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Fried food has always been considered a no-no, but thanks to air fryers, it’s somehow made a comeback onto the “healthier for you” food list. Okay, so maybe air-fried food isn’t technically fried—it’s actually cooked using the same rapid air technology that you get with convection ovens—but it tastes fried, and that’s all that matters.
But as air-frying has ramped up in popularity, many companies are jumping on the bandwagon to get their own air fryers out there and some of them just don’t stack up.
Here, the best air fryers your kitchen needs.
Best Overall: Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 Air Fryer
Ninja answered all of our prayers with the Foodi 6-in-1 Air Fryer, an air fryer with two individual baskets and Dual Zone technology. That means you can cook two different types of food at two different temperatures at the same time—something that no other air fryer offers.
There are six customizable cooking programs—air fry, air broil, roast, bake, reheat, and dehydrate—and a temperature range of 105°F to 450°F. For reference, most air fryers only heat up to 400°F. It also has a large 8-quart capacity, so each basket is bigger than the total volume of some of the other air fryers on the market.
Best Budget: Chefman 3.6-Quart Air Fryer
With it’s 3.6-quart capacity, the Chefman Air Fryer is another space saving option that packs a lot of air-frying power into a minimalistic design. The basket is completely flat—unlike others that have rounded edges—so even though it’s smaller than many, it can hold up to 40 percent more food than other air fryers in its size class.
It doesn’t have any fancy technology—a major plus for anyone looking for an entry-level air fryer that doesn’t require an IT degree to figure out. You can use the manual adjustable temperature control knob to air fry, roast, bake, and cook anything you want.
Best Splurge: Philips Premium Airfryer XXL HD9650
With a 4-quart capacity, the Phillips Air Fryer XXL is smaller than the others so far, but it’s still large enough to hold a whole chicken or two bags of frozen French fries. It has five pre-programmed functions—air fry, bake, grill, roast, and reheat—and doesn’t require any preheating, so you can get family-sized meals on the table fast.
Not only can you cook sans oil, it’s also the only air fryer to also incorporate extra fat removal technology that captures and separates excess fat from the food while it’s cooking.
Best Mid-Range: NuWave Brio 6-Quart Air Fryer
Complete with a food divider, NuWave is another option that lets you separate food in the air fryer basket. Unlike the Ninja, food gets cooked at the same temperature for the same length of time, but the temperature is automatically monitored 120 times per second. That means you get perfectly crisped food without having to check on it yourself every 30 seconds.
The Nuwave Brio has a 6-quart basket, six cooking functions—air fry, broil, roast, grill, bake, reheat, and dehydrate—and adjustable power that you can set at 900, 1500, or 1800 watts.
Best 4-in-1: Instant Brands Instant Vortex 6 Quart Air Fryer
If you’re an Instant Pot fan, you’ll be happy to know that Instant Brands came through again with the Instant Vortex Air Fryer. Big enough to fit a whole 4-pound chicken, this 6-quart air fryer has four built-in smart programs that allow you to air fry, roast, bake, and preheat with the touch of a button.
If you already have an Instant Pot, Instant Brands also offers an air fryer lid that can turn any one of their 6-quart pressure cookers into an air fryer, as well.
Best Program Options: Dash 6 Quart Family Air Fryer
Dash is well-known for their mini versions of the most popular kitchen appliances, but this 6-quart family-sized air fryer can handle even the biggest air-frying jobs. It features a digital display that allows you to choose from several different pre-programmed cooking options like pizza, steak, chicken, French fries, and seafood. If you’re not air frying any of the above, you can also control the time and temperature manually.
The Dash air fryer also has an auto-shut off feature that prevents overcooking and ensures that everything is crisped to perfection.
Best Smart: Cosori Smart 5.8-Quart Air Fryer
The Consori Smart Air Fryer is the kitchen appliance of the future. With smart capabilities and a dedicated app, you can control the air fryer remotely and monitor updates, like remaining cooking time, right from the couch. It’s also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can even have your favorite home robot do the work for you.
As for the air fryer itself, it has a 5.8-quart capacity and 11 one-touch preset cooking functions, like steak, chicken, seafood, bacon, frozen foods, desserts, breads, and root vegetables, so you don’t have to figure out temperatures and timing on your own. Just press and wait.
Best for Large Portions: GoWISE USA GW22956 7-Quart Air Fryer
With a 7-quart capacity, the GoWISE is the largest air fryer on this list. It features a large digital display that lets you choose from several cooking functions, like air fry, broil, roast, bake, grill, and reheat with the touch of a button. It also comes with three stackable racks that you can use to dehydrate foods in considerably less time than using a traditional dehydrator.
Even though it’s large, it’s expertly designed so that it doesn't have an obnoxious countertop footprint. It’s also pretty sleek-looking, so it doesn’t stick out if you have to leave it on display.
Best Design: Kalorik Air Fryer Pro XL
The Kalorik Air Fryer Pro XL is another digitally controlled option with an easy-to-use touchscreen, an almost 6-quart capacity, and several smart cooking presets, like chicken, steak, fish, fries, and onion rings. It even has pre-programmed options for cupcakes and cake, plus a built-in 60 minute timer that allows for lengthier cooking times. If you don’t want to use any of the preset functions, you can also use the touchscreen to control temperature and time manually.
While many air fryers are black and cumbersome, the Kalorik has a stainless steel front and squared design that gives it a high-end look and smaller countertop footprint.
Best Compact: Crux Touchscreen Electric Air Fryer
It’s also equipped with a cool-touch handle that protects your hands from burns when you’re a little too eager for those French fries.
If you want something smaller and sleeker that gets the job done well, the Crux Touchscreen Air Fryer—a Macy’s exclusive—is fit for the job. It has a 3.7-quart capacity and a touchscreen control panel that’s housed on the top of the air fryer, rather than on the front, so it’s easy to see and access. There are seven pre-programmed cooking options—air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, keep warm, bacon and veggies—as well as the ability to control time and temperature manually.
The Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 Air Fryer (view at Amazon) tops our list for its Dual Zone technology, large capacity baskets, and wide range of customizable programs. However, if you're willing to sacrifice some of that space and those technological perks for a lower cost, Chefman's 3.6 Quart Air Fryer (view at Wayfair) is an excellent, wallet-friendly option. Plus, it's exceedingly easy to use, even for air fryer newbies.