However, the best air fryers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and have lots of different features. Air frying aside, many models come equipped to bake, roast, reheat, and even dehydrate. It can be tricky to see through marketing gimmicks and work out which model is best.  Below, I subject the best air fryers from Instant, Ninja, Philips and more to our standardized tests, just as we’ve done with the best toaster ovens. We’ve trialled dozens of recipes, timed the cooking process, and even recorded the noise levels of these machines. I’ll unpick the jargon and make it easy to find the best air fryer for you. 

Best air fryers 2023

Why you should buy it: Perfect size for families; made the best fries; prevents cooking odors. The Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer made the best homemade fries of any air fryer I tested. They had a fluffy interior and crispy exterior, with evenly browned edges and consistent cooking throughout. Because there is a removable air fry insert, you can also use the Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer to reheat foods like rice and pasta, which would usually fall through the slots in the air fryer tray.  The six-quart capacity is perfect for families, and it will easily cook for 5 or 6 people. My bacon was rendered perfectly, and the innovative OdorErase technology isn’t it a gimmick — it hugely reduced unwanted smells in the kitchen. This is also one of the quietest air fryers I’ve tried, and I found that the control panel is sleek and attractive, just be prepared to wipe away finger smudges.  My Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer with ClearCook and OdorErase review has more details. Why you should buy it: Large capacity and two zones for cooking family meals; even cooking; great fries. With an 8-quart capacity that’s split across two drawers, this Instant Vortex Plus Dual Basket Air Fryer is a brand-new model that’s designed for families and those who want to cook a whole meal in one appliance. The fries I made in this air fryer were amazing, and they were well-browned after just 10 minutes of cooking. We did need to shake them up to get an even finish, but they were some of the crispiest fries we’ve made in just 22 minutes.  In the other basket, I made breaded fish, which also came out deliciously crisp. The two baskets are 4 quarts each, which is perfect for cooking an entire meal for two people or a batch of fries or roasted vegetables for an entire family split across the two baskets. Of course, if you’re only cooking something small for a lunchtime salad topper, you can just use one drawer at a time.  Choose SyncFinish mode to cook your meal at two different times, modes or temperatures, but to finish at the same time. SyncCook will take the settings you’ve applied to one drawer and copy them across to the second drawer. Both are easy to use, and the touch controls will make adjusting your timings mid-cook easy.  My Instant Vortex Plus Dual Basket Air Fryer review has more information. Why you should buy it: Very large basket means lots of recipe choice; can also cook a whole chicken; multifunctional and does both air fryer and slow cooking to the level of dedicated appliances. The Instant Pot Pro Crisp is a genius device and comes out on top as our first pick of the many Instant Pot variations. It has 11 presets in total and can be used as one of the best slow cookers when it’s not making delicious homemade fries as an air fryer.  I was able to air fry things we’d never tried before in the Pro Crisp thanks to a very generous basket. On test, we were able to use this to pressure cook an entire chicken for just 20 minutes before air frying until crisp. All we needed to do was switch the lid midway through.  Cleaning is easy, too, because most of the parts are dishwasher-safe. The air fryer lid cannot go in the dishwasher, but the pressure cooker lid can. I found that having an extra lid takes up a lot of extra space in your kitchen, so this is a good option to replace an air fryer, slow cooker, and dehydrator in one appliance, but will take up extra room if you already have these on your countertop.  The basket is round, and the lid is quite high, so there is a lot you can cook in this device. Note that the capacity is related to the stainless steel pot, though, and while you can air fry without the air fryer basket, the air circulation won’t give you the best results.  You’ll also need oven gloves to lift the air fryer basket out of its cooking pot. It’s great for giving your food a shake-up midway through the cooking mode though, and the display shows your progress on a handy chart. See our guide to the best Instant Pots for more options.  My full Instant Pot Pro Crisp review has extra details. Why you should buy it: Two baskets for cooking two recipes at once; one of the fastest and hottest; easy to clean. The Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 XL 2-Basket Air Fryer is incredibly versatile. There are six modes: air broil, air fry, roast, reheat, dehydrate and bake. I found that the air fry mode is great, especially when you use the removable crisper plates, and you can use one in one drawer to air fry chicken while baking or roasting vegetables in the other drawer to make fajitas or simply a balanced meal.  I enjoyed the fact that you can sync the two drawers so every element of your meal will finish together. When you’re done you can place both drawers and the crisper insert into the dishwasher, so not only is it easy to use, but it’s easy to clean, too.  You can choose between smart finish, which allows you to cook at two different modes simultaneously with them finishing at the same time, or match cook, where the settings in drawer 1 are automatically applied to drawer 2.  This air fryer was a consistent performer, with a high-temperature limit which meant it was one of the fastest air fryers I tested when cooking bacon and frozen chicken. There is no pre-heat though, so it loses marks for precision.  My Ninja Foodi DZ401 6-in-1 XL 2-Basket Air Fryer review covers all the detail. Why you should buy it: Looks gorgeous on your counter; compact design but big enough for families; smart touchscreen controls. When Drew Barrymore came out with her own line of appliances, we were first in line to review them. The Beautiful 6-Quart Digital Air Fryer looked just as, well, beautiful in person as it did online, with a Sage Green finish (it also comes in black, white, blue, and other shades) and a matte exterior that won’t mark easily.  The Beautiful 6-Quart Digital Air Fryer has modes for dehydrating, roasting, air frying, and reheating food. It’s got a smart touchscreen control panel that increases the temperature in 5-degree increments, up to an impressive 400 degrees Fahrenheit.   Expert tester Camryn Rabideau found that the materials felt a little cheap, but bear in mind that this is true of most air fryers, as they’re largely made of plastic. The six-quart basket is great for families, but it also worked well on smaller servings of snacks. In her tests, Camryn baked bagels, made French fries, and dehydrated slices of apple, and everything came out well-cooked and evenly crisped. For the price, this is a brilliant and stylish pick.  Camryn’s Beautiful 6-Quart Digital Air Fryer review has more details. Why you should buy it: Quick and even cooking; good for small spaces; smart presets if you want to cook to specific times. I was floored by the air frying in the Philips Essential Airfryer XL. It has a unique ‘starfish’ base that makes sure the air circulates around the entire basket for evenly cooked results. Our homemade fries came out very crispy and evenly cooked, and they finished about 10 minutes ahead of when we’d usually expect them to be ready. The bacon was cooked in just five minutes, and the vegetables came out with the crispiest finish of all the air fryers I tested alongside the Essential Airfryer XL.  This is thanks to the Philips Essential Airfryer XL’s smart preset cooking modes. Admittedly, these were a little confusing at first, and they all have specific timings. That’s tricky if you’re  cooking very different sizes of cuts of meat in one mode. However, once you’ve mastered this you hardly need to think about what you’re cooking. The presets take care of everything and turn out perfect food every time. Smaller households or those with less kitchen space to spare will love the Philips Essential Airfryer XL, but it is expensive for its capacity and the façade is a little cluttered. This option seriously impressed me with its cooking ability, but I found that it was one of the noisier options I tested at 72dB.   My Philips Essential Air Fryer XL review has more information. Why you should buy it: Does everything from pressure cook to air fry and sear; large capacity for one pot meals; can cook a whole chicken. With a newer take on multi-cooking, the Ninja Foodi 14-in-1 8-qt XL Pressure Cooker makes it easier than ever to air fry in your instant pot. The lid has a slider that will allow you to adjust the lid for all different cooking modes, including a new one: steam air fry.  The controls are intuitive and modern, and the air fryer basket is large enough to fit a whole chicken (although it struggled with a very large one I tried).  The basket has handles that mean you can shake up potatoes or vegetables as they’re air frying, and the dials to the right and left of the display will allow you to increase the temperature or the timer.  There are 14 cooking modes: Pressure Cook, Steam & Crisp, Steam & Bake, Air Fry, Broil, Bake/Roast, Dehydrate, Sear/Sauté, Steam, Sous Vide, Slow Cook, Yogurt, Keep Warm & Proof. You can even proof and then bake a loaf of bread in the one cooking pot.  Steamcrisp cooking is a new feature: it will cook potatoes, vegetables, and even cakes with steam and then crisp them up using the air fry mode.  My Ninja Foodi 14-in-1 8-qt XL review has extra detail.   Why you should buy it: smart connectivity at a great price This ingenious air fryer has a handy app and Alexa connectivity, so you can chose from more than 100 preset recipes and control it with your voice. The app lets you control the time and temperature from your phone, and get notifications about how your food is cooking. You can even scan products’ barcodes to learn exactly how to cook them, saving time and effort. It has a dual heating system which I’d not seen before - one heating element above your food and one below, which Cosori claims stops you from having to turn over ingredients as they cook. At first, I was worried that the heating element in the base might scorch my countertop, but I found that the exterior keeps cool, and it was safe to use even on wooden countertops. However, bear in mind that this air fryer is very noisy. I also found that this machine doesn’t cook as quickly as other air fryers, which is surprising given the dual heating elements. There’s more detail in my full Cosori Dual Blaze Air Fryer review. Why you should buy it: Perfect size for couples; lightweight and easy to move; lots of modes. Despite being one of Ninja’s smaller air fryers, the Max XL really impressed me when I put it to the test. For a start, it’s lightweight and easy to move around the kitchen, and its small frame won’t dominate the kitchen counter.  The 5.5-quart capacity is smaller than some, but it’s perfectly sized to make two portions of homemade fries or a platter of snacks for easy entertaining. Everything I made at higher temperatures crisped up beautifully, from bacon to roasted vegetables, and the cooking time sped up significantly because of the circular, more compact basket. However, I found that it wasn’t as strong when cooking at lower temperatures.  The control unit has modes for max crisp, air frying, roasting, baking, reheating, air broiling, and dehydrating, and there are also easy controls for temperature and timing to toggle as your food cooks. There is also a pause button, which I really like. However, unlike air fryers from Instant which will pre-heat before telling you to add your food, this one has a countdown timer from the beginning.  My full Ninja Max XL Air Fryer review has more info.  Why you should buy it: Toaster oven too; great internal capacity; easy to see food cooking. The Ninja Foodi 8-in-1 Flip Mini Oven is one of my favorite toaster ovens. It has a compact profile that folds up and away to maximize counter space when not in use.  When air frying in the Ninja Foodi 8-in-1 Flip Mini Oven I really liked the size of the tray, which is more generous than many drawer-style air fryers. It made distributing meat or French fries across the oven easy, which in turn sped along the cooking time.  The air frying insert is dishwasher-safe, but you need to put a tray underneath it to prevent any liquids from dropping onto the bottom heating element and burning.  You can easily illuminate the Ninja Foodi 8-in-1 Flip Mini Oven from the inside using a button on the main control panel, which means you can check on your food as it cooks without opening the fryer.  As well as air frying, the Ninja Foodi 8-in-1 Flip Mini Oven can air broil, air roast, bake, dehydrate, toast, toast bagels, and switch over to a keep-warm setting. The bottom of the oven opens up for easier cleaning access, but there are still some areas that are tough to clean by hand.  My Ninja Foodi 8-in-1 Flip Mini Oven review covers further details. 

How did I choose the best air fryer? 

When testing, Homes & Gardens took into account the following factors: Noise: The noise of an air fryer can impact your ability to use it. Perhaps you like to cook while listening to the TV, or you live in a smaller home and the noise of an air fryer running would distract you as you work. If an air fryer is noisy, I make a note of it.  Speed: Air fryers promise to speed up cooking times, so when testing them I used standardized recipes to see how long they will take to cook classic recipes. While potato fries would typically take around 25 minutes in the air fryer, the speediest air fryers we tested have taken as little as 12 minutes to make crisp, evenly-cooked fries.  Looks: It’s going on your kitchen counters, so it has to look the part. You might not mind a less attractive air fryer as much as some other users, but any bulky features or unattractive elements such as smudging or busy display panels were noted during testing.  Cleaning: Cleaning an air fryer should be easy. Most have baskets that can go in the dishwasher, and it’s rare to find one without a non-stick interior. If I ran into any difficulties cleaning, I marked it down.  Some of the air fryers in our guide have been reviewed on other Future Homes websites, but they have all been reviewed by me, so I can still bring you all my inside knowledge even if you can’t click through to read the full review on Homes & Gardens.  For more insight, our review guidelines explain more about our product review process.

Our reviewers

Different types of air fryers

There are a few different types of air fryers to choose from, but all of them work in a similar way. You can choose between two main types: Millie used standardized recipes across all the machines she tested, cooking streaky bacon to see how fast it and evenly it would crisp, and cooking homemade potato fries to see how well the air fryers can handle large servings. She also cooked an assortment of home recipes while working from home, just as you would in your own kitchen. ‘My favorite air fryer I’ve tried is the Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-Quart 6-in-1 Air Fryer - hence why I’ve put it in first place!’  From her home in Rhode Island, Camryn reviewed the Beautiful 6-Quart Digital Air Fryer, and noted that it’s ‘a great entry-level air fryer for anyone who wants a more attractive appliance’.  For two-person households, between two and four quarts of capacity will serve your day-to-day air frying needs. However, if you want to cook for more than two people or you plan on cooking two elements of your meal at once, some of the top dual-drawer air fryers offer up to nine quarts of cooking space.  Another brand that really impressed us when it came to cooking quality is Philips, and if you want the best value air fryer brand, take a look at Cosori air fryers.  So while air fryers don’t necessarily make your diet healthy, because it depends on what you cook in them, they really can help.  Drawer air fryers have inserts with handles that can be easily lifted out of the cooking unit and shaken up to evenly cook your fries or chicken without having to turn using a spatula.  They are a very popular design because they often have an insert that elevates your food to allow air to circulate inside the air fryer basket as it cooks. You can sometimes even lift this filter out of the main basket, which contains oil and juices as they drip away from your food, to make sure none of it ends up on your plate.  Toaster oven air fryers are the second and less common type. We feature many of them in our guide to toaster ovens because they come with layered designs that can be used to bake and roast as well as air fry.  Some even come with rotisserie functions that can be used to cook kebabs or whole chickens, but because they don’t have a drawer that can be easily pulled out, they can be more fiddly to operate, but they most closely resemble a smaller-scale oven in our experience. 

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