Gone are the days of super oily fried food!
Almost everyone likes fried food, but no one wants the fat and oil content, right?
Well, air fryers address this concern by being able to get the job done with up to 80% less oil.
They require little oil and work by circulating super-hot air to cook the food. Essentially, most air fryers replace the conventional deep oil fryer and oven with a healthy alternative.
However, not all air fryers are made equal, and thus it’s important to do the right research. This is where we come in. After over 54 hours of extensive testing, reading reviews and scouring internet forums, we have created our best air fryers list for 2018. You can finally stop ordering takeout every time you want to eat something appetizing!
Best Air Fryers Reviews 2018
The best air fryers on the market vary in terms of the features they offer, the ease of use, and of course, price. It can make selecting the best air fryer a tricky prospect. Here are some factors that we used in our review process.
- Ability to cook food. Things like the level of crispiness and if the food has an even amount of browning all sides can indicate that the fryer can cook a mean meal. Aspects such as the quality of air circulation and how well the heat is contained contribute to a well cooked meal.
- Functionality. Many air fryers comes with pre-set functions, digital screens and the ability to adjust the time and temperature. Important questions like how do these function work and how easy they are to use all come in to play here.
- Accessories. For example, some air fryers come with tongs and grill pans to make cooking and handling different types of foods much easier.
- Price. Does the price justify what you get? At the end of the day, you don’t want to get ripped off and even more, you want great value for the money you’ve handed over.
Now that you know our ranking process it’s time to get down to it. Below you will find the top ten best air fryers for 2018 that are available on the market, which will hopefully make your purchasing decision a lot easier! Here is a quick summary of our best picks.
|1. Black and Decker Air Fryer (Analog)||2 lbs/12.7 lbs||Basket divider||Check Price|
|2. Philips XL Airfryer, HD9240/94 (Digital)||2.65 lbs/15.4 lbs||Recipe book||Check Price|
|3. T-fal ActiFry (Analog)||2.2 lbs/10.58 lbs||Measuring spoon, recipe book||Check Price|
|4. Philips Airfryer, HD9220/28 (Analog)||1.75 lbs/16.4 lbs||Recipe book||Check Price|
|5. GoWISE 4th Generation Electric Air Fryer (Digital)||3.7 qt or 5.8 qt/12 lbs or 14 lbs||Recipe book||Check Price|
|6. Avalon Bay AirFryer (Analog or Digital)||3.3 qt/11lbs||2 piece baking set, recipe book||Check Price|
|7. Della Electric Air Fryer (Analog)||2.8 qt/13 lbs||Tray, tongs, basket divider||Check Price|
|8. Big Boss Air Fryer (Analog)||16 qt/14.7 lbs||2 trays, recipe book, lifting tongs, ring extender||Check Price|
|9. Air Fryer by Cozyna (Analog)||5 L or 3.2 L/15.2 lbs or 12.9 lbs||Recipe book and e-book||Check Price|
|10. Power Air Fryer XL (Digital)||5.3 qt or 3.4 qt/16.2 lbs or 12.4 lbs||Recipe book, basket divider||Check Price|
1. Black and Decker Air Fryer – Best budget air fryer with superb cooking results
From the American company that brings us heavy duty tools and appliances, it’s no surprise the Black and Decker Air Fryer is another such appliance that is overbuilt to be durable and high performing. In fact, it’s only one of a few air fryers that comes with a 2 year warranty.
Can a pledge to a long lasting appliance be met with a good cooking experience? In our testing we all concluded with a definitive yes!
We found it to be an exceptional air fryer with chicken wings, chicken nuggets, drumsticks, hamburgers, onion rings and chips all being cooked evenly and having that sought after crispy finish.
This unit comes with a mesh basket and divider so you can cook two portions of food at once. We also liked that the timer can be set up to 60 minutes which is double that of other models such as the GoWise or Avalon Bay Air Fryer. On the top of the model, you’ll find two indicator lights, one for when the air fryer is turned on and the other for when the preheat temperature is reached. This is a cool feature as it means you’re only cooking at the temperature that you set rather than wasting time as it heats up.
The basket, divider (both non-stick) and bottom drawer are all machine washable and a cool touch handle ensures that the part you’re grabbing never gets uncomfortably hot. These are pretty standard features but it’s worth mentioning so you know exactly what you are getting.
Not every product is perfect, and like other analog displays on this list, the Black and Decker also shares similar issues. The temperature setting ranges from 175 – 400 °F, and goes up in about 50 degree increments meaning a ballpark figure is the best you could hope for. It’s not a big deal considering the forgiving nature of air frying.
For a price hovering around $100, you definitely get what you pay for. The accessories are fairly limited but the cooking experience is one of the best we’ve seen, and at the end of the day, that’s the most important factor. Compared to the following mentioned Phillips model, it’s more than 3 times cheaper and offers the same, if not better cooking ability. For this reason it deserves a number 1 spot.
2. Philips XL Airfryer, HD9240/94 – Premium price for large capacity and excellent cooking performance
If you happen to visit the official Philips website, you would find that their line of air fryers is in fact the world’s most popular with over 5 million units sold. In many cases, the popularity of a product isn’t always correlated with how good it is, but with Phillips XL Airfryer, nothing could be further from the truth.
The product contains a 60 minute timer with an automatic on/off setting so you don’t have to sit around minding your food. Compared to a conventional oven, you may think it’s too short but when it comes to frying food it gives you more than enough time as most recipes only take 15 – 30 minutes.
The most important aspect of any air fryer is how good it cooks food, and this appliance excels in this regard.
What helps this air fryer propel its way up this list is the implementation of ‘rapid air technology’. The technology enables you to fry, grill and roast food as efficiently as possible and keeps the smell down to a minimum – perfect for a shared living arrangement!
There is a lot of talk regarding the patented ‘starfish’ design at the bottom of the cooking area. So what are the advantages of this? Well, combined with the rapid air technology, it circulates hot air around the entire unit to ensure all the food is evenly cooked.
We put this to the test with chicken pieces, chips and fish, all of which came out crispy and equally browned on all sides. Of course, as recommended by most recipes, we also flipped the food items midway through cooking. Don’t expect the same results if you don’t do this. Overall, it was clear all sides of the food were exposed to the hot air circulating around.
The fryer weighs in at 15.4 lbs, with a capacity of 2.65 lbs. It’s a pretty hefty unit, and it will leave a large foot print on your table top. It’s perfect if you’re looking to feed around 4 people, but if you’re a single person or a couple, it’s better to look for a smaller air fryer such as the Phillips HD9220/28.
The digital touch screen allows you to set the temperature up to 390 °F which is high enough to fry any food. There is a also a smart pre-set button to save your cooking settings for when you want to cook the same dish again. When it’s time to clean, a dish washing safe detachable basket and drawer ensures the components that gets most dirty is also the easiest to clean. However; we did find the mesh basket to be a bit bothersome to clean as food and residue can get caught between the grates.
If you’re OK with an air fryer taking up a lot of space, than the Philips XL comes with our recommendation. With a price exceeding the $200 mark, it is a fairly expensive piece of equipment but it does cook food to a very high standard and is well built and usable. Included in this price is a free app and recipe book with more than 150 recipes. You’ll also have the option of purchasing a grill pan and double layer rack with skewers as additional cooking accessories.
If you need a bit more motivation to take the plunge, it has also been endorsed by Michelen star chef and TV-personality Gordon Ramsay.
3. T-fal ActiFry – Automates the turn over process
Unlike other air fryers on this list which have the same look which leads us to speculations that they are made from the same factory (models from Avalon, Della and Cozyna look awfully similar), the ActiFry looks to be designed from the ground up.
This air fryer solves one main issue that plagues all air fryers – flipping the food over!
Most air fryers require the user to take out the basket midway through cooking and then flip over the food.
How does the T-fal Actifry solve this? Simple, they use a paddle. The strikingly rectangular and oval shape unit houses a paddle that sits in the middle of the pan and slowly rotates to turn over the food.
We tested a variety of foods and the results are all positive. Chicken wings especially came out evenly cooked and passed the ‘crispy outside, moist inside’ test. The unit also comes with a tablespoon which we used to pour 1 unit of oil over the food for that extra level of crispness.
We loved the super simplistic design. We know that air frying doesn’t require too much temperature monitoring, and it’s apparent that T-fal have implemented this knowledge in the design. There is only an on/off button and a timer control that displays a digital countdown which can be set up to 99 minutes. There is no temperature dial with this unit heating up to 338 °F and staying there.
The intuitive design almost hits a home run but falls short on the timer implementation. Once the timer expires, there is no auto shutoff with only a buzzer sounding. It means the unit will continue cooking your food until you manually turn it off. Whist this job is made easier due to the steam free viewing window, it’s still a relative annoyance that you need to be around when the cooking is nearing completion.
In regards to cleaning it’s a straightforward and accessible process with the pan, lid and paddle all being detachable and dishwasher friendly. You can also purchase a mesh basket to help cook more delicate items but this will make the cleaning job slightly harder.
The 2.9 liter capacity means that up to 2.2 lbs of food can be cooked at any one time which means you can produce more then 2 servings in one sitting.
With air-fryers, you can get away with very simplistic controls and the T-fal has demonstrated this wonderfully. There are some issues with the intuitive paddle implementation and non-existent auto shut-off feature but the air fryer gets the job done when it comes to cooking food. If the simple issues mentioned were fixed this model would probably be at number 1. As it stands, a respectable 3rd place mention is what the T-fal ActiFry deserves.
4. Philips Airfryer, HD9220/28 – Most popular air fryer
The most popular air fryer offered by Phillips, the HD9220/28 is smaller than its earlier mentioned cousin but provides an equally good frying outcome.
For those wanting an analog user experience, this air fryer turns out to be a solid choice. You’ll find a dial on the front used to adjust the time, and a temperature dial embedded on the top edge.
We especially loved the placement of the temperature dial as it feels more solid and easier to adjust. It’s also embedded into the appliance meaning the plastic shell is effectively protecting the dial.
Like the other Phillips air fryers, this one also uses the patented star fish and rapid air technology to produce excellent cooking results.
Whilst an analog display can be easier to use than a digital one, it doesn’t provide as accurate settings. The flip side is that it will last longer as it makes use of less electronics and moving parts. So if you must have a branded Phillips air fryer that will likely last the longest, it’s best to get this model over the digital one.
Overall, this air fryer is an excellent pick for anyone looking to get a quality analog appliance that does a fine cooking job. We do find it to be slightly expensive considering the limited accessories that come with the unit. However; if you’re happy to fork over the cost then we highly recommend this little cooker. One more thing…it’s endorsed by Gordan Ramsay.
5. GoWISE 4th Generation Electric Air Fryer – Excellent digital display meets solid cooking performance
GoWISE is another such brand that has implemented a digital interface to create a more user-friendly air fryer.
When cooking is complete, a beep will sound off and the unit will switch to standby mode. Your food sits in a detachable, non-stick calphalon coated cooking basket which itself sits in a draw. The smart design means that when you pull out the draw, you can then detach the basket via a button guard which prevents the draw from dropping off. The parts that you need to clean – the cooking basket and the drawer – are dishwasher safe making the job super easy (a cloth with warm water should be able to get the job done).
There are two drawbacks though – the timer and design of the basket.
It must be noted that the timer is only for 30 minutes, which is enough in many cases, but it would have been better for it to go up to the standard hour mark seen in other models.
In our testing, it didn’t cook food as good as the Phillips XL or Black and Decker air fryers and this was especially the case when it came to fish. We cooked 3 pieces of salmon fillets and noticed everything was cooked but the sides were not as brown as the top or bottom. Nevertheless, the majority of food came our crispy and was cooked through. For the price, it definitely met our expectations.
The pre-sets make the job all too easy and the included 14 recipe booklet is great for beginners. However; the lack of accessories, such as pans or racks makes certain foods tricky to cook, and the grated basket, while great for draining oil, can be a bit of a pain when marinating or using liquid ingredients. The good news is that it does come in a 3.7QT or 5.8QT variety so can pick which one suits you.
It’s flashy and sleek and will look great in a modern kitchen. Top it off with a good price and 1 year warranty and the GoWISE Electric Air Fryer comes with our recommendation.
In the Avalon Bay AirFryer, we get a compact and stylish looking appliance that has a well rounded cooking ability.
All of the food we tested turned out tasting great and evenly cooked, with the fried chicken and chips especially turning out well. We were very impressed with the accessories which included a mesh basket, multi-use layer rack and non-stick baking pan. These tools enable you to easily fry, bake, roast or grill your food.
Like other air fryers, you will also find indications on the lid which provide recommended temperature and time settings for cooking common food items.
Avalon provide a digital and analog version of the product. The core difference is that the digital comes with pre-programmed settings for cooking meat, fish or chicken and allows for greater control of the temperature and time. Although the analog model is the cheaper option, the trade-off is using dials that don’t provide as much precision as a digital display.
Oddly enough, this unit does not come with a safety switch on the fry basket. Most units we have seen do feature this so it’s beyond us why Avalon Bay didn’t include it in this model. Perhaps to save on some manufacturing costs?
If you like the Avalon Bay Air Fryer, be sure to check out the previously mentioned GoWISE Air Fryer. They both have similar capacity and feature digital displays. Note that the Avalon is currently slightly more expensive but does offer more accessories.
The accessories combined with the solid cooking factor and price make it ideal for those wanting an excellent air fryer at a modest price. We recommend the digital version as it is easier and more accurate to use (also purchasable through the links we have provided), but the analog model is nonetheless a solid pick if you wish to save some cash.
7. Della Electric Air Fryer – an inexpensive introduction to air frying
Della currently offer 3 air fryers in their product range, and we’ve decided to include the analog model.
It’s definitely one of the more inexpensive air fryers and therefore deserves to be on your radar for its simplistic and straightforward approach.
There are several indications on top of the model that point out the recommended time and temperature settings for common food items like chips, chicken, steak and fish. There is also a warmup light which is something we have not seen in other models. The idea is that once the warmup is complete, the button will light up meaning you should the put the food in, thus ensuring that a stable temperature is applied at all times.
There is no surprises in the dial and temperature implementations. The timer goes up to 30 minutes whilst the temperature can reach a comfortable 392 °F and they are placed on the top and front of the appliance, respectively.
At a capacity of 2.8 qt, this is a relatively small appliance and so cooking for 2 people is the way to go. Food will come out crispy if desired and most customers have reported positive experiences in this regard. We would agree with them, and although you’ll get food that is under or over cooked here and there, the unit mostly gets the job done.
The design is very straightforward and follows the same egg shell shape as other models like the Black and Decker. In a similar vein, the bottom drawer and pot are removable and dishwasher safe so cleaning is a simple and straightforward process.
In terms of safety, just like other air fryers, there is a standby mode for when the timer expires which will stop the machine from over-cooking your food. The handle is also has cool-touch technology and a safety release button to prevent accidentally dropping the food basket.
Overall, this is a solid choice, and the reason it was included on this list is due to the extremely competitive price, solid performance and accessories you get. You can grab this model in red, black or white with the plastic outer shell finished with a glossy coating.
8. Big Boss Air Fryer – Huge capacity and ample accessories
As its name suggests, the Big Boss Air Fryer, is indeed a large kitchen appliance with a staggering 16 quart (15 L) capacity that enables it to cook two dishes on top of each other.
It comes with an adjustable temperature of up to 450 °F, a timer, and perhaps most interestingly has an advertised ‘triple cooking power’ that uses halogen, convection and infrared heat to cook your food.
So how does this work? Well, the infrared heats up the food from the inside out whilst retaining internal moisture. The halogen and convection part works similar to a halogen convection oven and uses a halogen lamp to produce heat which is then spread via a fan. It is therefore possible to cook food 3 times faster than a conventional oven. Now, the most important question, how does this technology combine to cook food?
Considering a price tag of less than $100 we can definitely see a couple of trade-offs as a result of keeping the price as low as possible. There is no digital display, making everything a tad bit harder and less accurate to use. Expectantly, the design comes with the classic issue of accidentally setting the timer too long and not being able to dial it back.
All the components you need to clean are dishwasher safe, but the glass bowl is quite heavy and makes cleaning a tougher job than in other sleeker designed air fryers. It also gets pretty hot during use so be careful not to touch the unit. You would be best to hand clean this appliance as it would be too bulky for most dishwashers.
All things considered, this offering from Big Boss is definitely one of the weaker models on this list. However; there is a silver lining in that you get multiple accessories including 2 trays, lifting tongs and ring extender to cook larger food items.
The main problem is that the quality of the cooked food isn’t as good as what other air fryers offer and also that the machine itself is just a bit cumbersome to use. A good introduction if you are new to air fryers, but there are better options at this price.
This air fryer comes in two varieties – the original is 3.2 L capacity, and the XL is 5 L. Clearly, cozyna have gone ahead and have tried to target two primary demographics which is a single person or couple for the smaller capacity, and a family for the larger fryer.
So how does the air fryer stack up against the others on this list? Well firstly, it’s a pretty generic design that follows the tried and true formula of two knobs to adjust the temperature and timer and a bottom drawer that houses the mesh basket. Both of these elements are dishwasher friendly which is a good thing since they are the only components that need cleaning.
As already mentioned with other models that use an analog design, the knobs are limited in accuracy compared to digital displays, so you’ll get a ballpark figure in regards to temperature and time settings. The timer can be set up to 30 minutes, and the temperature ranges from 176 °F to 392 °F.
Ok, now to the frying part. It cooks food to an acceptable standard and like most air fryers, it’ll take a bit of testing to get the best cooking experience. Based on reviews online, food is not always cooked evenly and consistently, but for the most part, it does a pretty solid job.
In terms of accessories, you get an e-book and physical cookbook with more than 40 recipes. Perhaps the biggest incentive to give this air fryer a go, is the 2 year warranty which suggests a quality build. However; we did find it hard to slide the bottom drawer or ‘container’ back in and it required multiple attempts. In fact, several online reviews have also pointed out this issue and it looks to be a design oversight from the brand.
Considering the price tag and functionality, we would say this air fryer is a little bit overpriced as it hovers above the $100 price tag. You can definitely get equally capable fryers that are equal or less expensive.
10. Power Air Fryer XL – Powerful and sleek with large capacity
The Power Air Fryer XL fills the final spot on this list and for good reason. At 1700 Watts, it’s the most powerful air fryer we’ve seen. The description for this product states that it can ‘bake, steam, saute, grill and roast’ your food. In reality, all this means is that it cooks different types of food.
The air fryer comes with a basket divider, which like the Black and Decker Air Fryer, is used to split the cooking basket in two so you can effectively cook two food items. This model also comes in a 5.3 qt and and a smaller 3.4 qt capacity. If you’re cooking for a family (3-4 people) then the larger size is a clear choice, though it is slightly more expensive.
In terms of the design, it’s fairly generic and copies the egg shape of other air fryers. It comes with a digital screen that has 7 pre-set programs for cooking different food items. You can also adjust the timer and temperature if you wish and it should be noted that when the timer expires, it will automatically shut off the machine so your food won’t keep cooking. Top this off with a cool to touch handle (this thing goes up to 400 °F!) and we have a safe and user-friendly air fryer.
For a price around the $150 mark, one would expect the model to be made out of something that can withstand the temperature. Perhaps the heavily promoted ‘1700 Watts of Turbo-Cylonic Power’ is actually causing the issue? Nevertheless, this problem has kept this air fryer at 10th place.
Another small issue is the recipe book whose stated times and temperatures for various food combinations are overshot. It’s best to use trial and error to figure out the ideal settings.
Overall, this model does everything to a decent standard, except for the aforementioned design flaw. Although there is a work-around, it is something that you wouldn’t expect to be an issue at this price point. If you need the power, digital screen and accessories then by all means this model could be for you, but there are definitely better choices further up this list.
So which Air Fryer is right for you?
If you’re looking for the best cooking ability, then the Black and Decker or either Phillips HD9240/94 or Phillips HD9220/28 are your the best picks. Their cooking ability is a step up from the rest of the competition. The Black and Decker is significantly less expensive and provides the best bang for your buck, but if cost isn’t an issue, then the Phillips models will also serve you well.
If you want something that automates the turn over process and still cooks food to an excellent standard, then the T-fal ActiFry is for you.
If an air fryer with a digital interface appeals to you, then either the aforementioned Phillips HD9240/94 or the GoWISE are solid choices.
Air Fryers Buyer’s Guide
Although many air fryers look similar, they don’t always have the same functionality or features. Here are some of the things you should be aware of.
This can either be a digital or analog implementation. Because food items cook quickly in air fryers, most have timers that can be set up to 30 minutes. However; if you’re looking to cook food for longer, it would be wise to invest in an air fryer that can go up to 60 minutes.
Although analog dials are easier to use, they do have some drawbacks:
- Some timers will keep on ticking when the drawer housing the food is removed. So, when you remove the food to turn it over, you need to be mindful that you’ll have less time then you think. It’s a good idea to preemptively set the timer to factor in this issue.
- Accuracy is another problem. Air fryers are pretty forgiving when it comes to time and temperature settings but dials are prone to be off by a few minutes or even keep ticking when they expire.
Does this mean you’re better of with a digital timer? While they are more accurate, it’s really up to your preference in what you prefer. They also tend to be more costly.
Thankfully, all air fryers we’ve reviewed include a sound that goes off when the timer expires. You’ll know when your food is ready!
2. Temperature setting
It’s not surprising that various foods require different temperatures to achieve optimal results. Pork or bacon will require different temperature settings than cooking potato wedges.
Most air fryers comes with a range of roughly 200°F – 400°F which is plenty of variation to cook a wide variety of food items.
Note that if you air fryer can’t reach a certain temperature that is required for a recipe, simply cooking the food longer will do the trick.
Similar to a timer, the temperature settings can be implemented either digitally or via an analog display. Generally the digital display is more accurate but usually comes at a premium price.
3. Size and Capacity
Air Fryers exist in a variety of sizes and the capacity is measured in quarts, pounds, or liters. You should only invest in a smaller unit if you aim to be cooking for a few people (1-2), or are cooking smaller units of food. Larger air fryers are a good choice if you want to cook larger quantities of food for more people (2 +).
Keep in mind that you need to also factor in the physical size of the unit. A larger air fryer will take up more space on your counter top, so you need to consider how often you are going to use the appliance and it’s importance in your kitchen.
4. Pre-set cooking programs
Typical of digital air fryers, pre-set cooking programs enable you to automatically set the time and temperature with the push of a button for a number of common food items. Some air fryers also take a more traditional approach on this concept by having the settings printed on the lid or body.
5. Safety features
Luckily, most air fryers on the market today come with a host of safety features. These include a cool touch handle, a safety button on the handle to prevent the basket from falling when you take your food out, and an automatic shut off ability when the timer expires.
They are also designed to keep smoke from building up as well as protect the internal components from getting dirty or damaged.
Most components that get dirty (i.e. the bottom drawer and basket) are also dishwasher safe, meaning you can throw them in the dishwasher for a good clean.
Some components like a mesh basket or grated grill are prone to food items becoming stuck on them and so a manual clean may be the best option.
Whilst the basic mesh basket that comes with all air fryers will get the job done for any food item, it can make it easier to have grill racks and pans to help handle other food items more comfortably. After all, who wants your beautiful marination seeping through the mesh!
Many air fryers come with accessories such as racks, recipe books and tongs. If not, a quick search on Amazon will show you accessories that are compatible with your air fryer.
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