Best air fryers 2020: 5 top buys for healthy but hearty meals

Compare the best air fryer from big-named brands – such as Tefal, Philips and Breville – in our expert guide

best air fryer - Tower air fryer - Real Homes
Tower T14001 Low Fat Air Fryer
(Image credit: Amazon)

If you want to eat more healthily then you'll need the best air fryer in your life if you're going to stick with it. This healthy alternative to a deep fat fryer makes some big promises: deliciously crispy fried food, cooked in the comfort of your own home, but better for you than fried.

These little beauties have come on leaps and bounds since the first prototypes, and a good air fryer can be a really valuable addition to your home-cooking repertoire. To help you find the gold standard of home fryer for spot-on suppers every time, we've selected our top picks of the best air fryers which have all been chosen for their ease of use, capacity, maintenance, price point and all the other important factors.

Prefer an appliance which can cook entire meals, and cakes? No worries: take a look at our best ovens guide for range cooker and built-in oven options.

The best air fryers for 2020

The best air fryer: Tower T14001 Low Fat Air Fryer

1. Tower T14001 Low Fat Air Fryer

The best air fryer: towers above the rest for sheer versatility – you needn’t buy anything else

Best for: Versatility and value
Food capacity: 1kg
Wattage: 1300W
Interface: Dials
Mixing: No
Dimensions: H33.2 x W42 x D33 cm
Reasons to buy
+ Lots of cooking methods + Great value 
Reasons to avoid
- Unclear instructions 

The Tower T14001 takes our top spot for the best air fryer because it does everything you would expect from this sort of appliance, and the phenomenally good value it offers. It fries, bakes, roasts, grills, and steams, and while it can be tricky to master, once you do, it’ll be your go-to every dinner-time. This glass shell means you can see the food as it cooks, so you can cook precisely to your preference. And all this for under £100. If you just want an easy-to-use fryer, consider the Duronic AF1/B, but for all kinds of cooking in one appliance, this is the perfect buy. 

  • Buy the Tower T14001 Low Fat Air Fryer

best air fryer: Tefal FZ710840 Actifry Air Fryer

(Image credit: Currys PC World)

2. Tefal FZ710840 Actifry Air Fryer

Best air fryer for chips: fluffy on the inside but crispy on the outside – just how we like it!

Best for: Chips (and couples)
Food capacity: 1kg
Wattage: 1400W
Interface: LCD screen
Mixing: Yes
Dimensions: H21 x W31.7 x D43.5cm
Reasons to buy
+ Large capacity + Easy to clean 
Reasons to avoid
- Takes up a lot of space 

The Tefal ActiFry might not be as versatile as the Tower T14001, but what it does, it does very well indeed. As a large-capacity, easy to clean low-fat frying machine, it’s ideal for families. You can cook a lot in one go, whether that’s casseroles, curries, or if reviewers are to be believed the perfect crispy chips. Frying requires just one spoonful of oil, making it healthier than your average; the stirring paddle means you don’t have to stand over it; and it has removable, dishwasher-safe parts, so you don’t have to spend hours scrubbing.

  • Buy the Tefal FZ710840 Actifry Air Fryer

Best air fryer under £100: Duronic Air Fryer

3. Duronic Air Fryer

Best air fryer for small spaces (& on a budget): highly adjustable for confident, controlled cooking

Best for: Compact design
Capacity: 1.2kg
Wattage: 1500W
Interface: Dial and thermometer
Mixing: No
Dimensions: 33 x 23 x 31 cm
Reasons to buy
+ Compact + Adjustable temperature 
Reasons to avoid
- No paddle 

The Duronic healthy-fryer-meets-mini-oven boasts an adjustable temperature dial, putting you in complete control; but if you’re not the most confident cook, there’s a handy guide listing cooking times and temperatures of popular foods on the front of the machine, a really nice feature. Its small size makes it easy to store, but slightly trickier to clean, and it’s not as automated as some other models (you need to shake the tray part-way through cooking). But as long as a little intervention doesn’t put you off, it’s a great option for small kitchens. 

  • Buy the Duronic Air Fryer

Best looking air fryer: Philips HD9240 Avance Airfryer

4. Philips HD9240 Avance Airfryer

Best air fryer based on looks: this is not a shallow option by any means, it's a new and improved option from a trusted brand

Best for: Sleek interface
Capacity: 1.2kg
Wattage: 2100W
Interface: Digital touch
Mixing: Yes
Dimensions: H30.2 x W31.4 x D42.2cm
Reasons to buy
+ Preset/favourite button  + Improved model 
Reasons to avoid
- Expensive 

If you tend to return to a few favourite dishes time and time again, the Philips Avance Airfryer is the one for you. As well as a range of handy presets, it offers the option to store favourite settings for next time. Like Tefal, Philips have been in the air fryer game for a while, and this is a vast improvement on earlier models, with faster cooking times and a larger capacity. If you’re looking to upgrade an older fryer, make this your next purchase.

  • Buy the Philips HD9240 Avance Airfryer

best air fryer - Ninja AF100UK 3.8 Litre Air Fryer and Dehydrator

(Image credit: Argos)

5. Ninja AF100UK Air Fryer and Dehydrator

Best air fryer for families: this option will fry, roast, reheat and dehydrate all your favourite foods

Best for: Families
Capacity: 3.8litre
Wattage: 1550W
Interface: Digital touch
Mixing: No
Reasons to buy
+ Three size options + Sleek interface 
Reasons to avoid
- No food viewing 

Cook all your favourite meals and snacks, for you and the family, in this generously-sized air fryer. Moving beyond the fryer, this model from Ninja will quickly and easily Air Fry, Roast, Reheat and Dehydrate which will mean that you can have dinner on the table in minutes.

Even if you prefer to cook frozen food it's not a problem with this airfryer because with fast air flow and variable temperature controls – from 40°C to 210°C – your food can be cooked exactly how you want it.

  • Buy the Ninja AF100UK Air Fryer and Dehydrator

What to consider when buying an air fryer

To start with, how many mouths do you have to feed? How much worktop space do you have to spare? Larger capacity fryers are good for big family meals, but will take up more room in the cupboard or on the counter. 

What else can your air fryer do? Some models are great little multi-taskers and have the ability to reheat, roast, or grill as well as fry, so if you’re in the market for a versatile small appliance, these are a good bet. 

Finally, if you’re short on time, but your ingredients' list is long, look for an air fryer with cooking rack included, which offers an extra compartment for cooking two different foods at the same time, or one with a mixing paddle, so you don’t have to hover over it.

What is the best air fryer?

To recap...we really rate the Tower T14001 Low Fat Air Fryer for sheer versatility as it fries, bakes, roasts, grills, and steams all your favourite foods. It also has a 1kg capacity and since it's glass, you can see your food as it cooks.

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