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If you’re looking to trim the fat, but you don’t want to give up French fries, battered fried chicken, or breaded fried shrimp, there might be an air fryer in your future. Air frying is a cooking method that uses convection to cook foods as air moves the heat inside the cooker. Because these have fans, they’re a little bit noisy, but because of the hot moving air, they cook foods faster than a conventional oven – even a convection oven – because the fans work in a small, confined space. The food stays juicy while getting brown and crisp outside.
01 of 07
Best Overall: Philips The Original Airfryer
Philips introduced this format air fryer to the market and it still is quite popular. The food goes into a basket that fits into the unit’s drawer. Some foods need to be shaken once or twice during the cooking time if the basket is full that airflow to foods in the center of the basket is blocked, but otherwise the cooking is hands-off. The controls are simple – just set the time and temperature with dials. There’s an audible alert when the food is done, and the unit turns off to keep from overcooking.
Phillips uses a patented “starfish” design that sends the air all around the food in the basket for even cooking on top, bottom and sides. You can also use this for grilling, roasting, steaming, and baking. The limit, of course, is the size of the food that needs to fit in the basket.
There are several other similar models from Phillips, including some that can cook more food in one batch. There are also accessories available for some of the models to make them more versatile. You can set the timer for up to 30 minutes, and the temperature goes up to 390 degrees.
This model comes with recipes from Gordon Ramsay in a book and an app. The removable parts are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
02 of 07
Best Value: Avalon Bay AirFryer
If you’re not constantly cooking for a crowd, or you want an air fryer for occasional snacks, quick lunches, and late-night munchies, this budget friendly unit is the right fit. It holds 2.65 quarts and can be set for temperatures from 200 to 400 degrees, so you’ll be making wings, potato skins, and grilled cheese sandwiches in no time.
This has nonslip feet that keep it stable on the counter, and a 30-minute timer that automatically switches the fryer to standby mode so you can keep the food warm without overcooking. Cooking control is easy, with one dial to set the time and the second to set the temperature. The removable parts are dishwasher safe, or easily washed by hand.
03 of 07
Best Large Capacity: Della Electric Multipurpose Classic Rapid Air Fryer
At 5.8 quarts (nearly 1 1/2 gallons) this air fryer has the capacity to cook for a crowd. It has a 30 minute timer with an automatic standby feature, so you can keep the food warm without overcooking. The temperature is adjustable from 180 to 390 degrees, so you can cook a wide variety of foods and the detachable basket makes it easy to transfer foods to a serving plate.
A ready light indicates when the air fryer has reached the proper temperature for cooking, and a plastic cover on the basket-release button makes it difficult to accidentally drop the food basket holder. Controls are simple, with one dial to control the time and a second dial to control the temperature.
The removable parts are dishwasher safe, and simple to wash by hand.
04 of 07
Best Compact: Dash Compact Air Fryer
If you have limited kitchen space or simply don’t need a large-capacity air fryer, it might seem hard to justify buying a bulky countertop appliance. Luckily there are more compact options available that cook smaller quantities and have a much less intrusive footprint. And, in the case of this Dash model, it might even be stylish enough that you don’t mind leaving it out on the counter.
This petite 1.2-liter air fryer holds up to a pound of food and is perfect for cooking snacks, appetizers, or even dinner for two. (The smaller volume can also come in handy for portion control.) The Dash is about half the weight of a standard fryer at 5.7 pounds, and measures just 10 x 8 x 11 inches, so if you have limited storage or counter space in your kitchen, this is certainly more practical than the bulkier alternatives. The streamlined knob controls make it simple to set the temperature and timer, and it uses the same kind of convection heat as other air fryers to evenly cook your food. If you’re a forgetful chef, the Dash also has a 30-minute automatic shut-off function so you won’t burn your dinner to a crisp.
To top it all off, the Dash’s non-stick fryer basket is dishwasher safe, so cleanup couldn’t be easier. This device comes in five stylish colors: teal, red, black, gray, and white.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Best Design: Big Boss 1300-Watt Oil-Less Fryer
The Big Boss Oil-Less Fryer uses halogen, convection, and infrared heat to cook food, and unlike most other cookers, the cooking container is completely clear so you can check the food without losing any heat. The lid seals tight to keep the hot air in the cooker where it belongs. Two dials control cooking time and temperature. The timer goes up to 60 minutes and the maximum temperature is 480 degrees.
Halogen promotes browning while convection circulates the air for even cooking. Meanwhile, infrared sends heat deep into the food. The result is that food cooks faster than with any single method.
This includes two trays so you can cook different foods at the same time, and it increases the cooking space without the need to pile food on top of other food. Besides air frying, this can be used for broiling, roasting, baking, toasting bread, and steaming vegetables.
06 of 07
Best for Easy Cleanup: Farberware Digital Oil-Less Fryer
If you’re put off by the idea of hand-washing parts of your air fryer, then it’s worth looking for one that you can just throw in the dishwasher once you’re done. This model from Farberware lets you do just that — in fact, the whole thing seems to be designed to be easy to use.
It functions just like other air fryers, using hot air convection to cook your food to crispy perfection with very little oil (or none at all). The basket has a three-liter capacity and holds up to two pounds of food so you can fry in larger batches, making it a convenient choice for families. It has an easy-to-use digital touchscreen control panel that allows you to choose a temperature between 150 and 400 degrees and set the timer. Or go for an even more streamlined approach and simply choose from Farberware’s eight pre-programmed cooking options, which let the machine automatically apply the appropriate settings. When dinner is finished, just remove the fryer basket and pop it in the dishwasher. No hand-washing, no hassle.
07 of 07
Best Multi-Tasker: Gourmia Digital Electric Air Fryer
If you like the idea of air frying, but you don’t think you’ll eat enough fries and wings to justify the price and storage space, this fryer might make you think twice. Besides air frying, it works as a grill, steamer, and rotisserie, so you’ll have a lot of opportunities to set it up and make some dinner.
Like other air fryers, it circulates hot air around the food, but instead of relying on a bowl or basket to hold the food in place, this has a rotating basket that tumbles the food for even cooking. Remove the basket and use the spit to hold a chicken for rotisserie cooking.
It has a digital pad and display for setting time and temperature. The timer goes up to 11 hours and the maximum temperature is 450 degrees. The interior is nonstick and removable for easy cleaning. This comes with the spit, basket, cooking rack, special tongs for removing the hot basket, and a recipe book.