Best Overall: COSORI Air Fryer Max XL
If you’re considering trying an air fryer for the first time, going for simplicity would be my recommendation. While many of the appliances on this list are made with ease of use in mind, none of them are quite as convenient as this air fryer by Cosori.
You can see at a glance how simple the user interface is. A digital display lets you air fry on 11 different settings with a single push of a button. Options for steak, poultry, and seafood are all there, as well as a few unexpected options like root vegetables, shrimp, and desserts. The time and temperature are clearly displayed on the small LCD screen, over three more buttons that let you toggle time and temperature.
The selection of presets is impressive, but it’s the little touches that really help this air fryer stand out from the crowd. It includes a shake reminder to let you know when to give your fryer basket a jostle for even cooking. The preheat function helps ensure consistent cooking, and gets crispy fried foods every time.
It’s true that this fryer is a bit smaller than my other top picks, at just 5.8 quarts. However, this is still large enough for a medium-sized chicken, or enough fries to feed a family of four. Plus, the compact footprint means you won’t have trouble finding a place for it on your kitchen countertops.
What we like
- Comes with 100 page recipe book
- Detachable dishwasher-safe basket
- 11 cooking presets
What We don’t
- 5.8 quart basket is a bit smaller than other options
Best Budget Air Fryer: GoWISE USA GW22954 7-Quart Electric Air Fryer
As manufacturers continue to develop new and better air fryer designs, a growing number of more affordable models are hitting the marketplace. GoWise’s large capacity fryer is a great example with all the digital features you’d expect at about half the price of top-end products.
After looking through a few of the suggested recipes of this air fryer, I found all of the usual food items like french fries and chicken, though it was nice to see a few more surprising options like pizza and brussels sprouts. I don’t doubt that any large air fryer could do the same, though having such a breadth of options at an affordable price is a nice surprise. The 1700 watt power air fryer heating element is able to cook at temperatures ranging between 90 and 400 degrees, making it versatile enough to fry, roast, or dehydrate.
The non-stick basket is 10” x 9.5” x 4”, which is large enough for four hamburgers, or enough fried food for most families. Best of all, it slides seamlessly into an attractive base that comes in four styles and will look great on your countertop.
If you’re already considering trying this air fryer for yourself, I would encourage you to take a chance on it sooner rather than later. Even if you decide to upgrade to a pricier model in the future, you won’t mind having this trust little fryer in your back pocket.
What we like
- 1700 watt heating element
- Affordable price
- Attractive design
What We don’t
- At nearly 17 pounds, it’s much heavier than it looks
Best Air Fryer Upgrade: Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 2-Basket Air Fryer
If a six or seven quart air fryer just isn’t enough to feed your family, there’s a wide selection of large capacity air fryers out there that are scaled to your needs. This 6-in-1 basket air fryer by Ninja Foodi is definitely one option that’s worth a close look.
It’s 8-quart capacity is split between a two-basket setup. However don’t be fooled, it’s not simply one compartment divided by a plastic partition, but two separate air fryers with their own cyclonic fan and rapid heater. That means you can cook double the amount of french fries, or prepare two different dishes at once.
Even better, it offers a total of six different cooking settings, including air fry, roast, bake, dehydrate, reheat, and air broil. You can set each individual basket to the same setting, or use two different settings at once for maximum versatility. It’s a great way to prepare a full, healthy meal by popping chicken in one compartment and veggies in the other.
Keep in mind that all these extra features add plenty of weight, and at 27 lbs, you will probably want to find a permanent place for it in your kitchen, rather than lug it out from your cupboard every time you use it.
I would recommend this air fryer to anyone with more than four mouths to feed, or who just wants the versatility of two independently-programed cooking baskets. There are plenty more features to explore, so if you’re interested be sure to check them out.
What we like
- 8-quart capacity split between two 4-quart cooking baskets
- Six cooking settings
- Sleek and simple digital controls
What We don’t
- Quite bulky at 27 pounds
Other Great Products to Consider
Want to explore beyond the air fryers listed above? There are plenty of other great products out there worth your time
This large capacity air fryer by PowerXL comes with all the features you’d expect, all nicely laid out in a simple and attractive interface. However what I really appreciate are the extra accessories it comes with that let you experiment with different ways of cooking. The air fryer comes with a rotisserie spit, ten stainless steel skewers, rotating mesh basket, drip tray, and three separate recipe books. All of them (except the books) are safe for dishwasher use!
The main reason why it didn’t rank higher on my list is that it only offers a two month warranty, which is a bit of a red flag for me.
I wanted to include one super large capacity air fryer on this list, for those who’d like to entertain. This 12-quart GoWise Deluxe air fryer is about as big as you would reasonably consider keeping in your home. It’s designed just like a conventional oven, with a hinged door and single large cooking area. It has plenty of power to back up it’s size too, able to circulate hot air up to 600 degrees. Just keep in mind that it’s 24 lbs, and too big to store on most cabinet shelves.
Buyer’s Guide: Features to Look Out for
There are plenty of factors to consider when shopping for a large capacity air fryer. Take a look at this quick guide to get to know the basics.
Size and Capacity
As a relatively new cooking innovation, air fryer manufacturers are still experimenting with a range of different designs. This is probably the reason why you can find air fryers in such a wide variety of sizes, anywhere between 3 and twenty quart capacities. While smaller appliances certainly have their uses, in this guide I’m unpacking the benefits of the more spacious end of the spectrum.
I would consider a large air fryer to be anything around a 6 quart capacity or more. This size will allow you to cook a meal for the whole family with leftovers to spare, while still staying small enough to fit comfortably in a home kitchen. For most cooks, I wouldn’t recommend any air fryers over 12 quarts, unless they’re built into a larger appliance, like an air fryer oven.
The majority of large capacity air fryer designs feature a single compartment made for cooking batches of food. This helps leave enough room for proper air circulation across your food and gives plenty of room to prevent overcrowding.
Some designs feature a double basket, which can be a good way to prepare two dishes at once. While it cuts down on your overall space a bit, it can be a great way to add versatility to your cooking. Just make sure each of the compartments has its own independent heating element and fan, as this will let you cook on two temperature settings at once.
Power and Temperature Control
Just like a regular oven, an air fryer’s temperature control can range between 175 and 400 degrees fahrenheit. The wider the range of temperatures, the more recipe options you’ll be able to experiment with. On the low end of the scale, a quality air fryer can reheat and dehydrate, letting make easy dried fruits and beef jerky. At higher temperatures it can create perfectly crisp foods.
Less expensive options might limit you to preset recipes, with no direct control over the temperature itself. While these can be good options for those looking to experiment with air frying for the first time, it is often wise to save up for a bit more versatility.
Functions and Presets
Many air fryers are made with convenience in mind, preprogramming their machines with eight, twelve, or sometimes as many as 100 recipes that you can select at the push of a button. This can be a great way for air fryer novices to get started, as the program automatically adjusts the temperature and time.
More paired-down fryer designs will let you adjust cooking times manually, and select between more general cook settings like bake, grill, broil, roast, keep warm, defrost, and more. Look for the right balance of functions that fits your comfort level.
Ease of Cleaning
Air fryers should be cleaned after every use, so be sure to consider all the different parts and accessories you’ll be using regularly. A smooth, dishwasher safe basket and tray are must-haves that will let you cut-down on cleaning time. Similarly, the interior compartment of the air fryer shouldn’t have too many tight corners that will take time to clean.
When compared to a traditional deep fryer, air fryers are a much safer alternative that won’t expose your kitchen to large quantities of hot oil. Still, there are a few common safety features to look out for when choosing your model.
First, make sure your frying basket is big enough to accommodate however many french fries or chicken wings you’re planning to make. Overcrowding your air fryer can result in underdone food and potentially cause a fire hazard. Also, if your air fryer doesn’t have a clear digital display, make sure it at least has a heat indicator light, so you always know when it is on.
Once you’ve started air frying for yourself, you’ll see what a versatile way of cooking it can be. If you want to broaden your frying horizons even more, try adding a few accessories to the mix. In addition to the standard frying basket, many air fryers also offer different styles of metal grate that make it easy to grill, roast, or dehydrate food. The possibilities are endless, from toast racks, egg molds, skewer racks and more. Many manufacturers sell these accessories separately, so be sure to research what options they have available.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s a good idea to get to know air fryers a bit better before making your purchase. If you still have lingering questions, see if you can find your answers below.
How Does an Air Fryer Work?
The dirty little secret of air fryers is that they don’t actually fry food. In fact, they work in much the same way as a convection oven, which uses a high-powered fan to circulate hot air over your food. The convection effect results in food that is browner, more crisp, and best of all, healthier than a traditional deep fryer.
How Does an Air Fryer Compare to Other Types of Ovens?
Air fryers will achieve similar effects as a full-size convection oven. However due to their small size they are much more affordable and convenient. Even large capacity air fryers use just a fraction of the energy of a traditional oven.
One difference to keep in mind is the layout. While a full-size oven or a toaster oven will cook food horizontally on a baking tray, air fryers often have a more vertical layout, piling food into baskets when cooking. This requires you to shake your food periodically to ensure it’s all getting browned evenly.
What Can’t You Cook in an Air fryer?
Air fryers are some of the most versatile kitchen appliances around, letting you coko everything from a whole chicken, heaps of veggies, desserts, burgers, pizza, and more. However it’s important to know which foods are off-limits, as making the wrong choice can ruin your dinner, and possibly your air fryer in the process.
First, stay away from battered foods. Anything dripping wet will end up sticking together and clogging the fan of your air fryer. Leafy greens are a similar problem, as the strong hot air currents will blow them around inside the basket. Cheese is another one to stay away from, as the heat currents will simply melt it.
How Do You Clean an Air Fryer?
Air fryers may take a bit of extra time to clean, due to the larger number of parts and accessories. That’s why it’s a good idea to look for an air fryer with parts that are non-stick and dishwasher safe.
You will still have to clean the main body of the air fryer by hand, but this shouldn’t take much time. Just make sure to check the fan and heating element carefully, as food stuck here can cause burning that will get into your food. Once you’re done cleaning, make sure all the parts are dry before starting your next batch of food.
With so many different kinds of air fryers available, finding the one that fits your kitchen’s needs shouldn’t be too hard. In my opinion, the ideal choice will be large enough to make dinner for your whole family, while still fitting snugly on your countertop.
Corsori’s Air fryer Max XL is the happy medium between extremes, with a decently size cooking capacity that’s contained in a compact and attractive package. If you’re looking to save some money, the GoWIse 7-Quart Electric Air Fryer still offers many of the same features and power to get you started. And if you want to invest in a large appliance for festive gatherings, Ninja Foodi’s Dual Zone air fryer comes with everything you need.