Best air fryer: 7 healthy buys for satisfying meals

The best air fryer help you make (air) fried food that is both delicious and healthy, yet fast

best air fryer
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(Image credit: Philips)

Having one of the best air fryers in the home will cook up a feast, healthily and quickly. And with the cooler weather approaching us, now could be a really good time to invest (hello, comfort food!).

This healthy alternative to a deep-fat fryer makes some big promises: deliciously crispy fried food that's cooked right 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 improved by 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.

What is the best air fryer?

Our pick for the best air fryer remains the CHEFMAN 6.3-Quart Digital Multi-Function Air Fryer, which delivers an unbeatable combination of delicious results, ease of use, and great value. It even has a rotisserie function to turn the food for you, and can also be used as a dehydrator.

We also love the TeFal ActiFry Low-Fat Fryer, which consistently delivers just-right air-fried food that's nicely crisped on the outside while remaining nice and tender on the inside--and it comes with a stirring function, too.

More best air fryer buys

air fryer

(Image credit: Chefman)

1. Chefman Digital Multi-Function Air Fryer

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

Specifications
Best for: Versatility and value
Capacity: 6.3 quarts
Wattage: 1700W
Interface: Digital touchscreen
Mixing: Yes
Dimensions: 15.6"Lx15.6"Wx18.2"H
Reasons to buy
+Delicious results+Great value +Rotisserie and dehydrate functions
Reasons to avoid
- Nothing

The CHEFMAN 6.3-Quart Digital Multi-Function Air Fryer is our top air fryer for a few key reasons--in fact it's so good, we have trouble finding any fault with it.

What we like about it
One of our very favorite features on this Chefman air fryer is the built-in rotisserie, which evenly cooks food without you having to hover over the air fryer and remember to mix the food around every few minutes. 

We also love 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, another 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.

Things to note
We love this air fryer. The only potential downside we can see is making the space to store a new appliance--but we're certain that once you have a taste of its delicious results, you won't have any problem finding room for it. 

best air fryer

(Image credit: T-Fal)

2. TeFal ActiFry Low-Fat Fryer

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

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 Tefal 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. 

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

Specifications
Best for: Preprogrammed settings
Capacity: 5.8 quarts
Wattage: 1700W
Interface: Digital
Mixing: No
Dimensions: 13.5"Lx12.5"Wx14.5"H
Reasons to buy
+Pre-programmed settings+Adjustable temperature +Multiple color options
Reasons to avoid
- No mixer

With a price tag that's usually under $100, GoWise 8-in-1 5.8 Qt. Black Electric Air Fryer offers a whole lot of frying delight without breaking the budget.

What we like about it
The GoWise air fryer sports an adjustable temperature dial, putting you in complete control of what happens inside it. 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. 

Things to note
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 you don't mind that one little task, this is a great option for small kitchens or shoppers on a budget.

best air fryer

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. Secura Air Fryer

Best air fryer for cooking a feast: it has the largest capacity in our guide

Specifications
Best for: Big eats
Food capacity: 3.97L
Wattage: 1500W
Interface: Dials
Mixing: No
Dimensions: H32.5 x W28.9 x D24cm
Reasons to buy
+Extra large basket+Easy to use & clean+Good price point
Reasons to avoid
-May be too noisy for some

We're impressed with the size of this air fryer so think that it's perfect for feasts. With talks of Thanks Giving starting to crop up more and more in conversations we can just see this working its magic throughout the festivities.  

What we like about it
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. We like this because not only does it serve up healthier meals, but it's also super easy to use.

Anything else?
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.

air fryers

(Image credit: Philips)

5. Philips Digital AirFryer

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

Specifications
Best for: Sleek interface
Capacity: 1.8 pounds
Wattage: 1425W
Interface: Digital touch
Mixing: Yes
Dimensions: 14.4"Lx9.6"Wx10.8"H
Reasons to buy
+Adjustable temperatures+Sleek, attractive design+Easy to use
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. 

What we like about it
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.

Things to note
There's no getting around it--this is a pricey machine. But if it's in the budget, the combination of great looks, easy use and tasty results is worth it.

best air fryer

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

6. Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer Toaster Oven

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

Specifications
Best for: Keeping your options open
Capacity: 3 pounds
Wattage: 1800W
Interface: Digital touch
Mixing: No
Dimensions: 15.5"Lx16"Wx14"H
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. 

What we like about it
As the name implies, this is not only an air fryer but also a toaster oven, convection oven, broiler, and more. If all that sounds complicated, you'll be happy to know that switching between functions is as easy as turning a knob on the front of the machine; and reviewers rave that the Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer Toaster Oven does a good job of almost everything. 

Things to note
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 adding oil--not even a single spoonful of it. 

dash compact air fryer

(Image credit: Dash)

7. Dash Compact 2-Quart Air Fryer

Best air fryer for small spaces or singles looking to cook in small batches

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.

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