Choosing the best air fryer will seriously transform the way you use your kitchen. With a summer full of sunny days ahead, you might start to dread turning on the oven to cook your chicken for a lunchtime salad, or roast veggies for a healthy side dish. Luckily, with the best air fryer, you'll never use your oven the same way again. Because air fryers are essentially mini countertop ovens, they can pre-heat in a fraction of the time and will also circulate hot air around your food as it cooks to result in a crispier finish in a lot less time.
Of course, the best air fryer can't replace the best deep fat fryers when it comes to cooking food that's battered, but when we compared deep fat fryers and air fryers side by side, we found that air fryers deliver plenty of taste and flavour because you're able to cook potato wedges and fillets of fish in spices and flavour mixes, instead of just sprinkling it over one your meal is done.
And when it comes to the best air fryers, they can do a lot more than just make homemade chips. We've used them to roast vegetables, cook frozen goodies in half the time they'd take in an oven, and even make pasta bake with a crispy, cheesy topping. Our favourite 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.
Best air fryers 2022
The Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer wowed us in testing with its generous capacity, multiple cooking modes, and (most importantly) the amazing food it produced.
What we love
We're a big fan of air fryers that have a slatted insert. It allows you to air fry, but also remove the insert to use the flat base of the drawer to reheat leftovers and bake anything from roasties to an apple crumble.
The Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer has a tactile control panel that allows you to change the temperature and timings as it cooks. We found that it cooked frozen chicken fillets in just 12 minutes, which is just over half the time it takes in an oven. It also made delicious and evenly-cooked homemade chips in just 25 minutes. This is in part down to the alert that reminds you to shake up your food as it's part-way through cooking.
You can choose to air fry, bake, roast, grill, dehydrate, and reheat with the Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer. 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.
The drawer is not dishwasher-safe, but the insert is. Because it's non-stick, you can clean it easily and 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.
Real Homes rated 5 out of 5 stars: read our Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer review
We love, love, LOVE this air fryer from Ninja. 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.
What we love
There's 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.
This Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer can also be used for cooking two foods simultaneously. While the capacity is large, because it's spread across a wider space it still cooks evenly and very fast. 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.
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 dishes like pasta bakes and apple crumbles are perfectly possible (and yes, we tried both in this air fryer when testing!)
Real Homes rated 5 out of 5 stars: read our Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer review
Boasting an extra-large capacity, we think that this air fryer is perfect for those who want the most 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 half-way through.
What we love
After testing what feels like a mountain of air fryers, the COSORI was one of the best when it came to actual quality results. Chips? Done in 15 minutes. Frozen food? Always crispy.
The fryer comes with a recipe book that's crammed with 100 ideas and plenty more inspiration. These really utilise the 14 cooking modes, which could feel overwhelming if they came without instruction.
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 5.5 litre capacity makes this air fryer suitable for families of up to six people, and it can fit a large chicken in for that delicious crispy skin you want from a Sunday roast.
Real Homes rated 4.5 out of 5 stars: read our full COSORI air fryer review
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 chips, chicken and other snacks that we've tried.
What we love
The design is smart, with a tactile touch screen display. 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 two litres, the capacity was capable of cooking chips and chicken 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. It's advisable to clean the air fryer after each use, or it will start to smoke. Cleaning 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 an air fryer.
Real Homes rated 5 out of 5 stars
The Breville Halo Air Fryer has a fresh approach to air frying thanks to the included divider insert that can separate food when cooking meals or for picky eaters.
It has a selection of pre-set modes for cooking anything from steak to frozen chips, but we like that you can also adapt the cook time and temperature using the touch controls on either side of the digital panel.
What we love
Breville Halo Air made delicious homemade chips in only 12 minutes, even when we used the included pre-set which had allotted for 16 minutes of cooking time.
We also made cakes, and the whole process from making the batter to taking them out of the air fryer took only 30 minutes. They were very browned on top, but totally delicious.
There is an innovative divider in the cooking drawer which can be added and removed to turn the 5.5 litres of cooking space into two distinct areas. Of course, this doesn't quite replicate a dual drawer air fryer that can simultaneously cook at two different temperatures, but it's a good way of cooking an entire dinner in one go.
You can press a button to lift the cooking insert, handle and all, away from the basket. This is not our favourite way of cleaning an air fryer but it does mean that your food lifts away from any drips of fat or juices that sit at the bottom of the basket.
Real Homes rated 4.5 out of 5 stars: read our full Breville Halo Air air fryer review
The Tower Xpress Pro Combo Air Fryer is the best air fryer oven we've tested. It's a different take on an air fryer from the others in our guide, with numerous shelves instead of a basket. This mimics a traditional oven. In fact, it really is similar to a tiny oven. The 11 litre capacity sounds like a lot but in reality it's whatever you can fit onto its three shelves.
What we love
The rotisserie. Oh man, just put your chicken onto the rotisserie attachment and leave it for an hour for the most delicious, juicy, crispy chicken you've ever tested. It's worth buying for Sunday roast dinners alone.
It can also dehydrate, bake, roast, and (of course) air fry. Tower claims it's 30% faster than conventional cooking, which may be true if you include the preheat time (which is next-to-nothing) but it is more akin to a regular oven than the other air fryers in our guide in terms of timing.
The rotisserie is included, but it will only fit one of the smaller chickens you can buy at supermarkets. You can use the included fork to lift the chicken out, and there are also mini gloves to help remove the hot shelves when your chips or veggies are finished cooking.
We did find that the items closer to the top of the oven cooked faster, so either be strategic with how you lay out your meals or switch them around for even cooking.
We also found the kebab rotisserie attachment particularly frustrating. It was tricky to assemble and very fiddly.
Real Homes rated 3.5 out of 5 stars: read our full Tower Xpress Pro Combo Air Fryer review
If it's the smartest of the smart you want, the Proscenic T21 Smart Air Fryer could be a good one for you. We thought it skipped out a little on the actual design, but you're clearly paying for the phone compatibility and remote operations.
What we love
It's a slick option if you want to pre-heat or keep warm without getting off the sofa. You can also check to see how much time is left and even follow recipes using the Proscenic app.
We found it easy enough to pair with our phones, and there's also the option of Alexa or Google Assistant-operated controls.
While the results weren't stand-out, it's not a bad air fryer either. Cook time wasn't massively sped up but we did enjoy how large the basket is, which means it can cook for a large family.
There's the app controls, but the digital controls are also worth noting. They are a little confusing at first, and we did find that they weren't the most responsive of the air fryers we've tested.
With a setting for fish, frozen food, chicken, baking, and even veggies, there's a lot happening on the control panel. If you don't have an eye for cooking times and need the extra help, these are useful guides.
Real Homes rated 3.5 out of 5 stars: read our full Proscenic T21 Smart Air Fryer review
We adore this multi-cooker for its versatility, and the Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker can air fry as well as bake, slow cook, pressure cook and even dehydrate.
What we love
It comes with a basket and crisper lid to create delicious and healthy(ish) chips, 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 the room for it, this air fryer is ready to usurp your slow cooker, pressure cooker, and so much more.
It has a lid for air frying and a separate lid for other options like pressure cooking, so space will be a concern if you're short on it.
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 cuts of meat. The controls are incredible intuitive, and the actual air frying quality is top notch, so you won't miss out if you opt for this multi-functional machine.
Real Homes rated 5 out of 5 stars: read our full Ninja Foodi Max 9-in-1 Multi Cooker 7.5L review
How did we choose the best air fryer?
A whole lot of hands-on testing, that's how! Every air fryer in our guide has 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. One is chips, with a standardised recipe that requires chopping fresh maris piper potatoes into wedges and tossing them in some oil and seasoning. Some of the speediest air fryers have been able to crisp these up in just 12 minutes, others have taken as long as 20.
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 recipes 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. Find out more about Real Homes reviews here.
How much do the best air fryers cost?
Expect to pay anywhere from £70 to £200 for a top-quality air fryer. While they're not the most expensive investment if you go for a cheaper air fryer, you'll get frequent use from your new appliance once it's on your kitchen counters. If you want to know if it will be worth it, take a look at our top 10 reasons to buy an air fryer.
A budget-friendly air fryer can still be great for smaller portions or basic air frying functions, but some of the more expensive air fryers on our list from Ninja and Tefal offer added extras such as multi-drawer cooking and a stirring paddle to keep your food moving and cooking evenly, hands-free.
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.
How does an air fryer compare to a deep fat fryer?
We compared the best air fryer with a deep fat fryer to see how well they made french fries from scratch. You can see our deep fryer vs air fryer piece for all the info, but we actually preferred the flavour we got with the air fryer. It bakes the fries in their seasoning, and gave us a delicious glazed texture. The deep fried potatoes were crispier, but the process of deep frying was a lot messier.