The Best Air Fryer for You, According to Kitchen Pros

Have you been eyeing up air fryer recipes lately? Wondering which model to buy? Our Test Kitchen tried all the top brands and found the best air fryer out there so you'll know which one to add to your list.

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The latest gadget to capture our Test Kitchen’s attention (and the attention of home cooks everywhere) is the air fryer. A small appliance that can give snacks like french fries and egg rolls that crisp texture without the fat and mess of frying? Sign us up!

But like all new gear, it’s hard to know if you’re getting the best option out there. Unlike basics like pots and pans, there are a lot of unknowns with new tools.

That’s precisely why our Test Kitchen decided to test the most popular air fryers on the market. We had to know which brand gave our favorite foods that crunchy fried texture—and was easy to use.

How Our Test Kitchen Found the Best Air Fryers

Testing Air FryersTMB Studio

To find our Test Kitchen-Preferred air fryer, our team tested the most popular air fryers on the market, whipping up all sorts of recipes and judging them according to these standards:

  • Texture: How well do our favorite air fryer recipes turn out? Is the finished product crisp? Tender?
  • Cooking quality: Does the air fryer cook food thoroughly? Our Test Kitchen cooked all kinds of dishes, including meatballs, crab cakes, chicken wings and even cinnamon rolls. (By the way, this guide to air-fryer cooking times will change your life.)
  • Price: Is the product affordable? Was the performance reflected in the price?

Psst! You might also like these stackable racks to help maximize cooking space. They’re a game-changer!

Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Air Fryers

Air fryers are not one-size-fits-all. After testing all the major models, four stood apart from the pack. We’ve got the best options for families, budget shoppers and dedicated air frying fans.

Super Star Air Fryer: Cosori Air Fryer Max XL

Cosori Air Fryervia merchant

There’s a reason you see the Cosori Air Fryer Max XL in so many of our videos (like this one for air-fryer chicken tenders): This machine is a star!

The Cosori air fryer consistently delivers good-looking and delicious results. Our Test Kitchen staff loves how batch after batch of Nashville hot chicken came out of the basket brown, crisp and too tempting not to sample before going to the photo studio. In fact, every ingredient our team tossed into the generously sized basket—this included ears of corn, mini quiches, frozen apps and much more—all came out gorgeously golden.

But it’s not all about the looks when we talk about Cosori’s performance. Each recipe we tested with this small appliance turned out exactly as our team envisioned. Breaded recipes—like these air-fried pickles and popcorn shrimp tacos—had a crunchy coating and tender interior. Proteins, including pork tenderloin, fish and beef cooked to the proper temperature all while staying juicy. Simply put: Cosori delivered consistent and tasty results. There are also plenty of air-fryer accessories that complement this make and model.

Features

  • 5.8-quart capacity
  • 11 preset options
  • Keep-warm setting
  • Dishwasher-safe nonstick parts

Pros

  • Roomy basket
  • Cooks food evenly and crisply
  • Keep warm setting is great for holding temperature and crispness

Cons

  • Basket does not sit flat on the counter when removed from the unit
  • Buttons can be temperamental

Price: $120

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Psst! This air fryer cheat sheet is an absolute must-have for home chefs.

Best for Families: Chefman TurboFry Air Fryer XL

Chefman Airfryervia merchant

If you’re cooking for a crew, a smaller five-quart air fryer just won’t cut it. You need an oversized air fryer that can accommodate a whole package of tater tots at a time. The best large-scale air fryer is the Chefman TurboFry Air Fryer XL. While this air fryer is large—it holds a whopping eight quarts!—it doesn’t take up much more space than its conventionally sized counterparts. That’s a bonus for those with large families and limited counter space.

But besides being able to fit more food in less space, this Chefman air fryer is also incredibly easy to use; our Test Kitchen had this model up and running without ever glancing at the manual (though our team did read it after sampling a few air-fryer potato chips). When it came to testing some of our favorite air fryer recipes, our team noticed that this appliance did especially well with baking and prepping frozen foods—two musts for any growing family.

Another bonus for this Chefman model: It was very quiet. The alerts were loud enough to hear across the kitchen or from the dining room, but the machine itself worked in near silence. And as for those alerts, our Test Kitchen liked how this air fryer beeped halfway through cooking to remind you to toss or turn the food.

Features

  • 8-quart capacity
  • Touchscreen display
  • Dishwasher-safe nonstick basket
  • Automatic indicator to remind you to flip, shake or turn food inside

Pros

  • The alert to shake and turn food is very handy and helps with even cooking
  • Roomy basket
  • Easy to use, even without consulting the manual

Cons

  • Large countertop footprint

Price: $105

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Pretty and Powerful: Beautiful Kitchenware XL Air Fryer by Drew Barrymore

Beautiful By Drew Barrymore air fryervia merchant

These days, you’ll often find that most appliances come in two colors: black or stainless steel. Now, these colors are fine but it’s a breath of fresh air to see small appliances in a new hue, like the Beautiful Kitchenware XL air fryer. It comes in a gorgeous sage green, oyster grey, icing white or matte black—all with brushed brass-tone accents. But this air fryer, designed by Drew Barrymore and exclusive to Walmart, is so much more than looks!

This easy-to-use air fryer was up, running and reheating yesterday’s pizza in no time. In fact, in just a few minutes, that pizza was as good as day one with gooey, stretchy cheese and a crisp crust. But this Beautiful air fryer wowed us even more when it came to from-scratch recipes. Eggplant fries were crisp on the outside and tender in the middle with no mush; Southern-style chicken air fried to a perfect golden brown and breakfast bundles held perfectly fluffy eggs with a flaky crust. This is the air fryer to buy if you value style just as much as performance.

And this air fryer is just the start; Drew’s Beautiful brand also makes one of our Test Kitchen’s favorite stand mixers and one of the best electric griddles.

Features

  • 6-quart capacity; a 9-quart Beautiful air fryer is also available
  • Illuminated touchscreen display
  • Nonstick, dishwasher-safe parts
  • Available in multiple colors including sage, oyster and cornflower

Pros

  • Runs very quietly
  • Large basket accommodates large batches
  • Crisps food well and cooks quickly
  • Stunning colors to match any kitchen

Cons

  • Rubber feet on the basket come off easily

Price: $89

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Best for Reheating: NuWave Brio Air Fryer

Nuwave Air Fryervia merchant

Yep, we know that the first thing everyone wants to try with their new air fryer is a package of their favorite frozen fries or chicken tenders. But air fryers are also pretty great when it comes to reheating your leftovers—especially if the air fryer you’re using is the NuWave Brio.

This six-quart air fryer has a generously sized basket—large enough to fit a whole chicken inside! And the NuWave Brio performed great when it came to cooking up that chicken, crisping up frozen foods and making some tasty air fryer veggie recipes. All of these foods came out crisp and golden.

Want to know the secret to crispy, golden-brown air-fried food? We’ve got air fryer tips that’ll help every recipe come out perfectly.

But what really made this air fryer stand out to our testers was how well it did reheating leftovers. Yesterday’s chicken breast and baked potato came out hot and toasty, of course, but the chicken was still juicy and the potato still fluffy. That’s a real feat!

Features

  • 6-quart capacity
  • Digital display
  • Six preset options
  • Dishwasher-safe parts

Pros

  • Gives food a perfectly crisp finish
  • Very easy to clean

Cons

  • Push-button release on the handle can be cumbersome

Price: $160

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Best for Small Households: Magic Bullet Air Fryer

Magic Bullet Air Fryervia merchant

If you have a small household with just two or three people—or a small home with limited counterspace—there’s no need to have a jumbo-sized appliance taking up room. You can get great performance in a compact package with the Magic Bullet Air Fryer.

This air fryer is smaller than its competitors but still delivers when it comes to performance. It’s just the right size for making easy veggie sides, reheating yesterday’s pizza and tackling small prep tasks like toasting nuts. Plus, the compact size (equivalent of a coffee maker) means you can keep this gadget on the counter full time.

Read what our Executive Culinary Director Sarah Farmer thought about the Magic Bullet Air Fryer.

Features

  • 2.5-quart capacity
  • Six convenient presets

Pros

  • Great for small kitchens and families
  • Easy to use right out of the box

Cons

  • Not suitable for large batches

Price: $60

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What to Make With an Air Fryer

For folks new to air fryers, the simplest foods to make are no-prep. Start with basics like frozen french fries, frozen mozzarella sticks or similar snacks. To make sure they come out looking perfectly golden, use this trick (all you need is a bit of cooking spray).

Once you’ve got a handle on the basics of the air fryer, you can make so many tasty recipes from scratch—and not just typical fried foods either. The air fryer can be used to get your favorite veggies nice and crisp, like these Garlic-Rosemary Brussels Sprouts (such a great Thanksgiving side).

You can even bake in an air fryer—believe it! These shortbread cookies are almost too good to be true. Ready for a healthy crunch? You can make air-fryer tortilla chips with way less oil than deep-fried tortilla chips! Don’t miss these addicting air-fryer appetizers.

When all the air frying is done, be sure to clean and care for your appliance the right way. This will ensure you can air fry for years to come.

Check Out More Test Kitchen-Preferred Gadgets

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.