Fried foods may not be the best cuisine if we’re talking about improving our health, but let’s be honest: doesn’t everything taste better fried? Even ice cream! Yes, from French fries to chicken to our favorite vegetables, adding that crispy, golden shell can make meals taste so good. Everything in moderation, right? So if you’re looking to dabble in some homemade fried recipes, you may be on the search for the very best air fryer out there. StudyFinds is here to help, scouring the expert reviews for the most popular items.
Now look, we’re here to help you find the best air fryer, but we do have some words of caution just to keep in mind. As mentioned, frying food is far from the healthiest way to cook and it’s important to be aware of the harms too much of this deliciously good thing can do to our bodies. One study points out that for every 114-gram serving (roughly four ounces) of fried food a person eats, their risk of heart disease and stroke rises. That being said, air fryers do provide a way to still enjoy fried food with less oil, which is a healthier option.
Your cravings for junk food are nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, they may have science behind them. If you’ve ever snuck into your kitchen for a midnight snack, you probably know exactly where all the sweet and tasty treats are hidden with your eyes closed. A recent study says this isn’t just about good memory, the human brain may actually be wired to hunt down high-calorie food. Their study finds humans are significantly better at remembering where junk foods are kept than they are with healthier options.
All that said, there may an ironic upside to filling your house with that sweet smell of fried goodness. A study from the University of South Florida say that the smell of unhealthy food for extended periods of time can actually drive people to eat healthier. Researchers say that when people stop and absorb the inviting smell of a high-calorie snack for more than two minutes, they’re less likely to eat it.
To satisfy your hankering from crunchy goodness, the best air fryers are an innovative way to prep those yummy snacks. For our findings, StudyFinds visited 14 expert websites to see which air fryers topped their reviews. Our list is comprised of the items that appeared most frequently across these lists. If you’ve got your own suggestions, please let us know in the comments!
The List: Best Air Fryers, According to Experts
1. Instant Vortex Plus 6-Quart Clear Cook Air Fryer
“The brand behind the iconic Instant Pot also makes air fryers, and its top-of-the-range model consistently turned out the crispiest fries and chicken wings of any air fryers we tested. In our testing, the fries had crisp exteriors but soft, fluffy insides, and the chicken was moist, while its skin was crispy and retained loads of flavor,” says TechRadar, which calls this fryer the very best overall.
“We can’t stop singing the praises of the Instant Vortex, with its Odor Erase technology, which actually neutralizes cooking odors, easy, high tech controls and see-through cooking window, where you can actually watch how air frying transforms your food,” writes Homes & Gardens.
Engadget also labels the Instant Vortex Plus its top choice: “We appreciate the Instant Vortex’s intuitive controls, the easy-to-clean nonstick drawer basket and its roomy interior – it’s big enough to fit four chicken thighs.”
“For shoppers looking for a large, efficient and functional air fryer at an affordable price, the Instant Vortex 6-quart Air Fryer is an incredible value,” says Forbes.
2. Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer Toaster Oven
“The Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer Mini Oven is a little more expensive than the others, but you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck as it offers every cooking function you could need,” says TechRadar. “It doesn’t just air fry, roast, bake, and reheat. It also convection bakes, convection broils, bakes, and toasts.”
Adds US News: “This versatile product receives top professional ratings for best toaster-oven-style air fryer. It can air fry up to 3 pounds of food, roast a 4-pound chicken, bake a 12-inch pizza, and toast six slices of bread at one time. Experts were particularly impressed with how well it roasts whole chickens and found its performance as an air fryer to be the best among air fryer/toaster oven combo units.”
“Performance-wise, the Cuisinart TOA-60 cooked food to near perfection — and even resulted in our favorite fries of the bunch,” says CNN’s review. “One of the most valuable features of the Cuisinart is its three-year warranty, the longest (most only have a one-year warranty) of any oven-style version we tested. That Cuisinart stands behind this product should address any concerns with the relatively high cost of this model.”
3. Ninja Foodi DualZone 4
The Food Network dubs the Ninja Foodi DualZone the best dual basket air fryer in their review: “If you’re already an air fryer convert then you know how diverse they are — perhaps it’s time to take it to the next level. Enter the slim-profiled Ninja Foodi with its double 4-quart baskets. Take advantage of Foodi’s Smart Finish feature: finish two different foods cooking at different times and temps at the same time — think chicken breasts and French fries (they did great in our tests).”
CNET came to the same conclusion. They write, “Ninja’s 8-quart (two 4-quart baskets) is our top pick sporting tons of power at a great price. As with the single-basket Ninja, this machine feels rock solid and the baskets slide in firmly with no wiggle.”
Homes & Gardens adds: “We 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.”
4. Cosori Air Fryer Max XL
Bon Appétit calls the Cosori Air Fryer Max XL the best basket air fryer of the bunch. “It’s a spacious 5.8-quart air fryer that’s both larger and more affordable than most other basket air fryers, so you can get a double portion of French fries in the frying basket at once,” their review says. “The removable basket is nonstick and dishwasher safe, and it’s easy to unplug and stash this thing under the counter—ideal if you have limited counter space.”
Taste of Home calls the Cosori Air Fryer Max XL a “super star” among its reviewed products: “The Cosori air fryer consistently delivers good-looking and delicious results. Our Test Kitchen staff loves how batch after batch of Nashville hot chicken came out of the basket brown, crisp and too tempting not to sample before going to the photo studio. In fact, every ingredient our team tossed into the generously sized basket—this included ears of corn, mini quiches, frozen apps and much more—all came out gorgeously golden.”
Forbes does warn, “This oven yielded great results, but it isn’t as easy to use as some of the others. It was loud when running and we found the button on the drawer to be cumbersome and confusing. Chicken and fries came out perfectly cooked, but the cookies burned and blackened on the outside.”
5. Dash Tasti-Crisp Compact Air Fryer
The Dash Compact Air Fryer was a popular choice for those looking for a great product that won’t take up too much counter space. “While most air fryer models have a nearly 6-quart capacity, this model can only hold half that, making it ideal for cooking for one,” writes Food Network. “Its tiny footprint also means it takes up less room on your counter and fits perfectly in a dorm room, apartment or RV. And the smaller heating volume browned the fries, chicken and cake we tested in it just as well as the Instant Vortex.”
For younger chefs in the house, NY Mag’s The Strategist calls this model the best air fryer for kids. Good Housekeeping says, “The Dash Compact is a good air fryer for people who cook only for themselves or for someone who’s new to air frying and wants to try it out. At 1.7 liters, it can quickly cook one portion of food. The smaller footprint means it takes up less room on your counter, and it’s compact basket means easier cleaning.”
You might also be interested in:
- Best Turkey Fryers
- Best BBQ Smokers
- Best Coffee Makers
- Best Food Processors
- Best Popcorn Makers
- Best Slow Cookers
- Food Network
- Bon Appétit
- Good Housekeeping
- Homes & Gardens
- NY Mag’s The Strategist
- Food & Wine
- Taste Of Home
- NY Times’ Wirecutter
- CNN Underscored
- US News
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.
Every single source shown here has been influenced by advertising. Plus, not all were tested by every source. Try Consumer Reports to get a more accurate story.