Best air fryer 2021: ranking the best health fryers we've tested

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The best air fryers can create healthier versions of indulgent treats such as fries, chicken wings, and roast potatoes.  Rather than using gallons of oil to deep fry these foods, air fryers employ hot air to ensure they’re crisp, tasty, and better for your waistline. 

You’ll find a powerful fan in the best air fryers, which circulates hot air in circular motions around the food. A paddle or a crisper basket ensures the air, which is much more intense than in traditional cooking methods, can reach every inch of the food so it’s crisp all over. 

It’s not just air frying, either – many models on the market can also roast, bake and grill, while others can reheat and dehydrate, making an air fryer an extremely versatile kitchen appliance. 

If you’re new to air fryers, you may be wondering how air fryers work, and do air fryers use a lot of electricity, so check out our article for a more in-depth look.  Also discover how to clean an air fryer to ensure you keep your new appliance in tip-top condition. 

For those tight on space, one of the best Instant Pots and multi-cookers, which include air-frying as one of the many cooking methods they offer, is also worth considering. 

With a baffling array of air fryers on the market to choose from, with brands such as Philips and Tefal offering a selection of models, alongside newer manufacturers such as Ninja and Instant Pot, you may be floundering when it comes to picking the right model for you. We’ve put several of the most popular air fryers to the test, and ranked those we’ve reviewed to help you pick the best air fryer you can buy right now.

Best air fryers of 2021 we’ve reviewed

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(Image credit: TechRadar)

1. Instant Vortex Plus air fryer

The best air fryer

Specifications
Style: Basket fryer
Capacity: 6 quart / 5.7-liter
Cooking modes: Air-fry, roast, bake and reheat, grill, dehydrate

Reasons to buy
+Excellent crisp, evenly browned results+Easy to clean+Handy presets

Reasons to avoid
Bulky, takes up lots of spaceReheat function can’t replace microwave

The brand behind the iconic Instant Pot also makes air fryers, and its top-of-the-range model consistently turned out the crispiest fries and chicken wings of any air fryers we tested. The fries had crisp exteriors but soft, fluffy insides, and the chicken was moist, while its skin was crispy and retained loads of flavor. 

The Instant Vortex Plus has a squared-off design, complete with a frying basket and removable crisper tray, which is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The air fryer offers a 6 quart / 5.7-liter capacity – Instant claims this is large enough to hold a 4lb / 1.8kg chicken or 2.2lb / 1kg of fries. It also builds on the Instant Vortex (see below) , which can air-fry, roast, bake and reheat, with grill and dehydrate functions too.

It is a bulky air-fryer and takes up a lot of countertop space, and it’s at the top-end of the air fryers market when it comes to price too, but its performance certainly justifies the cost. 

Read our full review: Instant Vortex Plus air fryer

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(Image credit: Emily Peck / Future)

2. Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer

The best air fryer for dual sections

Specifications
Style: Twin basket fryer
Capacity: 8-quart / 7.6 liter
Cooking modes: Air-fry, roast, bake, reheat and dehydrate

Reasons to buy
+Highly versatile+Large capacity+Good range of presets

Reasons to avoid
Bulky, takes up lots of spaceReheat function can’t replace microwave

This is the only air fryer we’ve tested that has two separate compartments, so you can cook two different dishes so they’re ready to serve at the same time. During testing we were impressed at just how quickly the air fryer crisped and evenly browned our fries, in fact following the suggested time, they were a little overcooked on the outside, but still fluffy inside.

The two cooking drawers, which have crisper plates inside, have an overall capacity of 8-quart / 7.6 liter and are deep enough to hold a 1.1lb / 500g batch of fries or 2.2lb / 1kg of chicken wings each. This hand kitchen gadget can roast, reheat, dehydrate, and even bake, as well as air fry and we were impressed that different cooking methods can be employed in each compartment at the same time too. On top of that, the ‘sync’ feature ensures both compartments finish cooking at the same time, so you’ll never be waiting around for one part of your meal to finish cooking. 

It is one of the bulkier air fryers we’ve tested and it does take up a significant chunk of space on a worktop but it looks pretty stylish combining a glossy black finish with silver accents.

Read our full review: Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer 

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(Image credit: Future)

3. Tefal ActiFry Genius XL

The best air fryer for tasty food

Specifications
Style: Bowl fryer
Capacity: 3.7 quart / 3.5-liter
Cooking modes: Air-fry

Reasons to buy
+Excellent crisp, evenly browned results+Rotating paddle helps cook food evenly+Glass top lets you monitor your food  

Reasons to avoid
Bulky bodyExpensive

The fries and chicken wings cooked in the Tefal Actifry Genius XL certainly beat the Instant Vortex Plus and Ninja Foodi air fryers when it comes to flavor. The improved taste of its fries and chicken wings is largely down to its bowl design and rotating paddle, as food cooks in its own juices, albeit as it’s moved around the bowl by the detachable paddle. This increases the fat content, because it doesn’t funnel it away, but it also boosts the overall taste, and means you don’t have to clean a separate crisper tray.

It has a deeper, flatter shape rather than the tall design of its rivals. The benefits of this are that it fits easily on worktops under kitchen cupboards and allows for a glass ‘window’ on the top of the machine that lets you keep an eye on what you’re cooking. The heat is also generated at the rear of the machine, meaning it doesn’t get too hot to touch. The downside to this design is that it won’t fit comfortably in a cupboard because of its depth.  

Read our full Tefal ActiFry Genius XL review

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(Image credit: Future)

4. Instant Vortex Air Fryer

The best large capacity air fryer

Specifications
Style: Basket fryer
Capacity: 6 quart/ 5.7-liter
Cooking modes: Air-fry, roast, bake and reheat

Reasons to buy
+Crisp, even browned results+Large capacity+Handy presets

Reasons to avoid
Bulky, takes up lots of spaceFewer cooking modes

Instant’s Vortex Air Fryer turned out the same crisp fries and succulent chicken during testing as its more expensive sibling. In fact with the same capacity that can hold a 4lb / 1.8kg chicken or 2lb / 1kg of fries, and a square frying basket, it’s a more affordable choice for those that don’t want as many cooking functions. 

The Vortex can air-fry, roast, bake and reheat, but there’s no option to grill or dehydrate here. Although we found some of the extra cooking methods weren’t quite as effective as the air fryer setting. For example, cinnamon rolls cooked on the bake setting were far too crisp after the allotted time.  

It’s worth noting, this is a relatively bulky appliance, so if you don’t have enough room to keep it on a counter top you’ll need to store it away when it’s not in use.

Read our full review: Instant Vortex Air Fryer

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(Image credit: TechRadar)

5. Proscenic T21 air fryer

The best Alexa-enabled air fryer

Specifications
Style: Basket fryer
Capacity: 5.8 quart / 5.5 liter
Cooking modes: Air-fry, roast, bake and grill

Reasons to buy
+Easy to clean+Speeds up cooking time+Connects to Wi-Fi and can be controlled from your phone

Reasons to avoid
Bulky, takes up a lots of spaceResults weren’t evenly brownedWi-Fi needed to access recipes

Proscenic’s T21 air fryer can be controlled remotely from your smartphone, and even integrates with Amazon Alexa so you can use your voice to start it cooking instead. 

On test, the T21 did a solid job at evenly browning fries and chicken wings, but it couldn’t quite achieve that satisfying crunch rival air fryers manage. As well as air frying, it can bake, grill, and roast, too. We found the T21 simple to use, with manual time and temperature controls, alongside eight presets for cooking everything from fries and pizza to cake, bacon, and even steak. 

There’s a handy keep-warm function that can keep any dish cooked in the air fryer at a steady temperature for up to two hours once cooking is complete, along with a delay cooking feature that will automatically start the air fryer at a time of your choosing. Despite all these bells and whistles, we were disappointed the air fryer didn’t remind us to turn the food halfway through cooking. 

Read our full review: Proscenic T21 air fryer 

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(Image credit: TechRadar)

6. Philips Essential Airfryer HD9252/91

The best compact air fryer

Specifications
Style: Basket fryer
Capacity: 5-quart / 4.8-liter
Cooking modes: Air-fry, roast, bake and reheat

Reasons to buy
+Excellent crisp results+Compact+Quiet in use

Reasons to avoid
Uses more oil than other air fryersExpensive

More compact than most of the air fryers we’ve tested, the Philips Essential Airfryer HD9252/91 has a 5-quart / 4.8-liter capacity – Philips says is sufficient for three servings, making it ideal for smaller households

It did a solid job at crisping fries and chicken wings in our tests, however, we found it requires oil to cook many foods, even items such as chicken wings, which can be cooked in rival air fryers in this list without any oil. This does slightly reduce the healthiness of the meal you’re cooking.

As well as air-frying, the appliance, which is easy to clean as both sections of the frying basket are dishwasher-safe,  can also roast, bake and reheat, too. It was also the quietest air fryer we’ve tested to date, registering 52db on our meter, which is the equivalent to the gentle hum of a refrigerator. In addition, the exterior casing remained cool to the touch throughout cooking.  

Read our full review: Philips Essential Airfryer HD9252/91

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(Image credit: TechRadar)

7. Kyvol AF600

The best air fryer for keeping a check on your food

Specifications
Style: Basket air fryer
Capacity: 6 quarts / 5.7 liters
Cooking modes: Air-fry, roast, bake, grill, reheat and dehydrate

Reasons to buy
+Crisp, evenly browned results+Easy to clean+Viewing window to check on food

Reasons to avoid
No reminder to turn foodBulky design

Want to keep an eye on your food’s progress but prefer a basket air fryer to a bowl design? The Kyvol AF600 is worth considering as it has a 9.2 x 4-inch /  23.3 x 10.1cm plastic viewing window on its front.

Simple to use, we were impressed with the AF600, which can also roast, bake, grill, reheat, and even dehydrate, when it came to crisping foods. Everything we cooked including skinny fries, frozen steak-cut fries and chicken wings had a satisfying crunch.

Unfortunately, the dedicated toast program – the only air fryer we’ve tested to date offering this – wasn’t as impressive, creating a melba toast effect rather than the breakfast slice we were expecting – while also blowing our flimsy slice around the frying basket as if it was caught in a tornado. However, the toast aside this is a great air fryer that even has Wi-Fi connectivity. 

Read our full review: Kyvol AF600 

How we test air fryers

To compare each air fryer, we’ve cooked up batches and batches of fries and chicken wings. As well as evaluating how, crisp, evenly browned and in the case of chicken wings, how moist and juicy the meat was, we’ve also compared how easy they are to use.

We rated each design on how many settings it offers, how durable and easy to clean the body and parts are, how loud their fans are and how hot the exterior casing gets. For each model we wanted to know whether it was simple to use design and didn’t require reading a thick instruction manual before use, came with useful accessories such as frying baskets, or a recipe book for inspiration.

What to consider when buying an air fryer

There are a number of considerations that need taking into account when choosing the best air fryer for you. 

Start by deciding which type of air fryer you want. Basket air fryers tend to be healthier because they funnel the juices, as well as the fat, away from the food but you can’t check on the food without opening them, and letting cold air in, which can stall the cooking process.

Bowl air fryers, however, have glass lids so you can keep an eye on your meal, but the cooking juices remain in the air fryer and in contact with the food, making it tastier but not as healthy.

You’ll also need to check the capacity of the air fryer. If you’re feeding four or more mouths, look for larger air fryers, which can hold around 6.5 quarts / 6 liters, while couples will find designs that have a capacity of around 2.5 quarts / 2.5 liters will be sufficient. Some of the best air fryers also have more than one compartment, which means you can cook multiple foods at the same time.

As we’ve already mentioned, if you’re tight on space look for air fryers that offer a multitude of different cooking methods, to cut down on the number of appliances that clutter up your kitchen countertop. Also consider whether you want an air fryer with smart features that means you can switch it on or off from your smartphone.

Are air fryers healthier? 

There’s no denying air fryers use substantially less oil than deep frying, but just how healthy are they? Some foods, most of which are frozen or have naturally occurring fat, like Chicken Wings, are suitable for air frying without any oil at all. Fries, roast potatoes, and other traditional crisp foods will need some oil, but how much varies between air fryers.

In our tests, manufacturers ‘ instructions have recommended anywhere from 1tsp to 1tbsp of oil per 1.1lb / 500g of fries, so if you want to use as little oil as possible – we’d suggest you check how oil is required before you purchase a specific model.  It’s also crucial to remember the healthiness of what you make in your air fryer, all depends on what you actually put in it, to begin with. To find out more, read how healthy are air fryers?

What can you cook in an air fryer?

Fries, roast potatoes, chicken wings and other deep-fried favorites are obvious dishes to cook in an air fryer, but that’s not all you can whip up in one of these handy kitchen gadgets. You can prepare anything you can cook in a traditional fan oven, space permitting, because they work in the same way.  So whether that frozen foods, mini pizzas or even gnocchi and ravioli – it can all be cooked in an air fryer. f you’re still unsure we’ve got plenty of inspiration when it comes to what you can cook in an air fryer?  

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It’s been nearly three years since the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018) launched, which is quite a long time in the tech world, but fans of flashy new gadgets will be ... Read more »

Eufy HomeVac S11 Lite is an affordable cordless vacuum cleaner

Eufy HomeVac S11 Lite vacuum cleaner has been launched in India. For those who are unaware, Anker is the brand behind Eufy in India and the latest budget-friendly cordless vacuum ... Read more »

Cathie Wood holds these stocks for triple-digit upside — and they're on sale

Cathie Wood holds these stocks for triple-digit upside — and they’re on sale Stable dividend stocks are great for the risk-averse. But for investors looking to add some pop to ... Read more »

Flowers can feel when bees are near and emit more scent, scientists find

Great yellow bumblebee – Pieter Haringsma/ Flowers can sense when a bumblebee is nearby and release a burst of perfume in order to attract more insects, scientists have found. Bees ... Read more »

Novichok bottle that went missing in Salisbury ‘could have killed thousands'

The amount of novichok concealed in a counterfeit perfume bottle used in the 2018 Salisbury attack could have killed thousands of people, police have said. Investigators still do not know ... Read more »

What's Been Your Favourite Game Of 2021 So Far?

We’ve gotten through a solid chunk of the year. And even though it wasn’t shaping up to 2020 standards, the last several months have been consistently good. 2021 was always ... Read more »

LG's plugless TV wins international design award

LG’s StanbyME TV (IDEA official homepage)Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics scooped various accolades at an international industrial design competition, the two companies said Wednesday. LG Electronics bagged 10 prizes, including ... Read more »

Redmi Smart TVs with 32-inch and 43-inch screen sizes to launch today at 12 pm: How to watch live stream

Redmi is set to expand its smart TV range in India today. The company will introduce 32-inch and 43-inch screen models under Redmi TV series. It has scheduled an online ... Read more »

Facebook launches new models of Portal video chat device

Facebook on Tuesday announced two new models of its Portal video calling devices, including its first portable version. The social media company also said it was testing with several U.S. ... Read more »

Facebook says it spent over $13 billion on safety since 2016

Facebook Inc said on Tuesday it has invested more than $13 billion in safety and security measures since 2016, days after a newspaper reported the company had failed to fix ... Read more »

‘From Telco to a Techco': Enterprise business to catapult telecom industry to next level

From a ‘telco’ to a ‘techco’ – that’s what the future of the telecom industry looks like.The next level Industry 4.0 is around the corner with Covid accelerating the whole ... Read more »

US President Joe Biden sanctions cryptocurrency exchange over ransomware attacks

WASHINGTON: The Biden administration on Tuesday unveiled sanctions against a cryptocurrency exchange over its alleged role in enabling illegal payments from ransomware attacks, officials said, part of a broader crackdown ... Read more »

Salesforce rival Freshworks raises $1.03 billion in US IPO, valued at $10.13 billion

Business software firm Freshworks said it had priced its U.S. initial public offering well above the target range to raise $1.03 billion, valuing the Salesforce.com rival at $10.13 billion as ... Read more »

Lithuania asks citizens to avoid buying Chinese phones due to censorship concerns

Lithuania‘s Defense Ministry recommended that consumers avoid buying Chinese mobile phones and advised people to throw away the ones they have now after a government report found the devices had ... Read more »