The Best Air Fryers of 2023, 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 such as 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 such as 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
To find our Test Kitchen-Preferred air fryer, our team tested the most popular air fryers on the market by 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?
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.
- Best for Families: Chefman TurboFry Air Fryer XL
- Pretty & Powerful: Beautiful Kitchenware XL Air Fryer by Drew Barrymore
- Best for Reheating: NuWave Brio Air Fryer
- Best for Small Households: Magic Bullet Air Fryer
Read on for the full results of our intensive testing.
Best for Families: Chefman TurboFry Air Fryer XL
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. Although 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 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. 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.
- 8-quart capacity
- Touchscreen display
- Dishwasher-safe nonstick basket
- Automatic indicator to remind you to flip, shake or turn food
- 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
- Larger countertop footprint
Pretty and Powerful: Beautiful Kitchenware XL Air Fryer by Drew Barrymore
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 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!
The 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.
- 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
- Runs very quietly
- Large basket accommodates large batches
- Crisps food well and cooks quickly
- Stunning colors to match any kitchen
- Rubber feet on the basket come off easily
Best for Reheating: NuWave Brio Air Fryer
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 at reheating 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 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 was still fluffy. That’s a real feat!
- 6-quart capacity
- Digital display
- Six preset options
- Dishwasher-safe parts
- Gives food a perfectly crisp finish
- Very easy to clean
- Push-button release on the handle can be cumbersome
Best for Small Households: Magic Bullet Air Fryer
If you have a small household with just two or three people—or a small home with limited counter space—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 to that of a coffeemaker) means you can keep this gadget on the counter full time.
- 2.5-quart capacity
- Six convenient presets
- Great for small kitchens and families
- Easy to use right out of the box
- Not suitable for large batches
What to Make with an Air Fryer
For folks new to air fryers, the simplest foods to make are no-prep. Start with basics such as 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.
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 either.
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.