Over the past year and a half, we’ve all had some extra time on our hands while we’ve been stuck inside our homes. While some people have taken up new hobbies, others have tried to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Cooking though is something where both of those things converge. And, with newer innovative ways to make healthy food tastier, this is the best time to switch over. Air Fryers are the latest entrant into the culinary revolution, with their ease-of-use, and most importantly, their emphasis on healthy yet scrumptious food.
Unlike traditional frying techniques like deep frying, which are super unhealthy, an air fryer emulates a similar food texture but without the caveat of drenching it in oil. In fact, a lot of times, you don’t even need to use a drop of oil to make the perfect crispy French fries. Sounds like sorcery, right? Well, that’s because they kind of are magic.
Air Fryers, as the name suggests, use hot circulating air inside a chamber to heat up the contents within. It is essentially a type of convection cooking and can produce great results for food with a crispy exterior and moist interior. Not only that but Air Fryers have a lot of applications other than frying food as well. For instance, they are much better at heating up food than a microwave oven and don’t take as long as a traditional oven either.
So, they’re like the holy grail of cooking appliances. And, with their skyrocketing hype, the world has finally started to realize how incredibly good they are. Seriously though, if you still don’t have an air fryer in your life, you’re missing out because it is guaranteed to change your life. Enough about praising them though, let’s get to the real subject; which air fryer is the best for you?
What to look for when buying an Air Fryer?
When it comes to Air Fryers, there are tons of options available on the market with all sorts of temperature and size ranges. However, not all Air Fryers are created equal, and choosing the one that suits your needs can be somewhat tricky and confusing. So, we’ve created a list of the best Air Fryers on the market for all types of usage. Having said that, before we get into the air fryers themselves, we need to establish what constitutes a good Air Fryer in the first place. What do you need to look for when buying one for yourself?
Air Fryers come in all sorts of sizes, temperature ranges, and most importantly, prices. You can get a cheap $80 Air Fryer but that will never match the performance or feature-set of the one that costs over $200. You don’t always have to spend a lot though as there are some options that offer unmatched value while also simultaneously not costing an arm and a leg.
When it comes to choosing a good air fryer, you’re essentially looking for a couple of things. First, you need to see is the power of the Air Fryer. Air Fryers have different power ratings, resulting in varying levels of heating potential. So, if you want something that’s quick, you’re going to want one with a higher temperature and power rating. In addition to that, speed and precision are also incredibly important. While frying food fast is definitely good, the heating process also needs to be uniform. Otherwise, you’re left with a combination of burnt and uncooked food.
In addition to that, an air fryer doesn’t have to be the most sophisticated piece of technology to be good. In fact, sometimes simpler is better and all you need for some crispy fried goodness is a consistent and basic air fryer.
Things like precision aren’t as easily quantifiable though and this is where we come in. We have tested a range of different air fryers and have selected the best options for a wide variety of price points. So, without further ado, let’s get started with our best airfryers in 2021.
1. Philips Airfryer Avance TurboStar ($230):
- Quick and Reliable
- Uniform heating
- Comes with a recipe book
- Only 2.75-quart capacity
When it comes to Air Fryers, no one does it better than Philips. In fact, Philips was the company that invented air fryers and introduced them to the consumer market. So, it does make sense that they’re still going strong in the game after almost a decade of iterations. They’re also the most popular Air Fryers out there, providing the best all-around experience with insanely good reliability.
The Philips Air Fryer with TurboStar, in particular, carries the same qualities as most Philips air fryers but with additional perks. Not only does it come with a multitude of different modes for grilling, roasting, baking, and frying, but it also excels at all of those. In addition to that, the Philips TurboStar also comes with a keep-warm function that lets you store food in it for an indefinite time while you prepare everything else. And, once you’re ready, your food will still come out piping hot and crispy.
If this is your first time buying an Air Fryer, the Philips TurboStar Digital Air Fryer has got you covered in that area as well as not only does it come with recipe presets but it also includes an entire recipe book with over 200 recipes. And finally, once you’re done, you can just shove the tray into the dishwasher as it has a non-stick coating on it.
Having said that, while the Philips Air Fryer is the best performer, it might not offer the best value. Coming in at a relatively tiny 2.75-quart cooking capacity so you won’t be able to fry a lot of stuff in it. This can be fine if you don’t generally require a lot of space but can be a deal-breaker for bigger families. Furthermore, the price tag is also quite high, coming in at $220 USD, making it one of the more expensive options on the market. If those things don’t matter to you though, this is hands down the best air fryer for you.
2. Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer ($140):
- Easy to use
- Dishwasher safe
- Large Capacity
- Requires a large area to operate
- No preset cooking modes
- No cord storage
If you’re looking for a cheaper but still powerful alternative to the Philips Air Fryer, you can not really go wrong with Ninja. The Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer may not have the flair and feature-set of the Philips but what it excels at is simple excellence. The air fryer comes with very clear and readable buttons that any user can interact with easily despite their technical knowledge. While this does mean that the air fryer doesn’t have tons of built-in cooking modes for different recipes, it does result in a much more streamlined experience.
In addition to the large and intuitive interface, the Ninja Max XL Air Fryer is also very powerful. Reaching temperatures up to 450 F, this air fryer can turn frozen food into crispy goodness within a couple of minutes. Furthermore, apart from the standard max crisp mode, the Ninja Max XL Air Fryer also comes with an air broil mode that can produce some delectable food. Not only that, but in spite of the rather simple interface, this air fryer is very accurate when it comes to timing as it displays seconds as well.
The biggest draw of the Ninja Air Fryer, however, is its large capacity. As it is an ‘XL’ model, it has a 5.5-quart cooking capacity, making it twice as spacious as the Philips Air Fryer. However, be wary that a lot of that additional space is vertical rather than horizontal, so this is good for cooking tall pieces of meat and such, but not necessarily for something that can span very wide.
In terms of additional material, the Ninja Air Fryer comes with an owner’s manual which includes 20 recipes which isn’t quite as good as the 200-recipe book from Philips. However, for most starters, this should suffice.
Nevertheless, the price point of just under $140 USD makes the Ninja Max XL Air Fryer an absolute steal when it comes to the value and you can’t really go wrong with it.
3. Dash Deluxe Air Fryer + Oven Cooker ($100):
- Aesthetically pleasing design
- A plethora of color options
- Powerful and reliable
- No digital interface
- Can be tricky to operate
If you’re more of an aesthetics person and want something that stands out in your artsy kitchen design, then the Dash Deluxe Air Fryer is the one for you. The air fryer arguably has the coolest look out of all the other options on the market. With its massive dial in the middle that gives it that retro look, the Dash Deluxe Air Fryer looks like an old-school safe. However, where it shines is the extensive color selection. Most air fryers come in either white, black, or silver color which can get a bit bland. The Dash Deluxe, on the other hand, comes in 5 different colors including red, yellow, and aqua.
With that said, all this aesthetic flair doesn’t mean that the Dash Deluxe is lacking in other departments. In fact, it is very reliable and quick when it comes to frying something. The temperature goes up high enough for most people and the end-product is crispy and evenly cooked. Where it does fall behind the other options though, is in its interface. Since it is an aesthetically retro-looking air fryer, it doesn’t really have much of an interface and time-keeping can be somewhat tricky with its dial. In addition to that, it doesn’t come with any preset cooking modes like roast or dehydrate either. If you’re used to old-school appliances though, this should be a piece of cake for you.
The Dash Deluxe isn’t only an air fryer though. As the name suggests, it can also be used as an oven cooker to bake items in. So, it can be pretty versatile if required. And, since it comes with a non-stick basket, it is also easily washable after use.
In terms of capacity, the Dash Deluxe is very spacious with its 6-quart compartment that will be sufficient for most use cases. And, with its very budget-friendly price tag of only $100, it is a very viable option for anyone looking for a good-looking air fryer that does the job.
4. Instant Vortex Pro 9-in-1 Air Fryer ($140):
- Large cooking capacity
- 9 different cooking modes
- Digital touchscreen
- Easy to clean
- Not the cheapest option out there
- Heavier than most air fryers
Instant Vortex Air Fryer is an absolute beast when it comes to delivering great frying performance on a bigger scale. This is the perfect option for bigger families or those who host parties at their homes since the frying compartment is massive. The 10 quarts capacity makes it one of the biggest reasonably-priced offerings in the market. However, don’t think that the increased quantity results in any compromise on quality.
In terms of its cooking prowess, the Instant Vortex Pro Air Fryer strives to achieve excellence and does it with ease. Coming with 9 different modes that include bake, broil, dehydrate, and many more, this air fryer does it all in one package. Not only that but you can also make things like a full-sized rotisserie chicken in the Instant Vortex Pro Air Fryer.
The digital interface at the front is also very intuitive with separate buttons for each cooking mode. The touch controls are simple enough to understand for most people. And the food that comes out is perfectly crispy and well-cooked. It doesn’t require pre-heating either and is very powerful, so it takes no time to start going. Furthermore, the Instant Vortex comes with all the necessary grills and accessories to make a wide variety of dishes in it.
So, if you’re looking for an all-in-one air fryer with a wide variety of feature set to make abundant food for the entire family, you can’t go wrong with the Instant Vortex Pro Air Fryer.
5. Amazon Basics Compact Air Fryer ($80):
- Digital Interface
- Makes crispy food
- Not as feature-rich
- Other modes are hit or miss
The Amazon Basics brand has always provided really good value for those shopping on a budget. Since Air Fryers can be quite expensive, especially the ones from reputable brands, it can be quite hard to find good options under the $100 mark. This is where Amazon steps in with its Amazon Basics Compact Air Fryer. This is a solid option for those looking to buy an affordable option.
The Amazon Basics Compact Air Fryer isn’t the most flamboyant when it comes to its cooking prowess or feature set. However, what it lacks in the variety of features, it makes up in nailing down the basics of air frying. This air fryer is exceptional at making crispy food with minimal oil, which is the sole purpose of an air fryer. With that said, it does still include other options like bake, grill, and roast. However, we found those to be rather underwhelming as compared to the air frying option.
So, if your sole purpose of buying an air fryer is to air fry your food, this is a perfectly viable option for you. It comes with an instruction manual for beginners that includes basic recipes for things like French fries. In addition to that, it is also easy to clean thanks to its non-stick basket that’s also dishwasher safe.
The cooking capacity of the Amazon Basics Compact Air Fryer isn’t bad either, standing at a moderate 3.2 quarts. And, since it is an Amazon official product, getting a return is also pretty simple if you’re not satisfied with it.
So, for $80 USD, you probably won’t be able to find a better budget air fryer than the Amazon Basics Air Fryer. However, if you wish to go even cheaper, there is an analog version available as well that brings down the price by a measly $60 USD.
6. Cuisinart Air Fryer + Toaster Oven ($192):
- Massive cooking compartment
- Comes with 7 different functions
- No digital interface
Cuisinart Air Fryer is one of the biggest consumer air fryers that you can get on the market. As evident from its shape, this air fryer is actually a toaster oven with an air frying function. This results in a design that’s much more like an actual oven rather than an air fryer. Therefore, the capacity of the Cuisinart Air Fryer is also pretty huge, coming in at a whopping 0.6 cubic feet. This means that you can stuff all sorts of things in there and it will still have plenty of space to spare.
In terms of its cooking functions, the Cuisinart Air Fryer Oven Toaster is also one of the most versatile options out there. It includes a plethora of cooking modes including bake, convection bake, broil, convection broil, toast, and warm. It is laden with features and it also backs those features up with its features and a wide temperature range.
One area where it does fall behind the competition is its interface. The Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven does not come with any digital display or touch controls. Instead, it goes the old-school oven route with its timers and dials. However, a lot of people prefer that over newer more sophisticated options so it comes down to personal preference.
Since it has so many different frying and baking modes, it comes with all the essential accessories as well including an oven rack, frying basket, and a baking pan. In fact, you can make a full 12-inch pizza in it as well.
Overall, there aren’t many air fryers that can match the sheer versatility, capacity, and cooking prowess of the Cuisinart Air Fryer. However, all of these extra features do come at a cost as the Air Fryer is on the higher end of the pricing spectrum.
7. Chefman Turbo Air Fryer ($75):
- Great Value
- Makes crispy food
- Digital display
- Easy to clean
- Not the most powerful offering
- Lacks additional features
The Chefman Turbo Air Fryer is another budget-friendly option that’s solid and reliable. While not being the most powerful option out there at only 1000 Watts, it is still good enough for most people. It does not fry food within a couple of minutes like some other products but the end product is still crispy and uniformly cooked. The Chefman Turbo Air Fryer might be basic in terms of its feature set but it still comes with a pretty intuitive digital display.
The temperature range is also decent and allows users to air fry anything ranging from a pizza to French fries. In addition to that, it is also very good at reheating leftover food, keeping the texture of the food intact. The size is also pretty standard at a 3.7-quart cooking capacity. It also comes with a vented basket that makes cleaning it easier.
Overall, the Chefman Turbo Air Fryer offers a really good value and it is hard to not recommend it to anyone on a tight budget.
8. Ninja Foodi TenderCrisp Pressure Cooker ($190):
- Incredibly versatile
While not primarily an air fryer, the Ninja Foodi TenderCrisp Pressure Cooker comes with air frying functionality. This is arguably the most versatile machine of the bunch with different functions like pressure cooking, baking, air frying, slow cooking, and steaming. In addition to that, this 8-in-1 beast also has a pretty spacious 5-quart compartment.
As far as the air frying capabilities are concerned, the Ninja Foodi comes with a Crisping lid that really elevates the food’s texture to another level. The results are astonishingly good, with a mouth-watering crispy and golden exterior. In addition to that, the pressure-cooking feature is also very useful for cooking food incredibly fast. And, thanks to its 14 different safety features, it is also very user-friendly and risk-free.
Yes, the price is much higher than other air fryers but considering the fact that this comes with so many other features like pressure cooking, the Ninja Foodi is an absolute no-brainer purchase for most people.