Get the crispiness without the grease by using this trendy kitchen accessory.
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We’re calling it now: Air fryers are the Instant Pot of 2018.
We’re always on the lookout for new kitchen gadgets that will make cooking easier and more fun. Air fryers have been popping up all over recently, and for good reason. A way to get crispy french fries or chicken wings as a moment’s notice? We’ll take two.
But if you thought you were overwhelmed with all of the different Instant Pot models, just wait until you see the air fryer market.
Before we dive into the different devices, let’s answer one lingering question.
What is an air fryer and how does it work?
Simply put, it’s deep frying without the oil — AKA deep frying without the unhealthy part. Yes, I guess you could just cut back on fried foods all together, but we all know how that goes…
Deep fryers flash heat foods and take them from frozen to ready-to-eat in minutes by dunking them in a bath of super hot oil. This process jumpstarts the Maillard reaction, which is when food gets brown and crispy and delicious.
While your typical deep fryer needs enough oil to completely drown the food, an air fryer barely uses any (like, a tablespoon at most). Other than that, air fryers basically use the same method, using a convection fan to surround the food with hot air instead of oil. The air bounces off of the bottom of the air fryer and back up through the food, cooking it all over to create that crisping effect in just minutes — something that was previously only possible with deep frying.
Air fryers can also cook a hell of a lot more food than a deep fryer and can be used for things like grilling a steak or baking a pizza. It’s like having a combo oven and deep fryer, except it fits on your counter and doesn’t require frozen food to be thawed before cooking.
Which air fryers are best?
There are various sizes, features, and interfaces from all of the major kitchen brands you’d expect — and some you don’t. We’ll keep it simple and fill you in on the need-to-know details and differences, so your brain doesn’t get too fried.
Choose from modern or retro designs • Large touchscreen with lots of options
Not the absolute cheapest, but not pricey either
GoWISE has a great product on their hands, with plenty of design choices and a touchscreen interface.
1. GoWISE USA XL Air FryerThis Amazon’s Choice product takes the guesswork out of cooking with the built-in touch screen menu featuring a whopping eight cooking presets.
Ranges from from $69.99 to $113.04
This Amazon’s Choice product takes the guesswork out of cooking with the built-in touch screen menu featuring a whopping eight cooking presets: Cook fries, pork, chicken, steak, shrimp, cake (), fish, and pizza without fear of under or overcooking. And if those aren’t enough, you’ll also get a GoWISE recipe book that features 50 yummy ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The coolest part? GoWise lets you choose from an ultra modern design, or a cute retro look. The latter features a slightly smaller screen, holds 2.75 quarts, and has buttons instead of a touchscreen. Choose from eight unique colors , with prices ranging from $69.99 to $113.04.
Especially good at cooking food evenly • Large screen
One of the pricier options
If you’re willing to fork over the cash, the Philips Digital air fryer has a great reputation and easy screen interface.
2. Philips Digital Air FryerIt’s one of the pricier options, but Philips has an easy-to-use large screen interface and a reputation for cooking food evenly.
The HD9641’s straightforward interface is a mix of sleek and simple, with a QuickControl dial for temperature and time, five cooking presets for popular dishes, and a large screen. (A note on air fryers: It’s rare to get a screen at all). You also have the option of the free Philips recipe app and a recipe book, both featuring more than 200 air fryer recipes to try. The grease tray and food basket are both dishwasher safe.
This is the second generation of the HD9641 model and is 20% smaller than the original so it frees up counter space, but still has the same 1.8-pound/2.75-quart capacity inside. While that’s enough room for a chicken breast or a good amount of french fries, it probably won’t be enough if you’re cooking for more than two. Luckily, Philips also makes a 2.65-pound as well.
The Philips HD9641 Avance Digital Turbostar is one of the pricier options at $299.95, but frequently goes on sale for $249.95. Get yours .
Huge capacity can hold 3 lbs at once • 60-day money back guarantee • Great customer service reputation
If you’re feeding up to four people, Cozyna’s large capacity might make up for the lack of a screen.
3. Cozyna Air Fryer XLThis giant device is a #1 best-seller on Amazon, and with all so many other devices on the market, that’s no small feat.
The Cozyna Air Fryer doesn’t have presets or a a screen to show temperature and time, so you’ll have to pay attention to the numbers on the dial to make sure everything is correct. However, Cozyna does offer two cookbooks (a physical one and an e-book) of 50 recipes to try, which includes ideas ranging from chicken, to Thai food, to desserts. Plus, if anything goes wrong, Cozyna offers a 60-day money back guarantee, and people in the reviews say that Cozyna’s customer service is amazing. (Cozyna also has a , with a slightly smaller basket and a 4.4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.)
Though this air fryer offers a crazy amount of quality and an extra large size, the price is pretty moderate: Get it for just $109.99 .
Built-in stirring paddle rotates food automatically • Transparent lid for checking progress
No screen, if that’s important to you • Pricey
The Amazon’s Choice FZ700251 ActiFry multi cooker is futuristic as hell and the ultimate hands-free cooker.
4. T-fal ActiFry Multi-CookerThe T-fal doesn’t have a screen, but its paddles stir food automatically for more even cooking, and the transparent lid lets you keep tabs on your meal.
Unlike most other air fryers we see, the T-fal does not sport a pull-out food drawer. Instead, the overhead lid opens to reveal a dishwasher-safe, ring-shaped basket that can hold up to 2.2 lbs. Once turned on, the Actifry’s built-in stirring paddle will rotate your food under the hot air, so you don’t have to depend on stirring or flipping for even cooking. Along with your purchase, you’ll also get a 38-recipe cookbook and a measuring spoon.
The transparent lid allows you to look in on how your food is coming along. But if you don’t have time to check in (or just don’t feel like it), don’t worry — a buzzer will go off once the timer is done.
The T-fal Actifry is now 180.01. Get it .
One of the best for perfect crisping • Excellent modern look • Heats up fast
You will have to flip or stir yourself • No screen, if that’s important to you
The Black+Decker 2-Liter heats up fast and crisps food nicely, though you will have to stir/flip yourself.
Not only is this eight-cup device powerful on the inside, but is one of the most aesthetically pleasing options on the exterior. Its stainless steel features make it easy to match your modern kitchen, and there are also white models as well. There’s no screen, but this air fryer is equipped with two lights: one to show when the unit is on, and one to show when the unit is preheated. Customers in the reviews say there’s little to no wait time. Just use the temperature dial to heat your fryer to anywhere from 175-400 degrees.
The ‘s price has gone down to $82.01. Choose from black or white and get it here.
Offers indoor grilling options • Very affordable
Doesn’t have a screen, if that’s important to you
If you want to grill indoors in addition to air frying, and not spend a lot of money, the Secura could be your best bet.
Though the Secura fryer doesn’t have a screen, it’s still a powerhouse, complete with a temperature dial (up to 400 degrees), a timer dial, and six food settings to do the work for you. Its stainless steel interface allows it to blend seamlessly with the rest of your stainless steel appliances.
The Secura 1500 Watt fryer is now just $54.99, making it a great budget option. Get it .
No screen or bells and whistles
If you’re looking for a no-frills air fryer on the larger side, the Bella is a great deal.
7. Bella Electric Hot Air FryerIt doesn’t have the digital bells and whistles of some of the pricier models, but the Bella’s large capacity and great reviews make it a solid pick.
Able to hold 2.5 liters or 2.2 pounds of food at once, the BELLA Air Fryer is slightly larger than the Black+Decker and Philips devices and slightly smaller than the XL Cozyna. Its interface is simple and features a dial for the timer and a dial for the temperature, with a max of 400 degrees. Like all of the devices above, its food basket is dishwasher safe and thus super easy to clean. According to the listing, it heats up quickly and is equipped with overheating protection.
Get yours for $55.28 .
Gigantic 16-quart capacity • Transparent container
No screen, if that’s important to you
If you’re feeding a family – or friends – the Big Boss can get it done, at a great price.
Choose from seven colors , with prices starting at $77 — an awesome deal for a fryer big.