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Crispy fries without all the oil? That’s the golden promise of air fryers, and it might explain why, in the U.S., the market for these appliances continues to grow year over year. In fact, between now and 2027, MarketWatch predicts that the air fryer market will grow to be worth over $1.2 billion and have a compound annual growth rate of 7 percent. (So, no, it’s not too late to get onboard.)
These irregularly shaped countertop cookers don’t fry food at all. They’re actually small convection ovens. A fan circulates hot air to quickly cook food in the basket from the outside in. These little appliances initially seemed right for finger foods (fries, certainly, along with chicken wings, chicken nuggets, even pizza bites). But you can use an air fryer to cook almost anything you’d throw in the oven or deep-fry. Most have a small capacity, though, from 2 to 5.8 quarts (often smaller than claimed, according to our measurements).
In the lab, we found that the models in our air fryer ratings turned out nicely cooked food, though staffers who sampled the results weren’t fooled into thinking they were deep-fried. “You can tell the difference,” says Larry Ciufo, the Consumer Reports test engineer who oversees air fryer testing.
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Instructions for cooking times and temperatures vary by manufacturer, and though we found minor differences in browning, staffers didn’t notice any real differences in the food. “Even when we held cooking times and temperatures constant, the results were very similar, with no discernible differences in taste,” says Ciufo. “The real difference among air fryers comes down to convenience, so we designed our tests around that.”
We evaluate capacity, how easy the controls are to read and use, noise levels, and how much elbow grease it takes to clean a model. Below, a roundup of the seven best air fryers from CR’s latest tests, listed alphabetically.
Tip: Don’t overload an air fryer’s basket. It can slow down cooking and keep air from reaching all of the food, giving you uneven results. For more tips on how to use this countertop appliance, check out our deep dive on how to get the most out of your air fryer. For more info as you shop, see our air fryer buying guide. And you’ll find even more options in our air fryer ratings.
CR’s take: The Chefman TurboFry 4.5 Quart air fryer is the latest shining star in our air fryer ratings. It aces our noise and controls tests, and earns a Very Good score for cleaning. Despite its larger claimed capacity, the interior basket measures just 2.7 quarts. The one-year warranty is on a par with most of the models we test.
CR’s take: A CR Best Buy, the Chefman TurboFry Touch has a measured capacity of just 2.4 quarts. It earns high marks for controls and ease of cleaning, and it operates quietly, acing our noise test. Though it does have a digital display, it does not come with programmed settings. That means you’ll need to have a general idea of the temperature and time required for each recipe. It does, however, come with a one-year warranty, as well as a cookbook and parchment liners for the fryer basket.
CR’s take: The Dash Digital Tasti Crisp is small but mighty. At a measured capacity of 1.9 quarts and an overall size of less than a square foot, this 6-pound model is one of the most compact air fryers in our ratings. Still, it ranks among the best. It earns a Very Good score for controls and cleaning, and excels in our noise test. It has a one-year warranty, which is typical for most models.
Gourmia GAF686 Digital (out of stock)
CR’s take: The Gourmia GAF686 Digital is a top performer in CR’s air fryer tests. Though its measured capacity is 4.3 quarts, its overall size is equivalent to some smaller-capacity models. In addition to receiving an Excellent rating for controls, the model earns a Very Good rating for noise and ease of cleaning. The GAF686 also stands out for being one of the lightest large capacity air fryers in our roundup, making it easier to move from the cupboard to the countertop.
CR’s take: A CR Best Buy, the GoWise GW22731 has a measured capacity of 4.9 quarts. Its touch buttons and programmed settings are among the easiest to see and use, earning an Excellent rating in our assessment. And this is one of the quietest air fryers we’ve tested. The exterior’s crevices and the basket’s nooks and crannies take some effort to clean, however.
CR’s take: The NuWave 37001 air fryer boasts a measured capacity of 5.8 quarts. Our experts found its electronic controls with programmed settings to be among the easiest to see and use. The inside and outside of the appliance are a cinch to clean, but cleaning food out of the holes in the basket takes a little extra effort. This air fryer is on the noisy side, earning only a Good rating in our noise tests. The fan is as loud as a countertop microwave, so you’ll hear it running.
CR’s take: The Williams Sonoma Open Kitchen Digital Air Fryer, a Williams Sonoma exclusive, has a brushed stainless steel exterior. The interior basket size measures 3.6 quarts. It earns a middling score for its controls but aces the noise test. It’s also pretty easy to clean. This model is designed with a digital display and programmed settings. Like most of the models we test, this one comes with a one-year warranty.
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