The Best Air Fryers of 2020

  • Last Update: October 27, 2020
5/5

Philips HD9630/98

  • Huge capacity
  • No preheat required
  • Foods come out crispy
5/5

Breville Smart Oven Air

  • It's an air fryer, toaster, and countertop oven
  • Has digital controls
5/5

Cuisinart AFR-25

  • Uncomplicated to program
  • Doesn't require preheating
  • Foods come out crispy

More and more air fryers keep popping up on store shelves—and for good reason. With the promise to cook up crispy yet juicy foods without all that bad-for-you fat, these kitchen appliances are practically irresistible. Any food that calls for frying—like French fries or chicken wings—can now be made in one of these deep-fryer countertop alternatives. They can also make vegetables, side dishes, desserts, and more.

But these small kitchen appliances don’t come cheap, and new ones keep coming on the market. That’s why we recently tested even more air fryers, including some that double as toaster ovens and another that’s also a pressure cooker..

Among the best air fryers, our intensive testing shows the Philips Air fryer XXL (available at Amazon) is our top pick because it yielded results closest to conventionally deep-fried food. Most of the parts are dishwasher safe, too.

However, if you’re looking for an air fryer at a much lower price, the Cuisinart Compact Air Fryer (available at Amazon) will satisfy your crisp tooth. In addition to being affordable, it also cooks evenly as well. The Cuisinart Airfryer Toaster Oven (available at Amazon) is also a great buy if you want an appliance that can multitask.

 

View the The Best Air Fryers on the Market, Below.

1

Philips HD9630/98 Avance Airfryer XXL

When it comes to frying, the Philips Airfryer XXL is the best we tested and the most user friendly. During testing, I tasted an awful lot of French fries and it cooked up the ones I couldn’t stop noshing on. They had the combo of crunchiness, tenderness, and potato flavor that make great fries so delectable. Even when I loaded the basket with more than 3 pounds of frozen fries, they came out crispy. Battered Nashville hot chicken came out with a crackling crust as if it had been deep fried, and hamburgers rivaled ones made on the grill with the Philips Airfryer.

Now, this is a big, heavy, and very expensive machine that’s noisier than most when it’s operating. It doesn’t have digital controls and therefore it’s hard to set the temperature and timer precisely. With a few more parts than most air fryers, there’s more to clean and while all of the parts can go in the dishwasher, the huge basket will eat up considerable shelf and counter space. However, like all air fryers, it’s still relatively easy to use—this one requires no preheat—and the results are worth the payoff. An easy to read recipe book is included to give you lots of ideas.

What makes the Philips Airfryer our top choice is that it’s consistently the very best at air frying, even with large family-size portions of healthier fried foods. And you can sense that for the big bucks, you’re getting a solid well- built machine. If you cook for a discerning crew that really likes fried food but not the fat, we think the Philips is definitely worth the investment.

Why We Like It

  • Huge capacity
  • No preheat required
  • Foods come out crispy

Why We Don't Like It

  • Expensive
  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Noisy and Heavy

2

Breville Smart Oven Air

You pay top dollar for the handsome brushed stainless steel Breville Smart Oven Air, but you get a state-of-the-art toaster oven in addition to an air fryer. In air fryer mode, it consistently turned out crispy food and chicken nuggets that tasted fried. The digital controls are intuitive to program and includes automatic preheat. The Breville also has a bright oven light.

Although it’s large even by toaster oven standards, it can truly replace your oven. No need for special toaster oven-sized cookware here. And Breville claims it can accommodate a 14-pound turkey.

I do have one major quibble with this product. The manual doesn’t contain any recommendations for what, how much, or how long to cook various foods. This may not be a problem for baking or roasting, but if you’re new to air frying, you’re on your own when you’re getting started. Also, keep in mind all of the parts require hand washing.

Why We Like It

  • It's an air fryer, toaster, and countertop oven
  • Has digital controls
  • Foods come out crispy

Why We Don't Like It

  • Expensive
  • Large
  • Parts aren't dishwasher safe

3

Cuisinart AFR-25

The first thing you’ll notice about the Cuisinart Compact AirFryer is that unlike most air fryers, it’s not oddly shaped like a huge egg or space capsule. Rather it’s a big stainless-steel cube that looks like a truncated toaster oven. While its boxy shape helps it fit more neatly on a countertop or in a cabinet, the Cuisinart still takes up a bit of countertop real estate (in spite of its name).

You’ll find the Cuisinart is a relatively uncomplicated appliance in terms of heating elements. It doesn’t have cooking preset programs for specific foods or additional functions like “keep warm” or dehydrate, to make the cooking process easier. You simply turn dials to set the temperature and the cooking time, and there’s no need to preheat. There’s also a straight forward manual that includes recipes to get you started on air frying.

Since it has a wide basket, food can be spread out to get more even and crispy results with relatively quick cooking times without the food drying out in the time it takes to air fry. Most other air fryers force you to pile the food on top of each other, which can create uneven results. Using the Cuisinart Compact AirFryer, homemade fries looked and tasted like they had been bobbing in a deep fryer vat of oil.

Neither the stainless-steel basket nor the drip pan is dishwasher safe, so it’s not necessarily easy to clean. When you cook drippy battered items like tempura shrimp or onion rings, you may need to use a little effort to get them spotless. However, if you’re looking for an appliance to air fry and do it well, and don’t want to pay an exorbitant amount, this Cuisinart is well worth your consideration even though it wasn’t our top pick.

Why We Like It

  • Uncomplicated to program
  • Doesn't require preheating
  • Foods come out crispy
  • Helpful manual

Why We Don't Like It

  • Controls aren't digital
  • Parts are not dishwasher safe or nonstick

4

Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven

While not inexpensive, the Cuisinart Airfryer Toaster Oven is definitely cheaper, not to mention more space-efficient, than buying two relatively large countertop kitchen appliances. It comes with an air fryer basket to be used along with an air fryer setting. I found it worked as well, and in some cases, its heat element was better than air fryers at browning and crisping. In addition, it toasted exceptionally evenly.

Unlike most models in this price category, it doesn’t have digital controls, which keeps it from being our best air fryer. While it’s not a huge appliance, it is taller than typical toaster ovens. It accommodates 2 pounds of fries, 6 slices of bread and according to Cuisinart, a 4-pound chicken. If you love to toss everything in the dishwasher, be aware that all the parts need to be cleaned by hand. But unless you already have a toaster oven that you love, the Cuisinart is a good buy for its versatility.

Why We Like It

  • It's a toaster, countertop oven, and air fryer
  • Foods come out crispy
  • Toasts evenly

Why We Don't Like It

  • Controls aren't digital
  • Parts aren't nonstick
  • Not dishwasher safe

5

Ninja Air Fryer

The Ninja Air Fryer gave our top-rated Philips Airfryer XXL a run for the money. You could have convinced me that both breaded and battered chicken pieces were fried in the best cast iron skillet. French fries came close to the real thing but didn’t have quite the allover crunch that you get from a fryer or the Philips (which can even crisp up a whole bag of French fries at once). However, the Ninja is about a quarter of the price of the Philips and is nowhere near as big or heavy.

On the Ninja, you’ll find digital controls and settings for reheating, roasting, and dehydrating. More options make for more complicated programming but after a few cooks, you’ll easily master the necessary steps. The nonstick coated basket can be chucked in the dishwasher. With this air fryer you also get a stainless-steel rack for multilevel cooking.

Why We Like It

  • An air fryer and multi-cooker in one
  • Digital controls
  • Food comes out crispy

Why We Don't Like It

  • Very large and heavy
  • Cookbook not helpful
  • Noisy

How We Tested

Hi, I’m Sharon Franke, and I’ve been reviewing kitchen equipment for more than 30 years. Before that, I worked as a professional chef in NYC restaurants for seven years. Now I’m an avid home cook. While I’ve made French fries and pan-fried chicken cutlets countless times, they’re not in heavy rotation in my house these days. Just like you, I want to avoid the oil and all that work that comes with frying. That’s why I was thrilled to test air fryers and see if they could satisfy my hankerings for crispy food, fat, and fuss-free.

The Tests

To find the best air fryers, I tested 13 of them, plus four toaster ovens with air-frying capabilities, and the Ninja Foodi, which combines an air fryer with a multi-cooker. (We have yet to test the popular
Emeril Power Air Fryer or the Cosori Air Fryer, but we have them in our sights for our next round of testing). Each appliance was rated on how well it cooked fresh and frozen French fries and chicken nuggets.

Since this is a still relatively new category, you’ll be relying on the manual to get started. I checked to see if each explained how to use the product thoroughly, provided guidelines for cooking specific foods, and included recipes. I considered how easy it was to use the controls, slide the basket in and out, and of course clean up. As you may not want to use your air fryer daily or even weekly, I checked to see how easy it would be to stash away, too.

How we tested air fryers

Credit: Reviewed / Sharon Franke

In order to test air fryers, we cooked up dozens of batches of french fries and nuggets, as well as Nashville hot chicken and burgers.

How Does an Air Fryer Work?

For starters, an electric air fryer is not actually a fryer, but rather countertop convection ovens that circulate hot air around foods in a basket. Using at most a half tablespoon of oil, they definitely brown and crisp up food but not as evenly as frying.

And things don’t always come out with the same combination of all-over crunchiness and perfect tenderness as they do when they’re dropped in hot oil. However, air fryers don’t require more than a few minutes to preheat, which means from start to finish they deliver the goods faster than deep- or oven-frying. Plus, I discovered they didn’t give off any cooking odors, so your house never smells like a chicken shack.

The best air fryers can also be used as an oven to bake, broil and help cook meats, casseroles, or even desserts. They are, of course, limited by their size and don’t offer any advantage here over a traditional oven. But if you use your oven for storage, it tends to heat up the kitchen, or you often wish you had an extra oven, an air fryer can come in handy.

One thing to know: These kitchen tools are big and oddly shaped, so they take up a lot of countertop space and aren’t easy to store.

Bottom line: If you find crispy foods irresistible but want to avoid the fat, an air fryer might be just what you’re looking for.

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