Best air fryer 2021: reviews for chicken wings, french fries, and more

Pick up the best air fryer of 2021 to make the most of your kitchen, with reviews of air fryers from Ninja, Instant, Philips, Cosori, and Cuisinart

Best air fryer
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(Image credit: Breville)

Buying the best air fryer can make delicious chicken wings and homemade french fries, and not only will it create a crispy fried-like texture with (much) less oil, but it will also speed up the cooking process too. 

Some people will want an air fryer toaster oven combo that has removable drawers to act as a miniature oven, whereas many of the best air fryers have drawers for easy removal. This also makes shaking up your fries or veggies mid-cycle a whole lot easier. 

You may be wondering how an air fryer compares to the best deep fryer, and while there's no real replacement for a deep-fried piece of chicken, air fryers make the whole process virtually mess-free and very speedy indeed. 

We've been busy reviewing the best air fryers from Ninja, Cosori, Cuisinart, Instant, and Philips to bring you our complete top 10. While some are looking for the best air fryer for two people, others will want a large option to cook up fries and sides for the whole family. Our guide has something for everyone. 

What is the best air fryer?

CosoriReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Cosori)

1. Cosori CP358-AF Pro Air Fryer

The best air fryer

Specifications
Best for: Function options
Capacity: 5.8 quarts
Wattage: 1700W
Interface: Digital touchscreen
Dimensions: 11.8 x 13.8 x 12.6 inches
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

The Cosori CP358-AF Pro Air Fryer is the latest release from Cosori. 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.

What we like about it

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 useful 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, even an entire chicken.

Cooking time was faster than in a conventional oven. So much so that our food was ready as much as ten 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.

Things to note

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 do struggle with kitchen space, it's not the one for you. 

Ninja Foodi 2-Basket Air Fryer with DualZoneReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Ninja)

2. Ninja Foodi 2-Basket Air Fryer with DualZone

The best air fryer for dual functions

Specifications
Best for: The whole family
Capacity: 8 quart
Wattage: 1690
Interface: Digital touchscreen
Mixing: No
Dimensions: 15.6 L x 13.86W x 12.4H inches
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly versatile +A real looker+Delivers perfectly crisp results+Has six modes, including one for frozen
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest-Bulky

The Ninja Foodi 2-Basket Air Fryer with DualZone is a brilliant air fryer than answers one of the most common problems air fryer lovers come across - what happens if I want to air fry two things at once? Whether it's homemade wedges paired with frozen breaded chicken, or even veggies as a side dish to your protein, this machine allows you to cook two elements of a meal independently, or sync the two baskets for its full 8-quart capacity

Two air fryers in one

The Ninja Foodi 2-Basket Air Fryer with DualZone has six settings. One is designed to air fry frozen food, and there are also reheat, bake, roast, and even dehydrate settings. It goes from 105°F–450°F and doesn't require any pre-heating.

Hands-free

Simply take out one of the baskets and give them a shake to move your food as it cooks. The timer stops automatically, and resumes when the tray is back in place. The two ovens can operate independently, meaning you can roast potatoes in one and bake fish in the other, for example. 

CuisinartReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

3. Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven

The best air fryer toaster oven combo

Specifications
Best for: Air fryer toaster oven
Capacity: 3 pounds
Wattage: 1800W
Interface: Digital touch
Mixing: No
Dimensions: 15.5"Lx16"Wx14"H
Reasons to buy
+Cooks evenly+Great for use in the summer+Cleaning is easy
Reasons to avoid
-Temperature runs a little high-Large dimensions

If you're looking for a more versatile appliance--perhaps if you have a small kitchen or simply like to maximize efficiency--the Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer Toaster Oven is our top choice. 

What we like about it
Our reviewer found that the Cuisinart TOA-60 had a generous capacity, perfect for cooking for her family of five. Her kids were able to eat chicken nuggets that had been air fried for just 7 minutes, and they found that pizza cooked in half the time, with crispy crusts after 10 minutes. 

While it was on the large size, we found that it's easy on the eyes and something worth displaying in your kitchen. The instructions were easy to use and even had some recipes to get you started,

Things to note
Cleaning is surprisingly easy, but be aware that the bottom tray needs to be in place at all times to catch fat and crumbs. 

There was a slight plastic smell upon first use, but it disappeared after a couple of uses. We also found that the speedy cooking was facilitated by an elevated temperature, so this will take some adjusting to. Consider turning the temperature down by about ten degrees if you plan on cooking a familiar recipe. 

Instant Vortex PlusReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Instant Brands)

The best air fryer for vlue

Specifications
Best for: Great value
Capacity: 6 quarts
Wattage: 1700W
Interface: Digital
Mixing: No
Dimensions: 12.01 x 15.31 x 12.72 inches
Reasons to buy
+Amazing value +Easy touch screen+Six cooking modes
Reasons to avoid
-The noises it makes are a little annoying 

With a price tag that's usually under $100, the Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer offers a whole lot of frying delight without breaking the budget.

What we like about it
The Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer sports an adjustable temperature dial, putting you in complete control of what happens inside it. We loved the brushed exterior, which looks a lot more expensive than the actual price tag. 

The capacity is a generous six quarts, and you can choose to bake, air fry, roast, and reheat with the touch of a button. The thing that wowed us the most when testing the amazing fries it made, which really did rival a deep fried alternative. 

Things to note
When turning the dial it makes a prolonged beeping noise, which feels a bit unnecessary. The drawer is actually an insert, which means you can pull it out and use the drawer to bake and roast things with liquid or sauce. 

Proscenic T21 review

(Image credit: Proscenic )

5. Proscenic T21 Smart Air Fryer

The best smart air fryer

Specifications
Best for: Smartphone compatibility
Capacity: 5.8 quarts
Wattage: 1700W
Interface: Digital touchscreen
Mixing: No
Dimensions: L 12 x W 12 x H 12.7 inches
Reasons to buy
+Can be controlled remotely +Sends reminders of when your food is ready+Control timings and settings independently or using the settings+Offers keep warm and pre-heat settings
Reasons to avoid
-The handle was wobbly in testing-Digital controls are tricky to use

If it's a smart air fryer you want, we suggest taking a look at the Proscenic T21 Smart Air Fryer. It has a range of preset modes, for fish, veggies and even french fries, and you can control it remotely using a smart speaker or app.

What we like about it

You can use an app to set specific timers and modes for any dish you choose, and follow the recipes in real time. The app is included with the air fryer, which is a great bonus for those who are new to air frying and want to get stuck in with new recipes. 

Remote controls are convenient. You'll be notified when it's pre-heated, or when the Proscenic T21 Smart Air Fryer has done cooking, and can even switch on the keep warm setting if you want to finish your TV show or if your side dishes are not done cooking.

The air frying itself went very well. Fries were cooked through in 15 minutes and breaded fish came out crispy. The tray and basket can also be placed in a basket. 

Things to note

We weren't too pleased with the control panel, which proved fiddly and hard to get used to when compared to the Cosori or Ninja. The handle was also a little less secure, meaning the basket wobbled when lifted out. 

Ninja Foodi multi-cookerReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker

The best multi-cooker air fryer

Specifications
Best for: Multi-cooking
Capacity: 6.8 quarts
Wattage: 1460W
Interface: Digital controls
Mixing: No
Dimensions: 21 x 16 x 16 inches
Reasons to buy
+So many functions to choose from+Great value when you consider everything it does+Can fit a whole chicken+Pressure cook and then air fry for fast food
Reasons to avoid
-A huge size-No handle for easy shaking

We love the Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker for so much more than air frying. If you're looking for a slow cooker or pressure cooker, this is also a top choice. 

What we like about it
The air fry lid is attached, so simply flip it down and place your food of choice in the basket for quick and easy meals.

You can fit an entire chicken (albeit a small one) into the fry basket, and simply lift the lid to check on its progress or stir anything you may be cooking. The pressure cooking lid is not attached, so you'll need to lift the air fry lid to the side to make slow cooked meals or pressure cook cuts of meat. 

The price is very reasonable when you consider everything this machine can do. When compared to some of the best air fryers in our guide, it offers a lot more for a similar price. 

Things to note
This is a massive machine, so be warned that it will take up a lot of space which can often be a premium is modern kitchens. 

best air fryerReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Cosori)

7. Cosori Air Fryer Max XL

The best air fryer for families

Specifications
Best for: Functions
Capacity: 5.8 quarts
Wattage: 1700W
Interface: Digital touchscreen
Mixing: No
Dimensions: L 11.8 x H 14.3 x W 12.7 inches
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of functions+100 recipes included+Cleaning is easy+Controls are intuitive+Keep warm setting
Reasons to avoid
-The remind to shake can be annoying 

The Cosori Air Fryer Max XL held up very well under testing. It's a top pick for families due to its large size and straightforward settings that make it easy for less experienced cooks to use. 

What we like about it

It comes in a range of colors, which is always nice. The finish has a sleek brushed effect that also looks the part. It has a pre-heat and keep warm setting which can be combined to give you the perfect cook, every time.

The removable basket and tray itself can go in the dishwasher. There are 14 settings, which are controlled by a digital panel that's responsive and easy to use. Our fries came out crisp and perfectly cooked, and our wings were ready in record time. 

Things to note

We were torn about the shake reminders when reviewing the Cosori Air Fryer Max XL. On the one hand it is nice to be reminded to shake up your food for an even cook. On the other, the alarm can be annoying and repetitive. It won't stop until you've taken out the basket.

Philips Airfryer XXL

(Image credit: Philips)

8. Philips Airfryer XXL

Best large air fryer

Specifications
Best for: Capacity
Capacity: 9 quarts
Interface: Digital touch
Mixing: No
Dimensions: 15.55 x 15.55 x 15.67 inches
Reasons to buy
+Immense capacity can fit a whole chicken+Different accessory options for pizza and grilling+Grooved base captures excess fat and encourages even cooking
Reasons to avoid
-A bulky choice for any kitchen

If you plan on catering to a crowd, the Philips Digital Air Fryer is the top XXL option on the market. It has a large enough capacity to cook an entire chicken, or two freezer bags of fries. 

What we like about it
The base is grooved to capture excess fat and encourage airflow for even cooking. You can also use reheat, bake, roast, grill, dehydrate and toast settings for more versatile day-to-day use.

The air fryer claims to be four times faster than a conventional oven. While we have yet to test this specific model, we did test the XXL's little sister and were impressed by its speed and even cooking. 

Finally, it's possible to buy extra attachments to make chips, pizza, cakes and grilled fish and meat, so this choice will get lots of use in any kitchen. 

Things to note
Those dimensions are intimidating, so prepare to sacrifice your kitchen counter to this machine. 

best air fryer

(Image credit: T-Fal)

9. T-Fal ActiFry Low-Fat Fryer

The best air fryer for fries

Specifications
Best for: Just-right frying
Wattage: 1400W
Capacity: 2.2 pounds
Interface: Digital
Mixing: Yes - stirring paddle
Dimensions: 12.5"Lx16.5"Wx7.5"H
Reasons to buy
+Large capacity +Consistent (and delicious!) results+Easy to clean 
Reasons to avoid
-Not completely oil-free

As a large-capacity, easy to clean low-fat frying machine, the T-Fal ActiFry Low-Fat Fryer is ideal for families. 

What we like about it
You can cook a lot in one shot, whether that’s stir fry, desserts, or--if reviewers are to be believed--the perfect crispy fries. Frying requires just one spoonful of oil, making it much healthier than your average fryer.

This air fryer's stirring paddle means you don’t have to stand over it, shaking the basket to get evenly crispy food; and it has removable, dishwasher-safe parts, so you don’t have to spend hours scrubbing each time you cook with it.

Things to note
Frying does require a spoonful of oil, but that's remarkably less than you'd use for conventional fried foods--and the fact that it's spread out between four portions makes your foods even healthier. 

best air fryer

(Image credit: Dash)

10. Dash Compact 2-Quart Air Fryer

The best small air fryer

Specifications
Best for: Small spaces or singles
Capacity: 2 quarts
Wattage: 1000W
Interface: Dial-adjust timer
Mixing: No
Dimensions: 10.2"Lx8.1"Wx11.4"H
Reasons to buy
+Couldn't be simpler to use+Compact, easy to store+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Not very versatile-Limited capacity

For sporadic use, singles or couples who want to cook in small batches, or anyone living in a small space, it's hard to beat the simple functionality of the Dash Compact 2-Quart Air Fryer.

What we like about it
Fried foods are at their best when they're fresh out of the frying basket--so if you're only cooking for one or two people, a petite, affordable air fryer like the Dash Compact Air Fryer can be a great bargain. 

This little appliance couldn't be simpler to use: Just set the timer dial; the auto-off function will keep your food from overcooking. 

Things to note
If you find yourself cooking for a crowd or wanting to get more creative with your air frying, it's worth investing in a model with greater capacity, more features--or both.


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 cabinet 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.

Should I buy an air fryer or a deep fryer? 

While we think there is an advantage to having both an air fryer and a deep fryer in your home, if you're trying to choose between them, we've tried the two simultaneously in our air fryer vs deep fryer comparison. 

While the deep fried fries we made were crispy and more fluffy on the inside, the air fried French fries were actually a lot more flavorsome because we were able to cook them in the flavor of our seasonings instead of simply tossing them through the seasoning afterwards. 

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Millie Fender
Millie Fender

Millie joined the Real Homes team in 2021 after working at TopTenReviews as a Staff Writer. She is constantly on the hunt for the latest (and best) kitchen appliances, and reviewing these products hands-on. As a baking enthusiast, Millie’s job at Real Homes is the perfect excuse to cook up an endless supply of snacks. When she’s not in the kitchen though, she loves knitting and exploring London's top food markets. 

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