8 best air fryers

Air fryers can be compared to small ovens that crisp up wings, fries, veggies and air-fried recipes with little (or zero!) oil. They come in several different styles, including basket-style, which is great for large batches of foods like fries and vegetables that benefit from shaking; oven-style, which is ideal for cooking food on numerous shelves and often feature rotisserie accessories; and toaster oven styles, which can toast, bake, broil and more in addition to air fry.

Air fryers create a nice “fried” finish that your oven range can’t compete with, and they also reheat food with results that blow away the average microwave. Plus, air fryers require only a small amount of oil to make foods crispy, which means a fraction of the calories and fat of traditional cooking methods, like deep frying.

How do air fryers work?

Most air fryers have a concentrated heat source at the top of the appliance that’s paired with a large fan that circulates the hot air. This design causes food to cook quickly as do other factors like the use of perforated trays for increased airflow and a small-capacity chamber for a high-heat environment. In our tests, home use and recipe development, we’ve found that most foods cook best at high temps, like 400ºF, for short periods of time. Small food items don’t typically need to be tossed or flipper, but larger ones do for the most even results.

Our top performers air fried food to a crispy texture with a moist interior and were a cinch to use with large, easy-to-read controls that barely required the owner’s manual.

These are the best air fryers of 2021 you can buy right now:


  • Best Overall Air Fryer: Ninja Air Fryer Max XL

  • Best Value Air Fryer: Chefman TurboFry

  • Best Air Fryer for a Family of Four: Instant Pot Vortex Plus

  • Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Cuisinart Digital Toaster Oven Air Fryer

  • Best Digital Air Fryer: Cosori Air Fryer

  • Best Large-Capacity Air Fryer: GoWise 7-Quart Electric Air Fryer

  • Best Compact Air Fryer: Philips Compact Airfryer

  • Best Air Fryer for One Person: Dash Compact Air Fryer


Best Overall Air Fryer : Ninja Air Fryer Max XL

Why we love it :

  • Performed the best in our lab tests – it made food the crispiest in the shortest amount of time

  • Easy to use

Take Note :

  • Some may think basket diameter is small

The 5.5-quart Ninja Air Fryer Max XL was the top performer in our traditional, basket-style 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 owner’s manual. During our tests, the air fryer basket slid in and out easily, 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 out onto a plate. Both are dishwasher safe and easy to clean, even if you choose to 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, homemade fries and chicken wings that were moist on the inside. The model we tested comes with a broiling rack for even quicker and juicier results — and it’s a fast way to create melty cheese. It also features several cook settings, including max crisp and air broil (which reach 450°F) and dehydrate (which reaches a low of 105°F). The different settings are programmed with unique maximum and minimum temperatures, so you can select them to 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.

Best Value Air Fryer : Chefman TurboFry

Why we love it :

  •  Cooks evenly for crispy results

  •  Affordable

Take Note :

  • Basket coating chips over time

In our tests, the Chefman TurboFry produced crispy and even results. It was also easy to use with a lightweight, 3.6-quart air fryer basket. One thing to keep in mind is its vented basket, which promotes air circulation, also allows for dripping if you don’t empty the grease buildup between rounds. The removable tray has many vents that benefit from cleaning with a brush. We have also tested the digital version and find that it allows for more precise temperature and time selection, but if you’re not one to program specific times, the TurboFry is a great value.

Best Air Fryer for a Family of Four : Instant Pot Vortex Plus

Why we love it :

  • Large capacity and cooking area

  • Easy-to-use dial control

Take Note :

  • Buttons can sometimes be hard to press

We were impressed with the performance of this air fryer from one of our favorite multi-cooker brands. Instant Pot’s Instant Vortex Plus is sleek with its stainless steel face and large, easy-to-read buttons. It boasts six cooking settings, including air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat and dehydrate, with different programmable temperature and time settings. The dial allows for easy selection so you don’t have to click a button 100 times to get to the temperature you’re looking for. The air fryer basket is large (6 quarts) and square, which creates more cooking space than its round competitors, making it a smart investment for a family. Its removable tray has a thin, hinged handle, so it’s easy to pull out but also lays flat to preserve the full cooking area.

Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven : Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven Air Fryer

Why we love it :

  • Cooks very quickly

  • Large cooking surface

Take Note :

  • Since foods cook quicker than most other appliances when using air fry, we recommend using a lower temp and keeping a close eye on food to help prevent burning

Cuisinart was one of the first brands to introduce a toaster oven air fryer that allows you to toast, bake, convection bake and air fry. We tested the pictured digital version, which not only made the most evenly-colored toast, but also the crispiest air fried food in the shortest amount of time. The rectangular 15.5- by 16-inch air fry rack offers a large cooking surface and sits atop a drip/crumb tray for easy cleanup. Since launching the toaster oven air fryer, Cuisinart also introduced a smaller version with the same features and quality performance.

Best Digital Air Fryer : Cosori Air Fryer

Why we love it :

  • Large, lightweight basket

  • Includes a preheat function

Take Note :

  • Steam escapes from basket during cooking

The Cosori’s 3.7-quart square basket offers a lot of cooking space, especially compared to its round competitors. It’s removable and lightweight, with many vents for optimal air circulation. The control panel is loaded with presets that are programmed with recommended cooking temperatures and times, including a preheat option, which is not common on air fryers. The Cosori Air Fryer can also be used on a manual setting if none of the presets are the perfect fit.

In our tests, the Cosori scored high for ease of use — and more than 800 five-star reviewers on Amazon agree. It also made good fresh fries and wings. Frozen fries required almost 10 minutes less than the manufacturer’s instructions, so keep an eye on the goodies you’re cooking. Steam came out of the air fryer during cooking, which caused condensation to develop on the drawer (it did not seem to affect results).

Best Large-Capacity Air Fryer : GoWise USA 7-Quart Electric Air Fryer

Why we love it :

  • Large capacity

  • Includes shelves for air frying multiple thinner items at once

Take Note :

  • Bulky

The GoWISE USA 7-Quart Air Fryer is the one we turn to most for cooking in large batches since it’s so big. In our tests, it air fried crispy fries and juicy wings that we kept going back to nosh on. Its air fryer basket has an oblong shape, which allows for more cooking in a single layer than round baskets, which is a big benefit when it comes to dehydrating. This GoWise air fryer comes with three additional racks that stack, which sets it apart from others on the market. The stacking racks allow you to air fry and dehydrate up to four layers at a time.

Best Compact Air Fryer : Philips Compact Airfryer

Why we love it :

  • Compact size

  • Includes a splatter lid

Take Note :

  • Pricey

Our favorite feature of the Philips Premium Air Fryer is its compact shape that still cooks enough food for two portions. At 2.5 quarts, it’s the smallest of the Philips air fryers, which also come in XL and XXL sizes. It’s also the only air fryer we tested with a splatter lid. In our tests, the lid helped make crisp frozen fries that were moist on the inside and evenly golden. It also allowed for cooking greasy foods, such as sausages, which are not typically recommended in an air fryer because they can cause smoking. In addition to the lid, the Philips is very easy to operate with a user friendly control panel and four preset settings. The basket handle removes for easy cleaning.

Best Air Fryer for One Person : Dash Compact Air Fryer

Why we love it :

  • Small, compact design

  • Comes in an assortment of colors

Take Note :

  • Homemade fries did not cook evenly

The Dash is perfect for people who cook only for themselves. At 1.7 liters, it can quickly cook one portion of food. A smaller footprint means it takes up less room on your counter, and a smaller basket means easier cleaning. The Dash has a mechanical timer, which makes it a little tricky to program to the exact minute. The temperature dial also doesn’t offer many temperature options, but we use the max 400°F temperature to air fry most foods anyway. We love that it comes in an assortment of colors that pop, unlike most air fryers on the market. The aqua, pictured here, is a fave.