The 4 Best Air Fryers in 2021
Fry up some tasty treats and keep your waistline slim with the best air fryers in 2021.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we’d all admit that fried food is probably the best tasting stuff on the planet. It’s just too bad that it adds unnecessary calories to our diets and too many pounds to our waistlines. When we learned that there were cooking appliances called air fryers that can provide the same texture and excellent taste as traditionally fried food without the health problems, we left at the opportunity to find the best air fryers around for both our own meals and yours!
In the end, we came up with a few excellent air fryers that we’d like to share. The Philips TurboStar Technology AirFryer, as an example, is a great air fryer all around and a perfect choice for virtually anyone who likes fried food. The Cosori 12-in-1 Oven Air Fryer Combo is an even better choice for those who need a more flexible cooking appliance; it can double as a regular oven without taking up as much space as the real thing. The Cosori 5.8 Quart Air Fryer, further, is a top pick if you want to cook lots of food at once. What’s check out all of our favorite air fryers in our detailed guide.
Philips TurboStar Technology AirFryer
Best Air Fryer Overall
Why should you buy this? The Philips TurboStar Technology AirFryer is an excellent example of this cooking appliance, featuring a fantastic frying system, several preset functions, and a quick control dial and digital display.
Who’s it for? This is a great choice for those who want an air fryer that can make frying up their favorite foods as easy as possible.
Why we picked the Philips HD9641/96:
This air fryer is a great choice for just about anyone who enjoys fried food but who wants to cut back on the calories. It’s particularly effective even compared to other air fryer appliances, as it cooks fried food about 50% more evenly than many other cooking tools. You won’t have your foods unevenly charred with this machine!
Controlling the air fryer is pretty easy thanks to the dial located at the top of the appliance. A digital display tells you everything you need to know about the food you are currently frying or what settings you have initiated. There are five preset settings you can use for the most popular dishes, plus a warming function that you can use to keep your food hot while you prepare other things.
The included app with your purchase has 200 additional recipes for you to use, and you can further enjoy the recipe book that comes with the purchase as well. All in all, there’s a lot of value in this purchase for any aspiring fry cook.
T-Fal FZ700251 Actifry Oil Less Air Fryer
Best Cheap Air Fryer
Why should you buy this? This air fryer is both affordable and effective at producing great tasting food without too much effort.
Who’s it for? This affordable air fryer is a great choice for those who want to both save their bodies from too many calories and protect their wallets from too-high asking prices.
Why we picked the T-fal FZ700251:
This air fryer is a great choice open terms of its asking price and its features. You can use it with or without oil, allowing you to lower or eliminate the oil can use for your fried foods: not many fryers give you that choice. It also includes an automatic rotating paddle that you can use to cook your food evenly without much effort.
There’s a digital countdown timer and a buzzer so you don’t have to keep a close eye on your food as it tries. The removable ceramic-coated nonstick pan allows for even easier to clean up than you are used to, and the fryer features a safe and secure lid that prevents oil from opting out of the cooker if you choose to use it.
You can even throw most of the parts of this air fryer into the dishwasher for quick cleanup. An additional full-color recipe book comes with this affordable purchase. Enjoy the free measuring spoon and 38 recipes included to make the most of this pick!
Cosori 12-in-1 Oven Air Fryer Combo
Best Air Fryer Oven
Why should you buy this? The Cosori 12-in-1 Oven Air Fryer Combo is a phenomenal cooking appliance, especially since it can cook perhaps the widest variety of foods out of all other fryers.
Who’s it for? This air fryer combines the functionality of both frying appliances and regular ovens, so it’s a great pick for smaller apartments or those who need both cooking methods on hand.
Why we picked the Cosori 12-in-1:
This is a phenomenal air fryer through and through, featuring 12 preset cooking settings you can initiate at the press of a button. Roast or cook anything from pizza to toast to bagels to cookies and more. You can even use the special dehydration and fermenting settings to make even more unique dishes or bites to eat. There’s a final “keep warm” setting to give you peace of mind if some of your food finishes early.
There’s plenty of space within this fryer/oven combo. 8 gallons of cooking space within the interior allows you to feed multiple people at the same time and not worry about having to put things in separate batches. Whatever you choose to cook, you can initiate the right settings with a high precision LED screen and several easy dial controls.
You can also use this fryer with or without oil. The nonstick interior and removable crumb tray make cleaning this fryer and oven very easy, even compared to others of both types. All in all, it’s a top-tier cooking appliance for chefs that need multiple options.
Cosori 5.8 Quart Air Fryer
Best Large Air Fryer
Why should you buy this? This air fryer is quite spacious, featuring 5.8 quarts of cooking space: far and away higher than many other plain air fryers.
Who’s it for? This is a great choice for those who need air fryers with plenty of space for cooking lots of food at the same time.
Why we picked the Cosori CP158-AF:
This air fryer has a lot to like, starting with the 5.8-quart nonstick basket that can fit up to a whole chicken or multiple smaller food items for fast-paced cooking in a single batch. With this air fryer, you’ll be able to serve 3 to 5 people snacks or meals depending on your cooking plan. Despite all this space, it doesn’t take up too much room on your countertop.
It also comes with 11 functions baked into its LED control panel. You’ll be able to choose what type of food you want to try at just the touch of a button. This ease of use will allow even inexperienced fry cooks to make the most of the appliance. 100 additional recipes are included with your purchase so you can experiment with it to its maximum capabilities.
Once you’re finished, you’ll enjoy the easy cleaning facilitated by a nonstick coated basket. This is dishwasher safe, so feel free to throw it in with the rest of your dishes and relax after a meal. Altogether, this fryer is a top pick not just for its big basket but its other factors, as well.
How we test
Finding the best air fryers wasn’t necessarily easy, but we were determined to put our best people on the case and settle for nothing but the top choices. To that end, each air fryer was tested with a variety of food products to determine their overall range of cooking abilities. This also allowed us to figure out how tasty each food product was once it had been cooked by the fryer in question. We also checked out their suitability for certain numbers of people; some fryers are better for one or two while others can feed a small family.
Air Fryers FAQ
How Does an Air Fryer Work?
An air fryer is something of a minor miracle in terms of kitchen tools. It’s capable of trying food without using fat. So how does it work?
Technically speaking, air frying is not actually “frying” food in the traditional sense. Many cooks don’t use air fryers when trying to deliver authentic fried food experiences to their customers or guests. But an air fryer can create a decent imitation of the process without so many health negatives.
To start, air fryers are very similar to typical convection ovens. They are usually small and have a heating element that works in tandem with a fan that swirls air very quickly around in a circular pattern. This enables the heated air to reach all of the surface areas of your food items, causing the skin of any food placed within the fryer to develop a crispy crust.
This effect is amplified because food is placed in a perforated compartment or basket. This allows extra air to hit the food. The basket or chamber is usually quite compact, which condenses the heated air even further.
That’s essentially the whole process. Where typical fryers heat oil and fat to create a crispy effect on foods, air fryers use the air to do the same thing. Naturally, this results in some differences in terms of texture and taste, but it’ll still deliver a satisfying crunch to most food products. You’ll also be able to eat those foods without as many calories, making air frying a viable alternative for those who are trying to lose weight or eat more healthily without giving up their favorite things.
What Can You Cook in an Air Fryer?
Technically, air fryers and cook everything that a regular oil fryer can, although some foods are definitely better cooked with a traditional fryer. Air fryers can additionally cook some extra foods, though.
This means meats, breads, and vegetables can all be fried within a typical air fryer just like they could be with the normal version of the appliance. You can actually cook frozen foodstuffs much more quickly in a compact air fryer compared to a regular fryer or even many larger ovens.
You can also cook raw meat, like pieces of chicken or pork, within an air fryer. These should only take 30 minutes or so at typical cooking temperatures. Patties and other types of meat are also fair game.
Vegetables are another great food to cook with your air fryer. You can use this as a replacement for grilling your vegetables to give each piece of broccoli or cauliflower a more satisfying crunch without adding oil or fat.
Breads and bread-style goods, like muffins, are similarly viable for cooking in an air fryer. You can even add nuts into an air fryer provided that you have an appropriate container with which to store the nuts. Fried nuts are a tasty and easy to make snack that can be fried in less than 10 minutes.
There are some things you should not cook in an air fryer. Wet, batter-coated food should not be placed in an air fryer because the batter will be blown away and off your food products from the rapidly moving air. You’ll end up splattering the interior of your fryer with pasty batter.
What is the Best Air Fryer to Buy?
The right air fryer for your needs largely depends on what you plan to use it for and how often you’ll use it. Generally speaking, those who plan to use the air fryer frequently will want to invest a little more cash and buy something with extra features or greater cooking capacity. Those who only want to use an air fryer once in a while will probably be more satisfied with a cheaper option, as super-high-quality fried items will be less important.
Let’s get into specifics. If you need something for serving lots of people at the same time, choose the Cosori 5.8 Quart Air Fryer or the Cosori 12-in-1 Oven Air Fryer Combo, as both have plenty of room with which to cook lots of food at once. Meanwhile, the T-Fal FZ700251 Actifry Oil Less Air Fryer is a great pick if you want to enjoy the advantages of an air fryer without breaking the bank. Finally, if you’re not sure which to pick, you can rely on the Philips TurboStar Technology AirFryer as a generally good, top-tier pick that does lots of things right.
All in all, you’ll need to think about what you plan to use the air fryer for before you can determine which is perfect for your needs.
What is the Difference Between an Air Fryer and a Convection Oven?
You might think the air fryers and convection ovens are basically the same appliances. After all, ovens also heat air and move it around a chamber to cook your food. But that’s where most of the similarities end.
Convection ovens rely on the convection principle, which describes how heat rises and falls in relation to uneven temperatures. Most convection ovens have a coil of wire at the top and bottom of the appliance, both of which are heated from electric currents. The heat generated from the coils becomes even over time and is blown around the oven interior by a fan positioned at the back. However, this heating method can be too intense for certain types of foods, and especially soft baked goods.
Air fryers circulate their heated air much faster. This results in a gentler cooking experience for some types of food. In addition, air fryers’ heating elements are always positioned above whatever they are cooking. The fan integrated into the air fryer then pulls the hot air around the cooking chamber, allowing it to settle more evenly more quickly. As a result, air fryers can also usually cook food a little more quickly than convection ovens.
Finally, don’t neglect the space difference between both appliances. Convection ovens are quite large and are included with almost every home and apartment. Air fryers are much smaller and can usually be set on a kitchen counter or table without taking up too much space. It’s usually more feasible to cook more food at once with a convection oven than trying to cook lots of smaller portions with an air fryer.