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I’ve Tested Nearly Every Air Fryer on the Market. These Are the 4 Best for Most Home Cooks.

updated Aug 9, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

By now you’ve probably heard of (and are a fan of) air fryers: the small appliances that crisp food using just a little oil. They’re great for fries, tater tots, salmon, reheating pizza, and even (even!) baking cookies. Versatile? Yes! But not all air fryers are created equal. Some are shockingly small (meaning: they hold just a little bit of food despite their large footprint). Some don’t really crisp up food as well as you’d expect. And some are needlessly complicated. So which air fryer should you buy? These are the ones that get my vote. They both work well and are easy to use. Let’s take a look.

Why You Should Trust Our Gear Pro

For more than 30 years, I was in charge of testing and reporting on everything from wooden spoons to connected refrigerators at the Good Housekeeping Institute. I’ve walked the floors of every trade show and read every new product release for longer than most digital publications have existed! My street cred? I also worked as a chef in New York City restaurants for seven years. I’ve tested, used, and played with nearly every piece of kitchen gear (including air fryers) to come on the market for years. When it comes to gear, it takes a lot to impress me, and I know what actually works.

Picked by a Pro. Tested by Real Home Cooks.

I’ve tested what feels like every air fryer on the market (at all the price points, low to high!) and these are my all-time favorites. But you don’t have to take my word and my word alone, either. Kitchn editors — a unique hybrid of professionals and home cooks, who develop and test great recipes in real home kitchens — and real shoppers weighed in on some of these picks too, testing my favorites in the context of their actual home cooking.

After all, when it comes to kitchen gear, what matters is that it works for a home cook — not just that a chef endorses it, or that it passed some high-flying bar in a sterile test kitchen. You want gear that is, above all, practical, long-lasting, and mindful of real cooks, real kitchens, and real budgets.

1. Philips Digital Twin TurboStar Airfryer XXL

The Best Air Fryer

The Philips Digital Twin TurboStar Airfyer XXL is the Rolls Royce of air fryers. And just like a luxury car, it doesn’t come cheap. But hands down, it’s the best and just might be the only one that will truly make you say, “I can’t believe this wasn’t deep-fried!” During a recent test, I loaded it up with two full bags of frozen waffle fries and every single slice came out golden brown and crispy without any mushy pieces in the middle or overcooked cardboard-y ones on top. It’s also one of the speediest of the genre. It doesn’t require the preheating that many air fryers do, yet still cooks up food in the times specified in air fryer recipes. In my kitchen, a whole mess of chicken wings came out crispy without even a drop of oil in just a half-hour.

Digital controls make it easy to program and there are even preset times and temperatures for various types of foods like frozen items, poultry, and fish. However, this is a big and heavy appliance (and it’s expensive!), so before you click “buy now,” be sure you have space for it in your kitchen and that you’ll be using it regularly enough to leave it out on your counter (you won’t want to be lugging it around too often). To give you lots of ideas as to what to air fry and make it worth the money and space, it comes with a cookbook.

Second opinion: Apartment Therapy’s Home Director Danielle Blundell was given a slightly smaller Philips model as a gift and she can’t say enough good things about it. “In the summer, the air fryer’s a godsend for my small apartment, where turning on the oven really does create a lot of heat. And I have to say that it’s better at containing cooking odors as well, which makes a difference when your bedroom is right next to your kitchen.”

2. GoWise USA 5.8-QT 8-in-1 Digital Air Fryer

The Best Air Fryer for Less Than $100

Looking for a family-sized air fryer that won’t blow your budget? This GOWISE USA air fryer is a close rival to the Philips. It’s speedy and cooks evenly, but has a more cluttered interface than the Philips, so it’s not as easy to use. However, it does have helpful presets for fries and even pizza. And when I made Brussels sprouts, coated with just a dash of olive oil, they came out delectably crispy — and I found the stray leaves even more irresistible than potato chips. It also has a nonstick basket, which makes it super easy to clean.

Second opinion: “I’ve been using this air fryer for a few months now and I am completely happy with it. Once you get used to how it works and the times to heat things up it becomes really useful. I like different foods heated with air rather than a microwave. It does not take too long to warm up various items either,” one reviewer says. “The basket has a latch that keeps it from coming apart when removed. The basket is a little fragile, but that is to conserve weight and if you handle it gently should be no problem. So far the 5.8 [-quart] size has worked very well for my family of 3, I certainly would not go smaller. We use this appliance almost every day.”

3. Dash Compact Air Fryer

The Best Air Fryer for Small Families (and Spaces!)

You can jump on the air fryer trend even if there are only two of you in the house, or maybe even one. The cute little Dash air fryer holds just a single layer of food at a time. I cooked up small batches of sweet potatoes and broccoli florets and was very pleased with added crunch. In addition to red, white, and black, this air fryer comes in a pretty aqua shade.

Second opinion: “I’m not sure what I love more about this air fryer — the cute design or the goodies that come out of it,” contributor Lisa Freedman, shared. “If you live alone or are a family of two, there’s no need to waste the counter space or money on a larger air fryer. This will get the job done. And it’ll look good while doing it.”

4. Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer

The Best Multitasking Air Fryer

Are your countertops full to the max with appliances and gadgets? Triple up with this toaster/oven/air fryer in one. In addition to an oven shelf for toasting and baking, the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer comes with a large air frying basket that can hold an entire bag of curly fries and enough fillets of salmon to feed at least four. I’ve found that it makes fried chicken just as good as any restaurant. The machine’s biggest drawbacks? You have to preheat the toaster oven before air frying it and it doesn’t have a nonstick air fryer basket, so it takes more elbow grease to clean.

Second opinion: “We bought a Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer to replace our old toaster oven,” one reviewer says. “The Smart Oven far surpasses anything my old toaster oven could do. The Smart Oven holds a 9×13 baking pan, makes crispy French fries from scratch without heating the entire kitchen, and still makes great toast.”

Do you have a favorite air fryer? Tell us about it in the comments below!