Monday, July 15, 2024
Gadgets

Best air fryer 2023: Foodie recommended


Among some of the most popular recent kitchen gadgets, there is perhaps none more popular than air fryers. Air fryers offer an alternative and healthy way to crisp up your food without using half a bottle of high fat oil. They are small convection ovens that use powerful – and normally pretty noisy – fans, along with a concentrated heat source to deliver a fried finish to your food. Depending on what your recipe calls for, air fryers require very little or no oil at all while still delivering a crispy finish reminiscent of deep-frying.


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These days, air fryers are a dime-a-dozen, with each brand offering different features, capacities, and levels of connectivity. With so many air fryers now on the market, me and the Pocket-lint team of editors and consumer product experts, put together a list of the best air fryers in hopes of making your shopping just a little easier. I am experienced in kitchen technology and spend a lot of my own spare time perfecting new recipes with the food gadgets I use every day, so don’t be surprised to see some first-hand tips throughout too.


Best air fryers: Our hottest picks

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

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

1. Best overall airfryer

Chicken wings in one basket, fries in another? Yes please.

$160 $200 Save $40

The Ninja Foodi 8 Quart 6-in-1 Dual Zone air fryer isn’t the most price-conscious option on our list, but we love it for its versatility and the ability to cook two different things independently.

Pros

  • Two independent zones
  • Several cooking programs
  • Easy to clean
Cons

  • Quite large for countertop display
  • Not the cheapest

Our best air fryer choice overall is the Ninja Foodi 8 Quart 6-in-1 Dual Zone for a couple of reasons. It’s not the smallest or the cheapest on this list, so you’ll need to make sure you have some worktop space, but we love it for its two independent cooking zones, maximizing your efforts for less time wasted.

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These zones allow you to cook different foods, even using different programs, to finish at the same time, thanks to the Smart Finish feature. There’s also a Match Cook feature though, if you want to cook two baskets of the same food simultaneously, maximizing the large capacity.

Like other Ninja Air Fryers, this model has six cooking functions: Air Fry, Max Crisp, Roast, Bake, Reheat & Dehydrate. It comes with two cooking drawers, two crisper plates and a recipe guide. Perhaps best of all though, the baskets are nice and easy to clean, while the plates are dishwasher safe.

 Ninja AF101 Air Fryer

Ninja Air Fryer

2. Best compact air fryer

Quick to clean and to learn its functions

$75 $130 Save $55

The Ninja Air Fryer comes in a couple of different capacites, with the AF101 being the smallest among them. It features a great design, easy to use controls and easy cleaning.

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Good functionality
  • Easy to use controls
Cons

  • Likely too small for families

The Ninja Air Fryer comes in a couple of different capacities, including the Ninja Max and Ninja Max XL, but we’ve picked the four quart capacity model here as it’s got a great price-point, good performance and is a more compact design than the Dual Zone model above. The beauty of having different capacities but the same design and features, however, is that you can choose the best one for your home, depending on the number of people and your available cupboard space.

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The Ninja Air Fryer offers four cooking functions: Crisp, Roast, Bake, Reheat and Dehydrate. Like the Dual Zone option, one of the best things we found with the Ninja Air Fryer was that the elements – including the basket, crisper plate, and multi-layer rack were dishwasher safe. The controls are nice and intuitive too, making for an easy-to-use air fryer that’s pretty neat looking too.

Instant Pot Vortex 6 (4-in-1)

Instant Pot Vortex 6 (4-in-1)

3. Best air fryer for design

Dishwasher safe and user-friendly

$67 $76 Save $9

The Instant Pot Vortex has a great design and large display for easy controls. It’s relatively compact too, whilst also offering dishwasher-safe parts for easy cleaning.

Pros

  • Straightforward and excellent design
  • Four cooking functions
  • Easy to clean
Cons

  • Capacity might be too small for families
  • Less programmes than Ninja

We liked the Instant Pot Vortex for its modern design and easy-to-use controls. It offers four programs in one with Air Fry, Bake, Reheat and Roast functions and there is very little preheating time, which we liked seeing, as we aren’t the most organized over here and if we want wings, we want them now. There’s a capacity that fits up to 1.8kg (2lbs) of chicken or 1kg (2lbs) of chips and there are one-touch programs, so you can get those fries or cinnamon buns cooking in no time.

The smart dial control offers temperature adjustment up to 400-degrees Fahrenheit and cooking time up to an hour, and the design will look good on a worktop if you don’t have cupboard space. Like the Ninja options, the Instant Pot Vortex has a dishwasher-safe basket and tray for easy cleaning.

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Instant makes our best air fryers list again, this time with the Instant Pot Duo Crisp Ultimate Lid 13-in-1 device. It’s pretty pricey compared to some others on our list, but it has some serious functionality. It’s not only an air fryer, but it is also a pressure cooker and slow cooker, plus it can sauté, steam, warm, roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, bread proof, create yogurt, and it has a Sous Vide function too.

It’s big and pretty heavy, so you’ll need some cupboard space, but we like it because it reduces the need for several of these large counter-top appliances. There’s a big LCD panel on the front, which will display step-by-step cooking instructions for super simple cooking, and the Instant Pot app is excellent for finding recipes, so you can make the most out of everything this device can do. As an all-in-one appliance, this one is an excellent choice.

Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro

Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro

4. Best premium air fryer

High-end performance, at a cost

Breville brings a whole lot of “smart” features to this connected combo oven to your countertop. Sporting 13 different cooking modes, the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro is an absolute work horse in the kitchen.

Pros

  • Can function as a dehydrator
  • Large enough to fit a 14lb turkey
  • LCD display for easy reading
Cons

  • An expensive addition to your kitchen
  • More bells and whistles means more things that can break

The Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro is exactly the multi-tool it sounds like. Not only is this device a convection oven and an air fryer all in one, but it features a total of 13 different cooking modes to choose from. Cooks can use it as a dehydrator, toaster, and more.

With so much functionality packed into one device, the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro is a home cooks’ dream. A handy LCD screen displays any relevant information one should know while using the smart oven. The Breville also leverages multiple internal sensors and temperature control to ensure even cooking throughout.

Instant Pot Duo Crisp Ultimate Lid, 13-in-1 Air Fryer BG white background

Instant Pot Duo Crisp Ultimate Lid 13-in-1

5. Best multi-function air fryer

Another great Instant Pot offering

$170 $230 Save $60

The Ninja Air Fryer comes in a couple of different capacities, but the smallest is nice and compact, whilst still offering a great design, easy to use controls and easy cleaning.

Pros

  • All-in-one device
  • Large display for easy cooking
  • Loads of cooking options
Cons

  • Big and heavy
  • Quite expensive

Instant makes our best air fryers list again, this time with the Instant Pot Duo Crisp Ultimate Lid 13-in-1 device. It’s pretty pricey compared to some others on our list, but it has some serious functionality.

It’s not only an air fryer, but it is also a pressure cooker and slow cooker, plus it can sauté, steam, warm, roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, bread proof, create yogurt, and it has a Sous Vide function too. It’s big and pretty heavy, so you’ll need some cupboard space, but we like it because it reduces the need for several of these large counter-top appliances.

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There’s a big LCD panel on the front, which will display step-by-step cooking instructions for super simple cooking, and the Instant Pot app is excellent for finding recipes, so you can make the most out of everything this device can do. As an all-in-one appliance, this one is an excellent choice.

Cosori Pro III Air Fryer

Cosori Pro III Air Fryer

6. Best smart air fryer

App compatible for full kitchen intelligence

The Cosori Pro III Air Fryer has a lovely modern design with a neat control panel and some great feautres, including temperature monitoring to make sure your food doesn’t get overdone.

Pros

  • No preheating necessary
  • Modern design
  • Smart temperature control
Cons

  • Quite big
  • Plastic might get hot

The Cosori Pro III Air Fryer is super modern in its design, which is one of our favorite things about it, and while we have picked the largest capacity at 6.8 quarts for our best air fryer list, there are several other options available for those that don’t want or need as big. One of the other things we like about the Cosori Pro III Air Fryer is that you don’t need to preheat, saving time, which is always a plus in our book, but also that it will adapt the temperature to make sure you don’t overcook your food. Nothing worse than dry chicken.

There’s a lovely control panel that spans the width of the top of the Cosori Pro III Air Fryer too, and you’ll find 12 quick functions, which include Air Fry, Bake, Broil, Roast, Keep Warm, Reheat, Chicken, Steak, Seafood, Veggies, Fries, and Frozen, so there’s plenty of versatility here.

Another handy feature – though perhaps not one you will use that often – is that the Cosori Pro III Air Fryer links up to the VeSync app, so you can control it remotely, and this means you can also use Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant too. Hey Google, get my wings cookin’.

The bottom line: What’s the best air fryer?

Due to its indpendent cooking zones, efficient cooking job, and sleek design, our top recommended choice for the best of the best air fryers is the Ninjia Foodi 8 Quart 6-in-1 Dual Zone Air Fryer.

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

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

Editor’s Choice

$160 $200 Save $40

3 things to consider when buying an air fryer:

There are a number of considerations to take into account when buying an air fryer:

Food volume: Firstly, consider how many people you are typically cooking for. If you are a family of four or more, then you’ll want to be looking at some of the larger capacity options rather than the smaller and more compact options.

Kitchen space: You also need to consider the space you have in your kitchen cupboards, or on the side. This might make a difference to which model you choose, as if you have to have it on your kitchen side, you might not want an overly bulky option, or you may want one of the more streamlined designs.

Basket or bowl design: There are also basket air fryers and bowl air fryers. The bowl options typically have windows to allow you to check on your food, but they aren’t as healthy as the basket models because the food remains in contact with the cooking juices. Basket air fryers, on the other hand, remove the juices from the food, but you normally need to open them to check on your food, which can let cold air in and slow down cooking time.

What kind of food can you cook in an air fryer?

There are a number of foods you can cook in an air fryer. The obvious options are the foods you might normally deep-fry, such as fries, chicken wings and roast potatoes, but there are plenty of other foods you can cook too.

Many air fryer models come with an app offering recipe inspiration, so you can get the most out of your kitchen gadget, but you can also cook most things you would cook in a traditional fan oven as they use the same principal.

That means you can put frozen foods like mini pizzas in an air fryer or seafood. Where we have found air fryers struggle is with heavily battered foods, like onion rings – especially in the bowl version of air fryers. They also aren’t brilliant with light foods, like lettuce leaves. Air fryers are otherwise exceptional kitchen gadgets.

Is air-fried food healthier?

The answer to this depends on what you put into the air fryer in the first place, but in theory, air-fried foods are healthier than fried foods as they require significantly less oil.

It depends on the air fryer model you opt for as to how much oil is recommended, but most claim you will use 75% less oil than traditional frying methods.

There will be some foods that you won’t need any oil for when cooked in an air fryer, like chicken wings, and some chips – or fries – like McCain’s Naked Chips, while some foods will require a little bit of oil.



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