What to Consider When Buying an Air Fryer PLUS The 5 Best Air Fryers
Air fryers! Many folks are eyeballing an air fryer for gift giving (or receiving)! If you’re new to the air fryer scene, then you’ve come to the right place! In this Air Fryer Buying Guide, I’ll help you decide if an air fryer would be a great addition to your kitchen, what to consider when shopping for an air fryer, and I review the air fryers that I own and share a few more that I think are worth considering!
You can also watch me on this YouTube video review and share what I love about my Air Fryer.
What is an Air Fryer?
An air fryer is essentially a mini convection oven. The heating element generates hot air, and a powerful fan circulates the air thru a small chamber. As a result, food cooks faster and if the food is fatty or has oil on it, it does a fantastic job crisping it up.
When you cook foods in an air fryer, you are able to use significantly less oil than you would if you were frying normally (I’m talking teaspoons rather than quarts of it!). 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
- If you can grill it, fry it, or bake it… you can most likely whip it up in your 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 – if you have to preheat, it takes 5 minutes or less
- Saves energy! Food cooks faster in an air fryer compared to the oven!
- Lowers calories in meals
- Provides restaurant style frying
- Easy to clean and maintain (most are dishwasher safe) – learn more about how to clean your air fryer.
Cons of an Air Fryer
- Cost: they can cost anywhere from $50-$300.
- Bulky: some air fryers are large in size. If you don’t have room for it on your counter, you’ll have to put it away and bring it out each time you need it.
- Not all foods will fry as expected: This can depend on the model you have purchased and your air frying skills… at first food may not turn out as you expected. Which leads me to….
- Learning Curve: It will take a little time to learn how to prep food for the Air Fryer. So at first, things could be a little inconsistent. (Go to the Fabulessly Frugal YouTube channel to learn all you need to know to start using your air fryer!)
- Time: Compared to a deep fryer, an air fryer will take more time 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. HOWEVER, when it comes to duplicating anything you’d make in an oven, it’s a lot faster!
- 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 are bored of cooking and need a little excitement in the kitchen
- 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!
Points to Consider 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 are no name brands… they are priced that low for a reason… they are CHEAP! You will be able to find great deals on quality air fryers during events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Prime 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 and read the reviews. While no air fryer is going to have 100% perfect reviews, pay attention to the reviews.
- 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.
- WATTS: my favorite air fryer is a 1700 watt air fryer… if it’s lower wattage, things will take a bit longer to cook.
- WEIGHT: If you plan on storing your air fryer when not in use, you probably won’t want to lug out a 20 pound air fryer.
- FOOTPRINT: If you intend to leave your air fryer out on your counter, make sure it will fit in the space… measure the amount of room you have between the countertop and the base of the cabinet.
- WARRANTY & CUSTOMER SERVICE: generally, you can expect a 1 year warranty on most air fryers. But some offer an incentive for a longer warranty if you register the product within a certain amount of time. Also reach out to customer service and ask a question… if you don’t get a response, then I’d shy away from buying from that company. If for some reason your air fryer is a lemon, it’s reassuring to know you’re buying from a company that will take good care of you.
Air Fryer Reviews: My Favorite Air Fryer
This is the second Air Fryer I’ve purchased, and is much less money than the original Philips XXL air fryer I previously purchased.
What I Love:
- It does an excellent job cooking my food!
- It’s super affordable without being cheap!
- It’s lightweight and doesn’t have a large “footprint”
- The basket is 9″x9″, which means there is plenty of space for food
- The air fryer basket is super easy to clean (it is dishwasher safe, but I just wash it in the sink since it’s so easy)
- There are 11 preset functions, a “shake” reminder, and a preheat button & a “keep warm” setting.
- If you register on the Cosori website within 2 weeks of making the purchase, the 1 year warranty is extended to two years! https://warranty.cosori.com/warranty
- Their newest model (which I do NOT own) has VOICE activated cooking, a wi-fi app, AND lets you customize up to 10 presets! See the Cosori SMART Air Fryer Oven model.
- Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars with more than 50,000 positive reviews!
- I have heard nothing but good things about Cosori customer service.
What I Don’t Love:
- I wish I could turn off the beeping noise it makes every time I push a button
- It feels like I have to push a lot of buttons sometimes… I noticed this more at first but am used to it now.
- I do need to use a little force to open/close (unlike my Philips Air Fryer…. see below)
Watch → watch me unbox my Cosori Air Fryer in my Air Fryer 101 video.
This is the first air fryer that I purchased and it works great, but is expensive!
What I Love:
- The basket is almost 9″x9″ and can be washed in the dishwasher
- The basket pulls out and closes with ease. The base of the air fryer is attached to the entire unit, like a drawer. So when you pull the basket out of the chamber, the “drawer” stays attached to the unit and you can lift the basket out of the drawer. So I don’t have to find a place to set the hot basket down while I remove food… it just stays in the drawer and I have two hands that are free. Although this feature does make it more challenging when it comes time to deep clean your air fryer.
- Easy to use analog dial means less button pushing… it’s nice and quiet and smooth.
- It does a great job cooking my food (although I think the Cosori cooks food a little crispier).
What I Don’t Love:
- It’s very expensive and my Cosori that costs 3 times less money cooks just as well (if not better).
- It is a pain in the neck to deep clean (you can see me cleaning it in this video)
- The grate of the basket is also hard to clean if I cooked up anything that gets stuck on it. Even the dishwasher doesn’t get cooked on cheese off of it!
- It doesn’t auto shut-off when I open it to flip food. It took me a few months to figure out how to pause it when cooking!
- It produces a lot of smoke when I cook fatty foods like bacon or chicken thighs.
- The presets aren’t really helpful.
I have owned an instant pot for a long time… so I decided to buy the air fryer lid accessory. If you just want to occasionally air fry french fries, then I think this is a good investment. But if you plan on having an air fryer that you want to use on the regular, I suggest getting a stand alone air fryer.
Other Good Air Fryers
While I don’t personally own any of these air fryers, I do have a lot of viewers who do and overall are happy with their air fryer. You can see my survey results here.
22% of the viewers I surveyed have a Ninja air fryer. I’ve heard good things about this one as well. The only thing I don’t think I would like about this is the round interior. I’d rather have square for more cooking space. Overall, it has excellent reviews on Amazon. See it here.
Although this one doesn’t have many reviews on amazon, I know a lot of people use it and are happy with it. This one is also 1700 watts, like my Cosori. Although, again, this is a round basket, which I don’t think is space efficient. 23% of the viewers that responded to my survey have this brand.
11% of my viewers responded that they have this one. It is build by the same company that makes the Instant Pot. Looking at the control panel, it seems very user friendly. And I like that the basket is square. See it here.
The best deal you’ll find on this air fryer is at Costco. Many of my viewers on YouTube have this one and love it.
Another one of the most commonly used air fryers is the GoWISE. It has more than 15,000 reviews on Amazon, has 8 digital presets, and 50 recipes with the free app. Users say it is easy to clean but NOT recommended for the dishwasher (users say the coating starts to peel off).
Which Air Fryer Will You Buy?
The eight 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.
If you are worried about the prices, get our app NOW. I already know that these will be a huge hit during Black Friday so we will send you an notification whenever a good air fryer deal comes up!
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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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