The 9 Best Air Fryers of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Fry food without the fat

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Fried food without all the extra oil and grease? Does it sound too good to be true? With an air fryer, not only can you whip up French fries and mozzarella sticks, but you can also achieve restaurant-style crispy Brussels sprouts and broccoli in ten minutes or less with a fraction of the oil. According to some brands, air fryers can cut fat by as much as 80% when compared to conventionally fried foods.

But what is an air fryer exactly, and how does it work? An air fryer is like a miniature, powerful convection oven. While deep-frying immerses food in hot oil to make it crispy, air frying uses fans to push heat around the food, achieving a crispy texture without all the added oil.

Air fryers come in a range of sizes and designs with varying cooking capabilities. We researched dozens of air fryers on the market, comparing traditional basket-style air fryers to oven-style air fryers that include other cooking features like baking, roasting, dehydrating, and broiling. We compared size, ease of use, price, quality, weight, cooking capabilities, and dimensions to come up with the best air fryers on the market for each category listed here.  

Here, we share the top air fryer picks whether you are looking for simplicity or a splurge.

Our Top Picks
The 5.8-quart basket is perfect for feeding families or there is an option for a smaller 3.7-quart basket if feeding fewer people.
The Chefman Compact TurboFry's sleek design is perfect for small apartments or whipping up dinner for one.
With its toaster oven design and 13 cooking functions, the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro might replace your oven entirely.
With a 20-quart capacity, the WowChef Air Fryer Oven Combo can air fry, bake, toast, and dehydrate.
Best Air Fryer and Toaster Oven:
Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven at Amazon
The Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven is a full size toaster oven with built-in air frying capabilities.
At 5.6 pounds, it’s one of the lightest air fryers on the market, and the 2-quart basket is perfect for cooking for one or two.
In addition to perfectly searing your meat, the Vortex functions as an air fryer and has seven other cooking functions.
Not only does it air fry, broil, roast, bake, reheat, and dehydrate, but it also has two separate four quart cooking baskets.
Best With Pressure Cooker:
Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11-in-1 at Amazon
The Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11-in-1 is an air fryer and an instant pot with nine other cooking functions.

Best Overall: Cosori Air Fryer Max XL

Cosori Air Fryer
Pros
  • One-touch settings for different foods

  • Dishwasher-safe basket

  • Lightweight

  • Large capacity

Cons
  • Only functions as an air fryer

  • Basket could be sturdier

The COSORI Air Fryer Max XL takes the top pick because it has a large basket without being too heavy or taking up too much counter space. It has 11 presets, which are one-touch buttons like “vegetables,” “frozen foods,” or “bread.” It also has a preheat and keep warm function.

The 5.8-quart basket is perfect for feeding families or there is an option for a smaller 3.7-quart basket if feeding three people or fewer. Both baskets can fit a rotisserie chicken. The air fryer baskets are easily detachable for hand washing or can be put in the dishwasher. The COSORI comes in black, red, and white and includes 100 recipes.

The downside to the COSORI Air Fryer Max XL is that it only has air frying capabilities. There is no option to bake or roast, and it does not double as a pressure cooker or toaster oven. If you are looking for an air fryer that focuses solely on air frying, the COSORI is your best pick.

Dimensions: 11.8 x 14.3 x 12.7 inches | Weight: 11.9 pounds | Capacity: 5.8 quarts | Material: Metal and plastic, BPA-free, PFOA-free | Dishwasher-safe: Yes, accessories are dishwasher-safe

Best Budget: Chefman Compact TurboFry

Chefman Compact TurboFry
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Compact

  • Dishwasher-safe basket and tray

Cons
  • Small capacity

  • Only functions as an air fryer

  • Strong chemical smell upon opening and first use

For a budget-friendly air fryer that gets the job done, look no further. The Chefman Compact TurboFry's sleek design and 2-quart capacity are perfect for small apartments or whipping up dinner for one. Weighing less than 8 pounds, it's easy to move from cabinet to counter and back—or leave it on the counter since it doesn't take up much space.

The TurboFry is easy to use, with just two knobs—one for temperature and one for time. It has an adjustable 60 minute timer and an auto shut-off function to prevent overcooking food. Although this isn’t the best option for families or fancy features, it’s the perfect pick for cooking for one or two if all you desire is to air fry.

Dimensions: 9.75 x 9.75 x 12.5 inches | Weight: 7.43 pounds | Capacity: 2 quarts | Material: Plastic and metal, BPA-free basket | Dishwasher safe: Yes, accessories are dishwasher safe

Best Splurge: Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro

Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro
Pros
  • 13 cooking functions

  • LCD display and oven light

  • Extra large capacity

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Heavy

  • Not suitable for small spaces

The Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro is basically an oven that sits on your counter and has just about any cooking feature you desire. The only elements it lacks are pressure cooking, rotisserie, and sous vide. Otherwise, it bakes, broils, roasts, slow cooks, toasts, dehydrates, reheats, air frys, and more.

The Smart Oven's extra large capacity fits a 9 x 13-inch pan, a 5-quart Dutch oven, a 12-cup muffin tray, and a 14-pound turkey. This model comes with a pizza rack, two oven racks, a roasting pan, and a mesh basket for air frying and dehydrating. 

This air fryer can fit four mesh basket air frying trays at once, making it a no-brainer for families. No more making multiple batches of vegetables or fries in a tiny air fryer basket. The LCD display allows you to view cooking features, temperature, and time.

At 38.9 pounds, the Breville is quite large, so if you don’t have a lot of counter space, it might not be the best option for you. However, if you have space and want to splurge, you won’t regret buying the Breville, and you may never use your oven again.

Dimensions: 17.5 x 21.5 x 12.7 inches | Weight: 38.9 pounds | Capacity: Fits a 5-quart Dutch Oven and 9 x 13-inch pan | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher safe: N/A

Best for Big Families: WowChef Air Fryer Oven Combo 20 Quart

WowChef Air Fryer Oven Combo 20 Quart
Pros
  • Extra Large capacity

  • 10 cooking functions

  • Dishwasher-safe accessories

Cons
  • May have chemical smell when first opened

The WowChef Air Fryer Oven Combo is an 1,800 watt, versatile and affordable air fryer made for big families. There is nothing more frustrating than cooking multiple batches of vegetables in a small air fryer basket just to have the first batch be cold by the time the last batch is done. You won’t run into that issue with the WowChef air fryer.

With a 20-quart capacity, the WowChef can air fry, bake, toast, and dehydrate. It has 10 features in all, including a rotisserie function. Simply use the touch screen to choose the preset you desire and then adjust the temperature and time.

The WowChef comes with a chicken fork, a rotisserie skewer and cage, three dehydrating baskets, one mesh basket, one drip tray, and one fetch rack. And good news if you hate dishes—all of these accessories are dishwasher safe. 

Dimensions: 15.1 x 14.7 x 15.3 inches | Weight: 23 pounds | Capacity: 20 quarts | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher safe:  Yes, accessories are dishwasher safe

Best Air Fryer and Toaster Oven: Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven

Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven
Pros
  • 7 cooking functions

  • Includes interior oven light

  • Comes with baking pan, oven rack, and air fry basket

Cons
  • No pre-heat or reheat function

  • Not suitable for small spaces

  • Accessories not dishwasher-safe

The Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven is a full size toaster oven with built-in air frying capabilities. At 21 pounds, it’s meant to live on the counter so you can easily access its seven different cooking functions. It has a non-stick interior for easy clean up and comes with an oven rack, baking pan, air fryer basket (that can hold up to three pounds of chicken wings!), and an olive oil spray bottle. While the oven doesn't come with a pizza pan, a 12-inch pizza will fit inside.

The Cuisinart's knobs allow you to adjust temperature, cooking function, and time (with an auto shutoff function). While it does not have a preheat or reheat function, it does have a “warm” button. If you’re looking for a kitchen gadget that can toast, bake, broil, and air fry, the Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven is a great pick.

Dimensions: 15.5 x 16 x 14 inches | Weight: 21 pounds | Capacity: 3 pounds | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher safe: No, accessories are not dishwasher safe

Best Compact: DASH Compact Air Fryer

DASH Compact Air Fryer
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Lightweight

  • Great for one person and small apartments

  • Dishwasher-safe basket

Cons
  • Small capacity

  • Only functions as an air fryer

The Dash Compact Air Fryer was made for small spaces. At 5.6 pounds, it’s one of the lightest air fryers on the market, and the 2-quart basket is perfect for cooking for one or two people. You can use it to air fry a variety of foods, from meat to vegetables to tofu and beyond.

The Dash is easy to use—simply pull out the crisper basket, add food, slide it back in, and then adjust the temperature and time knobs. While the Dash can only air fry, it is compact and easy to use and clean, with a non-stick air fryer basket that's dishwasher safe. It's sleekly designed and comes in a variety of colors, including aqua, red, black, and white.

Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.1 x 11.4 inches | Weight: 5.6 pounds | Capacity: 2 quarts | Material: Plastic and metal, BPA-free basket | Dishwasher safe: Yes, accessories are dishwasher safe

Best with Rotisserie: Instant Pot Vortex Pro 9-in-1

Instant Vortex Pro 9-in-1
Pros
  • 9 cooking functions

  • Large capacity

  • Dishwasher-safe accessories

Cons
  • Strong chemical smell upon first opening

  • Rotisserie basket has limited capacity

  • Can be easy to burn your food

Make your own rotisserie chicken at home with the Instant Vortex Pro 9-in-1 Air Fryer Oven. In addition to perfectly searing your meat, it functions as an air fryer and has seven other cooking functions—bake, broil, dehydrate, toast, roast, proof, and reheat. Simply press which function you desire, then hit the up and down arrows to adjust temperature and time. 

The oven comes with two air frying trays, an air fry basket, a rotisserie spit and forks. All accessories are dishwasher safe. The Instant Vortex has a 10-quart capacity that allows you to fit two cooking trays at once, making this a no-brainer purchase for families.

Dimensions: 13.75 x 14.37 x 13.23 inches | Weight: 17.53 pounds | Capacity: 10 quarts | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher safe: Yes, accessories are dishwasher safe

Best Design: Ninja Foodi 6-in-1

Ninja Foodi 6-in-1
Pros
  • Can cook two different foods at once

  • Wide temperature range of 105-450 degrees Fahrenheit

  • Easy to clean

  • Dishwasher-safe accessories

Cons
  • Takes up a lot of space to store

  • No rotisserie function

No other air fryers on the market have the design of the Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 two Basket Air Fryer. Not only does it air fry, broil, roast, bake, reheat, and dehydrate, but it also has two separate four quart cooking baskets so you can prepare two foods at the same time using a different setting for each. Along with the two air fryer baskets, the Ninja includes two nonstick crisper plates, and all accessories are dishwasher-safe.

The Ninja’s “smart finish” button makes sure both baskets finish at the same time, even if they contain different foods cooked differently from one another, while the “match cook” button copies settings across both baskets for cooking the same recipe in each.

The Ninja includes 15 recipe ideas, and there is also a 10-quart model for larger families. If you’re looking for a device that air fries your chicken while roasting your sweet potatoes and don’t mind it taking up your counter space, this is the pick for you.

Dimensions: 18 x 16.2 x 14.5 inches | Weight: 21.8 pounds | Capacity: Two 4-quart baskets | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher safe: Yes, accessories are dishwasher safe

Best With Pressure Cooker: Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11-in-1

Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11-in-1
Pros
  • 11 cooking functions

  • Works as air fryer and instant pot

  • Includes sous vide function

  • Dishwasher-safe accessories

Cons
  • Lids are heavy

  • May be hard to get air fryer basket clean

  • No rotisserie function

The Duo Crisp is an air fryer and an instant pot with nine other cooking functions, including bake, dehydrate, roast, sous vide, and slow cook. When you open it, you will find the removable pot inside and the removable air fryer basket inside the pot. It comes with two separate lids, one for air frying and the other for using the instant pot feature, as well as a handy instruction manual for using the pressure cooker with an easy-release switch for steam release.

The Duo Crisp's lid, inner pot, and accessories are dishwasher-safe. The lids and base are large and heavy so it may not be suitable if you lack kitchen storage space. All of its functions are easy to use - simply press the button of the feature you want, choose the temperature and time, press start, and let it work its magic.

Dimensions: 14.76 x 13.58 x 15.28 inches | Weight: 22.2 pounds | Capacity: 8 quarts | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher safe: Yes, accessories are dishwasher safe

Final Verdict

The COSORI Air Fryer Max XL (view at Amazon) is the best air fryer if the only cooking feature you need is to air fry. It takes the top pick for size, weight, and ease of use.

What to Look for in Air Fryers

Size:

When looking at the size of air fryers, consider the outer dimensions, the size of the air fryer basket, and the weight. Think about how much storage space you have, if you plan to leave it on the counter or in a cabinet, and also consider how many people you are cooking for. “Anything above four quarts will be great for families of four or more. Anything smaller than three quarts will be enough for a single serving,” says registered dietitian Chelsea Macias. Air fryer baskets range in size from 2-quarts up to 20-quarts.

Functions: 

Many air fryers have multiple cook functions, such as roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, rotisserie, and reheat. Some can even be used as pressure cookers and sous vides. “If you have other kitchen gadgets, such as an Instant Pot and a dehydrator and you use them often, it may be worth ditching those and getting an air fryer that also has these capabilities so you only have one gadget that does multiple things,” says chef and registered dietitian Julie Andrews.

Price:

You will most likely get what you pay for when it comes to air fryers. Those with 10 or more cooking functions and fancy features like sous vide cost more, while those that simply air fry are on the more affordable side. Just because an air fryer costs less does not mean the quality of air frying is worse. It usually indicates it does not have as many cooking features and has a smaller capacity.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does an air fryer work?

    Air fryers fry food without all the oil, but they are not actually fryers. Instead, they are countertop convection ovens. “Air fryers work by using a small space to push hot air around a food which makes the outside surface crispy. It works especially well if it’s a breaded item or a fried frozen item (like chicken nuggets). It's the same thing as the convection function on your oven—just in a smaller surface area,” says Macias.

  • Are air fryers healthy?

    Air frying is a healthy way to cook food, as it allows you to use minimal added fat to prepare a variety of vegetables and proteins in appealing and delicious ways.

    As a registered dietitian and chef, Andrews is a big fan of air frying, "I love air frying as an alternative to deep-frying. Because there is no added fat required during cooking, air frying is a healthier alternative to deep-frying. And the results are very similar to deep-frying, as the food gets crispy on the outside without drying out the inside.”

    “As far as air-frying compares to roasting or baking,” says Andrews, “They really are the same from a health perspective. Roasting and baking are both considered healthy dry heat cooking methods because they also do not require added fat, like deep-frying, to cook the food.” You can still use some oil when cooking in an air fryer, she says, but choose a heart-healthy oil like olive oil and use just enough to coat the food.

  • How do you clean an air fryer?

    Andrew walks us through the typical cleaning process step-by-step. Please note that it's important to read manufacturer instructions to understand the details of cleaning your specific machine.

    Basket air fryer cleaning steps:

    1. Allow the air fryer basket to cool enough to handle.
    2. Empty out any crumbs or bits of food from the basket and wipe out any sauce or other sticky stuff that might be at the bottom of the basket. It’s best to do this step before it completely cools, as sauce and other food bits will start to harden.
    3. Use a sponge to wash the basket with warm, soapy dish water.
    4. If any pieces of food or sauce are stuck to the air fryer basket, let it soak, then wash again with warm, soapy dish water (read the directions from the manufacturer to be sure your specific basket can be soaked in water).
    5. Once it’s completely clean, let it air dry upside down until it’s completely dry. Replace the basket back into the air fryer.
    6. Wait until it is completely cooled before putting your air fryer into a cupboard or cabinet.

    “If the basket is nonstick, do not use abrasive pads or cleaners on it. This will remove the coating and potentially expose your food to the metals used below the nonstick coating. If food does stick on, you can soak in warm water and suds,” says Macias.

  • What can you make in an air fryer?

    Anything you can cook in a deep fryer, you can cook in an air fryer—without using as much oil. Air fryers give foods a satisfying crisp, so it is great for chicken tenders and nuggets, French fries and other crispy potatoes, as well as foods like fish, chicken wings, egg rolls, cauliflower, and more.

    Andrews also notes that anything you would normally roast or bake can also be made in an air fryer (such as meatloaf and meatballs, pork chops, chicken breasts, tenderloin, vegetables and tofu). She adds, "You can even make desserts like cookies and lava cakes as well as ‘fancy’ dishes like beef tenderloin.”

    If you love roasted vegetables, an air fryer can make crispy broccoli, green beans, or sweet potatoes in about eight to ten minutes. It’s faster than the oven and doesn't heat up the whole house. 

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Lainey Younkin is a registered dietitian with a virtual private practice. Her mission is to provide evidence-based nutrition recommendations to help people ditch diets, change their habits, and create a healthy lifestyle that lasts. She enjoys writing about a variety of nutrition topics, including weight loss, gut health, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and various diets.

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