Before investing in a shiny new kitchen appliance, make sure it’s the right fit for you. You don’t want to sacrifice precious counter space in vain! When it comes to air fryers, the best way to ensure you’re going to actually use it is to choose the right size. After all, these gadgets range from small to extra-large. Here’s everything else our Test Kitchen wants you to know about air fryers.
To help make your choice easier, we called on pros Regina Chaperon and Kara Shilalie, creators of Air Fryer Addicts—an Instagram account devoted to scrumptious meals cooked in the mini oven—for guidance on finding the right air fryer size for every type of cook.
Psst: If you’re looking for recommendations on air fryer brands, check out our Test Kitchen’s review.
For the Solo Home Chef:
Let’s say you cook for yourself and the occasional guest. Look for a small-capacity air fryer that holds 2 quarts at most. It’s enough room to roast a few chicken tenders with a side of Brussels sprouts.
But don’t forget to consider your cooking bucket list. If you dream of making appetizers for all your friends or cooking a meal with plenty of leftovers, you might want to consider going one size up.
“We wish we went larger with our first model,” says Chaperon, who cooks everything from toast to chicken thighs in her air fryer. “We didn’t realize how much we would use it!” She even finds herself reheating leftovers, especially pizza and french fries.
We Recommend: The 2-quart Copper Chef Air Fryer
For the Date-Night Diners:
If it’s mostly you and your beau sitting around the dinner table, the air frying aficionados recommend a 2 or 3-quart air fryer. The basket provides enough space to cook approximately six chicken wings at a time or enough vegetables for two people.
The quick-cooking ability of the air fryer allows for versatility on busy weeknights. “Some nights when I don’t feel like having the same dinner as my fiance, I can throw something in and have dinner ready in 5 to 10 minutes,” says Shilalie, who has two air fryers at home.
We Recommend: The 2.75 quart Philips TurboStar Air Fryer
For the Family-Meal Maestros:
When you’re cooking for three or more, an air fryer with a larger basket allows you to get dinner (and dessert) on the table in record time. Chaperon, a full-time teacher, upgraded to a 6-quart air fryer to make meals for her family of three. “I love how the air fryer allows me to get dinner ready in half the time. As a working mom with a picky 6-year-old, the air fryer allows versatility and also allows me to get creative with meals,” she says.
We Recommend: The 5.8 quart GoWISE Air Fryer
For the Party Hosts:
When you have an open-door policy and find yourself surrounded by friends and family on the weekends, go for the extra-large basket size or an oven model air fryer. That way, you can whip up party plates and quick appetizers that feed a crowd in a jiffy. “The oven model air fryers are ideal if you are looking to replace other appliances, such as your toaster oven. They fit nicely on your counter and take up less space,” Shilalie says.
The 6- to 10-quart air fryer basket will provide enough room to roast a whole chicken, a whole pizza and pounds of finger foods.
We Recommend: The 7.6 quart OMORC Air Fryer