Our favourite air fryers can churn out crispy fries, crunchy chicken wings and quick weeknight dinners without fail.
- Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro
- Best Value: Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven
- Best Mid-Size Air Fryer: Ninja 4-Quart Air Fryer
- Best Small Air Fryer: Dash Compact Electric Air Fryer
- Best Overall: Instant Vortex 6-Quart Air Fryer Combo
- Best Dual Basket Air Fryer: Ninja Foodi DualZone Air Fryer
- Another Top Pick: Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer
Best Air Fryers In 2023
|Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro||Check Price|
|Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven||Check Price|
|Ninja 4-Quart Air Fryer||Check Price|
|Dash Compact Electric Air Fryer||Check Price|
|Vortex 6-Quart Air Fryer Combo||Check Price|
|Ninja Foodi DualZone Air Fryer||Check Price|
|Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer||Check Price|
How Do Air Fryers Work?
What’s the Difference Between Air Fryer Styles?
- Basket Style: Basket-style air fryers have been around the longest and have seen many upgrades in aesthetic and cooking ability. At first, many basket-style air fryers were rounded and looked like an egg or tiny spaceship. However, the round style didn’t allow for a huge basket capacity, so many air fryers could only fit one chicken breast at a time. Today, you’ll find most basket-style air fryers are more angular, which allows for more cooking space. A 6-quart model with an angular shape can easily fit a pound of chicken, making it great for families and larger households.
- Dual Basket Style: These models were introduced to the market in 2021 and have quickly gained popularity. Double-basket air fryers allow you to air fry two different foods simultaneously (at other times and temperatures), making them great for making whole meals or cooking in extra-large batches. Remember that these models take up quite a bit of space on a countertop, so you’ll need room for it.
- Air Fryer Toaster Ovens: Air fryer toaster ovens have been on the market for years and have come a long way since their humble beginnings. Many of these models act as countertop ovens that can air fry, bake, roast, toast, reheat, dehydrate, broil, make a frozen pizza, proof and more. These air fryers tend to have larger capacities that can fit cake pans, quarter sheet trays, brownie pans and even casserole dishes, making them versatile and useful for holiday cooking if you need more oven space.
Are Air Fryers Healthy?
What to Consider Before You Buy an Air Fryer
- Air fryers come in various styles and sizes. Basket units are generally easy to use and great for the basics. If you want a model that can do-it-all and then some, consider an air fryer toaster oven instead.
- Many air fryers are multi-functional. You can find air fryer-toaster oven combo units and even pressure cookers with an air fry function. A combo unit could suit you depending on your space and how you plan to use your air fryer.
- Prices vary. Air fryers can range in price from around $50 to upwards of $300. We’ve found that many of the best air fryers cost around $100 and are often on sale.
- Make the most of your air fryer with accessories. Like the beloved pressure cooker, air fryer accessories can help make air fryers (especially basket-style ones) more versatile.
How We Tested
The best air fryers cook food quickly and evenly and produce a crispy outer crust when using the air fry function. We evaluated the parts of each air fryer by making frozen, store-bought French fries, bone-in, skin-on chicken breast and yellow cake from a mix to determine if the machine browned food well on the outside by the time it cooked inside and produced a crispy texture on the outside. The best air fryers cook food quickly and evenly and have powerful heating elements that mimic a traditional oven.
We tested how easy the controls were to use, too, eschewing clunky manual dials and machines that don’t pause themselves in favour of digital displays/buttons that were simple to set and air fryers that paused cooking when you opened the baskets to check your food. Additional functions, how much noise the air fryers made, and how cumbersome they were to use were also measured as tiebreakers to pick the best machines.
We also checked how easy it was to clean each air fryer by hand and use a dishwasher on dishwasher-safe parts. Starting with a clean air fryer each time you cook is extremely important to avoid smoking during cooking and to ensure the best airflow possible.
While the original Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer is a more mid-sized machine at a lower price point, we found in testing that the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro is worth the extra money and space it occupies. The digital interface makes it an intuitive machine with 13 preset functions, including air fry, slow cook, roast, broil, bake, cookies, pizza, toast, bagel, reheat, proof, dehydrate and warm. The rack levels are printed right on the door for ease of use. This model does a preheat cycle for most settings which is an additional step and takes a few extra minutes, but it adds precision to the cooking not seen in many other machines. This did every task perfectly and in a short amount of time. It has a spring-loaded door, which takes a minute to get used to, but then is a nice feature.
Like the original Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer, it has a 13-inch nonstick pizza tray, wire rack, broiling rack, 9 x 13 enamel roasting pan, air fry basket and crumb tray. It has additional accessories: a bamboo cutting board, pizza stone and pizza crisper pan. The oven will also fit standard 9×13 casserole dishes and a quarter sheet pan, allowing it to cook many things. You could also fit a standard 5-quart Dutch oven in this machine if you wanted to. It also comes in several finishes, so it can be purchased to match your kitchen and décor.
- Large capacity
- Excellent at baking and roasting a chicken
- Exterior gets hot
- Accessories are not dishwasher safe
2. Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven
Cuisinart was one of the first brands to introduce a toaster oven air fryer that allows you to toast, bake, air fry and convection bake. We tested this digital version, which made the crispiest air-fried food in the shortest amount of time out of all the air fryers we tested and some of the most evenly-coloured toast in our toaster oven test. The rectangular 15.5- by 16-inch air fry rack offers a large cooking surface (especially compared with basket-style air fryers) and sits atop a drip/crumb tray for easy cleanup. Since launching the toaster oven air fryer, Cuisinart also introduced a smaller, non-digital version with the same features and quality performance and a same-sized model with a grill pan that we’re eager to test.
- Cooks very quickly
- Large cooking surface
- Since foods cook quickly using air fry, we recommend using a lower temp and keeping a close eye on food to help prevent burning
|Type of Air Fryer||Air Fryer Toaster Oven|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||17 x 21.73 x 15.75 inches|
|Capacity||0.6 cubic feet|
|Functions||AirFry, Bake, Broil, Toast, Bagel, Pizza, Roast, Dehydrate, Proof, Low, Dual Cook, Reheat and Warm with a wide temperature range (Warm-450°F)|
3. Ninja Air Fryer Max XL
- Performed the best of the basket-style air fryers
- Easy to use
- Some may find the basket diameter a bit small
|Type of Air Fryer||Basket-style|
|Item Dimensions||14 x 11 x 14.25 inches|
|Functions||Max Crisp, Air Fry, Air Roast, Air Broil, Bake, Reheat, Dehydrate|
This 5.5-quart basket-style Ninja Air Fryer Max XL was the top performer in our air fryer test. It scored the highest marks across the board for ease of use, thanks to its intuitive, easy-to-read buttons and clear and helpful owner’s manual. During our tests, the air fryer basket slid in and out quickly, which made handling a breeze. We’re fans of the basket’s removable tray and slick, ceramic interior, which makes it nonstick. The tray also fits snugly and securely on the bottom of the basket, so you don’t have to worry about it falling out when you turn the food onto a plate. Both basket and tray are dishwasher safe and easy to clean, even if you hand wash.
In addition to being easy to use, the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL scored the highest in performance. It produced crispy and evenly cooked frozen fries and homemade fries, as well as chicken wings that were moist on the inside. The model we tested has a broiling rack for even quicker and juicier results — and a fast way to create melty cheese.
It also features several cook settings, which are programmed with unique maximum and minimum temperatures — including Max Crisp and Air Broil (which reach 450°F) and dehydrate (which reaches a low of 105°F) — so you can achieve different cooking results. Another unique feature is the timer, which counts down to the second. For a larger capacity, consider the Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 2-Basket Air Fryer. It performs just as well as the Air Fryer Max XL, with even more versatility. It’s the one we turn to the most for one-person meals since each basket is smaller and takes up less room in the dishwasher.
4. Dash Compact Air Fryer
- Comes in an assortment of colours
- Doesn’t require as much counter space as full-size models
- Amazon’s choice
- Homemade fries did not cook evenly
The Dash Compact is a good air fryer for people who cook only for themselves or someone new to air frying and who wants to try it out. At 2 quarts, it can quickly cook one portion of food. The smaller footprint means it takes up less room on your counter, and its compact basket means easier cleaning. This model has a dial timer, which makes it a little tricky to program to the exact minute. The temperature is also set via a dial and doesn’t offer many options, but we found the Dash was still a good pick since we use the max 400°F temperature to air fry most foods. Unlike most air fryers on the market, we love that it comes in various colours that pop. The aqua, pictured here, is a fave.
We already love the Instant Pot, so it’s no surprise that Instant Brands churned out another winning product with the Instant Vortex. During our tests, we found this air fryer cooked with more power than the others, delivering crispy, evenly cooked food every time. That said, we did notice a whirring sound while it works, although it’s no louder than a microwave.
We also love the size. The 6-quart capacity is large enough to hold a whole pound of chicken. The interface on the Instant Vortex is also very user-friendly, with a touchscreen for pre-programmed settings and a dial that can up the temp in 5-degree increments. It also has a sleek, angular look that you won’t mind seeing on your countertop daily.
6. Ninja Speedi RapidCooker & Air Fryer
- Can air fry and cook with steam
- Fast and powerful
|Type of Air Fryer||Basket-style plus|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||14.1 x 13.8 x 12.4 inches|
|Functions||Speedi Meals, Steam & Crisp, Steam & Bake, Steam or Proof in Rapid Cooker mode and unlock Air Fry, Bake/Roast, Air Broil, Dehydrate, Sear & Sauté, Slow Cook and Sous Vide functions in Air Fry mode|
The Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer are the newest air fryers we’ve tested. While it looks different — and is somewhat more extensive — than most air fryers on the market, it’s worth making room for on your counter. The 12-in-1 appliance not only air fries well and quickly, but it works similarly to a multicooker (without the pressure!) and can be used to sear, sauté, bake, roast, broil, steam, slow cook, proof, cook sous vide and even dehydrate. It can also steam and bake/air fry simultaneously for the juiciest and most flavorful results.
One of the most impressive things it can do is cook quick one-pot meals by cooking the base — like pasta, rice or quinoa — on the bottom of the square basket and the toppings — like chicken, shrimp or meatballs — on the top level. It doesn’t require any additional accessories, just the included perforated tray, used for air frying and steaming in the lower position and crisping/broiling in the upper position. The tray and six-quart basket are ceramic coated, like the other Ninja air fryers, and they’re easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher. We found the Speedi simple to program and liked the straightforward control panel, and the user guide is loaded with helpful instructions, tips and colourful recipes.
If you’re looking for a powerful air fryer and insist on a dehydrate function, the Instant Vortex Plus is for you. Like our favourite Instant Vortex, the Plus model is designed with a roomy basket and a sleek exterior. The interface on the Instant Vortex Plus is also very user-friendly, with a touchscreen for pre-programmed settings and a dial that can up the temp in 5-degree increments.
We found the dehydrate function perfectly dried fresh strawberries, and we could see it working well on other produce. The one downside of the model is the broil function, which is preset at 400 degrees F for 2 minutes. We tested broiling mac and cheese topped with extra cheese and breadcrumbs and found neither browned particularly well.
- ClearCook window
- Crisps food well
- Easy-to-use interface
- Lacking manual/recipes
- OdorErase technology is not effective
How do we test air fryers?
We’ve tested more than 40 air fryers in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances Lab, including traditional basket-style air fryers, air fryer ovens, air fryer toaster ovens and even several microwaves and multicookers with air fry capabilities. We also regularly cook with them and have developed countless recipes for them.
When we test air fryers, we evaluate their performance and ease of use by air frying is frozen and fresh french fries and chicken wings. We don’t try baked goods like cake because cake and most other desserts benefit from an even distribution of gentle heat, and most air fryers don’t have heating elements on the bottom in addition to on the top (though fruit crumbles and air fryer doughnuts come out great!). We score the food on its crispiness, juiciness and evenness, and we consider details like how quickly it cooks, how helpful the user guide is and whether the machine is loud. We also evaluate features like the control panel, temperature range and whether the accessories are dishwasher-safe.
What to look for when shopping for the best air fryer for you
✔️Size: How many people are you cooking for at one time? A compact size is good for one to two people, while a bigger size works better for three or more.
✔️Style: Basket-style air fryers are suitable for small quantities and foods that are easy to shake, like fries and veggies. Air fryer ovens are a bit bigger and can air fry food on multiple shelves, but they require more monitoring, and food often needs to be rotated during cooking. Air fryer toaster ovens can perform various cooking functions — like baking, roasting and broiling — in addition to air frying.
✔️Price: Digital air fryers tend to cost more than mechanical air fryers, as do stainless steel options versus plastic.
✔️Multifunctionality: If you’re in the market for another appliance, toaster ovens, microwaves, pressure cookers, steamer cookers, and even full-sized ovens have started to incorporate an air fry option into their designs, so investing in a multifunctional appliance might be a good value (that takes up less space!).
Are air fryers worth it?
Air fryers are worth it if you cook foods quickly with minimal cleanup. Sure, some are bulky and may feel like a usurper of your counter space, but most people who use them immediately learn the benefits. They’re especially great for prepackaged frozen foods and leftovers that get soggy or rubbery in a microwave, like french fries or dumplings. In the Kitchen Appliances Lab, we like using ours for quick dinners. All types of proteins, like chicken, pork chops and salmon, cook quickly and become golden brown and juicy; veggies become nicely blistered or caramelized. We especially like air-frying root vegetables like mini potatoes, diced butternut squash, and beets.
What cannot be prepared in an air fryer?
Air fryers are great for crisping foods, but there are specific scenarios when you shouldn’t use one.
- You shouldn’t use an air fryer for liquids, as they can easily spill and splatter, even when heated in a heat-resistant vessel. You also shouldn’t use an air fryer for foods that require a wet batter, like tempura, because the coating doesn’t set quickly enough to stick, which can cause drips and smoking and failing to produce crispy food.
- We wouldn’t recommend an air fryer for many baking tasks: Most can’t bake because they have heating elements only on the top of the unit versus the top and the bottom like a toaster oven or oven. The basket or shelf design also generally restricts the size of your baked goods. Air fryers are, however, great for desserts that benefit from browning, like a baked apple or an individual-sized crumble.
- You should avoid cooking greasy foods in an air fryer. If air frying something greasy, use a lower temperature to help reduce splattering, which can cause grease to hit the elements and create smoke.
- Beware of lightweight food, such as bread, as well — some air fryers with a powerful fan can cause it to fly around.
How do air fryers work?
Most air fryers pair a heat source at the top of the appliance with a large fan that circulates the hot air. This design causes food to cook quickly, as do other factors like using perforated trays, which help increase airflow, and a small-capacity design, which helps create a high-heat environment. In our tests, at-home use and recipe development, we’ve found that most foods cook best at high temps, like 400ºF, for short periods. Small food items don’t typically need to be tossed or flipped but can be for more results; more significant foods generally benefit from turning for the most, even cooking.
How do I convert a regular recipe to an air fryer recipe?
Converting regular recipes to air fryer recipes is not as straightforward as converting a regular recipe to a convection oven recipe, which typically requires decreasing the temperature by 25ºF and checking on it sooner. Instead, keep in mind that most foods air fry best at 400ºF unless they are thicker (think chicken breasts, which take longer to cook and should be air fried at a lower temperature, like 370ºF or 375ºF, to avoid drying it out), so you are often just adjusting the timing.
The most important thing to remember is that air fryers cook very quickly, so keep your user guide handy and check the included cooking charts and recipes often. Until you know the recipe, it’s also a good practice to start checking your food within a quarter of the time you would typically check it in the oven.
Are air fryers “healthy”?
“Air frying uses significantly less oil than deep frying and pan frying, so it can provide a lower-calorie and lower-fat alternative that still delivers a crisp texture,” says Stefani Sassos, MS, RDN, CDN. “But air fryers are only as healthy as the foods you choose to cook in them. They won’t magically remove saturated and trans fats from your meals.”
To get the most health benefits out of your air fryer, Sassos recommends using it as a vessel to add more veggies and lean proteins to your diet. One of her favourite uses for it is air-frying frozen veggies. “I couldn’t believe how easy it was the first time I tried it,” she says.