If you love the taste of deep-fried food but would like to have a healthier option, an air fryer is a good investment for your kitchen. In comparison with a deep fryer that needs a large amount of oil for cooking and absorbs an unhealthy high amount of fat during the cooking process, an air fryer uses 70-80% less oil, without scrimping on the flavor and texture of the food.
Three Types of Air Fryers
There are three types of air fryers, depending on the brand or model you choose to buy.
Basket Air Fryers
Basket air fryers are the most common. They have a basket that is similar to deep fryers, where the basket is lowered into the appliance and you shut the lid while the food cooks. However, unlike traditional deep fryers that cook with large amounts of oil, an air fryer will fry your food to perfection from the powerful heating element and circulated superheated air.
These kinds of air fryers have a paddle that stirs and rotates your food and prevents it from burning. which means you do not have to do any stirring during cooking. A paddle air fryer is best used for large food items such as chicken breasts, or egg rolls.
Some models come with a combination of Rapid Air Technology and a stirring paddle, and some air fryers have a paddle that oscillates automatically or you can use it manually.
Oil-free Turkey Fryers
An oil-free turkey fryer is great for Thanksgiving dinner, where you can cook an entire turkey (up to 16lbs) or other large cuts of meat. To cook an entire chicken or turkey look for an air fryer that has a cooking capacity of 1kg.
3 Handy Tips for Using Your Air Fryer
1. Read the Air Fryer’s Manual or Instructions
One of the most important things you need to remember is to always read the instruction manual before using your air fryer. Most of us kitchen enthusiasts are guilty of ignoring the manufacturer’s instructions as we are so eager to use our new bright and shiny appliance.
We just set up the machine, turn it on, and hope that we can use our machine with no problems. Usually, it is that easy, but a lot of issues can arise because we do not read the instructions set out by the people who have designed the unit and know how to get the best cooking and frying performance out of the machine.
2. Clean the Air Fryer Regularly
Sometimes a unit can break down or overheat and the result is black smoke and flames, or it can be hard to clean. Most units are designed not to overheat as they have a cooling fan, and they come with non-stick racks or bowls. However, if the air fryer is not cleaned regularly, operating issues can still arise.
3. Size Does Matter
Some models are smaller than others. If you are only cooking for two people or just cooking small portions such as French fries and calamari, then choose an air fryer with a smaller cooking capacity such as the Philips Digital AirFryer.
If you have a larger family choose a unit with a large cooking capacity, high wattage, and one that can cook large meals such as whole chickens like the T-fal ActiFry Oil-less Air Fryer.
7 Best Air Fryers – Reviews
1. Philips Digital AirFryer
As the brains behind the original air fryer with the breakthrough Rapid Air Technology, the Philips Digital AirFryer, which is part of the Viva Collection, gives you that much loved deep-fried flavor and texture with 75% less fat. As “Air is the new oil” you can cook all kinds of deep-fried food to your waist and heart’s content.
The smart and stylish black unit can bake, roast, and grill with a teaspoon or less of oil. It comes with a double-layer rack that gives you plenty of space, and the fast circulating superheated air, starfish design, its optimal heating profile, 1400-watts of power, a 1.8lbs cooking basket, and the ergonomically friendly cool touch hand-grip. With so many great features, you will be effortlessly frying all of your favorite dishes in no time at all.
The air fryer is easy to use with a digital touchscreen interface that features an integrated timer that allows you to preset cooking times up to 60-minutes. There are ready indicators and auto-off function switch, fully adjustable temperature control up to 390°F, and you can also preset the best cooking temperature for individual meals.
The unit also comes with an exclusive Gordon Ramsay recipe book with his own specially designed air fryer recipes, and you can also purchase extra accessories such as a non-stick baking dish and a fry/grill pan.
- Ideal for two people
- Heats quickly
- Excellent alternative for cooking deep-fried foods
- Ideal for frozen chips and small portions of food
- Easy on the nose: no smell of old grease
- Internal cord storage
- Cool touch hand-grip
- Additional cooking accessories available
- Bulky unit
- Basket is too small
- Not ideal for a large family
- Use non-stick oil or food can stick to the bowl
- 2. GoWISE USA 3.7-Quart Programmable Air Fryer
- With its funky bright Chilli Red color and an updated design, the GoWISE USA 3.7-Quart Programmable Air Fryer can create all of your favorite fried foods, as well as baking, roasting, grilling, and revitalizing your leftover meals, plus it will look great in your kitchen.
- The 1400-watt air fryer has a 3.7-quart capacity, so it can easily cater to a family of 4. For your safety, the detachable basket with a cool-touch handle makes it easier to remove your food and a button guard protects you in case you accidentally detach the basket from the machine.
- Touch screen digital technology gives you 8 built-in smart programs: Chips, Pork, Chicken, Steak, Shrimp, Cake, Fish, and Pizza. The unit has an adjustable temperature from 180–400°F, a 30-minute timer, an auto-standby feature where the unit switches back to standby mode after it has finished cooking, and an automatic switch-off mode.
- There is no need to worry about food sticking to the basket as it has a non-stick coating. The air fryer is easy to clean, and it can even go into the dishwasher. To widen your cooking repertoire – GoWISE USA includes a bonus recipe book.
- Space-saving unit
- Great cooking method, can even cook whole chickens
- Perfectly crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside
- Food has a great taste
- Automatic shut off
- Great red color and fancy digital display
- Bonus recipe book
- Power cord can be awkward
- Basket is not overly strong
- Non-stick coating comes off after long-term use
3. Big Boss 16-Quart Oil-less Air Fryer
There is a lot to love about the Big Boss 16-Quart Oil-less Air Fryer. This smart 1300-watt unit harnesses the triple cooking power of halogen, convection, and infrared heat, which leaves food moist on the inside and browned and crispy on the outside.
As the air fryer cooks without the use of added fats or oils, you will be able to prepare healthier meals 3 times faster than a traditional deep fryer. A highly versatile machine, the Big Boss can be used for frying, roasting, baking, grilling, steaming, broiling, and making desserts!
Designed with families in mind, the air fryer comes with an extender ring that increases its cooking capacity to 16-quarts, which caters for up to 4 people. Its simple control panel includes a temperature dial and a timer dial with an automatic shutoff. You can monitor the progress of your food as it cooks in the transparent removable glass bowl, and the unit is very easy to clean.
- Great for cooking large pieces of meat such as turkey
- Cooks great-tasting and crispy oil-free meals
- Cooks fast and evenly
- Transparent cooking bowl
- Easy to clean
- Extender ring to increase cooking capacity to 16-quarts
- Bulkier than other models
- Instructions can be difficult to understand
4. Best Choice Products 5.5-Quart Air Fryer
If you are looking for an affordable air fryer that can cook all your fried foods to be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, you cannot go further than the Best Choice Products 5.5-Quart Air Fryer. With no set-up required, and a speedy preheat and cooking time, it is so easy to fry, bake, grill or roast.
You can sit back, relax, and let the machine work its magic via the powerful 1800-watt heating element and a superheated rapid air technology system.
The air fryer has an adjustable temperature from 140-392°F, an auto shut-off timer, and a fast 30 minute cooking time.
One of the best features of this fryer is that you can choose to use a small amount of oil or none at all, which means you can enjoy fried food without a guilty conscience. The fryer also comes with a removable basket, a stainless steel cooking grate, and it comes in a stylish black and silver design.
- Innovative design
- Easy to use
- Cooks chips and chicken to perfection
- Unit can get very hot
- Larger meals can take longer than 30 minutes
5. Avalon Bay 3.7-Quart Air Fryer
The sleek and sophistical shiny red Avalon Bay 3.7-Quart Air Fryer offers you an affordable, fast, reliable, and healthy alternative to deep-fried food. As well as providing a detachable mesh metal basket so that you can easily transfer the food to your table, there is a removable baking pan and rack.
A bonus feature is the Avalon Bay Cookbook that will inspire you to discover new ways of using your air fryer.
Avalon Bay has your safety in mind as the fryer has non-slip feet and a 30-minute timer that automatically switches itself off to standby mode and alerts you with a loud ping! when the cooking process is complete. The unit has detachable parts that make it easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher.
- Easy to use
- Cooks food to a crispy golden brown
- Excellent fryer
- Non-stick basket and pan
- Air fryer turns itself off when it has finished cooking
- Easy to clean
- Only suitable for small cooking applications
- Basket latch button can get stuck
6. T-fal ActiFry Oil-less Air Fryer
T-fal has been creating high-quality cookware and kitchen appliances for over 60 years. Its new ActiFry Oil-less Air Fryer is a prime example of T-fal’s dedication to technical expertise as the innovative patented rapid air technology combined with an automatic stirring paddle gives you a low-fat alternative for cooking all of your much desired fried foods.
As the hot air circulates the food, the paddle gently stirs the food and all you need is just a spoonful of oil. The powerful 1400-watt air fryer is designed to cook and fry food up to a 2.2lbs capacity in a ceramic-coated non-stick pan (PTFE and PFOA free) bowl, which means it is ideal for family-sized meals. It is multifunctional and can fry chips, chicken, pork chops, stir fry, vegetables, and even nuts.
The unit does not require any preheating or shaking or stirring during the cooking process, and the digital LED timer alerts you when your food is ready.
One of the extra smart features of this fryer is the steam-free lid and transparent viewing window that allows you to keep your eye on your food while the machine cooks your food to crispy perfection.
The air fryer is easy to clean and the parts are removable and can be cleaned in the dishwasher. T-fal has also included a free 38-page color recipe book so that you can experiment with a variety of new cooking ideas such as ActiFried Chicken with Peanuts and Orange Juice.
As well as being a multi-functional kitchen appliance, the ActiFry is shaped like a funky spaceship, with ergonomically friendly bright green operating buttons, and you can choose to buy the unit in either black or white: it will be an attractive and indispensable appliance that will become part of your cooking entourage.
- Good quality
- Easy to use
- Large cooking capacity
- Great at cooking fried food with very little oil
- Choice of automatic or manual stirring
- No automatic off switch
- Needs to be cleaned regularly or the fan may overheat
- No temperature control
- Can dry out foods very quickly if cooked after the recommended time
7. Nutrichef 2-Quart 1000-Watts Air Fryer
The attractive black and silver Nutrichef 2-Quart 1000-Watts Air Fryer is a multi-functional machine that has the ability to cook a wide range of food items such as French fries, chicken, fish, steak, vegetables, and it can even bake cupcakes.
A healthier alternative to deep-frying, the Nutrichef air fryer cooks your food oil-free or you can use a light spray of olive oil. The innovative combination of halogen, convection, and infrared heat cooks your food so that it is crispy brown on the outside and moist on the inside.
Preparing low-fat meals is so easy with this air fryer. Just insert your food into the non-stick slide-out Teflon basket, set the temperature with the 400°F temperature dial, and adjust the 30-minute timer dial. It also has a smart space-saving design.
- High quality
- Attractive black and silver design
- Easy to use temperature and timer dials
- Great cooking and frying results
- Space-saving design
- Easy to clean
- Works better with small quantities of food
- Needs a spoonful of oil when cooking chips