both baskets finish cooking simultaneously if you’re cooking two different types of food.

Most importantly, the Ninja Foodi DualZone cooks food evenly without drying out the food. While it was one of the slowest units preparing frozen fries, it quickly produced delicious broccoli and hand-cut fries. 

The Ninja DZ401 Foodi DualZone XL 2-Basket Air Fryer is displayed on a kitchen counter.The Ninja Foodi DualZone features two fryer baskets that cook independently.

James Brains/Business Insider

With so many functions, we assumed this $230 air fryer would have a steep learning curve, but the controls are intuitive. We had it up and running without referencing the instructions. Clean-up is also a snap since the baskets and crisper plates are dishwasher-safe. We like that the baskets are smaller than the traditional 6-quart models, so fitting them in the dishwasher is easier.

Another high-capacity option is the Ninja Foodi FlexBasket Air Fryer with MegaZone. It works similarly to the DualZone model, only instead of having two baskets, there’s a divider splitting the 7-quart basket, so you can more easily cook larger items. It’s more affordable but has a smaller capacity.

Read our full Ninja Foodi DualZone Air Fryer review.


What to look for in an air fryer

Size: Choose a 4- to 6-quart unit if you’re only cooking for yourself or another person, says Laurie Fleming, the author of one of the best air fryer cookbooks in our guide and creator of Fork to Spoon. For larger families, use air fryers that are 6 quarts and up. She recommends larger air fryers when possible because they give you more flexibility in what you can make.

Type: There are two main types of air fryers: traditional basket units and air fryer toaster ovens. Air fryer toaster ovens are more versatile, performing several tasks, including non-convection baking. Basket air fryers are usually smaller and cook food faster but have limited functionality.

Price: The air fryers in our guide range from $70 to $230. Higher prices generally equate to more functions and a larger capacity. If you don’t need fancy functions and only cook for one or two people, you can save a few dollars with a cheaper model.

Functionality: Manufacturers continually introduce new functions. Some common ones are dehydration, dual-zone cooking, and WiFi connectivity. More and more appliances offer air fryer cooking, including some toaster ovens and pressure cookers, like the Instant Pot Duo Crisp. However, more functions usually lead to a higher price tag.


How we test air fryers

Bags of Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries, frozen broccoli florets, and raw potatoes piled up.To test each air fryer, we cooked frozen french fries, broccoli, and hand-cut fries.

Jen Gushue/Business Insider

The main factors we considered when testing air fryers were cooking capabilities, ease of use, and ease of cleaning.

Cooking: We discovered early in our testing that even the best air fryers varied wildly in cook times. One unit charred broccoli to an undesirable crisp in 6 minutes, while another took 13 minutes to reach al dente. So, we cooked three recipes in each machine and evaluated how quickly and evenly they cooked.

To choose the best air fryers, here are the cooking tests we put each unit through:

Food

Testing Process

Result

Broccoli

We cooked a basket of broccoli in each unit, assessing for doneness and even cooking. Each batch was air fried for 8 minutes at 375 degrees after being sprayed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Additional cooking time was added if necessary.

The air fryers struggled with fresh vegetables, but a few units produced tender broccoli with crisp florets. More often, the result was incredibly dry.

Frozen french fries

We cooked a basket full of Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food French Fries in each unit, assessing for doneness and even cooking. We cooked them for 8 minutes at 400 degrees, jostling them halfway through. Additional cooking time was added if necessary.

This was by far the most successful test. We didn’t get a single bad batch of frozen fries. You should buy an air fryer if you eat many frozen finger foods.

Fresh-cut french fries

We cooked a basket of hand-cut french fries in each unit, assessing for doneness and even cooking. We soaked the cut fries in cold water for 30 minutes before cooking, patted them dry, sprayed them with olive oil, and seasoned them with salt. We cooked them for 15 minutes at 375 degrees, adding additional time when necessary.

Overall, the air fryers had trouble getting fresh potatoes crispy, and a few units created leathery exteriors on the fries by the time they were cooked in the middle. But most units produced a satisfying baked-style fry.

Chicken wings

Making chicken wings is a popular use for air fryers, so we recently added this test. We toss a pound of wing dings with canola oil, garlic salt, and lemon pepper. We then cook them for 16 minutes at 400 degrees, flipping them halfway through. Then, we assess how evenly cooked and crisp the wings are.

Every air fryer we’ve tested has finished cooking in 16 minutes, and the resulting wings were delicious. However, they vary significantly in crispiness.

Ease of use: We tried to set up and use each unit without referring to the user manual. Each air fryer was easy to set up and featured intuitive controls, especially if you have air fryer experience. If you are new to air fryers, get acclimated by reading the user manual.

Cleaning: We tracked how many parts there were to disassemble and clean. A unit with dishwasher-safe accessories got bonus points.


Air fryer FAQs

Are air fryers worth it?

An air fryer is worth it for its versatility and efficiency in roasting and baking if you have the counter space, but it won’t trick anyone into believing your food is deep-fried. The best air fryers take very little time to preheat, saving time and electricity.

An air fryer is one of the quickest cooking appliances besides the best microwaves, making it a real time-saver, especially for weeknight meals. Plus, it’s more versatile and produces crisper results than a microwave. Air fryers cook almost anything you’d typically roast in an oven: vegetables, fish, whole chicken, and more.


How do air fryers work?

Air fryers work like convection ovens, using a fan to circulate hot air. This browns the food and makes it crispy, similar to deep frying food. Air-fried food’s texture and taste won’t be the same as something deep-fried, but it’s as close as you can get without a tub of oil. One benefit of using an air fryer is you don’t have to monitor food too closely or cook it for that long. To learn more, check out our article on how air fryers work.


What can you make in an air fryer?

Since they rely on the same technology, air fryers can make anything a convection oven can make, including baking, convection baking, air frying, roasting, and toasting items. Some models can also broil and dehydrate your food. Consider purchasing one of the best air fryer egg molds to make a quick and easy breakfast.


What cannot be cooked in an air fryer?

Liquid foods, including soups and wet batters, should not go in an air fryer. Fresh greens and other loose items should not go in an air fryer as they will fly around and potentially catch fire on the heating element. This article covers the best and worst things to make in an air fryer.


What’s the best way to clean an air fryer?

It depends on your air fryer model, so consult the user manual. Generally, you should clean the fryer basket and grease catcher with hot, soapy water and a soft sponge after each use. You can simplify cleanup by air frying your food on aluminum foil or parchment paper.

For more details, check out our article on how to clean an air fryer. Look at the best silicone air fryer liners for easy cleaning and grease-free cooking.


How much does an air fryer cost?

The cheapest air fryer we recommend in our best small air fryer guide costs $50, but they can cost up to $700. Expect to spend between $130 and $160 for the best air fryers. However, they’re deeply discounted during Black Friday and other big sales events.


What size air fryer do you need?

Fleming recommends buying the biggest air fryer you can afford and have space for because it gives you flexibility in what you can make. She advises against anything smaller than four quarts, even if you just cook for yourself. Big families might consider air fryer toaster ovens, which have more capacity than basket air fryers.

Different types of air fryers

The two main air fryer types are basket and toaster oven. Basket air fryers feature a drawer in the bottom half for the food; the controls are on top, and an internal fan blows hot air down onto the food to cook it. The best air fryer toaster ovens look just like traditional toaster ovens with a transparent door that you open to insert your food. Air fryer toaster ovens have a fan on the side or top that blows hot air to “air fry” your food.

A third type is the pressure-cooking air fryer. These appliances look like Instant Pot pressure cookers but have air-frying functionality. Check out our Instant Pot vs. Ninja Foodi article for more on these units.

Best overallThe Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven with ClearCook is displayed on a kitchen counter.We love that the Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven with ClearCook has a window that lets us easily watch the contents cook.

James Brains/Business Insider

From the makers of the wildly popular Instant Pot, the Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven with ClearCook combines the best features of an air fryer and a toaster oven. It has a window in the front like a toaster oven, but it cooks quickly like a basket air fryer.

Even factoring in the time it takes to preheat, the Instant Vortex Plus cooked food the fastest in all of our tests, including producing evenly cooked hand-cut fries in just 14 minutes. Best of all, it did a good job of making moist and evenly cooked broccoli and frozen fries.

The oven is also easy to use. Select one of the six presets, use the temp/time button to adjust how long and hot the air fryer cooks, and press start. I did find it mildly annoying that the cook time countdown only starts once the unit preheats. You can’t just have it countdown from when you press the start button, but that was a minor nuisance. 

The Vortex Plus has an air filter to prevent odors from escaping. While I didn’t systematically test this feature, it did a good job of containing smells. It also has a light to see your food through the window easily.

The basket and crisping plate are both dishwasher-safe. I much preferred cleaning the basket by hand because it takes up a lot of space in the dishwasher, and the nonstick surface makes clean-up effortless.

Read our full Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven review.

Best large-capacityThe Ninja DZ401 Foodi DualZone XL 2-Basket Air Fryer is displayed on a kitchen counter.The Ninja Foodi DualZone features two fryer baskets that cook independently.

James Brains/Business Insider

The Ninja Foodi DualZone is like having two full-size basket air fryers in your kitchen. It features two 5-quart air fryer baskets that you can program to heat independently or for the same time and temp. A “smart finish” function ensures both baskets finish cooking simultaneously if you’re cooking two different types of food.

Most importantly, the Ninja Foodi DualZone cooks food evenly without drying out the food. While it was one of the slowest units preparing frozen fries, it quickly produced delicious broccoli and hand-cut fries. 

With so many functions, we assumed this $230 air fryer would have a steep learning curve, but the controls are intuitive. We had it up and running without referencing the instructions. Clean-up is also a snap since the baskets and crisper plates are dishwasher-safe. We like that the baskets are smaller than the traditional 6-quart models, so fitting them in the dishwasher is easier.

Best valueThe Beautiful 6 Quart Touchscreen Air Fryer by Drew Barrymore is displayed with a green and gold background.The Beautiful Touchscreen Air Fryer by Drew Barrymore is available in seven colors.

James Brains/Business Insider

We’re always a little skeptical about products sporting a celebrity’s name. However, we’d recommend the Beautiful 6 Quart Touchscreen Air Fryer by Drew Barrymore, even without the endorsement of the “Donnie Darko” star.

The controls are intuitive, with only the relevant buttons illuminated. First, you press the power button, which illuminates the presets. Once you select a preset, you can adjust the time and temp, and the flashing start button begins the cook. The unit is attractive and comes in seven colors: white icing, cornflower blue, black sesame, and more.

The $79 Beautiful air fryer was one of only two units to cook hand-cut fries in 15 minutes, and the results were evenly cooked and delicious. It was also among the fastest at cooking broccoli and frozen fries. The frozen fries were a little dry, but the broccoli was just right.

The basket and crisper plate are dishwasher-safe, though the basket with its jutting-out handle will take up significant space in your dishwasher. Hand-washing is an effortless alternative thanks to the nonstick coating.

Best toaster ovenThe Oster Air Fryer Oven on a counter cooking pizza at 425 degrees.The Oster Air Fryer Oven cooks fries, pizza, and whole chicken quickly and deliciously.

James Brains/Business Insider

We tested 18 contenders for our guide to the best air fryer toaster ovens. Due to their size and popular uses, air fryer toaster ovens underwent different tests from traditional basket air fryers. You can find more details here.

While none of the air fryer toaster ovens produced perfectly even food, the Oster Digital Air Fryer Oven did the best on average. A juicy, delicious whole chicken only took an hour and seven minutes. The pizza was ready in nine minutes, and crispy, evenly cooked fries came out in 12 minutes. Plus, the oven preheated faster than most. The flavor was terrific in all three tests, though the chicken and pizza could have been cooked more evenly.

Using an oven thermometer, we found the Oster ran hotter than the temperature we set it at, but the temperature stayed consistent, only varying by plus or minus three degrees from its average.

Only the basics are included with the $190 Oster Digital Air Fryer Oven. Yet, there are several useful presets, like baking and dehydration. Cleaning is a snap thanks to the easy-to-remove crumb tray and dishwasher-safe accessories.

Overall, the Oster was the best air fryer toaster oven for cooking food evenly, deliciously, and quickly. It doesn’t have the features or extras of pricier appliances, but it’s a solid workhorse for producing quality food in minimal time.

Read our full Oster Digital Air Fryer Toaster Oven review. Check out our guide to the best air fryer toaster ovens.

Best smallThe basket of the Dreo Aircrisp Pro Air Fryer is full of evenly cooked fries and pulled out of the appliance that is sitting on a counter.The Dreo Aircrisp Pro Air Fryer does an impressive job of cooking food while occupying minimal space.

James Brains/Business Insider

We considered 11 compact air fryers for our guide to the best small air fryers. Due to size constraints, we used different tests from the full-size units. We used half as much fries and broccoli and added a chicken wings test. 

No matter the test, the Dreo Aircrisp Pro Air Fryer was among the best in quality and speed. While broccoli is a challenge for air fryers, the Dreo did the best at balancing tender stems and crispy-yet-not-burnt florets. The fries and wings were evenly cooked and perfectly crispy.

Lights illuminate the buttons for time and temperature adjustments. However, the presets are confusing as they rely on ambiguous symbols, like an orange representing the dehydration mode. Still, we were happy to see a dehydration function since most air fryers don’t have one.

You can wash the tray and basket in a dishwasher. If you wash them by hand, the debris slides right off. However, the rubber feet that hold the tray in place and protect the nonstick basket from scratching kept falling off during washing.

The $88 Dreo Aircrisp Pro used space efficiently with the best exterior-size-to-food-capacity ratio of the small basket air fryers I tested. The air fryer is flat on top, so you could store items on top, though you’ll need to remove the items to cook. Its 3.6-quart capacity makes it ideal for two people.

Read our full Dreo Aircrisp Pro Air Fryer review. Check out our guide to the best small air fryers.

Best multitaskingThe Instant Pot Duo Crisp sits on a counter by bottles of cooking ingredients.The versatility of this multi-cooker makes it worth the counter space.

Jen Gushue/Business Insider

Air fryers often get a bad rap for being uni-taskers, but Instant Pot has bucked the trend by adding air fryer functionality to its already versatile multicookers. The Duo Crisp comes with two separate lids — a traditional Instant Pot lid for pressure and slow cooking and another lid equipped with an electric heating coil and fan that you’ll use for air frying, broiling, dehydrating, and more.

If you’ve used an Instant Pot, you’re already familiar with the Duo Crisp’s pressure cooking. We rated it the best multitasking unit in our guides to the best pressure cookers and best sous vide cookers

The $185 air fryer function excelled in my tests, producing tender broccoli and crisp frozen fries, though the tall cylindrical basket had some downsides. The basket allows you to stack two layers of food to compensate for the lack of horizontal space, but because the heat comes from above, the food on the bottom layer is often less crisp than the top. The air fryer basket also lacks a handle, which makes agitating the food difficult.

The lid’s heating coil is exposed when you remove it, which is a burn hazard. The unit has a special plate for safely setting the lid down on your counter, but you must still be careful. If you own an Instant Pot, you can purchase an air fryer lid separately for a 6-quart model. 

The Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker & Air Fryer was also one of the best air fryers for multitasking, with sous vide and slow cooking capabilities. However, it doesn’t pressure cook and costs more than the Duo Crisp.

Check out our Instant Pots vs. Air Fryers review and our full Instant Pot Duo Crisp review.

What to look for in an air fryer

Size: Choose a 4- to 6-quart unit you’re only cooking for yourself or another person, says Laurie Fleming, the author of one of the best air fryer cookbooks in our guide and creator of Fork to Spoon. For larger families, use air fryers that are 6 quarts and up. She recommends larger air fryers when possible because they give you more flexibility in what you can make.

Type: There are two main types of air fryers: traditional basket units and air fryer toaster ovens. Air fryer toaster ovens are more versatile, performing several tasks, including non-convection baking. Basket air fryers are usually smaller and cook food faster but have limited functionality.

Price: The air fryers in our guide range from $50 to $400. Higher prices generally equate to more functions and a larger capacity. If you don’t need fancy functions and only cook for one or two people, you can save a few dollars with a cheaper model.

Functionality: Manufacturers continually introduce new functions. Some common ones are dehydration, dual-zone cooking, and WiFi connectivity. Other appliances also offer air fryer cooking, including air fryer toaster ovens and some pressure cookers, like the Instant Pot Duo Crisp. However, more functions usually lead to a higher price tag.

How we test air fryersBags of Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries, frozen broccoli florets, and raw potatoes piled up.To test each air fryer, we cooked frozen french fries, broccoli, and hand-cut fries.

Jen Gushue/Business Insider

The main factors we considered when testing air fryers were cooking capabilities, ease of use, and ease of cleaning.

Cooking: We discovered early in our testing that even the best air fryers varied wildly in cook times. One unit charred broccoli to an undesirable crisp in 6 minutes, while another took 13 minutes to reach al dente. So, we cooked three recipes in each machine and evaluated how quickly and evenly they cooked.

To choose the best air fryers, here are the cooking tests we put each unit through:

Food Testing Process Result
Broccoli We cooked a basket of broccoli in each unit, assessing for doneness and even cooking. Each batch was air fried for 8 minutes at 375 degrees after being sprayed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Additional cooking time was added if necessary. The air fryers struggled with fresh vegetables, but a few units produced tender broccoli with crisp florets. More often, the result was incredibly dry.
Frozen french fries We cooked a basket full of Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food French Fries in each unit, assessing for doneness and even cooking. We cooked them for 8 minutes at 400 degrees, jostling them halfway through, per the air fryer-specific instructions on the french fry bag. Additional cooking time was added if necessary. This was by far the most successful test. We didn’t get a single bad batch of frozen fries. You should buy an air fryer if you eat many frozen finger foods.
Fresh-cut french fries We cooked a basket of hand-cut french fries in each unit, assessing for doneness and even cooking. We soaked the cut fries in cold water for 30 minutes before cooking, patted them dry, sprayed them with olive oil, and seasoned them with salt. We cooked them for 15 minutes at 375 degrees, adding additional time when necessary. Overall, the air fryers had trouble getting fresh potatoes crispy, and a few units created leathery exteriors on the fries by the time they were cooked in the middle. But most units produced a satisfying baked-style fry.

Ease of use: We tried to set up and use each unit without referring to the user manual. Each air fryer was easy to set up and featured intuitive controls, especially if you have air fryer experience. If you are new to air fryers, get acclimated by reading the user manual.

Cleaning: We tracked how many parts there were to disassemble and clean. A unit with dishwasher-safe accessories got big bonus points in our test for best air fryer.

Air fryer FAQs

Are air fryers worth it?

An air fryer is worth it for its versatility and efficiency in roasting and baking if you have the counter space, but it won’t trick anyone into believing your food is deep-fried. The best air fryers take very little time to preheat, saving time and electricity.

An air fryer is one of the quickest-cooking appliances besides the best microwaves, making it a real time-saver, especially for weeknight meals. Plus, it’s more versatile and produces crisper results than a microwave. Air fryers cook almost anything you’d typically roast in an oven: vegetables, fish, whole chicken, and more. 


How do air fryers work?

Air fryers work like convection ovens, using a fan to circulate hot air. This browns the food and makes it crispy, similar to deep frying food. Air-fried food’s texture and taste won’t be the same as something deep-fried, but it’s as close as you can get without a tub of oil. One benefit of using the best air fryers is that you don’t have to monitor food too closely or cook it for that long. To learn more, check out our article on how air fryers work.


What can you make in an air fryer?

Since they rely on the same technology, air fryers can make anything a convection oven can make, including baking, convection baking, air frying, roasting, and toasting items. Some models can also broil and dehydrate your food. Consider purchasing air fryer egg molds to make a quick and easy breakfast.


What cannot be cooked in an air fryer?

Liquid foods, including soups and wet batters, should not go in an air fryer. Fresh greens and other loose items should not go in an air fryer as they will fly around and potentially catch fire on the heating element. This article covers the best and worst things to make in an air fryer.


What’s the best way to clean an air fryer?

It depends on your air fryer model, so consult the user manual. Generally, you should clean the fryer basket and grease catcher with hot, soapy water and a soft sponge after each use. You can simplify cleanup by air frying your food on aluminum foil or parchment paper.

For more details, check out our article on how to clean an air fryer. Look at the best silicone air fryer liners for easy cleaning and grease-free cooking.


How much does an air fryer cost?

The cheapest air fryer we recommend in our best small air fryer guide costs $50, but they can cost up to $700. Expect to spend between $130 and $160 for the best air fryers. However, they’re deeply discounted during Black Friday and other big sales events.


What size air fryer do you need?

Fleming recommends buying the biggest air fryer you can afford and have space for because it gives you flexibility in what you can make. She advises against anything smaller than four quarts, even if you just cook for yourself. Big families might consider air fryer toaster ovens, which have more capacity than basket air fryers.

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