Whether you’re talking fried potatoes, fried dough, or fried chicken, fried food is simply delicious. Throughout the entire world, you can find all sorts of fried delights being served in restaurants, purchased from food carts, and cooked in home kitchens. “But fried food isn’t healthy!” doctors warn us. “All that oil—you really shouldn’t!”
What if you could fry food without all the oil? With an air fryer, it’s possible to get all of the crunch and tasty fried flavor with a fraction of the oil. This means that you’re consuming a fraction of the fat, and that’s exactly what we are going to discuss in this post., how to find the best air fryer with our buying guide of air fryer reviews.
How Does an Air Fryer Work?
One of the first things people ask when they first hear of these appliances is, “That sounds good, but is an air fryer healthy?” Think about it: rather than dunking your food in a vat of scalding hot oil as you do with a deep fryer, an air fryer uses a smaller amount of oil and then circulates hot air around it to get it crisp and delicious. Your potatoes or chicken, for instance, doesn’t soak up huge amounts of oil because there are none. In addition to using less oil, any grease that’s generated by the food itself can drip off of it.
|Philips AirFryer HD9220/26||Rapid Air|
|Philips Digital AirFryer HD9230/26||Rapid Air|
|Philips Digital Airfryer XL HD9240/94||Rapid Air Touch screen||60-minute ||390°||2.65lb
|GoWISE USA GW22621 4th Generation Electric Air Fryer||Rapid Air|
|30-minute ||175F - 400F||3.7 QT|
|BLACK+DECKER HF110SBD 2-Liter Oil Free Air Fryer||N/A||60-Minute||175F - 400F||2-Liter
Choosing the best Air Fryer: Factors to Consider
There are a lot of options when it comes to finding the right electric air fryer. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you research the best air fryer.
How much space do you have?
Counter space and kitchen storage should play a role in which air fryer you choose. It won’t be helpful to buy a huge air fryer only to get it home and discover that you don’t have the room to set it up and use it. When it’s not in use, do you have an area to stash it away?
What cooking capacity do you need?
How much food can an air fryer hold? Will you be cooking for just yourself and a partner or for a huge houseful of people? Most air fryers hold around 2 pounds of food. Check the capacity to ensure that you’re getting the best air fryer for your lifestyle.
Which bonus features are important to you?
When you’re researching the best air fryers, there are lots of extra features that can differentiate one from another. A digital air fryer, for instance, will have a digital display and controls to allow you to see and set the temperature, as well as set a timer. This makes it much easier to control your cooking experience. Some air fryers have double layer racks or dividers, allowing you to spread food around and cook it more evenly. Others have automatic timers so that you can turn the fryer on and focus on preparing the rest of your meal.
What’s your budget?
Obviously, price will be a consideration in the purchase of any new kitchen appliance. It’s helpful to look at air fryer reviews to determine the quality of any fryer you’re considering. This will help you decide whether additional cost means better quality.
The 5 Best Air Fryers on the Market: Our Reviews
If you go online searching for air fryers, you’ll be amazed at all of the different brands, sizes, and shapes that are available. We decided to help you cut through all the clutter by providing you with reviews of our five all-time favorite air fryers. Hopefully, one of these will be perfect to help you create exciting, mouth-watering fried foods for your friends and family.
Touted as “the original Air fryer with Rapid Air Technology,” the Philips Airfryer is one of the most popular ones on the market, which is why we chose it for our first air fryer review. A simple internet search for “best air fryer” will return countless blogs and articles featuring people writing about happily experimenting with a Philips Air fryer. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is even a fan, saying that this fryer is “the original and the very best.”
What makes the Philips AirFryer so wonderful? As with any greaseless air fryer, the Philips uses little to no oil. In fact, you can fry up a batch of food using a tablespoon of oil or even less! Frying food in this little device results in it having up to 75% less fat than using a traditional fryer.
Just because there’s less fat doesn’t mean that the food isn’t wonderfully-cooked. The starfish design of its cooking basket ensures that all of your food cooks evenly. It circulates air around the entire inside of the unit, cooking all of your food to absolute perfection. Its cooking technology ensures that food is crisp and crunchy on the outside without drying out on the inside—leaving it moist, tender, and delicious.
The Philips Airfryer is pretty easy to just set and forget, as it has controls to set the time and temperature, as well as an auto-shutoff. It’s a real relief to be able to toss food into the basket and rest assured that it will cook perfectly without you having to constantly check on it.
Some people are hesitant to purchase any sort of fryer because they don’t want to take up precious kitchen
space with an appliance that’s only dedicated to one thing. With the Philips Airfryer, that’s not a problem, as it can grill, roast, steam, and bake food in addition to frying it.
It’s not the biggest airfryer on the market. As for its food capacity, the Philips Airfryer will feed 2 or 3 people at most. It is not ideal for feeding a large family (unless you want to cook in batches).
People who have used the Philips Airfryer are very happy with the quality of the machine. It’s easy and intuitive to cook with. Users raved about its ability to make otherwise blah frozen foods such as fries and chicken tenders taste absolutely wonderful. Since you’re not dropping battered food into hot oil where it will instantly start to get crispy, users recommend using a very light coating of batter on homemade foods. Because the Philips can be used as greaseless air fryer or used with very little oil at all, it’s definitely very easy to clean up after use.
Another wonderful thing about this machine that rates it as in the top five picks for best air fryer? There is awide array of accessories available to use with it in order to expand its use. If you’ve been using your Philips Airfryer for a while and have gotten tired of making the same old items, the accessories can really expand your repertoire. Purchase the Double Layer Rack with Skewers to add veggies or meat kabobs to your next meal. Do you want to make tortilla or kale chips in your air fryer? Philips Variety Basket will allow you to do just that. The Fry/Grill Pan is perfect for items like fish. You can even bake in your Philips Airfryer by using their Non-Stick Baking Dish.
The Philips Airfryer is perfect for any kitchen decor, as it’s available in both black and white.
With this fryer, Philips takes it up a notch from the last review. It features all of the same wonderful cooking technology that allows you to enjoy your favorite fried foods with 75% less fat than traditional frying methods. It uses Philips’ patented starfish design that ensures that every last bite of your food is thoroughly and perfectly cooked by the hot air that is distributed all around it. Faster, cleaner, and healthier than a deep fryer, Philips Digital Airfryer does everything that the basic Philips Airfryer does…but it does it with the help of a beautiful digital control panel.
This is the kind of design and technology that we’ve come to know, love, and expect from Philips. Trading in the analog controls for a digital display and push-button system, the Philips Digital Airfryer is even more comfortable and convenient to use. Operating the fryer is straightforward and very simple.
The convenience is unmatched. One reviewer—a mother—says that she can’t believe she didn’t purchase an airfryer much sooner. Easy to use, the Philips Digital Airfryer cooks food extremely fast. Also fast? Cleanup time. Because it doesn’t splatter grease all over your kitchen, all you’ll need to do is empty and clean the basket and quickly wipe down the machine. No problem!
This fryer has the same capacity as its analog counterpart, so it can’t cook for more than 2 or 3 people at a time.
Some folks were questioning whether they can simply drizzle food in a bit of oil, pop it in their oven, and set a timer in order to get the same function and food quality as the Philips Digital Airfryer. Not so, say users. While you may get tender, tasty, and somewhat crisp fries, chicken, and so forth—you simply won’t be able to get them as crispy as you can in this air fryer.
Many users comment on the speed with which this air fryer works. Foods that take 20 minutes in an oven take half the time in the Philips Digital Airfryer. Due to this, you may have to experiment with various foods and cooking times in order to get it right (as you won’t be able to go by the oven cooking instructions on the package).
All of the same additional accessories that fit the original Philips Airfryer will fit the digital version, as well, so when you’re ready to branch out and expand your menu, it’s time to go accessory shopping!
With the Philips Digital Airfryer XL, you’ll get the ability to make all the same crispy, crunchy, juicy, amazing food that you can make in the previous two Philips air fryers we reviewed—only with the XL fryer, you can make even MORE of it.
Descriptions of the previous two fryers indicate that they’re only good for 2 or 3 people. The largest model in all of our air fryer reviews, the Philips Digital Airfryer XL is a must if you’re feeding 3 or more people. It’s extra-large cooking basket enables you to cook a greater quantity of food. It also allows that food to have plenty of space as it cooks, which is very important when you’re working to make items crispy. What’s truly impressive about the XL model of the Philips is that its overall footprint size isn’t that much bigger than the smaller-capacity standard size. This means that you can feed more people while taking up less kitchen space.
People like the intuitive digital controls featured on the regular-sized Philips Digital Airfryer. The XL has even more advanced controls, with separate buttons for the time and temperature settings. It also has a nifty Smart Preset Button that allows you to save the settings for foods you make frequently. Fry, bake, roast or grill all of your favorites in less time and with less fuss.
Many of the additional accessories that are available for the smaller Philips Airfryers are also available in an appropriate size to be used with the XL version. This means that you can make kebabs as well as items like grilled fish in the large fryer just as easily as the smaller ones.
Although it may appear that way from our first three reviews, Philips doesn’t have the corner on the airfryer market. In fact, the GoWise USA Electric Air Fryer is a sleek alternative to the other brand. It’s a nice-looking fryer with attractive stainless accents on the top, as well as on the basket handle. It comes in a variety of color choices such as black, red, and even purple, so it will look great no matter what kind of kitchen decor you have.
This is the 4th generation of the GoWISE Electric Air Fryer, so the manufacturer has had plenty of time to tweak its features, add on things that are helpful, as well as get rid of things that weren’t so great. This version uses an attractive touchscreen. On it, users can select from 7 different smart programs with settings to cook chips, meat, chicken, steak, shrimp, or fish. If they’re cooking something else, they need only select the manual program setting and program in the appropriate time and temperature.
Speaking of temperature, this fryer ranges from a low and slow 175 degrees on up to the 400 degrees needed to get food truly crispy. You can set the timer for up to 30 minutes. Once your food is finished cooking, the fryer will automatically switch into standby mode.
Those who are concerned about safety needn’t fear, as the GoWISE is ETL-certified. Its basket is detachable so that you can move your food from the fryer to a dish without fear of burns or injuries. A button guard ensures that the basket won’t accidentally detach during cooking. This is a big concern with other fryers, as without the button guard, the fryer basket can easily be accidentally knocked out or removed by a child during cooking.
This review is for the smaller 3.7-quart size, but to cook for larger groups of 3 or more, the GoWISE Electric Air Fryer is available in a 5.8-quart size. The larger size is also the only one that is available in white.
And finally, our last—but not least!—air fryer review. For an understated, simple design, the Black + Decker 2 Liter Oil-Free Air Fryer is perfect. It comes in black and stainless steel (with a white/stainless option also available). It features two dials: one for setting the time and one for adjusting the temperature. If lots of lights and digital displays and touch screens aren’t for you, then this airfryer just may be!
This fryer does feature two helpful lights: the one that lets you know when the unit is powered on and another one that turns off when the fryer is finished preheating. That last one is important, as many users complain that with other models of air fryers, they aren’t able to discern when the preheating process is complete. Once the Black + Decker Air Fryer is ready, simply put your food in the basket, turn the dials to the desired setting, and let the Black + Decker Air Fryer do its thing. The timer will run for up to 60 minutes; after that, it will automatically shut off.
The capacity of the Black + Decker air fryer is 2 liters, or about 8 cups of food. It’s best for snacks or a main dish for up to 2 people. This means you can fry 2 potatoes or about 8 chicken wings. This is not the fryer for a large group or family.
Even though it’s small, the Black + Decker does a very nice job. It cooks quickly (with fries taking around 15 minutes) and cleanup is a breeze. Food comes out crispy and tasty due to the dual convection fans that circulate air all around the food to ensure that it always cooks evenly. As with the other fryers we’ve reviewed, you get an incredible amount of flavor with very little of the fat of traditionally-fried foods.
Air fryer Reviews: Pros & Cons
- Small airfryer takes up less kitchen space than a larger one.
- No muss, no fuss; simple analog controls.
- Available in black or white to match your kitchen decor.
- Easy to use and clean up.
- Doesn’t cause the cooking odors that deep fryers do.
- Does not come with a recipe guide; customers comment that they wish Philips would provide them with more ideas on what they can make with this fryer.
- Small machine means small food capacity. Packing too much food inside results in poor results.
Some users were left wishing for a higher temperature setting.
- Digital controls look great and are easy to see and use.
- Available in black or white to match your kitchen decor.
- Nonstick basket makes it incredibly easy to clean.
- The cooking results are wonderful. Fries are crispy; chicken is tender and juicy on the inside while crunchy on the outside.
- Quick cooking times make dinner preparation a snap.
- Although this is the smaller model of the Philips Airfryer, some users felt that it was still too clunky and took up too much space for the small amount of food that the machine actually puts out.
- Reviewers were frustrated that if they preheated the fryer and took the basket out, it is hard to find a place to put it (as it’s incredibly hot) while they put the food into it.
- Fryer basket handle does not lock into place, meaning it can be bumped and come out or easily removed by a child.
- Available in black and white.
- Footprint is not significantly larger than the smaller Phillips Airfryer, yet the X-Large model is able to cook significantly more food.
- Even if you’re cooking a smaller amount of food, there’s more wiggle room for the amount you can put into this larger basket, meaning that your food will get beautifully crispy.
- Excellent for cooking frozen french fries; the basket will hold an entire (average-sized) bag.
- Excellent for cooking from-scratch items, as well. Things like chicken kabobs and breaded chicken tenders turn out wonderfully.
- No matter how large or electronically advanced the air fryer is, reviewers mention the learning curve required to cook using an electric air fryer. Instructions on prepackaged foods do not apply (as cooking times are faster in a greaseless air fryer), so users need to experiment to find out what time and temperature works best.
- Exhaust fan sends out small particles of breading when making breaded items from scratch. This must be cleaned off of counter and can also get wedged near control panel in the fryer itself.
- Users feel that the standard-size Phillips Airfryers are big and this one is even bigger. Some reviews refer to it as enormous and even as big as a commercial espresso machine.
- Sleek, space-age design makes it look good in any kitchen.
- Available in a variety of colors: black, purple, red, and even white (in the 5.8-quart capacity).
- The standard 3.7-quart size is more compact and perfect for snacks and small amounts of an entree.
- Reviewers rave about how delicious this airfryer cooks things like frozen french fries, tater tots, egg rolls, etc.
- Remarkably intuitive and easy to use.
- Non-stick basket is easy to clean.
- Recipe booklet included for inspiration and ideas.
- You must cycle through each one of the preset options in order to get to the one you’d like to choose.
- Poor quality/design of the basket and its release button; some users reported having to work with it a bit to get it to slide back in.
- If you do opt for the larger, 5.6-quart version, know that it is VERY large.
- If you would like the white GOWise Airfryer, your only option is to purchase the large 5.6-quart model.
- Since air fryers often need to be stored out of sight when not in use, some reviewers wished for a cord that could be retracted or wrapped in some way, rather than simply dangling.
- Two simple control dials—temperature and time—make this air fryer a very easy one to use, even for the most technologically-challenged person.
- Preheats very quickly.
- Includes a divider to keep food separated so that it can cook more evenly
- The numbers on the dials are frustratingly tiny.
- Reviewers report that cooking times are longer in the Black + Decker than the Philips.
- No recipe book included.
- Small capacity means this fryer will not accommodate cooking for large groups.
Now that you’ve had a chance to take a look at our reviews of the best air fryers, let’s discuss a few things you’ll need to know no matter which brand or model you choose.
1. Air frying is not a replacement for deep frying. If you purchase an air fryer and are expecting to get the exact same deep-fried chicken taste you get from your favorite restaurant, you’ll likely end up disappointed. Air frying is, however, an excellent and satisfying alternative. Just because it isn’t the same doesn’t mean it lacks flavor or crunch.
2. If you pack too much food into your airfryer, things will not go well for you. As with frying in a vat of oil, the key to getting food crispy is to avoid crowding it. This is just as true in your greaseless air fryer as it is for a deep fryer. People who use air fryers notice that the only parts of their food that don’t get crispy are the parts that were touching each other. The lesson learned from this? Cook smaller batches so that the air can reach all parts of your food.
3. Another thing that experienced air fryer users learn? The key to cooking wonderful meals with these devices is trial and error. You’ll feel a bit clueless when you first start using your electric air fryer. After all, all the suggestions and oven cooking times on your prepackaged foods and regular recipes have just been rendered useless. Air fryers cook much faster than traditional ovens—sometimes in half the time. If things don’t turn out as perfectly as you’d hoped on your first couple of attempts, don’t lose heart. Adjust the temperature, adjust the time, and try again. Eventually, you’ll begin to learn and understand how your fryer works and pretty soon, you’ll be a whiz at using it.
Air Fryer Recipes & Cookbooks
Some of the biggest complaints from air fryer users is knowing what to do with their fryer besides making various forms of fried potatoes (fries and tater tots get old after a while). Some air fryers come with handy recipe guides in order to get you started on your journey beyond French fries. For those who have purchased a fryer that did not come with such a guide, don’t despair! A quick online search reveals a huge variety of—you guessed it!—air fryer cookbooks.
- Air Fry Everything: Foolproof Recipes for Fried Favorites and Easy Fresh Ideas by Meredith Laurence.
- There are brand-endorsed cookbooks such as the My GoWISE USA Air Fryer Cookbook: 100 Amazing Recipes for Smart People by Harlan Fowler.
- Celebrated chef Todd English has even written an ode to air frying with The Air Fryer Cookbook: Deep-Fried Flavor Made Easy, Without All the Fat!
Even if you’re going it on your own without a cookbook, don’t be afraid to try new things. From zucchini fritters to fish and veggie fries, you won’t know how it will turn out until you try it out. One of the great things that people love about air fryers is that they don’t produce that tell-tale, deep-fried odor that lingers around your house for days after using a traditional fryer. This means that you can go fearlessly forward and try out all manner of fried goodies until you find your favorites.
At the end of the day, though, let’s be honest: the best thing about any fryer is that it has the potential to make yummy, wonderful fries. If that’s your goal, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Yukon Gold or any sort of yellow potatoes make the absolute best fries, so get several of those.
- As you would if you were deep-frying them, you’re going to need to soak your potato strips after you cut them. Soak them for about half an hour and then dry them off. Dry them very well or they won’t get crispy!
- Remember, you don’t need a lot of oil for your airfryer, but you will need some oil if you’re making fries from scratch. Toss them in 1 tablespoon of oil. Frozen fries have oil that comes on them already, which is why you can air fry them without adding any.
- Shake the basket to move the fries around about halfway through the cooking process. This will help them brown better. Remember how we talked about not over-stuffing the basket? That will also help them brown perfectly.
We’ve now imparted to you all of our air frying knowledge. Our very best tips on how to go about choosing and buying an air fryer. The reviews of the very best air fryers on the market. And tips that most air fryer users only learn after much trial and error. Go forward confidently and fry your food healthfully!