Want to cook (and eat) more healthily? The best air fryer will do the trick. It's a healthy alternative to a deep fat fryer which makes some big promises: deliciously crispy fried food, cooked in the comfort of your own home, but better for you than fried.
These quick cooks 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 buys 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 full-fat cooking? We have a guide to the best deep fat fryers for you.
Best air fryer buys
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.
Boasting an extra large capacity, we think that this air fryer is perfect for feasts. With talks of Christmas starting to crop up more and more in conversations we can just see this working its magic for a different take on the traditional bubble & squeak. How it works is that it uses hot air in combination with high-speed air circulation for cooking food in a much healthier way by using less grease. For safety purposes, the fryer has a 60 minute cooking timer with auto shut off when your food is done and it's ready to serve.
The Tefal ActiFry might not be as versatile as our number 1 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.
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.
We love, love, LOVE this air fryer from Ninja. We've been fortunate to test it in our own homes and we can honestly say that it a far cry from what fryers used to be. In fact, this one is pretty revolutionary. It cooks up to two foods, two ways, and finishes at the same time. You can mix and match your cooking programmes, times and temperatures across both drawers so your foods are cooked to just how you like it.
There are six ways to cook – Max Crisp, Roast, Bake, Reheat, Dehydrate and Air Fry – which gives you the ultimate cooking experience. It's super quick, and healthy, too. Want even more cooking options (including pressure cook and slow cook)? See our review of the Ninja Foodi Max which does all this and more.
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.
Another option from Ninja is the AF100UK. 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.
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.