The Best Air Fryers of 2024, Tested by the Taste of Home Kitchen

Updated: May 06, 2024

Have you been eyeing air fryers lately? Wondering which one to buy? Our Test Kitchen tried all the top brands and found the best air fryer in various categories so you'll know which one to add to your list.

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It’s no secret that our culture’s attention span is becoming increasingly short. Everything from fashion trends to TV shows rarely draws us in for more than a few weeks or months. It takes something really special to become more than a brief blip in the zeitgeist. This makes the unwavering popularity of air fryers that much more impressive.

Air fryers first caught our collective eye about five years ago—and we’ve been hooked ever since. A small appliance that can give the best air frying snacks such as air fryer corn dogs, air fryer chicken nuggets, french fries and egg rolls. Or the perfect instrument to try out air fryer chicken recipes and healthy air fryer recipes with that crisp texture without the fat and mess of frying? Sign us up!

With this general obsession with air fryers came the release of about a gazillion different models. This wealth of options, though nice, can also make it overwhelming for a shopper to suss out which version and brand of the appliance is best for them and their needs.

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

Also, check how to clean air fryer following steps easier than you might think!

The Best Air Fryers


Best Overall Air Fryer

Cuisinart Air Fryer

Cuisinart Air FryerSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

I channeled Goldilocks during these tests—trying and seeking out the model that was just right. And this Cuisinart Air Fryer is the chosen one. It offers users the ability to customize their cooking but not so many functions, buttons and presets so as to confuse or overwhelm them. The machine is solidly built (as are all Cuisinart products, like the ice cream maker and 3-in-1 pizza oven), and it cooked the food very well. In fact, it produced the crispiest french fries of the bunch! When you take this into account alongside the modest price of $150, the value is unmatched.

Although it’s a bit of a space hog, it holds enough food to make up for it. The 6-quart basket and 9×9-inch tray can accommodate up to four chicken breast halves, so it’s big enough for meal preppers or midsized families.

But its superiority is in the little details too. For example, this appliance comes with a cord wrap for neater stowing, and the front features a window so you can view the food while it cooks. Not only is this just plain fun to do but it also prevents you from opening the door needlessly to check on the food, ultimately slowing down the cooking process.

Cuisinart Air Fryer french friesSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

Pros

  • Reaches 450 degrees
  • Window for viewing food as it cooks
  • Superior performance, especially with fries
  • Good value
  • Sizable basket and crisper tray

Cons

  • Large footprint
  • No foil or parchment allowed

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Best Small Air Fryer

Bella 2.9-Quart Air Fryer

Bella 2.9 Quart Air FryerSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

Little and lovable—that’s how I would describe the Bella air fryer with a 2.9-quart capacity. You can get straight to cooking as soon as you break into the box; the two knobs (one for time and another for temperature) make it insanely easy to use. It is tiny, though, so you’ll be cooking small portions at a time. This is a smart choice for singles, couples or anyone with a cramped kitchen (or even a dorm!).

Because of its tiny size, it comes with a tiny price tag. Only $55, it’s the cheapest on this list and comparable in price to our budget pick. However, the price is reflected somewhat in the performance, which isn’t quite as impressive as some others on this list. All in all, this air fryer gets the job done in an attractive, compact, inexpensive package. Psst! See more pretty appliances available on Amazon.

bacon cooking in Bella 2.9 Quart Air FryerSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

Pros

  • Easy-to-use dials
  • Incredibly affordable
  • Various color options
  • Small footprint

Cons

  • Not the sturdiest construction or crispiest results

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Best Large Air Fryer

Gourmia 8-Quart Air Fryer

Gourmia 8 Quart Air FryerSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

Gather round—this gargantuan gadget can feed the fam! The 8-quart Gourmia air fryer is a little less intuitive to use because of all the buttons and presets on the touchscreen display, but, hey, we look on the bright side. Thanks to these customization options, your whole crew’s tastes can be satisfied. Just a handful of the 12 presets include air-fry, fries, bacon, bake, roast, broil and dehydrate. (It goes all the way down to 90 degrees to get that last job as a dehydrator done!) During my testing, I found that it cooked the asparagus, chocolate chip cookies and chicken particularly well.

It has a decently large footprint, which is a fair tradeoff when you consider its large capacity that allows you to cook a lot of food at once. And despite its size, this air fryer comes fairly cheap—only $100. Plus, it’s low profile in other ways. Unlike some ultra-noisy models, this appliance’s buttons can be muted.

chicken sandwich from air fryerSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

Pros

  • Cooked food, particularly asparagus, cookies and chicken, very well
  • Practical price point
  • Large cooking capacity
  • 12 presets, such as air-fry, bake, roast, boil and dehydrate
  • Owner’s manual includes chart with cook times
  • Mutable buttons

Cons

  • Less intuitive to use than other competitors
  • Tray is hard to remove

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Best Budget Air Fryer

Beautiful by Drew Barrymore Air Fryer

Beautiful By Drew Barrymore air fryervia merchant

This Beautifil by Drew Barrymore air fryer, which comes in 3-quart, 6-quart and 9-quart sizes, was up, running and heating a frozen pizza in no time. In fact, in just a few minutes, that pizza was as good as fresh with gooey, stretchy cheese and a crisp crust. But this Beautiful air fryer wowed me even more when it came to from-scratch recipes. For example, the breaded chicken air-fried to a perfect golden brown.

And, of course, the bonus that goes without saying is its stunning appearance. These days, you’ll find that most appliances come in two colors: black or stainless steel. It’s a breath of fresh air to see small appliances in new hues. It comes in gorgeous sage green, oyster grey, thyme green, lavender and more—all with brushed brass-tone accents. The 6-quart model is on sale for $69 while the 3-quart model goes for $30.

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.

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

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Best Splurge Air Fryer

Dreo Chefmaker Combi Fryer

Dreo Chefmaker Combi Air FryerSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

“The iPhone of air fryers” is how I would describe the Dreo Chefmaker Combi Fryer. It’s clean, sleek and intuitive, just like the ubiquitous smartphone. And it’s just as, well, smart, too. With Bluetooth connectivity and an accompanying app, it’s a high-tech gadget outfitted with far more than your standard air-fryer touchscreen.

Although the appliance costs $359, this is certainly an instance of “you get what you pay for.” The Combi Fryer, with its sizable tray, outperformed all the others in terms of cooking ability. The chicken was so crisp, it might as well have been from a deep fryer! The gadget boasts solid, impressive construction and features a window on the front for assessing food’s doneness. Keep in mind, though, that it’s quite tall and might not fit under your cabinetry.

cookies in an air fryerSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

Pros

  • Outperformed all other models in terms of cooking abilities
  • High-tech with Bluetooth connectivity and an accompanying app
  • Sizable tray and basket
  • Reaches 450 degrees
  • Window for viewing food as it cooks
  • Impressive construction

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Tall, so it might not fit under cabinets

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Best Stainless Steel Air Fryer

Chefman TurboFry Air Fryer

Chefman Airfryervia merchant

Stainless steel appliances are the default, especially if you live in an apartment or rental home. We get it if you want your air fryer to match your refrigerator, oven and pots and pans. And the Chefman TurboFry Air Fryer is there to complete the look. Like the Gourmia, it also holds 8 quarts, but it has a smaller footprint, making it ideal for those apartment dwellers.

In addition to fitting more food in less space, this Chefman air fryer is also incredibly easy to use. I had this model up and running without ever glancing at the manual. When it came to testing some of our favorite air-fryer recipes, I noticed that this appliance did especially well with baking and prepping frozen foods.

Another perk of 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. As for those alerts, I liked how this air fryer beeped halfway through cooking to remind me to toss or turn the food.

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

  • Larger countertop footprint

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Best Air Fryer for Reheating

NuWave Brio Digital Air Fryer

Nuwave Air Fryervia merchant

Yep, we know the first thing everyone wants to try with a new air fryer is a package of their favorite frozen fries or tots. But air fryers are also pretty great at reheating leftovers straight from the storage container, especially if the air fryer you’re using is the NuWave Brio Digital Air Fryer.

This 6-quart air fryer has a generously sized basket—large enough to fit a whole chicken inside! The NuWave performed great when it came to cooking that chicken, crisping up frozen foods and making tasty air-fryer veggies. All of these foods came out crisp and golden.

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Push-button release on the handle can be cumbersome

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Best Air Fryer for Beginners

Instant Pot Air Fryer Oven

Instant Pot Air Fryer OvenSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

Instant Pot’s claim to fame is its eponymous appliance, but its $120 air fryer is just as noteworthy. First, it’s the only model we tested with a dial, which I appreciated over buttons or knobs. There are also handy arrows printed on the tray and inside the basket to indicate how to insert and align the two pieces. Plus, it lives up to the Instant Pot name in terms of construction; it’s quality and sturdy. The classy brushed black exterior is just an added bonus.

The four functions include: air-fry, roast, bake and preheat, and the appliance delivered all of them adequately—and quietly. With this machine, you’re able to turn the sounds off. Alternatively, if you appreciate alerts, you can opt to receive a “turn food” reminder halfway through cooking.

basket for Instant Pot Air Fryer OvenSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

Pros

  • Modestly sized—doesn’t take up much space
  • Classy brushed black exterior
  • Solidly built
  • Multiple functions, including air-fry, roast, bake and reheat
  • Ability to turn sound off

Cons

  • Didn’t produce the crispiest results

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Best Multipurpose Air Fryer

Ninja Max XL Air Fryer

Ninja Max Xl Air FryerSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

Why air-fry and air-fry alone when you could also dehydrate, reheat and bake? The Ninja Max XL Air Fryer does it all. I even used it to toast bread and cook eggs directly inside the basket (sans any pan, dish or mold!). There’s also a “Max Crisp” feature that delivers on the promise of its name. This feature bumps the temperature to 450 degrees to achieve extra-crispy results.

Despite its varied functionality, this Ninja air fryer is unbelievably simple to use, thanks to the easy-to-read, straightforward control panel. The appliance performed well on all food tests, especially the asparagus, salmon and chicken ones. This one’s for the carnivores! Name aside, this air fryer is fairly compact for easy storage but has a deep basket, which reduces splatter on the heating element.

The durable, high-performing machine is a bit on the expensive and noisy side, but we say that is a small price to pay for perfectly crispy food at your fingertips whenever a craving hits. Also, see what we thought of the brand’s beloved Creami.

salmon in Ninja Max Xl Air FryerSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

Pros

  • Easy-to-read, easy-to-use control panel
  • Durable and well-built
  • Delivered well on all food tests
  • “Max Crisp” function, as well as dehydrate, reheat and bake functions
  • Compact

Cons

  • Noisy
  • On the pricier side

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What to Look for When Shopping for Air Fryers

If you combed through this article, digesting all the pros and cons for each model, and still don’t know which one is best for you, then allow me to elaborate.

While considering the testing results as a whole (you can’t go wrong with any of these picks!), bear in mind the appearance, size and price. For example, if your kitchen has all stainless-steel appliances, a stainless-steel air fryer will best complement your space. If you’re typically only cooking for one or two people, then there’s little need for an 8- or 9-quart air fryer (unless, perhaps, you’re meal prepping or constantly hosting). If you plan to use your air fryer periodically or are just starting out with this cooking method, a model that’s less than $100 might make more sense than pricier options. Assess your own needs, experience level and space, then decide.

How We Tested Air Fryers

air fryer food tests with french fries, salmon and cookiesSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

After conducting thorough market research to identify the most sought-out and/or novel air fryers, we ordered them to the office where we evaluated them based on the following criteria over a three-day span:

  • Ease of operation: Are the controls intuitive to use? Are the basket and other parts (i.e., tray, knobs, etc.) easy to maneuver?
  • Durability: Do the components of the unit feel high-quality and long-lasting?
  • Overall performance: Did the unit do an effective job of air-frying the food evenly and consistently?
  • Price: Is this product a good value based on its capacity, performance and other factors?

Additionally, we paid special mind to the footprint, cooking capacity, functionality, noise level, appearance and ease of cleaning.

To assess these criteria, rest assured that we didn’t just toss some frozen chicken tenders in the basket and call it. We cooked asparagus, frozen pizza, chocolate chip cookies, bacon, frozen french fries, salmon and chicken breast in each and every one of these models to ensure they could crisp a whole plethora of foods to perfection.

Meet the Tester

Sarah Farmer

I’ve been buzzing around the Taste of Home headquarters since 2004. As our executive culinary director, I have my fingers in many pots (sometimes literally!)—developing in-house recipes, testing readers’ recipes as well as gadgets and appliances, and styling food.

Although I’ve been working in the Test Kitchen since before the advent of the air fryer, I was an early adopter of the appliance, even in a personal capacity. In my kitchen at home, I operate under what I call “air fry-ority,” meaning I give my air fryer priority. If a food can be made with the nifty appliance, then it’s going in the basket. I own two versions of the appliance: a compact one that my husband and I use now that we’re empty-nesters and a 9-quart model that I employ for large-scale holiday cooking (crispy Brussels sprouts, anyone?).

Not only do I put the product to work in my own home but also at the office too. The entire Test Kitchen crew has been testing air-fryer recipes and air fryers themselves for a number of years. I led our first round of air fryer product testing back in 2021, so it only made sense that I spearhead this second phase of testing, updated to include the latest and greatest air fryers on the market.

Why to Trust Our Test Kitchen

air fryer instructionsSarah Farmer/Taste of Home

At Taste of Home, we’re serious about good food. That’s why every single recipe that our readers submit gets reviewed, made and sampled by our team of culinary experts. We want to make sure that everything from our kitchens deserves the label Test Kitchen-Approved. 

The same goes for products. Our pros want to know what foods, gadgets and cleaning supplies are the best to fill your pantry and home. We put every product through a thorough testing process. Then our Test Kitchen team chooses the winners. Those best-tasting and top-performing products get our stamp of approval: to be called Test Kitchen-Preferred.

How We Found the Best Air Fryers

For the Test Kitchen, finding the best air fryers worth adding to your cart has been a journey years in the making. As an early adopter to the air fryer hype, I’ve been testing these culinary gadgets since 2021. Of course, don’t just take my word: I got a little scientific and cooked many identical dishes in fryers reviewed here. (Salmon? Chicken burgers? French fries? The sky’s the limit.) Not only do I have first-hand knowledge of how these fryers operate, but this thorough–and delicious process will help you see exactly what to expect from each option.

FAQ

Are air fryers worth buying?

Thanks to convection-style cooking, air fryers function differently than conventional ovens, which are what most people have in their kitchens, or any other common household appliance, for that matter. If you like crispy, golden-brown fried foods, air fryers are worth buying because they can do what your other appliances cannot. And they can do it for little money and without taking up much space. Or, check out a countertop convection oven.

Is there anything unhealthy about an air fryer?

Air fryers are touted as a healthier option than deep fryers. It’s true that air fryers require little cooking oil—they get so hot so fast that they can crisp up your food without that added fat. For example, air-fried frozen french fries contain about five grams of fat versus deep-fried french fries, which can contain about 17 grams.

However, the nutritional value of what you cook in your air fryer will largely depend on what types of food you’re cooking, of course. Air-fried salmon and asparagus are comparatively much healthier than air-fried doughnuts and potato chips.

Can I put aluminum foil in an air fryer?

Check the user’s manual for any safeguards. Whether you can put aluminum foil in your air fryer depends on the model. For example, aluminum foil and paper products are no-go in the Cuisinart Air Fryer. Whereas, the Ninja Max XL Air Fryer can accommodate both foil and parchment.

What is the best thing to make in an air fryer?

One of the reasons an air fryer has become a kitchen essential is that they are so versatile. While air fryers can be used to heat up your favorite frozen foods, they can also be used to cook vegetables, meats and, yes, even baked goods. To help whet your appetite, check out some of our favorite air fryer-friendly dishes.

What cannot be cooked in air fryer?

Air fryers aren’t nearly as limiting as some suspect. You might be shocked to learn you can prepare hard-boiled eggs and cheesecake in your air fryer. That being said, some foods and ingredients simply don’t jive with our favorite tool.

Most greens, for example, will fly around the basket if placed in loose. Fresh cheese for homemade cheese curds will melt before they get the chance to crisp. Even obvious air-fryer foods, such as battered fish or chicken, must be tactfully prepared so the wet batter isn’t flung about as soon as the machine starts whirring.