Air fryer, air fryer, which should I choose? Air fryers have exploded as a must-have appliance over the past few years. However, with all the options available, it's not as easy as it seems to settle on one for yourself.
You have questions, and I have answers, and hopefully, by the end of this, you'll be confident to choose the best air fryer for you!
If you're unsure if an air fryer is worth the buy - check out these common air fryer questions and answers to budge you into action.
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What should you look for when buying an air fryer?
Your air fryer won't take up floor space but will require real estate on your counter.
If you use it frequently, you'll want to leave it out permanently, which means you'll need a permanent spot on your counter.
If you're planning on storing it in between uses, make sure it'll fit in a cupboard or shelf.
If you're getting a top-opening air fryer, you'll need to measure to ensure enough top space.
Air fryer power cords aren't necessarily super long; you'll need a space close to a plug point.
2. Capacity or Volume
This will determine how much you can cook in one go. Of course, it's always best to see the product in real life, but that's not always possible or convenient. A good rule of thumb is to aim for just over a quart per person.
Three quarts / 5 liters (as a minimum) air fryer if you're cooking for two.
Five quarts / 4.73 liters (as a minimum) if you're a family of four.
That's not to say you can't cook a lot of food in a smaller air fryer, but you may have to cook in batches.
Read the product specs and descriptions carefully before you add-to-cart.
A big selling point for me is how easy it is to clean. It has a non-stick coating, fits in most standard domestic sinks, and most parts are dishwasher-safe. If you have any air fryer accessories - those are easy to clean. The outside is easy to clean, and let's be honest; you're way more likely to regularly clean your air fryer than a big old oven.
4. Controls - dial vs. digital
I have one with dial controls, and if I could choose again, I'd instead go for one with digital controls.
Dial controls consist of a temperature dial and a timer dial that dings when the timer ends.
Digital controls have a touch display with a timer and temperature readings; some may also have pre-programmed settings.
Look for models with easy-to-understand icons and an alarm that sounds when cooking is completed.
Some you can also control via an app and voice - these are connected air fryers. Imagine setting your air fryer to cook via an app or asking (Alexa) to get things started while your hands are full!
There are quite a few reputable air fryer brands: COSORI, Ninja, Dash, Instant, Chefman, GoWISE, Breville, and the list goes on. You can rest assured that going for a well-known brand will give you good value for money.
6. Which Type of Air Fryer Should You Buy?
Your two main choices would be a basket-style air fryer or an air fryer toaster oven.
Both air fryers do the job of air frying well, so deciding between the two comes down to counter space and how many functions other than air frying you need.
Air fryer toaster oven
These models look and do the job of a toaster oven with the added air frying function. It's almost like adding a second main oven to your kitchen.
They bake, broil, toast, warm, and, of course, air fry; some even have a rotisserie feature.
It allows you to have one appliance on your counter that performs multiple functions.
It will hold more food at one time than the basket-style air fryers.
More convenient for a large family.
You can see the food cooking through the glass door without opening it up.
Takes up more counter space.
You'll need to flip foods by hand.
Takes longer than the smaller, basket-style air fryers to cook.
Basket-style air fryers
As the name implies, this air fryer is a small drawer with a basket inside. In addition, you can add air fryer accessories that allow you to use the air fryer to make things like muffins, pizza, bread, etc.
They don't take up as much space.
You can shake the food around in the basket to flip things over.
Perfect for a single or double-person household.
Quick to heat and faster cooking time than bigger appliances.
They only do one thing - air fry.
Every time you open the air fryer to check the food, you lose heat.
7. Bonus - Dual air fryer
There is such a thing as dual air fryers. These have two separate cooking baskets side-by-side. They allow you to simultaneously cook two different food types using separate cooking functions and temperature settings. The idea is that you can cook a complete meal in one go.
Tip: If you already have an Instant Pot, you can buy an Air Fryer lid to go on an Instant Pot. This will magically turn your Instant Pot into an air fryer!
The Bottom Line
If you're in a single or double-person household and not someone who cooks a lot, I'd say go for a basket-style air fryer. Anything more and the air fryer toaster oven will give you more bang for your buck. Both are excellent options, and I highly doubt you'll regret buying either.