Air frying sounds too good to be true, like some snake oil concept hellbent on selling you wellness while dangling a perfectly crisp chicken thigh just above your nose while you toil endlessly on a treadmill. It isn’t.
Basically an air fryer is a smaller version of the convection oven, in which hot air circulates rapidly around the food item inside and “fries” it via a combination of caramelization and the Maillard Reaction–a fancy way of describing the flavor of browned foods. Traditional frying leaving foods soaked and dripping with excess oil, and the oil contains (admittedly delicious) fats and calories that can stick to your waistline long after the meal is done.
Using this knowledge in search of delicious treats made with this healthier technique, food bloggers have long experimented with air fryers. We chatted with a few about their favorites on the market and found many to be either affordable and compact, or useful in many capacities. Here are their top choices.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Cosori Air Fryer
Sarah Cook, founder of SustainableCooks.com, informed us on two fryers seen here starting with her top pick by Cosori.
“My current favorite air fryer is made by Cosori,” she explains, “I love the Cosori because of the size, the ease of cleaning (both inside and wiping down the outside), and the shape.”
She told us older models she’d used prior came equipped with a round basket that prevented several foods from frying properly, thus limiting its usefullness. “The rectangular Cosori,” she continues, “fits more, and there is no wasted space while cooking.” In addition to her suggestions, Sarah also offered up a list of her air fryer recipes that you can see here.
Buy now £119.99, Amazon
PowerXL Power AirFryer 5.3 Quart Black
Sarah also pointed us toward the Power AirFryer XL, telling us she’s gotten “great results” with the machine. Nearly 1500 reviews on Amazon tend to agree. “This unit is probably the best on the market for the price,” one return customer glows, “I have been using mine for over a year with great results. I am so happy that I bought 2 more for gifts for my daughters and they love the results.” There are many options available, with the price listed here referring to the “new” models, but refurbished models are also available at a discounted rate.
Buy now £109.99, Amazon
Cosori Original Air Fryer Toaster Oven CO130-AO
Cosori popped up again when Kristen Wood took some time away from blogging over at MOON and spoon and yum and author of The Vegetarian Family Cookbook: 100 Simple Kid-Friendly Recipes to Enjoy Together to give us her thoughts on the primo line’s best fryer.
“This Air Fryer from Cosori is absolutely amazing,” Kristen explains of the multi-tasking wonder machine that looks like a traditional toaster oven on your countertop but is capable of so much more. She continues” “Not only does it serve as a top-notch air fryer, it multi-tasks as a toaster oven, dehydrator and more!”
Glancing over the suggested uses, you can see it even acts as a roaster for a chicken up to five pounds, plus you can cook a 13 inch pizza in this beast. It may be a bit more expensive than other options, but the savings you’ll find through not buying other specific appliances offsets the extra spending.
Buy now £199.99, Cosori
Avalon Bay Air Fryer
We next heard from Anand Bhatt, who made this video dedicated to the Avalon Bay Air Fryer’s ability to take heavier snacks and recreate them in a light and tasty way. In addition to performing well and making lighter snacks, the Avalon Bay also comes with a safety mechanism that ensures you’ll never get burned during or after use, and its compact size makes it easy to store on any countertop. Check out the video to see Anand cook a healthier version of tortilla chips using hot sauce and hot air.
Buy now £105.00, Amazon
Ninja Air Fryer AF100UK
Elliot Reimers is a NASM Certified Nutrition Coach with Rave Reviews and M.S. candidate at Michigan State University That kind of career means Elliot has spent a lot of time with many different air fryer models, but one sticks out above the rest:
“I have been fortunate to trial a huge amount of air fryers, but there is one clear winner for me and that is the NINJA Air Fryer AF100UK. This beauty needs hardly any oil to produce roasted vegetables, crunchy chicken and the most fabulous crispy fries. This fryer has four different cooking functions – roasting, air fry, reheat and a dehydrate function too. This air fryer can create homemade dried fruits, vegetables and jerky and it will even reheat your leftover takeaway pizza to perfection. With its very large 3.8l basket – which can hold a 9000g bag of fries – it is capable of serving six people at one time. It has touchscreen controls with a variety of heat settings. The basket is dishwasher safe too, so you can enjoy a healthy dinner with very little washing up! I believe this is one of the best fryers out there as it is reasonably priced and, with its multi-functional abilities, I think it’s a ten out of ten product.”
(Price below reflects exchange rates at time of press which are subject to change)
Buy now £127.49, Ninja Kitchen Co
Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven
Raymond Cua is a full-time food blogger with an impressive resume that includes founding his Travelling Foodie blog using experiences in which he has travelled to more than 25 countries and more than half of the United States and Canadian provinces in search of good food. He reached out to tell us of his personal favorite, the Cuisinart Airfryer Toaster Oven that, like some other options on this list, performs a variety of functions outside of simply crisping up your foods. He reports:
“The Cuisinart Airfryer Toaster Oven has replaced my oven toaster on the kitchen counter since it has more cooking functions, including air fry. And with the oven-type, I can air fry more food and place them better on the basket unlike the round-shaped air fryers.”
The attractive unit looks like something straight from the kitchen of a professional, so grab one for yourself and experience the baking, frying, broiling, and multiple other functions this Cuisinart has to offer.
Buy now £199.95, Amazon
hOmeLabs 11.6 Quart XXL 8-in-1 Air Fryer Oven
One of our larger options, this 11.6 quart XXL fryer will take up a good bit of counter space but provide myriad options for cooking up to four pounds of chicken and plenty of other delicious foods at the touch of a button.
“Best air fryer we’ve ever used!” one reviews glows. They continue, “Used this for the rotisserie feature first and it made the perfect rotisserie chicken in 40 minutes. It was so juicy and crispy skinned! It’s also great for kabobs and super easy to heat up just about anything you can do in an oven.”
Buy now £129.99, Amazon
Kitchen Academy Air Fryer
Kitchen Academy’s modestly sized model provides all the bells and whistles of our others listed here, but does so in a dreamy pastel color scheme. It’s on the smaller side with just a 5.5 quart capacity, but compact kitchens will appreciate the gorgeous splash of color this little machine will provide.
Buy now £108.99, Amazon