If you love deep-fried foods but have been trying to watch out for your health, then you might be thinking that you have to cut out all of your favorite fried foods. But there is an alternative to deep-frying. It’s air frying.
There are a lot of air fryers out there that can make your food crispy and delicious with a fraction of the oil. We’ll be going over some of our favorites and then we’ll be going through what makes an air fryer great so that you can go look for one on your own.
10 Best Air Fryer Reviews 2018
To help you pick out the best air fryer for your lifestyle, we’ve put together this list of our top 10 favorites for the year. Of course, we’ve tried to include a lot of different types of air fryers on here so that you know what types are out there. If none of these seem to really fit, then we have a list of things to look for in an air fryer when you’re looking on your own.
1. Best Overall – Philips Digital Turbostar Airfryer
The first fryer on our list is one of our absolute favorites. Now, this air fryer is a little bit pricey compared to many others on our list, but there’s a reason why it’s still our favorite.
This air fryer has a good set of technology to ensure that all food is going to be exposed to the hot air that cooks the food, even when it is piled on top of each other. This machine also comes with some handy presets and a recipe book that uses all of the functions of the machine to not only fry things but maybe even roast or back them.
This machine is also pretty large which helps if you are trying to make enough portions for a small family. You’ll still have to do plenty of batches if you’re making things for a family gathering, but this machine doesn’t even need time to heat up before it can start cooking.
Some of the biggest problems are that even though it is a wonderful machine, some people find that the temperature isn’t always completely accurate. The other biggest problem is that there is no easy off button. You have to unplug the device to turn it off. Some people find it a little bit complicated to operate.
- Large capacity
- Cooks evenly
- Plenty of resources for delicious recipes
- Machine can be a little difficult to use at first
- Quality could be better at times
- Hard to tell if the temperature reading is accurate all the time
2. Best for Dynamic Frying – Vilapur Air Fryer
If you don’t know what dynamic frying is, then I’m here to tell you about. Dynamic frying is when the air moves around enough that you might not need to move around the food inside of the air fryer.
Now, we love this air fryer because of how well the dynamic frying works and how cheap it is as well. It’s a great price with a ton of options that allows you to really decide what you want to do. There are some present options for those dishes that almost everyone uses. However, you can still change up the way that you fry anything in this.
The parts of this fryer are able to go into your dishwasher so clean up is a breeze. As well, anything you need to touch on the machine to pull out the food is going to be cool which means that you won’t have to worry about burning yourself on anything.
Some of the bigger complaints about this device are how long it can take, however, this machine isn’t that slow compared to other air fryers and is still much quicker than frying it in oil. The other problem people have is that the machine wears down at a rate that seems a little bit quick. It all depends on how often you’re using it and how well you’re taking care of the internal parts of the machine.
- Cooks well with dynamic air flow
- Has several settings
- Cool-touch technology in the parts you need to handle
- Parts deteriorate faster than some like
- Seems to take a bit longer
- May be a bit tough to get the hang of.
3. Best for Static Frying – BLACK+DECKER Purify 2-Liter Air Fryer
Static frying is about less movement in the air, but just because it moves less doesn’t mean that it’s going to be less effective. This device uses two fans instead of one to really cook your food well.
While this device doesn’t have many presets for to use, the controls are relatively simple and that means that you don’t need to know too much in order to program this machine to do what you want. The simplicity can also make it easier to check in on the device while it is cooking.
One of the most fascinating parts of this particular machine is the way that it can separate out the inner try into two sections so that you can cook batches of different items without worrying about the flavors mixing. This can be great for someone who’s making a small meal for themselves or for only one other person.
The hardest part of this machine is that it is hard to read some of the numbers on the dials. This can be especially annoying to people with bad eyes. For the price, this unit will deteriorate a little more quickly than others, but it isn’t a terrible machine overall. It will last for a while, but if you use it a lot, of course, it’s going to break down just a little bit more quickly.
- Can separate tray into two sections for easier cooking of multiple dishes
- Reasonable cost
- Simple design
- Dials are a bit hard to read
- Make break down more quickly
4. Best for Accessories – Chefman 6.5 Liter/6.8 Quart Air Fryer
Now, if you’re not just looking for a machine that can air fry, then you’re going to want something that has a lot of accessories and is large enough to do a ton of other things. This machine by Chefman is going to hit a lot of good spots for people that like versatility in their machines.
This very large machine is going to take up quite a bit of space, but it can also be a way to help make other dishes without many other machines. On top of that, this machine comes with a number of accessories that you need. The fact that the accessories are included makes the price which is about average for a good air fryer much more reasonable. Other machines offer accessories, but you must also purchase them. This one bundles them in so you don’t have to worry about the extra cost.
While this machine can roast a reasonably sized chicken and cook so many other things, its large size can be a bit deceiving. You can only do smaller birds and not multiple at once. As well, because the machine is meant to be able to do almost anything, it might not be the best at everything you need it to do. You’ll have to try it out and see if it fits into what you need in the kitchen.
- Large capacity
- Comes with accessories in the box
- Very large, will take up quite a bit of space
- Although large, can’t replace a proper oven
5. Best for Multifunctional – Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven Air Fryer
When it comes to getting the most out of your newest purchase, you need something that can truly do it all. This Cuisinart machine is capable of doing so many other things than air fry and it comes with a couple of little inserts to help ensure that everything you want to do is possible.
To make it even better, this machine comes with a cookbook that includes recipes that will work well inside of this machine. People use it to cook bacon, make air fried fries, make toast, create baked potatoes, and do so much more.
The major concerns that people come away with are about the heat controls. People find that it can overcook or be a little too hot. In order to counter this, you’ll need to keep an eye on your machine and see if everything is cooking too quickly as there are some controls that you can’t control. Little things on this machine like the knobs can also be problems, but the machine is easy to clean and can replace so many appliances that you have in your home.
- Can do quite a bit
- Cooks everything effectively and quickly
- Knobs can sometimes break
- Is a large machine that will take up a bit of counter space
6. Best for Cleanup – 6 QT Power Air Fryer Oven Elite
One of the major problems with air frying and frying foods, in general, is the cleanup. This is a problem regardless of what machine you’re using, but this machine might be helpful if you’re worried about all the extra time that you might spend working on making sure that your kitchen is clean.
The design of this machine is unlike many other air frying machines out there since it has a front opening door that doesn’t open up. The design of this one is so good that this one doesn’t always need you to flip your food over when you’re cooking it.
One of the ways that this is easy to clean is the fact that you can take out the glass inside of it to clean it more thoroughly.
Like the Cuisinart we mentioned, this machine comes with a number of accessories that will allow you to use all of the functions of the machine and even comes with recipes for you to use in it. Like with other air fryers, there are plenty of online banks of recipes that use machines like this one.
- Cooks things quickly
- Can be used in a variety of ways
- Reasonable price
- The door can malfunction
- Machine can overheat which causes the machine to stop
- Materials might be a little cheaper than anticipated
7. Best for Capacity – SARKI 12.4Qt XL Air Fryer
This is another great air fryer that comes with some extra accessories to ensure that you’re able to get the most out of your machine, but what you’re going to really love about this one is how large it is. There’s plenty of space in this fryer for almost anything you want to (including baking cupcakes if you want).
The machine has 12 handy presets for some of the most basic functions it can provide, but it can do so much for you. It is pricier because of how many extra functions it has, but that isn’t a terrible thing. It just means that you’re getting so much more.
The biggest complaints that people have about is that the settings might not be exactly what they say they are and that there isn’t a cookbook included for this one. However, this machine is fairly versatile and can use other recipes. You’ll also be able to experiment with the machine and see what it’s capable of.
- Comes with accessories
- Has a number of presets
- Can do more than just air fry
- No cookbook included
- Some of the defaults might not be perfect
- Is rather large
8. Best for Size: Gourmia GAF365 Digital Air Fryer
One of the biggest concerns that people have about an air fryer is how big they are. Many of the larger ones are great for people that have larger homes and larger families, but maybe you just don’t have the space for all that. Finding a more compact one is important and this one is one of the better ones out there.
This one is also relatively cheap which is a huge bonus for those that also want to make sure that they’re not spending too much on eating healthier. This one will be better for people that live alone or don’t mind doing a number of batches. It’s got fairly simple instructions and buttons, which makes it even better.
There are a couple of things to keep an eye out for. You might have to spend some time experimenting with the settings to get everything to come out right as some of the most basic instructions may not always make the best meals. You also have to be aware that since it is cheaper, you will have issues with it falling apart or having a moment where it doesn’t work.
- Lower price
- Small, fits easily everywhere
- Makes nice portion sizes
- Can be a little bit cheaply made
- May take time to learn how to best use it
9. Best for Customization – GoWISE USA 3.7-Quart Air Fryer
This is another machine that comes in at a nice price point, but it isn’t the only reason that we included it on this list. It’s the options available at your fingertips. With many of the other machines on the list having issues with the preset settings not being exactly what people need, this one allows you to really get to the heart of the issue.
You can find a number of presets, but you will also find that you can adjust this cooker a lot. It does have a limited timer of 30 minutes and the capacity inside of the machine isn’t the largest that it could be, but with the ability to change so much, you’ll be in love with what this machine will allow you to do.
- Fries food really well for its size and price
- Reasonably priced
- Some materials are a little bit cheaper and fall apart more quickly than you would like
- Smaller capacity
- Cap on time of 30 minutes
10. Best for Price – Secura 4 Liter Air Fryer
While there are a couple of machines on our list that falls on the cheaper end of the price range, this one has a lot of small wins that will really make you consider this one when you’re looking at air fryers.
This air fryer comes with recipes, a toaster rack, skewers, and has a decent capacity of 4.2 quarts. While the price can generally be just a little bit higher than the cheapest ones, we’re taking into account that fact that it comes with a couple extras that other brands would have you pay much more for the accessories.
Although the dials are very simple, you’d be surprised at how well this machine can cook anything that you throw at it. The problems generally arise once it starts breaking down, which is a bit more quickly than higher priced ones that have higher quality materials. Like most air fryers, it might not get every as crispy as deep frying, but it gets them very close with just a fraction of the oil.
- Low price point
- Comes with accessories
- Works very well
- Has its limitations as an air fryer
- Not very versatile
- Will break down a little more quickly than other machines
What is an Air Fryer?
An air fryer is a contraption that uses hot air to ‘fry’ your food. Instead of submerging your food in oil, you’ll coat it (with a minimal amount) put it in the air fryer and allow the hot air to really dry and crisp up whatever you’re eating. Many of these machines can be used for the classics, like fried chicken and fries, but many more can also help you fry frozen vegetables, potstickers, and anything else that you would typically submerge in oil to cook.
There are a number of makes and models, as you can see from the list of our favorites that we compiled. There are some that don’t move the food at all and the air moves around them. There are some that actually do move the food as well. Some people will claim that one or the other works better, but it usually depends on the kinds of things that you’re frying and the texture that you’re looking for.
Air fryers are ultimately an alternative to deep frying that uses much less oil and increases the overall healthiness of the snacks that you’re trying to make. Although if you’re frying a Twinkie, there’s nothing that an air fryer can do to really make that healthier.
Guide on Choosing the Best Air Fryer
Just like with anything, you need to know what to look for in the air fryer that you’re trying to buy. We’ve got a list of the ones that we think you’ll like, but we know that some of our options might be too big or too expensive for people out there. So that you can find an air fryer on your own, we’ve put together a list of some of the most important factors to consider when you’re working on finding the right air fryer for your household.
This will be the first and foremost thing that you consider when you’re looking at an air fryer. There is quite a range of prices on our list and that’s true when you’re looking at air fryers out there. The different prices sometimes reflect how well the machines work or how many different things they can do. It’s not always true, so keep that in mind when you’re looking at different machines. Of course, for some people out there, the price will be the major limiting factor. There are still fantastic air fryers out there, but you need to compromise by working with a smaller capacity or fewer options for accessories.
This is one of the other major things that people are concerned about when they’re looking at air fryers. In general, you will find that air fryers are going to have less capacity than anything that you would use to do traditional deep-frying.
However, there is still a range of capacity. You will find some that are very small, but this also means that they aren’t hard to find space for in your home. The larger the capacity, the larger the machine. This can mean that there’s going to be a balance between what you can fit in your home and what you need.
In general, you will have to do batches of food, regardless of what capacity machine you have, if you are trying to make food for multiple people.
Some air fryers are going to have a ton of settings for you to pick from. Having more settings can be great for people that want to do a lot of different foods in the air fryer, but it might not be the most important thing for you if you only want to do fries or chicken and then do other small things only now and then.
For families that want to do all sorts of different things in the fryer, then you’ll probably want something that can adjust for all sorts of different foods. The major drawback is that they are likely going to be smaller or cost quite a bit more. This is something that you want to keep in mind.
Many air fryers come with accessories that can make it easier for you to make some particular items or utilize the air fryer to do more than just fry things. Some are able to bake things assuming you have the right tools. You might need more or fewer accessories depending on the air fryer and what it might be built to do.
Some air fryers are made to do a lot of things and might have these different compartments built in. Not all of them do, but it is something to keep an eye out for as the accessories may cost more than you would expect.
This is almost not something worth talking about because of course, you’re going to be looking at how good each of these devices is at frying things. However, you might be more worried about price than anything else on our list. In that case, the effectiveness is something that you’ll be looking to maximize but at the right price.
Most air fryers are great at things like frozen foods and chicken. They’ll be able to handle those staples well. But if you’re a fan of putting unusual things inside of your fryer, then you’re going to want something that’s a little more effective or able to tackle more difficult things such as fresh vegetables.
6. Ease of Cleaning
This is a major thing to look for, which means that most air fryers have it built in. However, there are some that are going to be extremely easy to clean. This can cut down the amount of time that you spend worrying about the fryer and what you need to do to stow it away after you’re done with your excellent meal.
One thing to remember when it comes to cleaning is that it also depends on how you use the fryer. If you decide to put something in that the manufacturer warns you might get messy, then the fryer might be harder to clean after that incident.
Tips for Using an Air Fryer
Using an air fryer is a lot different from other ways of cooking. Many people don’t cook ideally on their first try just because of how different it is. In order to help make sure that you have less stumbling blocks after picking up an air fryer (or as a refresher for someone is looking for a new air fryer), we’ve put together some tips that will ensure that you know how to get the most out of your air fryer.
1. Move Your Food Around Sometimes
This actually depends on the kind of air fryer that you get. There are some out there that don’t require any extra work. This means that they’ll have a system in which the area where the food moves or uses air to push the food around a little bit.
However, many air fryers don’t include this feature, so you may want to pause your cooking to flip things over or at least stir it around (depending on what you’re cooking). This can help ensure that you’re getting a more even cook, no matter what kind of air fryer you’re using. However, you’ll want to make sure that you follow all of the instructions when trying to do this as some air fryers are a little harder to pause than others. Be safe and make sure that you’re not reaching your hand into the food to flip it over as well as everything in the air fryer is bound to be hot.
2. Don’t Put Too Much In
This is one of the first mistakes that people make. While air frying is a healthy alternative and you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your machine (especially if you’re cooking for a whole bunch of people or doing multiple dishes in the air fryer), you can actually ruin your food by putting too much of it into the basket.
This is one of the biggest problems that people have. Some complaints are made about how the food isn’t crispy or something and people then think that the air fryer can’t really fry things well. However, if you removed some of the food and let the air fryer work to the best of its capabilities, you would find that the machine can do quite well.
So on top of not putting too much in, don’t forget that you’ll need to account for the extra time that it might take to do all those smaller batches. However, it will be worth all that extra time.
3. Use A Spray
This is another first-time mistake that many people make when they start using an air fryer. People decide to use a bowl and coat their food with oil and then put it in the machine like that. It can make things messier and can oversaturate the food with oil. This is true even when you’re using an oil that is a bit healthier.
Instead, you’ll want to find an oil that’s in a spray. This way you can just add a little bit of oil and not have to go through a ton of extra work to get your food ready to go into the air fryer. It may be a little bit more expensive, but it can be definitely worth it in the long run because it cuts down on prep time and also helps reduce cleanup as well.
4. Make Sure Your Food Starts As Dry As Possible
This is another common mistake and it might be something that you don’t think about. If you’re getting ready to cook something, you’ll want to make sure that the process is as easy as possible for the machine.
This means making sure that the ingredients are as dry as possible. Obviously, you can’t remove all of the liquid, but if you have to wash anything or your meat is right out of the fridge, then you’ll need to pat it dry before you season it and prep it to go into the air fryer.
Keeping everything dry makes everything much quicker in the air fryer. When you’re working in small batches, you’ll want to make sure that everything goes as quickly as possible.
5. Try New Things
This is the biggest tip that I can give to everyone out there, whether they’ve tried air frying or have just done the typical deep frying. When you’re using an air fryer, don’t be afraid to try new things. You can also try all sorts of non-typical recipes that you can prepare in an air fryer, especially if it comes with a bunch of extra attachments to use inside of the air fryer.
When it comes to using a new device, you have to figure out new ways of doing things. Most people just go for the classics, but why not see if there’s a new way to your classic dishes. So take a chance and try out something new! There are recipes supplied by the people that make air fryers and by tons of people online, so you’ll never run out of things to try out.
How to Clean and Maintain Air Fryers
Air fryers are a great way to improve the healthiness of fried foods. It can mean a way of cutting out the unnecessary calories without getting rid of all your favorite foods. There are tons of fun ways to use an air fryer. There are even ways that you might not have ever considered. Making foods a little differently can be a great way to spice up your day, so try out an air fryer today and see if it can improve the way you’re making food.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can you only fry things like chicken and potatoes?
This is one of the biggest myths that people have when they think about air fryers. Although you do have to be careful about what you’re putting into the air fryer, this machine can cook all sorts of things. From chicken to vegetables, to potstickers, to meat. You can put many different things into this kind of machine and they’ll come out tasting delicious.
Q: All air fryers do the same things, right?
This is false. Some are equipped to do much, much more. But even the most basic models are able to do a little bit more. Just make sure that you look into the machine and read any instructions for what a manufacturer suggests you avoid cooking in the machine.
And adding accessories can change this up even more.
Q: Air frying is much more difficult than traditional frying.
It can actually be a little bit simpler. You won’t have to worry about a setup with hot oil and getting hit with the splatters. It also means using less oil which means less money and it is much healthier.
Q: Do you only use air fryers every now and then?
You can use air fryers whenever you want something to be absolutely delicious and crispy. There’s no reason you can’t use an air fryer for every meal unless you don’t want to have to clean it three times a day!