What once seemed impossible — having your fries and eating them, too — can now be accomplished with the mighty air fryer.
"An air fryer will cook your meals fast, using hot air that circulates around the food. This cooks [food] similarly to a frying technique, just without the added fat," explains Jenna A. Werner, RD, creator of Happy Strong Healthy in West Orange, New Jersey.
In her "air fryer-obsessed" opinion, one great aspect of this gadget is its speed: The air fryer takes less time to reach the desired cooking temperature than a regular-sized oven, and it cooks food faster using convection heat. This makes the appliance a must for those with jam-packed schedules.
Plus, using the handy kitchen tool is leaps and bounds healthier than dousing your chicken or potatoes in bubbling oil. Eating deep-fried foods is linked with a higher rate of death from all causes, especially cardiovascular disease, per a January 2019 study in the British Medical Journal.
Instead of relying on cups of oils as traditional deep-fryers do, all the air fryer needs is a single tablespoon or even a spritz from an oil sprayer to create that crispy crunch. So, invest in one of the best air fryer brands below — all top-rated on Amazon — and your schedule and stomach will thank you.
1. The Best Budget Air Fryer
Elite Gourmet 2.1 Quart Electric Hot Air Fryer
At less than $50, this compact air fryer is an excellent intro model for solo cooks or smaller families. Ranging from 180 to 395 degrees Fahrenheit, this air fryer can handle a wide range of recipes (think: sweet potato chips, faux fried fish sticks and roasted vegetables) in portions up to 1 ½ pounds. Bonus: It comes in four colors so you can select the hue to match your kitchen design scheme.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $47.99
2. The Best Air Fryer for Large Families
Yedi 12.7 Quart Total Package Air Fryer Oven XL
This massive 12.7-quart air fryer is made to multitask, air-frying potato wedges, broiling steak and roasting asparagus all at once. Try the rotisserie to perfect kabobs, roast beef or chicken, or flip on the dehydrator to make your own dried fruit. In addition to being the biggest of the bunch, this model also has the widest temperature range: 120 to 430 degrees Fahrenheit.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $148.95
3. The Best Air Fryer for Easy Cleaning
Ninja 4-Quart Air Fryer
This four-quart air fryer can fit up to two pounds of fries. Besides its just-right size, it also includes a 105 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit cooking range, so you can do everything from dehydrating veggies to roasting meat. And in what might just be the best news of all, the ceramic-coated nonstick basket and crisper plate are dishwasher-safe.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $93.78
4. The Best Air Fryer for Small Kitchens
Cosori 5.8-Quart Air Fryer Max XL
You'd never guess from its award-winning, sleek and compact design, but this 5.8-quart air fryer can roast a whole six-pound chicken. It can cook food anywhere from 170 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Air fryer newbies will appreciate the 11 one-touch presets that will get rid of all of the guesswork for seafood, bacon, steak, desserts and more. Plus, it comes with a cookbook of 100 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $119.98
5. The Best All-in-One Air Fryer
Instant Vortex Plus 10-Quart Air Fryer Oven 7-in-1 With Rotisserie
Brought to you by the folks behind the Instant Pot, this air fryer promises its "EvenCrisp Technology" using a vortex of air results in air-fried food that's crispy on the exterior and tender on the interior. Beyond air frying, this sizable 10-quart appliance can bake, roast, toast, broil and dehydrate — it even comes with a rotisserie basket and spit — and all parts are dishwasher-safe.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $111.19
6. The Best Full-Size Air Fryer for Under $75
GoWise USA 5.8-Quart 8-in-1 Digital Air Fryer
From crisping up french fries to baking a single-serving pizza, this air fryer is a nice multitasker with eight cooking presets that heat from 180 degrees Fahrenheit to 400 degrees Fahrenheit in 10-degree increments. Set the timer for up to 30 minutes at once, then listen for the built-in alarm that reminds you when to shake ingredients in the easy-to-remove basket for even cooking.
New for this model, the GoWise USA air fryer comes with a start and stop button so you can adjust the time or temperature mid-cycle. Each purchase comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty in case you don't fall in love fast. At $74.99, it is the least expensive full-size model on this list.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $74.99
7. The Best Air Fryer for Picky Eaters
Nuwave Brio 6-Quart Digital Air Fryer
With the ability to cook food frozen (no thawing required) or fresh, this six-quart air fryer can go low and slow or hot and super-speedy with temperature settings from 100 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, adjustable in five-degree increments. This is the model for you if your household has several taste preferences since it includes a basket divider to cook two items at once.
Its capacity is impressive for its reasonable countertop size, too — the Nuwave Brio can cook up to four chicken breasts, two pounds of wings or three pounds of fries simultaneously.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $89.99