Best air fryers: 10 hot picks for quick bites and oil-free cooking — from $55

As an appliances expert, I've tested the best air fryers and these are the ones that are worth investing in

Three air fryers on blue gradient background
(Image credit: Future)
Best Air Fryers: Quick Menu

1. The list in brief
2. Best pick: Instant Vortex Plus
3. Energy efficient: Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker
4. For families: Ninja Foodi DualZone
5. Amazon favorite: COSORI CP358-AF Pro
6. Compact: Instant Vortex Mini
7. Stylish: COSORI Lite
8. Air fryer toaster oven: Cuisinart TOA-60
9. Good value: COSORI Max XL
10. For small households: Dreo Air Fryer
11. Best non-toxic air fryer: COSORI Pro LE L501
12. Comparison
13. Things to consider
14. How we test air fryers
15. Where to buy
16. FAQs

The best air fryers make pre-heating your oven and getting a face full of hot air a thing of the past. No more waiting around or lining cookie sheets with foil because this small kitchen appliance has got you, girl.

Yes, even if your kitchen is small and your countertop space is precious, there are plenty of small air fryers for you to browse. From lazy girl brunches to girl dinners to rotisserie chicken with all the fixings (no more needing to borrow mom's Costco card) — using and cleaning an air fryer is a piece of cake. PSA: It's much more energy efficient, too.

Unlike a deep fryer, air fryers circulate hot air to cook and crisp your food with little to no fat necessary. The fat from your food drips into the basket, as your food usually will sit on a tray or grill plate, making things less greasy and smelly. 'Cause Eau De Fries isn't my favorite scent if I'm being completely honest. 

If you need any more convincing, take a look at all of the air fryers our experts have tried below and read our rave reviews from Real Homes editors and freelancers. Over time, we'll add to this list and spill the tea on superior models that we really love after they've been tested inside our own kitchens or in our test kitchen — or sometimes both.

10 of the best air fryers for fuss-free and quick cooking

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The quick list

In a rush? Here's a quick glance at all of our best air fryers that we recommend.

The best air fryers as rated by the experts

Our #1 best air fryer

Instant Vortex PlusReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Instant Brands)
Our #1 rated best air fryer

Specifications

Price: $139.99
Capacity: 6 quarts
Wattage: 1,700 W
Price to run (per hour): 25 cents
Interface: Digital
Dimensions (in.): L13.03 x W10.12 x H11.02

Reasons to buy

+
Removable air fry insert
+
6-in-1
+
It made some of the best fries we've ever eaten
+
The large tray can fit a whole chicken

Reasons to avoid

-
The drawer isn't dishwasher safe
Buy it if

💕 You want a reasonably-priced air fryer from a reputable brand: This top air fryer is $139.99 for the 6-quart model.

💕Generous capacity: The 6-quart/5.7-liter basket is ample enough to feed a four-person household.

💕 Multiple cooking modes: You want to be able to air fry, roast chicken, bake salmon, reheat leftovers, dehydrate fruit, and broil/grill chops!

💕 It makes amazing fries: Enough said. I'm loving it!

Don't buy it if

You live with light sleepers and like a late night snack: The controls are a little noisy.

The bottom line

Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer This 6-quart air fryer is chic enough to keep on your kitchen counter and has ample capacity for hosting. Even if you're an amateur chef with chicken anxiety, this powerful convection oven will ensure you get juicy supremes without the salmonella.

The Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer wowed us in testing with its generous capacity and multiple cooking modes. And it seems Hailey Bieber is impressed too as this featured in her latest YouTube kitchen series. We're a big fan of air fryers that have a slatted insert. This one allows you to air fry and remove the insert to use the flat base of the drawer to reheat leftovers and bake anything from roasts to apple crumbles.

We found that it cooked frozen chicken breast fillets in just 12 minutes, which is just over half the time it takes in an oven to ensure there's no pink meat and that the juices run clear. It also made delicious and evenly-cooked homemade fries in just 25 minutes. This is due to the alert that reminds you to shake up your food as it's part-way through cooking, making sure your spuds get an even browning. Also, it remembers your most recent settings and timings, so if you cook a lot of the same air fryer recipes, it will save you from adjusting the timings and temperatures each time.

At 1,700 watts, this air fryer should cost approximately 25 cents to run for one hour. This is plenty of time to cook pretty much anything other than a large joint. Considering its capacity, this is pretty impressive. According to the brand, this model saves up to 80% energy when compared to using a 2,400-watt electric oven. The drawer is not dishwasher-safe, but the insert is. Because it's non-stick, you can easily clean it by hand each time. This air fryer is one of the larger options in our guide (if you want something smaller, we also think the Instant Vortex Mini air fryer is a top choice) but for families and those who can spare the counter space, we think this is the best air fryer you can buy.

Read our full Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer review.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignBrushed stainless steel, as spotted in Hailey Bieber's kitchen.★★★★★
PriceUnder $140.★★★★★
CookingPerformed well cooking frozen chicken breasts and home fries.★★★★★
FeaturesSix modes: air fry, roast, bake, reheat, dehydrate, and broil/grill.★★★★★

The best energy-efficient air fryer

Ninja Foodi MaxReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Ninja Foodi)
The best energy-efficient air fryer

Specifications

Price: $249.99
Capacity: 6.8 quarts
Wattage: 1,460 W
Price per use (per hour): 22 cents
Interface: Digital
Mixing: No
Dimensions (in.): L14.3 x W14.6 x D16.1

Reasons to buy

+
8-in-1 cooker
+
Large air fry basket
+
Loud alarm 
+
Easily adjusted timer
+
Can fit a whole chicken

Reasons to avoid

-
It's huge
-
Expensive
-
If you only want an air fryer, it's not the one
Buy it if

 💕 You want super crisp results: The dedicated crisper lid ensures you won't have limp fries or flabby skin on your chicken... Gross.

💕 You can't afford to have a pressure cooker, steamer, or dehydrator (for lack of space or money): This appliance does it all.

Don't buy it if

You're looking to cook hefty pieces of meat: Whether you want an extra-large beef brisket or pork shoulder (for pulled pork), this isn't the one to do it. It'll roast a small fowl, but you'll struggle with larger cuts.

You'll only really use it for air frying: There are cheaper, smaller machines out there that will serve you just as well.

The bottom line

Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker This multi-functional superstar is on the larger side, and I'd recommend it for confident guys and gals who want to be doing the most in the kitchen. Not that I *don't* enjoy air fryer foods every day, but this beast is a good gadget for peeps who want to switch up their cooking styles. It's an amazing appliance to have on hand for batch cooking and DIY yogurt making (I may as well have shares in a dairy farm with my Greek yog consumption).

We adore this multi-cooker (that's also an air fryer) for its versatility. It can also bake, slow cook, pressure cook, and even dehydrate. It's one of the most affordable models in this guide to run, especially when you consider its hefty 6-liter capacity. However, if you are just looking for an air fryer, then this might be too spendy for you.

The Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker comes with a basket and crisper lid to create delicious fries, fish, and veggies. It has a large footprint (the one we reviewed was the Max, which is seriously major in size), but if you can find room for it, this air fryer is ready to usurp your slow cooker and pressure cooker. It has a lid for air frying and a separate lid for other options like pressure cooking, so space might be a concern if you're short on it already. 

Bearing in mind that this is an eight-in-one appliance, it costs a mere 22 cents to run for one hour, on all modes. Just in case you were wondering "are air fryers worth it?" — the question is almost rhetorical! The air fry basket is large and circular. It could fit a whole chicken in theory, but the shape isn't quite right for larger, more awkward-shaped cuts of meat. If you do want to cook joints, your best bet is to get your butcher to secure it tightly with some twine. The controls are incredibly intuitive, and the actual air frying quality is top-notch, so you won't miss out if you opt for this multi-functional machine.

Read our full Ninja Foodi Max 9-in-1 review.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignOn the larger side.★★★★
PriceAround the $250 mark — expensive but relative to what it can do.★★★★
CookingCrisper lid ensures pleasant and palatable food texture when air frying.★★★★★
FeaturesExtremely versatile — pressure cooks, steams and dehydrates as well as air fries.★★★★★

The best air fryer for families

Ninja foodi dual air fryerReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Ninja)
The best air fryer for families

Specifications

Price: $179.99
Capacity: 8 quarts
Wattage: 2,400 W
Price to run (per hour): 36 cents
Interface: Digital
Dimensions (in.): L15.6 x W13.86 x H12.4

Reasons to buy

+
6 ways to cook
+
2 independent cooking zones
+
Quick and easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
 Expensive, but worth it
Buy it if

💕 You live with someone with separate dietary needs: With the Sync and Match drawer function, you can have your own meal prep drawers, but eat at the same time.

💕 You want to cook "wet" foods: Unlike some other air fryers you *can* cook lasagnas and peach cobblers in this! 

Don't buy it if

You're looking for a cheap, basic air fryer: This is the "Ferrari" of air fryers, so if you live alone, you might not need the extra drawer.

You're looking for a small and lightweight air fryer: At 18 pounds and 14.76 inches wide, it's heavy and large.

The bottom line

Ninja Foodi 2-Basket Air Fryer with DualZone Whether you live with a picky eater, someone with legit intolerances, or a friend that swings back and forth on the veganism to pescatarian pendulum — this air fryer will cater to all. Saucy gals will appreciate the fact that you can whip up tomatoey pasta dishes and desserts, too (especially if you're in your entertaining era).

We love, love, LOVE this air fryer from Ninja. There are none of those ambiguous cooking modes. The Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer allows you to take control of the temperature and timings with simple controls. You can sync the drawers so they finish at the same time, meaning if you take out one drawer to have a look, the other will pause too. 

In review
This air fryer can also be used for cooking two foods simultaneously, making it an idyllic machine for catering to different dietary requirements. The capacity is large because it's spread across a wider space, so it cooks quickly and evenly. We've tested every air fryer in this guide hands-on, but this is the one to beat. 

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, so you may have to adjust the cooking instructions that come with your food. 

Energy efficiency
Despite how large (and family-friendly) this air fryer is, it's still affordable. It works out to approximately 36 cents per hour to run. With tons of capabilities, it can pretty much replace your oven, as well as your dehydrator (should you have one). 

Good to know
Most air fryers have a basket that lifts out of the drawer, but you simply pull out the slatted inserts in this air fryer. This means you can use the drawers without the basket, so even "wet" dishes like pasta bakes and apple crumbles are perfectly possible (and yes, we tried both in this air fryer when testing!). So while you're enjoying your main course, you can have your dessert cooking.

Read our full Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer review.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRatings
DesignThis two-drawer style is famous in the air fryer industry.★★★★★
PriceOn the higher end of the market.★★★★
CookingWide baskets ensure quick and even cooking.★★★★★
FeaturesSync and match drawers ensures foods are ready at the same time.★★★★★

The best Amazon air fryer

CosoriReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Cosori)
A highly-rated air fryer with free access to a dedicated recipe app

Specifications

Price: $129.99
Capacity: 5.8 quarts
Wattage: 1,700 W
Price to run (per hour): 25 cents
Interface: Digital touchscreen
Dimensions (in.): H12.7 x W14.3 x D11.8

Reasons to buy

+
The newest option from COSORI
+
Custom shake settings
+
Can fit a whole chicken
+
100 recipes included

Reasons to avoid

-
Larger than earlier models from COSORI and harder to store
Buy it if

💕 You don't have space for a toaster and an air fryer: The COSORI CP358-AF Pro Air Fryer can brown bread and warm through morning pastries, including croissants.

💕 You want to make roast dinners as easy as possible: With a square basket, this air fryer can cook a whole chicken, saving you from pre-heating the oven

Don't buy it if

You've got a small kitchen: It might *not* fit under your cabinetry and will either stick out like a sore thumb or have to be hidden away in a cabinet after use. 

The bottom line

COSORI CP358-AF Pro Air Fryer Hot ovens often give me the complimentary sauna treatment I didn't ask for. So if you want to roast and bake foods without the furnace facial, I'd advise getting the COSORI CP358-AF Pro. It is a li'l chunky, but when you put things into perspective, it's an okay size as it replaces two main cooking appliances, your oven, and toaster.

The COSORI CP358-AF Pro Air Fryer is the latest release from the brand. It has many of the same presets that we enjoyed from the original, but the digital control panel is elevated, which makes it great for ergonomic use and easy access. The controls were easy to use in testing, and we enjoyed how adjustable the shake reminder and presets were. The toast setting is a new addition, and it comes in handy for morning muffins and croissants. Another thing we enjoyed in testing was the basket. Its square shape means it is expertly crafted to fit cuts of meat and generous portions — including an entire chicken.

Cooking time was faster than in a conventional oven. So much so that our food was ready as early as 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Fries only took a drizzle of oil to cook, and they came out evenly cooked thanks to the wide basket distribution. Costing just 25 cents per hour to run, this brilliant Amazon air fryer is affordable in price and it's cheap to run. Especially considering the fact it cooks food fast, so you will rarely end up using it for one hour in total at a time.

A word of warning. This air fryer is a little larger than the earlier COSORI models. The COSORI CP358-AF Pro Air Fryer struggled to fit under our tester's kitchen cabinets, so if you're short on kitchen space, it's not the one for you. 

Read our full Cosori CP358-AF Pro Air Fryer review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignA little large, but has ergonomic and easy to access control panel.★★★★
PriceUnder $130.★★★★★
CookingMore powerful than a conventional oven (cooking times may have to be adjusted).★★★★
FeaturesNew toast setting is useful.★★★★★

The best small air fryer

Instant BrandsReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Instant Brands)
The best small air fryer

Specifications

Price: $59.99
Capacity: 2 quarts
Wattage: 1,300 W
Price to run (per hour): 19 cents
Interface: Digital
Mixing: No
Dimensions (in.): H11.73 x W9.02 x D11.26

Reasons to buy

+
Lovely color options
+
Tactile smart controls
+
Easy to clean
+
Removable tray insert 

Reasons to avoid

-
It won't cater to more than two people 
Buy it if

💕 Pre-heating your oven seems pointless for lunch or meals for one: This costs just 19 cents per hour to run, won't overheat your apartment in summer, and there's no need to line a cookie sheet with foil for a couple of nuggets.

💕 You want an air fryer that looks great: The Instant Mini is available in a variety of different hues to add a pop of color to your kitchen.

Don't buy it if

You're feeding more than two people: The 2-quart basket will only satisfy one couple's appetite.

The bottom line

Instant Vortex Mini Air Fryer You want to jump on the air fryer hype after seeing tons of TikTok vids, but don't think you have the space. This is the smallest model in our guide and won't storm in and hog all the counter space. Like the best T-Swift song, this one also has a shake it prompt for consistently-colored fries and other items on your menu.

Mini by name and miniature by nature, this small air fryer left a big impact when we tested it. Not only was it small enough to sit neatly on our cluttered countertops, but it also produced some of the most crispy and evenly-cooked fries, chicken, and other snacks that we've tried. We think this is down to the EvenCrisp technology, which creates that perfect texture using 95% less oil than a deep fryer.

We found this air fryer to be the best bet for smaller households. It was particularly handy for cooking frozen foods for kids. The design is smart, with a tactile touchscreen display that's easy to use especially if you're in a rush. This allows you to adjust timings and temperatures using a dial, as well as choose between reheat, roast, bake, and air fry modes. Despite being only 2 liters, the capacity was capable of cooking fries and a quarter chicken (enough for two). It also managed to do this very evenly, despite looking a little cramped. There's even a reminder to shake your food halfway through cooking. Our food cooked fast and came out very crispy. With a small capacity, this is naturally one of the cheapest air fryers on our list to run. It'll cost you around 19 cents an hour, though you'll rarely use it for longer than that time anyway. It doesn't have space for large pieces of meat and it only has one basket.

It's advisable to clean the air fryer after each use, or it will start to smoke. Cleaning this model is easy though because you can pull out the insert and place it in the dishwasher. Because it's so small, the tray also fits easily into both slimline and regular-sized dishwashers. It also comes in a range of colors to match your home decor, including teal and red, which are great for adding an accent to a white kitchen. Aside from cooking meals from scratch, this machine does a great job of warming leftovers for lunch while maintaining taste and texture... because soggy and watery reheats just aren't it!

Read our full Instant Vortex Mini Air Fryer review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignSmall cute design, available in four colors.★★★★★
PriceUnder $60.★★★★★
CookingGreat for cooking frozen foods, but can get cramped if overfilled.★★★★
FeaturesShake prompt reminds user to rotate food.★★★★★

The most stylish air fryer

COSORI LITE air fryer in truffle greyReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: COSORI)
The most stylish air fryer

Specifications

Price: $99.99
Capacity: 4 quarts
Wattage: 1500 W
Price to run (per hour): 22 cents
Interface: Digital

Reasons to buy

+
Smartphone-enabled
+
Stays cool
+
Back design stops you from pushing all the way to back
+
Silicone corners keep crisper from damaging nonstick coating
+
Two-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Oil sits below basket
-
App setup can be finicky if you're not tech-savvy
Buy it if

💕 You're tech-savvy and want to show off your party tricks: Connect to the COSORI Vesync app and start cooking with your phone.

💕 You're sick of browsing black and stainless steel models: The COSORI Lite comes in some contemporary colors including truffle gray, white, and sage.

Don't buy it if

You have a large family or lots of people to feed: A 4-quart air fryer is considered to be on the larger end of a "small air fryer," but if you're looking to feed more than three people, some might go hungry.

The bottom line

COSORI Lite air fryer If you're the hostest with the mostest and the trendsetter in your tribe, this is the air fryer for you. Where most air fryers are black or stainless steel, the Cosori offers some muted pastels for your modern kitchen. And, while you're busy keeping your guests' glasses full, you can also start cooking (as long as you've got your phone in your hand or are near a smart home device).

If you're looking for an air fryer that ticks the boxes for style and substance without taking up too much space, you need the COSORI Lite. Available in gray, truffle white, and sage green, this machine proves that air fryers can be trendy, too. No task was too small or large for this design-led device. We tried family favorites including bacon, "boiled" eggs (no water needed!), breaded fish fillets, fries, and even a fakeaway-style crispy seaweed (made from kale). One of the most impressive features was the crisper plate, which allowed food to be cooked on a raised shelf without swimming in oil. The silicone feet meant that it was easy to detach and clean, without the risk of scraping the non-stick base.

As a mid-sized air fryer, this sits right in the middle energy-wise and costs 22 cents per hour to run. The pre-heat and keep warm functions allow you to get the machine nice and hot (up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit), and keep food temperate once the initial cook time is over. Great for late guests, or if you want to reheat leftovers without burning them. And, if you're often multi-tasking while cooking, you'll be pleased to know that you can remotely monitor your meals, adjust settings, and even ask Amazon Alexa or Google to fire up your fries using the free VeSync app.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignA modern design with muted finish and touchscreen.★★★★★
PriceUnder $100.★★★★★
CookingSuccess with cooking a plethora of fresh and frozen foods.★★★★★
FeaturesCan be synced to phone or smart speaker.★★★★★

The best air fryer toaster oven combo

CuisinartReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Cuisinart)
A mini oven-like gadget that's great for browning bread and reheating pizza

Specifications

Price: $199.99
Capacity: 3 lbs
Wattage: 1800 W
Price to run (per hour): 27 cents
Interface: Manual knobs
Dimensions (in.): L15.5 x W16 x H14

Reasons to buy

+
Cooks evenly
+
Great for use in the summer
+
Cleaning is easy

Reasons to avoid

-
Temperature runs a little high
-
Large dimensions
Buy it if

💕 99.9% of your meals consist of bready foods: The racks are cut out for reheating pizza, bagels, grilled cheese — you name it.

Don't buy it if

You want a machine that you don't have to keep an eye on: The temperature runs a little high on this appliance, so crisp bread can turn into charcoal in a matter of minutes if you're not watching over.

You're watching your energy consumption: It's one of the more expensive appliances to run, but even still, it's relatively affordable.

The bottom line

Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer Toaster Oven If you're the gal who mastered a decent dough recipe in lockdown — consider the Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer Toaster Oven. It'll cook pizzas, warm pittas and flatbreads, and even heat up hot pockets (for when you're feeling lazy). Of course, the shelves are also good for making ready meal faves like tater tots and fish sticks en masse.

Boasting an extra-large capacity, we think that this air fryer is perfect for those who want the most value for their money. The smart modes offer custom cooking times and temperatures depending on what you're cooking, which can be a big help for amateur chefs or those who want a reminder to shake halfway through. After testing what feels like a mountain of air fryers, the Cosori was one of the best when it came to actual quality results. Fries? Done in 15 minutes. Frozen food? Always crispy. The 5.8-quart capacity makes this air fryer suitable for families of up to six people, and it can fit a whole chicken, resulting in delicious crispy skin.


Similar in size and price per use to our first pick from Instant, if you want a no-frills air fryer that's affordable to run, then this should be it. At only 25 cents an hour to run, there's no point in even turning your oven on to preheat. The fryer comes with a recipe book that's crammed with 100 ideas and plenty more inspiration. These really utilize the 14 cooking modes, which could feel overwhelming if they came without instructions.

Read our full Cosori Air Fryer Max XL review

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Test results
AttributesNotesResults
DesignA boxy mini oven from a reputable appliance brand.★★★★★
PriceUnder $200.★★★★
CookingExcels in cooking carb-rich foods like bread, cookies, and flatbreads.★★★★★
FeaturesMetal mesh basket and cookie sheets make for easy arrangement of foods.★★★★★

The best value air fryer

best air fryerReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Cosori)
The best Amazon air fryer

Specifications

Price: $129.99
Capacity: 5.8 quarts
Wattage: 1,700 W
Price per use (per hour): 25 cents
Interface: Digital
Dimensions (in.): L11.8 x W12.7 x H14.3

Reasons to buy

+
Extra-large basket
+
Easy to use and clean
+
Good price point

Reasons to avoid

-
Modes are a bit confusing
Buy it if

💕 You've got a freezer full of food: This air fryer excels in cooking frozen goods like fries, potato wedges, breaded chicken, and fish sticks.

💕 As well as cooking convenience foods, you like cooking from scratch: This air fryer comes with a 100-recipe cookbook that you won't get bored of.

💕 You want an easy-to-clean air fryer: The appliance has a dishwasher-safe drawer and basket.

Don't buy it if

You want a small and easy-to-use air fryer: It's on the larger side, and the modes can be a bit confusing and not very useful.

The bottom line

COSORI Air Fryer Max XL If home economics wasn't your thing at high school, and you leave "real" cooking to the restaurant pros, you might like this machine. It can easily feed six people without you needing to play Tetris with your oven space. Frozen food results were impressive when testing, but you can also prep fresh poultry in this, too. It's also a great machine to have on hand for holiday occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Boasting an extra-large capacity, we think that this air fryer is perfect for those who want the most value for their money. The smart modes offer custom cooking times and temperatures depending on what you're cooking, which can be helpful for amateur chefs or those who want a reminder to shake halfway through. After testing what feels like a mountain of air fryers, the Cosori was one of the best when it came to actual quality results. Fries? Done in 15 minutes. Frozen food? Always crispy. The 5.8-quart capacity makes this air fryer suitable for families of up to six people, and it can fit a whole chicken, resulting in delicious crispy skin.

This is another option that costs 25 cents an hour to run. With something this affordable, using your oven won't be necessary. This air fryer also comes with a recipe book that's crammed with 100 ideas and plenty more inspiration. These really utilize the 14 cooking modes, which could feel overwhelming if they came without instruction.

Read our full Cosori Air Fryer Max XL review

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Test results
AttributesNotesResults
DesgnAvailable in a range of colors with square basket.★★★★★
PriceUnder $130.★★★★★
CookingBest for cooking big portions of frozen favorites.★★★★★
FeaturesExtra large capacity, smart cooking modes.★★★★★

The best air fryer for small households

Dreo air fryer review in process cookingReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Future / Louise Oliphant)
A small air fryer that makes complete meals for one (or sides for two)

Specifications

Price: $89.99
Capacity: 4 quarts
Watts: 1,500 W
Price per use (per hour): 22 cents
Interface: Digital
Dimensions (in.): ‎H19.4 x W11.6 x D9.4

Reasons to buy

+
Low running costs
+
Small and compact
+
Sleek, stylish design
+
LED display screen
+
Easy to clean
+
Great for couples
+
Good for cooking side dishes

Reasons to avoid

-
Preset programs are hit and miss
-
Not great for large families
Buy it if

💕 You want to expand your palette past oven-ready convenience foods: This air fryer comes with a 50-recipe cookbook so you don't need to take a deep dive into the freezer for dinner.

💕 You want an air fryer that's functional, but doesn't hold your kitchen hostage with its size: It might *look* small, but the Dreo air fryer has a deep basket to fit a surprising amount of food.

Don't buy it if

You want to rely on pre-set functions: Our tester found they can be a little hit-and-miss, so you might want to experiment with manual timing instead for better cooking results.

You've got more than two mouths to feed: They'll have to wait their turn to be fed as this 4-quart device can only cook so much at one time.

The bottom line

The Dreo Aircrisp Pro air fryer can cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner — because that's exactly what our tester did when she reviewed it. Supermarket pain au chocolats came out crisp, with a gooey center, ciabatta was warmed through with a fluffy interior, and sausage links didn't dry out. (Yes, both meat-free and pork varieties). 

The Dreo air fryer is the best you can get to help you cut down on costs, plus it looks smart and performs well. It cooks breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a way that's quicker and cheaper than your oven. In fact, it can almost replace it — unless you're cooking for more than two.

Carrying this lightweight air fryer up a flight of stairs is a breeze, so if you live in a city apartment you won't need to break a sweat before you begin cooking. Though it does come with some plastic packaging, a cookbook containing 50 recipes is a nice treat for when you're feeling uninspired. Assembly is easy and given its compact size, the basket is deep. Cleaning the Dreo air fryer is simple as the removable drawer and insert are both dishwasher-friendly. Handwashing these parts is equally easy if you'd rather rinse them with dish soap and a sponge.

Cost-wise, this machine takes the title of joint-second for energy efficiency, costing just 22 cents per hour to use. And, out of all the air fryers we've tested, this seems to be one of the most versatile models on the market. Our reviewer was able to make three full meals, plus snacks, and sides in it without batting an eyelid!

Read our full Dreo Aircrisp Pro air fryer review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignA small cylindrical air fryer with a deep basket.★★★★★
PriceUnder $60.★★★★★
CookingSurprisingly spacious enough to cook all three meals.★★★★★
FeaturesBoth drawer and insert are dishwasher-friendly.★★★★★

The best non-toxic air fryer

COSORI Pro LE L501 air fryer

(Image credit: COSORI)
A contemporary machine that is free from nasties

Specifications

Price: $99.99
Capacity: 5 quarts
Watts: 1,500 W
Price per use (per hour): 22 cents
Interface: Digital
Dimensions: H14.4 x W10.8 x L12

Reasons to buy

+
Compatible with the VeSync app
+
Premium tempered glass display
+
The button on the handle locks the basket into place
+
The square design is good for small kitchens
+
Nine presets
+
Helpful shake prompt

Reasons to avoid

-
A little too powerful
Buy it if

💕 You're looking for an affordable air fryer: This one is under $100
💕 You're an early bird or night owl: Whether you're cooking a quick breakfast or getting in from a party — this 55dB appliance will be whisper quiet.
💕 Buttons, knobs, and dials feel a little retro for you: The tempered glass display is super chic and easy to use.
💕 You multi-task while cooking: The shake reminder will prompt you to rotate food for even results.
💕 You've got a large appetite: I found the square basket made it easier to arrange and fit more food in.

Don't buy it if

You're a self-confessed clumsy person: The tempered glass can crack so you've got to be careful.
Ditto if you're messy: Oily fingerprints on the display and exterior will show.
You're not up for a little trial and error: This is a powerful machine so you may need to tweak cooking times to get your food browned but not burnt.

The bottom line

The COSORI Pro LE L501 air fryer is perfect for those who are on the lookout for a matte-finish machine. At the time of slotting this into our best air fryer guide, it was Amazon's second bestselling machine. The button on the drawer handle gives you extra reassurance that the basket is locked into place, and the soft square basket also gives it a more contemporary feel when compared to similar-sized models on the market.

Gone are the days where we only had to look at the back of a packet to determine whether food was 'good' or bad'. Now, it turns out, that even your preparation methods can be poisonous too. You see, scientists have looked at coatings on pans, air fryers and other appliances and determined that a few finishes can be detrimental to your health.

Thankfully, that's *not* the case with COSORI. This air fryer isn't made with BPA (bisphenol A) plastic, nor do they use Perfluorochemical coatings (PFCs), so you can just focus on feeding yourself and your family. This doesn't mean that the air fryer is any harder to clean. In fact, most components can go in the dishwasher.

And practically, this matte grey air fryer makes sense in a small kitchen. While wide designs can take up counter space, and cylindrical designs can't often be pushed into the corner, this soft square design can sit flush or at an angle.

Read our full COSORI Pro LE L501 review 

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Test results
AttributesNotes Rating
DesignA unique dark grey design with matte finish★★★★★
PriceUnder $100, but has hit $75.93 on Amazon in July 2023★★★★★
CookingPowerful. Drop temperature and time accordingly★★★★
FeaturesButton secures drawer into place, and shake prompt is a helpful reminder★★★★★

Compare these air fryers

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Air fryerOur verdict
Instant Vortex PlusA high-performance, celeb-endorsed air fryer
Ninja Foodi MaxThe largest air fryer in our guide jam-packed with capabilities
Ninja Foodi DualzoneOur best pick for families with different dietary needs
COSORI CP358-AF Pro An Amazon customer favorite with high ratings
Instant Vortex Mini Air FryerBest for if you're on a budget (under $60)
COSORI Lite Best for automated cooking
Cuisinart TOA-60Our favorite air fryer toaster oven
COSORI Air Fryer Max XLThe best value air fryer for your money
Dreo air fryerBest for smaller spaces and apartments
COSORI Pro LE L501 Air FryerA BPA and PFOA-free air fryer that's also #2 on Amazon

Things to consider when buying an air fryer

Dreo air fryer with bottle of extra virgin olive oil faux houseplant and green ombre Le Creuset salt and pepper mills

(Image credit: Future)

1. How big is its capacity? To start with, how many mouths do you have to feed? Compare the quarts with how many people are in your household. This will also depend on what you are planning on using it for. If you only want an air fryer for fries, then you can go small(er), but if it's a whole chicken that you want to squeeze in there, the bigger the better.

2. What about size? Will it fit on your countertop? A bigger capacity, unfortunately, means a larger size air fryer. Get out your tape measure as some models can be pretty big. If you're planning on keeping your air fryer on your countertop, think of where it will go (preferably in a corner!) as you need to allow some room behind your air fryer for air to escape. Otherwise, a lot of the models above can easily be squeezed inside a cabinet after use.

3. Is it versatile or can it only air fry food? 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. 

4. How easy is it to clean? If you have a dishwasher, then be sure to check that your new air fryer is safe to be cleaned in there. This makes washing your air fryer a whole lot easier, though they are pretty simple to clean regardless. See our guide on how to clean an air fryer the right way for more tips and tricks.

5. How much does it cost to run? We've searched the price per usage (based on one hour) and popped those stats alongside each air fryer we've reviewed, so if your bills are at the forefront of this purchase, you can choose wisely.

6. Does it have a cooking rack? Finally, if you’re short on time but your ingredients list is long, look for an air fryer with a 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.

7. Can it separate foods? Vegan, veggie, or celiac? Whether you've chosen to adopt a certain way of eating, or you've had strict dietary requirements since birth, sometimes it's important to separate main dishes and sides from what others are eating. Aside from the aforementioned cooking racks, we've checked whether any of these air fryers have drawers so there's no risk of cross-contamination.

8. Help, I can't cook (or need inspiration) Many air fryers now come with either a physical recipe booklet, an app to check out the latest chef or community-created recipes, or both, so you'll never be stuck for culinary ideas.

How we test air fryers

The Ninja Foodi Max with uncooked bacon inside, next to a plate of fries

(Image credit: Future)

All of the air fryers in this guide have been tested hands-on for over a month by a member of the Real Homes team. When testing, there are a few recipes we always follow so that we're able to compare cooking results directly. You can read about our air fryer testing process, otherwise, one food that we always cook is homemade fries, obviously. 

Some of the speediest air fryers have been able to crisp these up in just 12 minutes, while others have taken as long as 20. Even then, this is much quicker than cooking fries in an oven. Other recipes will depend on the type of product and what it claims to do well. Some air fryers come with their own recipes, so we like to try these out alongside our own dishes to see if they are a good introduction to the product. 

With all of the above air fryers, you can click through to read full reviews with images of our hands-on experience. 

Meet our air fryer testers below:

Millie Fender, Head of reviews headshot
Millie Fender

Millie is Real Homes' head of reviews and was previously our small appliances and cookware editor. She's had hands-on experience with dozens of air fryers and reviewed all but a couple of the air fryers in our guide, so her verdict is the best you can find.

Her favorite air fryer has to be the Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer, which is our number-one pick! It's got a generous capacity and sturdy build, and it made some delicious fries while in review. In her own small kitchen though, Millie prefers to use the Instant Vortex Mini Air Fryer. It's an excellent option for her two-person household, and she loves the color options. 

In this guide, she's tested all of the air fryers, bar the Dreo air fryer.

Christina Chrysostomou selfie
Christina Chrysostomou

Christina is Real Homes' ecommerce editor and has recently taken on the (big) responsibility of attempting to test all the air fryers on the market. Her favorite air fryer (so far) is the Cosori Lite, but she looks forward to seeing if there's anything out there that beats it in our test kitchen. Here she'll be able to test around 10 air fryers side by side to truly examine the performance of each kitchen appliance and compare apples to apples... or in her case, fries to fries.

In this guide, she's tested the Cosori Lite, the Cuisinart TOA-60, and the COSORI Pro LE L501.

Louise Oliphant author image
Louise Oliphant

As a person who often finds herself cooking meals for one, the Dreo Air Fryer has become somewhat of an appliance Louise can no longer go without. Perfect for cooking just about anything in the oven (and more), she uses it for nearly every meal. Think: air frying a pain au chocolats, crisping grilled sandwiches, and cooking fries, veggies, and meat. She now rarely turns the oven on, which has also helped with her energy bills.

Lindsey Davis
Lindsey Davis

Lindsey is one of our content directors, focusing on ecommerce at Real Homes, and she's also a big foodie working with a smaller kitchen. Lindsey tested the Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker, which she still uses on a regular basis after awarding it a rare gold rating. 

Headshot of Annie Collyer
Annie Collyer

Annie is our head ecommerce editor, with experience reviewing a range of products from air fryers to portable grills. She also reviewed the Instant Vortex Mini air fryer for us, and she found it to be great for cooking side dishes (particularly sweet potato fries) as well as various frozen foods. She stored it in one of her kitchen cabinets and liked its various colors. 

ann loynd burton
Ann Loyd-Burton

Ann reviewed the Cosori CP358-AF Pro Air Fryer for us and she gave it a stellar five out of five stars. She tested it in her family kitchen for a total of three weeks to make hot dogs, fries, grilled chicken, steak, and even grilled peaches for a quick dessert. Ann and her husband, along with their little one, have a single-family home with a generous kitchen but ended up storing the Cosori Pro in an upper cabinet to spare the counter space.

Courtney Irwin wearing a black top and white jeans
Courtney Irwin

Courtney reviewed the Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven in her family home, and she enjoyed its convenience so much that she gave it five stars. It's an air fryer, toaster, and toaster oven all in one, so it manages to save lots of countertop space. She found that it cooked food evenly, it was surprisingly simple to clean, and when it came to storing, she kept it on display for ease of use. It's quite bulky, though, and would be hard to store in a cabinet, she noted.

Where to buy an air fryer

Purchasing from a reputable brand is one way to ensure you're getting a great air fryer The following retailers carry a decent selection of affordable air fryers and convection ovens, packed full of nifty features.

  • Amazon: Shop some of the best brands including Cosori, Instant, and Ninja with promotional discounts around Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day
  • Best Buy: Not just for electronics, here you can find small kitchen appliances (including air fryers) from Breville, Phillips, and even Best Buy's own brand.
  • Target: Shop 30+ brands of air fryers, including big names and lesser-known value brands if you can't afford the best.
  • Walmart: There are over 1,000 air fryers up for grabs, including picks from exclusive brands like Beautiful by Drew Barrymore.

FAQs

When is the best time to buy the best air fryer?

Historically, some of the biggest discounts on air fryers have been spotted on Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Cyber Week. However, we at Real Homes compare prices and provide insight using the Amazon price tracking site, camelcamelcamel. This allows us to see the lowest and highest prices recorded and provide guidance on the right time to buy.

What is the #1 air fryer?

Our favorite option, the Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer, has a total of six cooking modes and a drawer insert that can be removed to cook things with sauces and even make brownies. It's a do-it-all machine with a rather reasonable price, and it costs just 25 cents to run for one hour.

Can I put aluminum foil in an air fryer?

Many people use aluminum foil in their air fryer in the same way that you'd line a cookie sheet to stop grease, bread crumbs, and food debris from sticking. While this is a W to save on doing the dishes, reusable air fryer liners are a more sustainable choice in our humble opinion. You can wash these over and over again instead of scrunching balls of aluminum into your trash can.

What are the negatives of an air fryer?

Air fryers are absolutely worth it, but from personal experience, there are two downsides to owning this appliance: size and power. Smaller air fryers, (while great for compact countertops) won't hold the same capacity of food as your oven. And don't underestimate the wattage of your gadget either. I've followed conventional oven cooking times for air fryer recipes before, and my food has come out a little charred. RIP dinner.

Oh, and another thing! If you want to cook things with a wet batter — don't. When it comes to the air fryer vs. deep fryer debate, the former takes an L here. So shallow fry your tempura shrimp or let them swim in a big sea of fryer oil.

Is eating air fried food healthy?

Though they've been around for a while, many people still do question how healthy air fryers are, so we spoke to an industry expert to settle the debate.

"Air frying allows for healthier cooking methods that don’t require extra fat or oil to cook food properly — keeping them both dry on the outside while maintaining moisture within each bite thanks to its circulating hot air system," says Sarah Farquharson, senior marketing manager at Instant Brands. "Healthy meals have never been so easy."

How much oil should you use in an air fryer?

Hannah Niu, marketing manager at Xiaomi explains that "the oil inside the food is thoroughly fried through the 360-degree heated air circulation, providing delicious food with less grease and fat." Niu also adds that the technology within an air fryer results in food that's cooked through and crispy on the outside. 

The exception in our experience of testing is that if you're going to make homemade chips, a little oil goes a long way in ensuring your chipped spuds have a golden and crispy exterior.