Best air fryer 2021: get 100% of the flavour and up to 90% less fat

The best air fryers mean that suddenly, chips and fried chicken are good for you

Best air fryer
(Image credit: Philips)

The best air fryer is a revolutionary gadget that literally allow you to have your fried 'cake' – by which we mean chips and other food you'd usually deep fry – and eat it too. An air fryer uses hot air combined with just a teaspoon of oil (as opposed to the gallons required in a standard deep fat fryer) in order to produce the delicious crispy food we all know and love. 

For those of you who are sceptical; yes we know it doesn’t taste quite the same as deep fried food, but with a decent air fryer model, it’s not far off. Giving reduced health risks on some of your favourite foods, the best air fryers are increasingly popular with families, communal households and anyone who enjoys eating chips on a regular basis. 

This guide to the best air fryer also has links out to our air fryer reviews, so you can delve deep into the world of lower-fat frying. Bon appetit. 

How to choose the best air fryer for you

When buying the best air fryer for you, you’re going to be looking for the same things you look for in any kitchen appliance. First off: capacity. The size of the machine you buy will depend on the size of your family and the size of your kitchen, and the last thing you want to do is end up with a huge appliance that’s cumbersome and far too big to use for just you and your partner. 

Of course, the bigger you go, the more options you get, with some allowing you to fry multiple food items at a time, or even doubling up as other appliances such as steamers and grills. One of the other major advantages of air fryers compared to deep fat fryers is that they are much less hassle to clean and low maintenance in general. Look out for models with dishwasher safe parts and intuitive controls which allow you to vary the temperature for cooking to perfection. 

3 toppings you really need to try on your French fries

If you've ever been to a Dutch snack bar, you'll know that they know how to top off a portion of fries to turn them into little cartons of joy. Here are three Nederlandse snackbar toppings you must try on chips made in your air fryer. Eet smakelijk!

1. Patatje flip: fries with satay sauce and mayonnaise on top.

2. Patat speciaal: fries with ketchup and mayonnaise and a sprinkling of finely chopped raw onions on top. 

3. Patatje oorlog: Oorlog translates as 'war' and that's basically what happens here as your fries are drenched in satay sauce, mayonnaise and topped off with chopped raw onion. Some regions add curry sauce, too. A decadent delight.

The best air fryers to buy, in order

Best air fryerT3 Awards 2020

(Image credit: Philips)

1. Philips Airfryer XXL

Best air fryer

Specifications
Best for: Large families/hungry people
Capacity: 1.4kg
Wattage: 2225w
Interface: Dial & buttons
Reasons to buy
+Great capacity+Precise controls+Can cook entire chicken
Reasons to avoid
-A bit bulky

Philips Airfryer XXL packs a lot into an admittedly sizeable package in order to accommodate anyone who needs to cook on a big scale thanks to a wide basket that can handle, for example, a whole chicken. There are a handful of preset modes so you can air fry, grill, roast, bake and dehydrate foodstuffs or take the manual route and choose from heat settings anywhere between 40°C and 200°C. A lack of accessories is a disappointment but the ability of the Philips Airfryer XXL to cook food quickly and efficiently cannot be faulted. Top marks also go to the digital display too, which works exquisitely and, thanks to simple-but-effective icons such as meat and fish, means it’s pretty hard to mess things up. Aside from the main electrical unit the Philips Airfryer XXL is dishwasher-friendly too.

In the UK, this is technically called model HD9650/99. The version in the USA seems to be slightly different and is called HD9630/96 Airfryer XXL as far as we can tell.  

Best air fryer: Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1

(Image credit: Tefal)

2. Tefal YV970840 Actifry Genius XL 2in1

Best air fryer that lets you cook lots of other meals too

Specifications
Best for: Replacing all your other ovens
Capacity: 1200g
Wattage: 1700w
Interface: Touch panel (and there's an app)
Reasons to buy
+Excellent air fryer+Useful stew cooker too+Built in stirring paddle+Handy recipe app
Reasons to avoid
-Quite a sizeable thing, clearly-Noisy too

As well as turning out your classic air-fried staples – ie: chips, chicken and salmon – this actually doubles as a slightly Instant Pot-like cooker for 'wet' meals such as curries, stews and casseroles. It may look a little complicated at first glance but it's actually very intuitive. 

With a glass dome so you can see what's cookin' and a handy little spatula/paddle thing that turns around inside to stir food, so you don't have to, it's something of a joy to use. If your kitchen is cramped you might struggle to find storage space for this hefty beast but when something is this useful and effective, why store it away anyhow?

Wilko 4L Air Fryer

(Image credit: Wilko)

3. Wilko 4L Air Fryer

Best cheap model and a top performer to boot

Specifications
Best for: Cheap and cheerful air frying
Capacity: 4 litres
Wattage: 1400w
Interface: Twin dials
Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Generous capacity+Simple to use+Easy to clean
Reasons to avoid
-A bit noisy-Limited settings

If you're looking for the best cheap model then, for us, the Wilko 4L Air Fryer is currently pick of the crop. It might have an entry-level price tag but this appliance can air fry a treat. There's a generous 4 litre capacity, which is ideal for family meals if we're talking fries and a brilliant no-nonsense design. A pair of simple dials allow you to set heat and time settings, a power light and a blue indicator to show optimum operating heat and that's it.

The Wilko 4L Air Fryer packs in 1400 watts of power, so it's more than capable of cooking up chips, chicken wings and spring rolls like any other rival. And, because it's got that sizeable capacity you can probably squeeze a few other things in there too. As befits the best air fryer design, there's a grill in the bottom of the pan that you site food on top of. Oil and grease then drips into the pan for disposal. It's wonderfully simply and brilliant for the money.

Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer

(Image credit: Ninja)

4. Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer

Best air fryer for dual cooking convenience

Specifications
Best for: Cooking two things at the same time
Capacity: 7.6 litres combined
Wattage: 2400w
Interface: LCD & buttons
Reasons to buy
+Programmable options+Plenty of capacity+Cook two things at once+One touch meals
Reasons to avoid
-Large footprint-Short power cable-Double the cleaning

The Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer is a neat variation on the theme because it comes with twin cooking compartments. This allows you to an entire meal in one go by taking care of, say, fries in one side and a juicy salmon fillet in the other. You can mix and match the arrangement to suit your tastes and hunger pangs. There are presets if you want to take the easy route, or the machine can be manually configured to cook things just as you like them.

There's plenty of heat, more than enough power and the usual performance that we've come to expect from the Ninja brand. The appliance is quite bulky to allow for the 7.6 litre capacity of the two compartments. However, the way that you can bung everything into the one appliance more than makes up for that, especially if you're always pushed for time in the kitchen. You can even cook double the amount of fries if that's more your thing.

Sage the Combi Wave 3 in 1

(Image credit: Sage)

5. Sage the Combi Wave 3 in 1

Best combination air fryer

Specifications
Best for: Multi-task cooking
Capacity: 25 litres
Wattage: 1000w
Interface: Digital & Dials
Reasons to buy
+Very versatile+Great interface+Looks a treat+Capacity
Reasons to avoid
-Big and bulky-Quite expensive

The Sage the Combi Wave 3 in 1 is a beefy appliance but for good reason. Alongside its solid credentials for producing air fried food this model can turn its hand to a raft of varied cooking tasks. Choose from mealtime cooking options that include Fast Combi, From Frozen, Air Fry, Oven and Microwave from the sizeable onboard settings menu. Or set up everything using manual control. What's more, you can pick additional settings such as Grill, Keep Warm, Melt Chocolate and Soften Butter.

Sage has done a fab job with the design, with a delicious stainless steel exterior along with innards to match. It's cavernous too, with 25 litres of space to cook anything and everything in. You'll need to find space to accommodate it, but the trade off is you get a multi-purpose device that cooks great air fried meals and can also tackle plenty of other options too.

Instant Vortex Air Fryer

(Image credit: Instant Pot)

6. Instant Vortex Air Fryer

Best no-fuss air fryer

Specifications
Best for: Faff-free fries and more
Capacity: 5.7 litre
Wattage: 1700w
Interface: Buttons & LCD
Reasons to buy
+Super easy to use+One-touch settings+Large capacity+Quick to clean
Reasons to avoid
-Large footprint-Miserly cable length

The chunky lines of the Instant Vortex Air Fryer let you know that it means business, which is backed up by a very generous 5.7 litre capacity. The design is wonderfully simple and needs very little in the way of manual input, especially if you're going for the one-touch settings. The 1700 watts of power means the appliance can take on fries with ease, but the size and adaptable heat settings makes the Instant Vortex Air Fryer great for other mealtime offerings too.

Indeed, choose from the likes of Air Fry, Roast, Bake and Reheat and you can cover most bases with this versatile gadget. If you spend some time familiarising yourself with the manual controls the Instant Vortex Air Fryer is actually very adept at baking. So then, this is a brilliant machine that can not only turn out the main course but it'll tackle dessert too. A quick and easy to clean design adds extra appeal.

Ninja AF100UK Air Fryer

(Image credit: Ninja)

7. Ninja AF100UK Air Fryer

Best air fryer if you don't need to cook entire chickens

Specifications
Best for: Limited space
Capacity: 3.8 litres
Wattage: 1550w
Interface: Buttons
Reasons to buy
+Durable cook pan+Easy to clean
Reasons to avoid
-Controls less intuitive than Philips-Cannot cook entire chicken

Ninja’s AF100UK Air Fryer immediately impresses as you take it out of the box due to its more compact size and lighter weight. It’s not the smallest air fryer on the market, but if you’re stuck for space this model is perfect. Better still, the container you cook your food in is nicely made, with an extremely durable ceramic-coated crisper plate insert that you rest food on for more consistent results. Apart from the main unit, everything is dishwasher-friendly. 

Results-wise, the Ninja AF100UK Air Fryer is capable on all fronts, so it naturally does perfect air fry chips but can roast, reheat and dehydrate too. You can cook using presets or manually across the whole heat spectrum, as well as benefitting from two fan speeds when needed.

Philips Airfryer HD9621

(Image credit: Philips)

8. Philips Viva Collection Airfryer 9621

Newer, smaller Philips fryer is another classic

Specifications
Best for: Limited space
Capacity: 800g
Wattage: 1300w
Interface: Buttons & dials
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Compact, attractive, easy to clean+Good cookin’ too!
Reasons to avoid
-Naturally smaller capacity

Both a strong rival to the Ninja, and a worthy Mini Me to Philips’ XXL Airfryer, this model, the Viva Collection Airfryer gives reliably succulent results, with a crisp outer skin. It makes great chips as well. Obviously, you can’t get an entire chicken in this one, but you can’t have everything.

Russell Hobbs Express Air Fry Mini Oven

(Image credit: Russell Hobbs )

9. Russell Hobbs Express Air Fry Mini Oven

Best air fryer that’s also an affordable mini oven

Specifications
Best for: Air frying and oven baking
Capacity: 12.6 litres
Wattage: 1500w
Interface: Dials
Reasons to buy
+Multi-functional+Easy to clean+Simple controls+Capacity
Reasons to avoid
-Quite bulky-More to clean-Short cable

While the Russell Hobbs Express Air Fry Mini Oven is more than capable of serving up a solid portion of fries, this is also a multi-function device that lets you cook in several different ways. That means air frying, grilling, baking and toasting can be carried out. Meanwhile it's also nifty for warming food and keep it that way using the convection heat. The appliance is particularly adept at cooking pizza, so for anyone who lives by a diet of pizza and chips then the appeal is obvious. The grill trays allow you to easily dispense with oil though, making things that little bit more healthy.

Granted, the look and operation are a little bit old school in feel, but the upside is the Russell Hobbs Express Air Fry Mini Oven is a doddle to use and you know exactly where you are with it. Even down to the satisfying 'ting' when your food is done. That window on the front and drop down door offers the benefit of being able to carry out quick visual checks on progress, plus you can give things a prod too. Watch those fingers though.

Morphy Richards Health Fryer

(Image credit: Morphy Richards)

10. Morphy Richards Health Fryer

Perfect if you love fries with everything and wings too…

Specifications
Best for: Cheap chip fans
Capacity: 3.0kg
Wattage: 1400w
Interface: Dial and buttons
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Awesome chips
Reasons to avoid
-Not dishwasher-friendly

Morphy Richards Health Fryer (model 480003) is proof positive that you don’t need to spend a fortune in order to enjoy high-end, primo chips. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about this air fryer, but it is very good at what it does, which includes providing us with yet more chicken wings. 

We love the simple to use manual controls so you can fine-tune cook times. As per most air fryers it’ll fry, obviously, as well as roast and grill to great effect. We’ve found its baking prowess pretty good too with pizza dough and the odd muffin or two coming out tops. 

Available temperatures range between 80°C and 200°C while the air fryer uses rapid air technology to ensure consistent results. Other positives include a timer, up to 30 minutes, plus automatic switch off. There’s a removable basket, although a downside with this machine is its lack of dishwater-friendly parts. No matter, it’s reasonably easy to clean and that square design means it’ll slot away in a cupboard when you’re done scoffing those fab fries.

Duronic Air Fryer

(Image credit: Duronic)

11. Duronic Air Fryer

A small and cheap air fryer

Specifications
Best for: Compact design
Capacity: 1.2kg
Wattage: 1500w
Interface: Dial
Reasons to buy
+Not too cumbersome+Closed-door cooking
Reasons to avoid
-Basket a little flimsy 

The Duronic air fryer is small and compact but still roomy enough to make chips for 2, plus soups, chicken wings and even souffles. The closed-door fryer packs in flavour while keeping cooking as healthy as can be, and it doesn’t spit so it’s totally mess-free, too. Some users have noted that the handle of the basket is a little flimsy, so be sure not to toss your chips too vigorously to avoid any accidents. This air fryer has an adjustable temperature gauge so you can fry anywhere between 80 and 200C for the perfect even results every time.