What to Consider When Buying an Air Fryer PLUS The 5 Best Air Fryers
Air fryers! Many folks are eyeballing an air fryer for Christmas gift giving (or receiving)! If you’re like me, you’d never heard of an air fryer until the last year or so.
I spent some time researching and reviewing air fryers and now have for you the Fabulessly Frugal’s Air Fryer Buying Guide. I’ll help you decide if an air fryer would be a great addition to your kitchen (scroll down for the air fryer reviews) and I even have a Air Fryer recipes for you (and see my Air Fryer recipes and Air Fryer 101 on YouTube)!
What is an Air Fryer?
An air fryer is exactly what it says it is. It’s a way to fry food using hot air… think of it as a mini convection oven. The heating element generates hot air, and a powerful fan circulates the air thru a small chamber and cooks food faster… if the food is fatty or has oil on it, it does a fantastic job crisping it up.
When you cook foods in an Airfryer, you are able to use significantly less oil than you would if you were frying normally. What happens is that the hot air inside of the fryer moves around so quickly that it simulates a real fryer. Frying in an air fryer reduces fat by 75%! as compared to frying with oil. Hello!
Unlike deep frying, there are no oil deposits used to cook food, just air! Another awesome thing is that you can bake, broil, grill, and roast in an air fryer as well! There are many new air fryer recipes with easy ways to use this new appliance!
Pros of Having an Air Fryer
- Reduces the fat by 75% in a dish when compared to regular fried food
- Less than 1 tablespoon of oil can fry an entire meal
- No huge pans of oil once the frying is done
- Quick and easy – no need to preheat like you do an oven and food cooks faster
- Lowers calories in meals
- Provides restaurant style frying
- Can fry frozen foods instantly
- Easy to clean (most are dishwasher safe)
- Can double as a grill or oven
Cons of an Air Fryer
- Cost: they can cost anywhere from $50-$300.
- Bulky: many air fryers are large in size. Some don’t store too nicely on your counter space, which means you may have to put it away and bring it out each time you need it.
- Not all foods will fry as expected: I saw some people say raw veggies were difficult for them to fry, while I saw others say that they fried raw veggies every night. Be sure to check out the fryer you are buying (our buying guide below will help!) to know what it is capable of. It will take time to learn how to prep food for the Air Fryer. So at first, things could be a little inconsistent.
- Time: an air fryer will take more time than a normal deep fryer to get the job done. I am talking about only a few minutes difference, but I wanted to make sure you are aware of that.
- Noise: they can be a bit loud. Mine is louder than a microwave, but not as loud as a vacuum of course. It’s not that big of a deal, but can be a deterrent for some.
You Need an Air Fryer IF:
- You love fried foods, but want to make healthier choices
- You want to consume fewer calories
- You like a variety in your diet
- You don’t like to heat up your oven for a small meal
- MAYBE you don’t have a stove/oven (awesome to have if you’re remodeling!)
- You love kitchen gadgets and want to experience the fun of cooking with an air fryer!’
Consider THIS When Purchasing an Air Fryer:
- SPACE: think about the dimensions of the cooking space, rather than the full capacity… some air fryers are more narrow and taller, which means you’d have less horizontal space for baking cookies or cooking chicken or wings.
- GO BIG: you’ll want to go bigger than what you think you need… it’s a bummer to fall in love with an air fryer and decide you need to spend more money to get something larger because you love it so much.
- COST: don’t buy the super cheap air fryers that will go on sale for Black Friday… they are priced that low for a reason… they are CHEAP! There are still nice air fryers that go on sale during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Prim Day. You’ll have a much better experience if you invest in a higher quality air fryer. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hundreds of dollars though. Just invest your money in something good.
- TYPE: a basket style air fryer is the most popular. There are also multi-cookers that air fryer AND pressure cook your food. The only downside to this is that you can only use one function at a time. So if you want to pressure cook some rice while you fry some chicken, you’ll have to wait and do one after the other. Other “toaster style” air fryer ovens (like the Cuisinart Toaster Oven) are larger and have a door that opens with racks. These are huge and you could bake a cake in them, but they do take a LOT of space and will for sure be a constant fixture on your kitchen counter. They are also more expensive.
Air Fryer Reviews: The Best Air Fryers
This is the second Air Fryer I’ve purchased, and is much less money than the original Philips XXL air fryer I bought a year prior.
- It’s lightweight and doesn’t have a large “footprint”
- The basket is 9″x9″, which means there is plenty of space for food
- Comes with a recipe book with over 100 different recipes
- The bin where the frying takes place comes out easily and is super easy to clean (dishwasher safe)
- There are 11 preset functions, a “shake” reminder, and a preheat button
- Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars with more than 34,000 positive reviews!
Watch → watch me unbox this particular Cosori Air Fryer in my Air Fryer 101 video.
For a little more money, you can UPGRADE to the newest model that has VOICE activated cooking, a wi-fi app, AND lets you customize up to 10 presets! See the Cosori SMART Air Fryer Oven model.
This is the first air fryer that I purchased. It’s nice and large.
- The basket is almost 9″x9″ and can be washed in the dishwasher
- The basket pulls out easily and is easier to manage than my favorite Cosori air fryer I mentioned above. That is probably the one thing I love about the Philips more than the Cosori… the base of the air fryer is attached to the entire unit, so when you pull the basket out of the chamber, the “drawer” holds open and you can lift the basket out of the drawer.
- There are other accessories you can purchase, for pizza making, grilling, and baking.
- Easy to use analog dial means less button pushing.
While I don’t personally own this one, GoWISE is one of the first air fryer names I looked at years ago. It has more than 15,000 reviews on Amazon, has 8 digital presets, and 50 recipes with the free app.
- touchscreen display
- easy to clean but NOT recommended for the dishwasher (users say the coating starts to peel off)
- basket is 9″x9″ wide from side to side.
- heats from 180˚ to 400˚
It comes in many different colors and allows you to watch your food while it is being fried due to the clear glass bowl it sits in. It has a 3.5 out of 5 rating and allows for multi-rack cooking!
This is by far the most visually appealing air fryer on the market! Cuisinart did an awesome job by combining a convection oven with an air fryer! You can bake, grill, fry, warm, and toast all at once!
This oven has a 4.5 star review and was named one of the top 10 air fryers on the market. I recommend this one if you are wanting to leave the fryer out at all times on your counter, as it’s more visually appealing. Another bonus is that you can use it as a toaster, convection oven, and an air fryer!
Which Air Fryer Will You Buy?
The five different air fryers that I highlighted here on this buying guide are all great, that’s why I picked them for you! Now you need to pick which one would work best with your family, your lifestyle, your kitchen, and your budget.
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Check Out These Air Fryer Recipes!
And here are some things I recommend you read while you wait for your air fryer to arrive!
- Top 10 Air Fryer Mistakes
- How to Use an Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Desserts
- How to Cook Bacon in the Air Fryer
- 20 Healthy Air Fryer Recipes
- 15 Air Fryer Recipes That Will Make You Want An Air Fryer
- 15 of the Best Air Fryer Hamburger Recipes
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