We updated this article in April 2022 to ensure all picks tested by the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab are accurately priced and in stock.
Air fryers can be compared to small ovens that crisp up wings, fries, veggies and air-fried recipes with little (or zero!) oil. They come in several different styles, including what we like to call basket-style, great for large batches of foods like fries and vegetables that benefit from shaking; oven-style, ideal for cooking food on numerous shelves and often feature rotisserie accessories; and toaster-oven-style, which can toast, bake, broil and more in addition to air fry.
They all work by using a concentrated heat source, usually located on top, and a large fan to circulate hot air quickly. The powerful combo cooks foods fast with a nice "fried" finish that your traditional oven range can't compete with. They're also great for reheating leftovers, like fries and pizza that are known to get soggy in the microwave.
In the Good Housekeeping Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab, we have tested more than 40 air fryers over the years, cooking at least one pound of chicken wings in each, as well as one half pound of frozen fries and one half pound of fresh, homemade fries. Our top performers air fried food to a crispy texture with a moist interior and were a cinch to use with large, easy-to-read controls that barely required the owner’s manual. These are the best air fryers of 2022 you can buy right now:
Our top picks
Best Overall Air Fryer
Ninja Air Fryer Max XL
This 5.5-quart Ninja Air Fryer Max XL was the top performer in our traditional, basket-style air fryer test. It scored the highest marks across the board for ease of use, thanks to its intuitive, easy-to-read buttons and clear and useful owner’s manual. During our tests, the air fryer basket slid in and out easily, which made handling a breeze. We’re fans of the basket’s removable tray and slick, ceramic interior, which makes it nonstick. The tray also fits snugly and securely on the bottom of the basket so you don’t have to worry about it falling out when you turn the food out onto a plate. Both are dishwasher safe and easy to clean, even if you choose to hand wash.
In addition to being easy to use, the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL scored the highest in performance. It produced crispy and evenly cooked frozen fries, homemade fries and chicken wings that were moist on the inside. The model we tested comes with a broiling rack for even quicker and juicier results — and it's a fast way to create melty cheese. It also features several cook settings, including Max Crisp and Air Broil (which reach 450°F) and dehydrate (which reaches a low of 105°F). The different settings are programmed with unique maximum and minimum temperatures, so you can select them to achieve different cooking results. Another unique feature is the timer, which counts down to the second. For a larger capacity, consider the Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 2-Basket Air Fryer. It performs just as well as the Air Fryer Max XL with even more versatility. It's the one I personally turn to the most since I mostly air fry small batches of food and the smaller baskets are easier to clean and take up less room in the dishwasher.
Best Value Air Fryer
Cosori Air Fryer
Though it's not the least expensive air fryer on our list, this Cosori Air Fryer is a great value: it's straight-forward, easy to use, can feed an entire family and won't run you a fortune. It has a 3.7-quart square basket, which offers a lot of cooking space, especially compared to its round competitors. The basket is removable and lightweight, with many vents for optimal air circulation. The control panel is loaded with presets that are programmed with recommended cooking temperatures and times, including a preheat option. The Cosori Air Fryer can also be used on a manual setting if none of the presets are the perfect fit.
In our tests, the Cosori scored high for ease of use — and more than 5,200 five-star reviewers on Amazon agree. It also made good fresh fries and wings. Frozen fries required almost 10 minutes less than the manufacturer’s instructions, so keep an eye on the goodies you’re cooking. Steam came out of the air fryer during cooking, which caused condensation to develop on the drawer (it did not seem to affect results).
Best Digital Air Fryer
Instant Vortex Plus ClearCook
Air fryers from Instant, the same brand that makes Instant Pot, have been on our list of best air fryers since we started testing them. The ones we tested, including this one, are easy to program and high-performing. Chicken wings came out crispy, golden and juicy in just 20 minutes in this 6-quart ClearCook model and frozen Fries were moist but crisp and evenly cooked without shaking midway. This air fryer has a preheat function built into it, which takes about 3 1/2 minutes to reach 400ºF and chirps when ready to cook. It does not require you to press Start again after it preheats in case you want to put your food in from the beginning and walk away. It also alerts you halfway through cooking in case you want to turn or toss the food, and the interior light turns on just before the timer expires so you can easily see inside before (and after) it's done cooking. (Most basket air fryers don't have lights or see-through baskets!)
The digital control panel is highly responsive, and the knob makes it easy to program the temperature and time quickly. It has six settings that are preset with recommended (but adjustable) cooking temperatures and times, including Air Fry, Bake, Roast, Reheat, Broil and Dehydrate. The square basket maximizes cooking space, is easy to slide out and maneuver and fits comfortably in the dishwasher. It has a removable tray, versus a separate basket that sits inside a drawer, which we prefer for easier cleanup – fewer bulky parts to wash!
Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven
Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven Air Fryer
Cuisinart was one of the first brands to introduce a toaster oven air fryer that allows you to toast, bake, convection bake and air fry. We tested the pictured digital version, which not only made the crispiest air fried food in the shortest amount of time but also some of the most evenly-colored toast in our toaster oven test. The rectangular 15.5- by 16-inch air fry rack offers a large cooking surface and sits atop a drip/crumb tray for easy cleanup. Since launching the toaster oven air fryer, Cuisinart also introduced a smaller, non-digital version with the same features and quality performance as well as a same-sized model with a grill pan that we're eager to test.
Best Large-Capacity Air Fryer
GoWise USA 7-Quart Electric Air Fryer
The GoWISE USA 7-Quart Air Fryer is the one we turn to most for cooking in large batches since it’s so big. In our tests, it air fried crispy fries and juicy wings that we kept going back to nosh on. Its air fryer basket has an oblong shape, which allows for more cooking in a single layer than round baskets, which is a big benefit when it comes to dehydrating. This GoWise air fryer comes with three additional racks that stack, which sets it apart from others on the market. The stacking racks allow you to air fry and dehydrate up to four layers at a time.
Best Compact Air Fryer
Philips Compact Airfryer
Our favorite feature of the Philips Premium Air Fryer is its compact shape that still cooks enough food for two portions. At 2.5 quarts, it’s the smallest of the Philips air fryers, which also come in XL and XXL sizes. It's also the only air fryer we tested with a splatter lid. In our tests, the lid helped make crisp frozen fries that were moist on the inside and evenly golden. It also allowed for cooking greasy foods, such as sausages, which are not typically recommended in an air fryer because they can cause smoking. In addition to the lid, the Philips is very easy to operate with a user-friendly control panel and four preset settings. The basket handle removes for easy cleaning.
Best Air Fryer for One Person
Dash Compact Air Fryer
The Dash Compact is a good air fryer for people who cook only for themselves, or someone who's new to air frying and wants to try it out. At 1.7 liters, it can quickly cook one portion of food. A smaller footprint means it takes up less room on your counter, and a smaller basket means easier cleaning. The Dash has a mechanical timer, which makes it a little tricky to program to the exact minute. The temperature dial also doesn’t offer many temperature options, but we use the max 400°F temperature to air fry most foods anyway. We love that it comes in an assortment of colors that pop, unlike most air fryers on the market. The aqua, pictured here, is a fave.
How we test air fryers
We've tested more than 40 air fryers in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances Lab, including traditional basket-style air fryers, air fryer ovens, air fryer toaster ovens and even several microwaves and multi-cookers with air fry capabilities. We also cook with them quite regularly and have developed countless recipes for them.
When we test air fryers, we evaluate their performance and ease of use by air frying frozen and fresh french fries as well as chicken wings. We don't test baked goods like cake because cake and most other desserts benefit from an even distribution of gentle heat and most air fryers don't have heating elements on the bottom in addition to the top (though fruit crumbles and "donuts" come out great!). We score the food on its crispiness, juiciness and evenness, and we consider details like how quickly it cooks, how helpful the user guide is and whether the machine is loud. We also evaluate features like the control panel, temperature range and whether the accessories are dishwasher-safe.
What to look for when shopping for the best air fryer for you
✔️Size: How many people are you cooking for at one time? A compact size is good for one to two people, while a bigger size works better for three or more.
✔️Style: Basket-style air fryers are good for small quantities and foods that are easy to shake, like fries and veggies; air fryer ovens are a bit bigger and can air fry food on multiple shelves, but they require more monitoring and food often needs to be rotated during cooking; air fryer toaster ovens can perform multiple cooking functions aside from air frying.
✔️Price: Digital air fryers tend to cost more than mechanical air fryers, as do stainless steel versus plastic.
✔️Multifunctionality: If you're in the market for another appliance, toaster ovens, microwaves, pressure cookers and even full-sized ovens have started to incorporate an air fry option into their designs, so investing in a multifunctional appliance might be a better value (that takes up less space!).
How do air fryers work?
Most air fryers have a concentrated heat source at the top of the appliance that's paired with a large fan that circulates the hot air. This design causes food to cook quickly as do other factors like the use of perforated trays for increased airflow and a small-capacity chamber for a high-heat environment. In our tests, home use and recipe development, we've found that most foods cook best at high temps, like 400ºF, for short periods of time. Small food items don't typically need to be tossed or flipped, but larger ones do for the most even results.
Are air fryers "healthy?"
Good Housekeeping's former Nutrition Director Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN says that while air fryers won't make all foods automatically healthy, they're generally a lower-calorie option than deep-frying in oil or pan-frying with a lot of grease."It's definitely a healthier alternative if you commit to using just 1 to 2 tablespoons of a plant-based oil with seasoning and especially if you stick to air-frying veggies more than anything else," she says. "Any appliance that helps you and your family increase your veggie game is key to weight management, reduced risk of chronic disease and improved long-term health as we age."
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
Nicole is the director of the Good Housekeeping Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab where she oversees all of Good Housekeeping's content and testing related to kitchen appliances, tools, gadgets and gear. She's been testing kitchen appliances professionally since 2013 and has worked at kitchen appliance companies where she helped develop some popular air fryers as well as many recipes for them. Since working at Good Housekeeping, she has had her hands on all of the new air fryers that came through the Lab (whether testing herself or overseeing testing) and has tasted food that was made in almost all of them. She's an avid air fryer user at home, too, where she has about six to choose from thanks to working from home during the pandemic.