When it comes to buzz-worthy kitchen items, air fryers are right up there with the Instant Pot. Designed for those looking for a way to enjoy their favorite fried foods without all of the guilt, these handy little contraptions, which are considered a healthier alternative to traditional deep-frying, have practically become kitchen staples since their 2010 inception. The best air fryers of 2019 offer up all of the crunch we love sans the fattening oil. Read on to find out how.
How do air fryers work?
Simply put, air fryers are machines that replace hot oil frying with, well, hot air. With traditional deep-frying, food such as meat, poultry, and vegetables, is submerged into a hot vat of oil, flash cooking and crisping it up in minutes. An air fryer, meanwhile, will circulate hot air around the food — much like a convection oven — creating that coveted crispness you expect from fried food.
How healthy are air fryers?
When it comes to down to it, there’s no such thing as “healthy fried foods.” However, air fryers make these tasty delights healthier.
The biggest difference in air-fried foods is the amount of oil used while cooking. It’s recommended that people toss their food in 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil ahead of air frying to help replicate the texture of traditional fried foods. While cooking your food in such a minimal amount of oil is obviously a whole lot better for you than dropping into a pot of oil, it’s important to remember that moderation is key.
The Best Air Fryers of 2019
Not all air fryers are created equally. From air fryer and toaster oven combos to models that can also serve as a rotisserie or dehydrator, these little machines pack quite the punch. Keep scrolling for FIRST’s picks for the best air fryers of 2019 to help you make your favorite crispy treats in half the time — with half the fat!
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Best Large Air Fryer
Best Large Air Fryer — Philips Twin TurboStar Technology XXL Air Fryer
Where to buy: $249.95 (Originally $349.95), Amazon
Compared to deep fryers, air fryers offer a larger amount of frying space. However, if you're looking for an air fryer that can cook up big batches of delicious fried treats (perfect for the upcoming holiday season!) then you're going to want to pick up the Philips Twin TurboStar technology XXL air fryer. With enough room to fit an entire chicken, this fryer has a 3-pound capacity, a quick-clean basket with non-stick mesh, and seconds-long heat up for big meals to be cooked in record time.
Best Small Air Fryer
Best Air Fryer Under $100 — OMORC 6-Quart Air Fryer
Where to buy: $84.99, Amazon
For the budget-conscious out there, you'll get the best bang for your buck with the OMORC 6-quart air fryer. Ringing in at just $85, this affordable machine packs a punch when it comes to whipping up delectable fried treats. It features a removable, non-stick frying basket and touch screen and knob controls, making it extremely user-friendly. With the simple turn of a button, you'll be well on your way to concocting your favorite fried foods in a healthier way.
Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven
Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven — Cuisinart Convection Toaster Air Fryer
Where to buy: $150.50 (Originally $199), Amazon
As we mentioned above, the air-frying technique has a lot in common with a convection oven, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that air fryer toaster oven hybrids are beginning to pop up. One we're particularly fond of is the Cuisinart convection toaster air fryer. With the ability to air fry, convection bake, convection broil, warm, and toast, this air fryer toaster oven is one to beat. Complete with a non-stick interior, this device will also make for easy cooking and cleanup.
Best Air Fryer Under 100
Best Small Air Fryer — Cosori Air Fryer
Where to buy: $79.98 (Originally $99.99), Amazon
If you're looking for an air fryer that will take up little real-estate on your counter, you'll love the top-rated Cosori air fryer. Slim and square, this appliance will fit neatly in any space. It features a 3.7-quart non-stick frying basket that's both removable and dishwasher-safe and an improved ergonomic angled display that provides a clearer view, making it one of the most advanced fryers on the market today. It also comes complete with 11 pre-set options (steak, poultry, seafood, shrimp, bacon, frozen foods, french fries, vegetables, root vegetables, bread, desserts, and pre-heat), so all of your favorite foods can be prepared with the tap of a button. Genius!
Best Air Fryer With Rotisserie
Best Air Fryer with Rotisserie — GoWISE Deluxe Electric Air Fryer
Where to buy: $153.44, Amazon
One of the coolest new design features for air fryers is a rotisserie option. We all know how delicious a good rotisserie chicken can be, and with the GoWISE Deluxe electric air fryer, you can make your very own — and much more — from the comfort of your own kitchen. This air fryer/rotisserie/dehydrator combo is a great option for families. Coming with 10 accessories (a rotisserie tong, rotisserie rod, oven rack, drip pan, skewer rotisserie, rotisserie cage and steak cage, a shallow mesh basket, and two mesh trays), this easy-to-use air fryer oven will inspire you to spend more time in the kitchen.
Best Air Fryer Pressure Cooker
Best Air Fryer Pressure Cooker — Ninja 6.5-Quart Pressure Cooker, Steamer & Air Fryer
Where to buy: $194 (Originally $249.99), Amazon
If you're torn between buying a pressure cooker and an air fryer, why not get both? With the Ninja pressure cooker, steamer and air fryer, you can. Known as "the pressure cooker that crisps," this 6.5-quart ceramic device allows you to quickly cook up your favorite foods, complete with a crispy, golden finish.
Best Versatile Multi Use Air Fryer
Best Multi-Use Air Fryer — Chefman 6-Liter Digital Fryer
Where to buy: $132.33, Amazon
While many of the air fryers on this list are multi-purpose, the Chefman 6-Liter digital fryer takes the cake. Featuring a large, spacious 6-liter compartment, this machine can do it all. It's got a temperature range that spans from 90 to 400 degrees, allowing you to fry and dehydrate food with ease. It also serves as a personal rotisserie, complete with every utensil and accessory you could need. One of the largest air fryers on the list, the Chefman also comes equipped with an intuitive touch-screen display and eight cooking pre-sets that will make your next air frying experience a breeze.
Best High End Air Fryer
Best High-End Air Fryer — Breville Convection and Air Fry Smart Oven
Where to buy: $409.95 (Originally $499.95), Amazon
For those looking for the top-of-the line air fryer, the title goes to the Breville convection and air fry smart oven. With 13 different cooking pre-sets to choose from, this air fryer is more like a mini-oven with all of its capabilities. Featuring two airspeeds, Breville's air fry smart oven offers greater cooking control for a faster, more even heat distribution. Additonally, it has enough space to cook up everything from a pan of delicious french fries to a 14-pound turkey (yes, you read that right!).