Best air fryers: 5 buys for healthy but satisfying meals

Make your own delicious yet healthy (air) fried food with help from the best air fryer. We're talking T-fal, Philips, Cuisinart and more

best air fryer
(Image credit: T-fal)

Planning to eat healthier now that summer's almost here? You'll need an air fryer in your life if you're going to stick with it (trust us here). 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. In short: it lets you have your fries and eat them too. But is it too good to be true?

Surprisingly, no. 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. On the other hand, there are some models that are hard to clean, hard to use, or will just leave you with soggy breadcrumbs and a feeling of bitter disappointment. We’re here to help you avoid pale imitations, and instead find the gold standard of home fryer for delicious dinners every time.

Find more healthy ways to cook in our expert buyer's guide to the best slow cooker.

The best air fryers

air fryer

(Image credit: Chefman)

1. CHEFMAN - 6L Digital Multi-Function Air Fryer

The best air fryer: easy to use and a great value

Best for: Versatility and value
Capacity: 6L
Wattage: 1700W
Interface: Digital
Mixing: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Built-in mixer / rotisserie+Great value +Rotisserie and dehydrate functions
Reasons to avoid
- Nothing

The CHEFMAN - 6L Digital Multi-Function Air Fryer is our top air fryer for a few key reasons. The first is the built-in rotisserie, which evenly cooks food without having to hover over it remembering to mix every few minutes. We also love that the glass insert in the door, since we've noticed that some of the all-plastic models can be tricky to open and re-close one they get hot. And finally, one of the key reasons we love this machine is that it does more than just fry, it's also a rotisserie and dehydrator, too. All this for around $150? Sold.

  • CHEFMAN - 6L Digital Multi-Function Air Fryer

best air fryer

(Image credit: T-Fal)

2. T-Fal ActiFry Low-Fat Fryer

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

Wattage: 1400W
Interface: Digital display
Capacity: 2.2lb
Reasons to buy
+ Large capacity + 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. 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 healthier than your average fryer; 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.

  • T-Fal Actifry Low-Fat Fryer

air fryer

(Image credit: GoWise)

3. GoWise 8-in-1 5.8 Qt. Black Electric Air Fryer

Best air fryer under $100: highly adjustable for confident, controlled cooking

Best for: Preprogrammed settings
Capacity: 5.8 qt
Wattage: 1700W
Interface: Digital
Reasons to buy
+Pre-programmed settings+Adjustable temperature +Multiple color options
Reasons to avoid
- No mixer

The GoWise air fryer an adjustable temperature dial, putting you in complete control; but if you’re not the most confident cook, there are eight pre-programmed settings for 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 GoWise air fryer

air fryers

(Image credit: Philips)

4. Philips Digital AirFryer

Best looking air fryer: a new and improved option from a trusted brand

Best for: Sleek interface
Capacity: 1.8lb
Wattage: 1425W
Interface: Digital touch
Mixing: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Adjustable temperatures+Sleek design
Reasons to avoid
- Expensive 

If you plan to leave your air fryer on the countertop, the Philips Digital Air Fryer is, in our opinion, the best looking of the bunch. Coupled with a large capacity, temperature setting options and, according to reviewers, ease of use, it's a clear winner. Like T-fal, 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 Digital Air Fryer

best air fryer

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

5. Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer Toaster Oven

Best air fryer toaster oven combo: this two-in-one appliance performs both its jobs

Best for: Options
Capacity: 3lb.
Wattage: 1800W
Interface: Digital touch
Mixing: No
Reasons to buy
+ Double-duty appliance + Sleek interface 
Reasons to avoid
-Limited functionality as an air fryer

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. As the name implies, it's not just an air fryer, but a toaster oven, convection oven, broiler, and more, and reviewers rave that is does each job well. If it sounds complicated, you'll be happy to know that operation couldn't be simpler: switch between functions via a set of knobs on the front of the machine.

Besides versatility, this model also has a large capacity and timer/temperature setting options. One thing to note, however, is that this is an air-only model and doesn't have an integrated option for oil. 

  • Buy the Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer Toaster Oven

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.

Which is the best air fryer?

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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