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11 best air fryers and how to shop for them, according to experts

These appliances make food crispy on the outside and tender on the inside using very little oil.
Air fryers typically come in two styles: Smaller pod-shaped models and larger convection-oven style models
Air fryers typically come in two styles: Smaller pod-shaped models and larger convection-oven style modelsKara Birnbaum / NBC

Alongside coffee makers, toasters and blenders, air fryers are a staple kitchen appliance for many home chefs. But they don’t actually fry anything. Air fryers are small convection-like ovens that blow hot air around their insides, cooking and crisping food like chicken wings, fries, bacon and Brussels sprouts with very little oil.

Air fryers are a Select reader favorite kitchen gadget and models are almost always on sale during events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day. If you’re interested in purchasing one — be it an affordable air fryer or a more luxe model — we spoke to experts about what to consider while shopping.

SKIP AHEAD Best pod-shaped air fryers | Best convection oven-style air fryers

Selected.Our top picks

How we picked the best air fryers

When shopping for an air fryer, experts recommend keeping the following in mind:

  • Type: Air fryers come in a small pod-shaped style or a larger convection oven-style. Pod-shaped air fryers often have a basket in which you cook food, while convection oven air fryers usually come with multiple racks or pans you slide inside.
  • Capacity: If you’re cooking for one or two people, look for an air fryer that offers a cooking capacity of at least two quarts. For larger parties, air fryers that offer a cooking capacity of six quarts or more are ideal.
  • Footprint: Think about how much counter space the air fryer you’re interested in will need. Pod-shaped air fryers are usually best for those looking to save counter space, but if you have room to spare, you may prefer a larger convection oven air fryer.
  • Cooking modes: Generally speaking, all the buttons on an air fryer do the same thing: turn the heating element and fan on, says Bruce Weinstein, author of “The Essential Air Fryer Cookbook.” Don’t be fooled by an air fryer with lots of different functions — if you’re using an air fryer to air fry, then all you need is the air fry button, experts say.
  • Care: Experts recommend looking for an easy-to-clean air fryer model, ideally one that comes with removable, nonstick parts or dishwasher-safe parts.
  • Warranty length: Like any device, appliances can break. Be sure your air fryer comes with a warranty of at least one year in case something goes wrong.
  • Price: Expect to spend around $80 on a good air fryer, though top-tier models can cost as much as $300, experts say. And remember, price isn’t always an indication of quality: Weinstein’s $300 air fryer has lasted him a long time, but he owns air fryers half that price that have worked their way through testing the thousands of recipes in his books.

Best air fryers to shop

Below are a variety of air fryers recommended by experts and Select staffers, as well as bestsellers that have especially high marks from customers.

Best pod-shaped air fryers

Ninja AF101 Air Fryer

This Ninja air fryer is commonly a Select reader favorite during sales like Amazon Prime Day. It offers four programmable cooking functions — air fry, roast, reheat and dehydrate — and you can adjust the temperature and timer manually. The air fryer also has a pause button so you can stop cooking momentarily if you want to add food to the basket or check a dish’s progress.

Size: 4 quarts | Warranty: 1 year | Care: Dishwasher-safe basket | Rating: 4.8-star average rating from 49,402 reviews on Amazon

Instant Vortex 6-Quart Air Fryer

Bruce Weinstein, author of “The Essential Air Fryer Cookbook,” said that the Instant Vortex 6-Quart Air Fryer has more surface area than many other air fryers he’s used. “The baskets are not very tall, but they’re very wide, which is really nice,” he said. It has a screen for viewing the temperature and time, as well as four different presets for air frying, baking, reheating and roasting.

Size: 6 quarts | Warranty: 1 year | Care: Dishwasher-safe basket | Rating: 4.5-star average rating from over 1,400 reviews at Best Buy

Beautiful 6-Quart Air Fryer

Thanks to its matte exterior and gold accents, Beautiful’s air fryer has a sleek look that makes you want to leave it out on your countertop. The appliance offers four cooking modes — air fry, roast, reheat and dehydrate — and you can manually adjust its temperature and timer. The start button doubles as a pause button, allowing you to stop cooking at any point to check cooking progress.

Bella Electric Hot Air Fryer

Bella’s compact air fryer is suitable for small kitchens. It’s a no-frills model that has two adjustable dials— one to set the timer and one to set the temperature. The appliance’s indicator light tells you when your food is ready.

Size: 2.6 quarts | Warranty: 2 years | Care: Dishwasher-safe basket | Rating: 4.6-star average rating from 3,996 reviews on Amazon

Cosori 4-Quart Smart Air Fryer

Cosori’s smart air fryer connects to a companion app that allows you to control the appliance from afar. It also sends you cooking progress notifications and reminders to shake or flip food in the frying basket. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa devices, so you can control it via voice commands. The Cosori air fryer offers seven cooking functions for veggies, meat and more, and you can manually adjust its timer and temperature.

Size: 4 quarts | Warranty: 2 years | Care: Nonstick dishwasher-safe basket and crisper plate | Rating: 4.6-star average rating from 2,376 reviews on Amazon

Ninja Foodi 8-Quart 6-in-1 Dual Zone 2-Basket Air Fryer

Since it’s designed with two independent 4-quart cooking baskets, this air fryer gives you double the cooking space. You can simultaneously cook two different foods two different ways and sync the baskets so food is ready to serve at the same time. The air fryer offers six cooking functions, including air fry, air broil, roast, bake, reheat and dehydrate. If you’re looking for an even larger appliance, this Ninja air fryer is also available as a 10-quart model.

Size: 8 quarts | Warranty: 1 year | Care: Hand-wash nonstick baskets, dishwasher-safe crisper plates | Rating: 4.8-star average rating from 640 reviews on Amazon

Philips Premium Digital XXL Air Fryer

Weinstein recommends this basket air fryer from Philips, and while he acknowledges its hefty price tag, he says it’s built to last. The appliance offers five preset cooking options, like baked goods and beef, and seven functions, like air fry, toast, roast and reheat. It’s also built with a screen to display the temperature and time.

Size: 7 quarts | Warranty: 1 year | Care: Dishwasher-safe drawer and basket | Rating: 4.5-star average rating from 2,808 reviews on Amazon

Gowise 3.7-Quart Programmable Air Fryer

Dr. Urvashi Pitre, author of several bestselling cookbooks using Instant Pots, air fryers and more, says this Gowise model is a cost-effective basket-style air fryer that can hold enough food to feed a few people. It has a screen for viewing the temperature and time, plus eight presets for chips, chicken, cake and more.

Size: 3.7 quarts | Warranty: One year | Care: dishwasher-safe removable pan | Rating: 4.6-star average rating from 15,493 reviews on Amazon

Best convection oven-style air fryers

Instant Vortex Plus 10-Quart Air Fryer

This large-capacity air fryer is designed with two racks to maximize cooking space. Weinstein loves this model but notes that if you use both trays, you’ll need to swap your food halfway through cooking. The heating element is on the top of the Instant Vortex Plus, so if you don’t swap the trays, half your fries might end up less crispy. The Instant Vortex Plus has a touchscreen to set the temperature and time. It also offers seven functions, from air frying to dehydrating.

Size: 10 quarts | Warranty: 1 year | Care: Dishwasher-safe drip pan, cooking trays and rotisserie spit | Rating: 4.6-star average rating from 64,382 reviews on Amazon

Our Place Wonder Oven

Our Place’s Wonder Oven — which the brand sent me to try — is the most used appliance in my kitchen. I air fry fish, vegetables, potatoes and more inside, and love utilizing its steam infusion technology. I add a tablespoon of water to the appliance’s inlet and the steam that’s created makes my food’s interior moist while the exterior gets crispy.

In addition to air fry mode, the Wonder Oven offers bake, roast, toast, reheat and broil modes. You can adjust its temperature, time and mode with dedicated dials, and the appliance dings when food is done cooking. I also appreciate the Wonder Oven’s glass door so I can monitor what I put inside. The appliance comes with a wire rack, bake pan and air fryer basket, plus its chic design makes it a welcome addition to my kitchen.

Size: 12 liters | Warranty: 1 year | Care: Hand-wash all parts | Rating: 4.3-star average rating from 479 reviews at Our Place

Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer

Pitre “absolutely loves” this Breville model, which acts as an air fryer and toaster oven hybrid since you can choose from 11 cooking functions, like toasting, broiling, baking and — of course — air frying. The air fryer is designed with an LCD screen that displays the adjustable cooking function, timer and temperature, and it counts down cooking time while food is inside.

Size: 0.8 cubic feet (large enough to fit a 13-inch pizza pan or 11- by 13-inch roasting pan, to give you an idea) | Warranty: 1 year | Care: Hand-wash all parts | Rating: 4.6-star average rating from 2,485 reviews on Amazon

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

Why trust Select?

Zoe Malin is an associate updates editor at Select who writes about kitchen tools and gadgets, including Dutch ovens, tools to make pie, ice cream makers, cookware sets and more. For this article, she interviewed three experts about how to shop for air fryers and rounded up highly options, in addition to expert picks and Select staff recommendations.

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