Our winning air fryer was the first model we’ve tested that delivers on its promise to offer an extra-large capacity. Though it’s only a foot tall, this drawer-style model was large enough to fit four chicken cutlets or two 15-ounce bags of frozen french fries, cooking everything to crispy, golden perfection. We were even able to cook a whole 4-pound chicken in it. A quick 2-minute preheat ensured that the interior was hot when we added food. The wide drawer-style basket was easy to remove and insert—and our hands were safeguarded from the heating element—and its sturdy handle allowed us to shake its contents for easy redistribution. Intuitive digital controls (including a simple knob to set the time and temperature) were brightly lit and easy to operate. This fryer is a great option for a family of four or anyone who is looking for more cooking space without adding much bulk. Our one gripe is that the basket liner occasionally fell out when we inverted the basket. We solved this by using tongs to remove food or being more careful when pouring.
Why We Love Air Fryers
After spending months testing different models and developing recipes in them, we can't help but love them.
This model has the same spacious interior, convenient preheating cycle, and stellar cooking ability as its predecessor. But for a bit more money, it includes a few bells and whistles that we particularly appreciated. It’s quieter than most of the other models in the lineup, and its viewing window allowed us to monitor cooking progress without losing heat. The only smells we detected were from the food we were cooking, and we found the control panel even easier to use than that of our winner. And the basket liner rarely came loose when we inverted it, another improvement over the winner. In sum, it performs well and is well worth paying a bit extra.
While this air fryer’s digital controls weren’t quite as intuitive as those of our favorite models, it was still easy to set the time and temperature once we got the hang of the multiple buttons. It cooked foods quickly, and its display was bright, large, and easy to read. Its drawer and automatic shutoff were a boon to safety, and its nonstick interior was easy to clean. Its small capacity wouldn’t work for a crowd, but it cooked our recipes for two and small batches of frozen fries without issue.
Our winning spoons had a simple design that allowed for a continuous, bump-free sweep, with a ball-chain connector (similar to what military dog tags hang on) that was easy to open and close. This set's metal construction felt remarkably sturdy, and ingredients didn't cling to the stainless steel. And while the 1-tablespoon measure did not fit into all spice jars, it was a minor inconvenience for an otherwise easy-to-use set.
This product looks like the classic blue sponge we've all used, but its plastic-based scrubbing side has ripples. These ripples added texture, which helped nudge off cooked-on food. This sponge was absorbent and durable, and it looked surprisingly clean at the end of testing. It was also our preferred size: thick enough to hold comfortably but small enough to maneuver in tight spaces.
The shorter version of our favorite 12-inch tongs, this model easily picked up foods of all shapes and sizes—from dainty blueberries to a hefty jar of salsa—and was extremely comfortable to operate. The uncoated, scalloped stainless-steel tips allowed us a precise grip, making it especially easy to lift and arrange thinly sliced fruit, and the tongs' locking mechanism was smooth and intuitive.
Our former favorite triumphed again. Made from a resin/fiberglass composite, this fish spatula had a relatively thin, smooth head that was long, narrow, and provided ample room for picking up food. Its straight, moderate-length handle brought our hands close to the action and was fairly comfortable to grip, if a little slicker than we preferred. Just don’t leave it on a hot pan—it melted at 450 degrees. More on this test
Our favorite pot holders are fashioned as pockets with a sheet of silicone on one side, a panel of cotton fabric on the back, and soft cotton lining in between. The silicone layer offered excellent protection from the heat. Our hands never became too hot during kitchen tests and we were able to hold a 350-degree cast-iron skillet comfortably for 23 seconds. They were also flexible, which allowed testers to feel like they had control when maneuvering hot pans. Although both the silicone and cotton fabric remained stained after our durability tests, it didn't shrink or warp. We liked that it is machine-washable.
Our old winner is still the best instant-read thermometer on the market. It's dead accurate, fast, and so streamlined and simple that it's a breeze to use. It does just what we want: “Tell me the temp; get out of my way,” as one tester put it. Its long handle gave us plenty of room to maneuver, allowing for multiple grips, and a ring of slightly tacky silicone kept our hands confidently secured. The automatic backlight meant we never had to stop and adjust in low light, and the rotating screen is handy for lefties and righties needing different angles. The auto wake-up function is extremely useful; you don't have to stop and turn the thermometer on again midtask. The digits were large and legible, and it's waterproof in up to 39 inches of water for up to 30 minutes. It's also calibratable, promising years of accuracy.
The newest instant-read thermometer by ThermoWorks is the best we’ve tested yet. It has all the features we loved in our previous favorite: a large, grippy handle; a rotating screen with large, highly legible numbers; and a backlight that goes on when viewing conditions are dim. It’s waterproof to a water depth of 39 inches for 30 minutes, it goes to sleep when not in use, and the display wakes up automatically when you pick up the entire unit. The ONE improves on its predecessor, though: As its name indicates, it takes just 1 second to measure a temperature. The backlight is brighter, and you can now use the thermometer when cooking on induction burners—the engineers at ThermoWorks have taken measures to eliminate the electromagnetic interference that sometimes occurs when you use digital thermometers with induction cooktops.
We liked that these disposable liners were truly nonstick, and we loved the convenience of not having to clean them—or the air-fryer basket. They were sturdy enough to hold hefty burgers and salmon fillets as we transferred them from the air fryer but were thin enough for heat to penetrate the food. Their sides were also low enough to allow heat to flow around food efficiently. Best of all, they were compatible with the size and shape of our winning air fryer and didn’t waste an inch of cooking space.
This set includes three different designs of silicone liners; we chose to test the model that’s intended for use with most foods. The best design trait of this liner was the sides, which were short enough to allow circulating air to reach food yet tall enough to effectively contain grease. The superthin silicone design conducted heat better than thicker models, and its network of short raised bumps elevated food so that air could flow under it. These factors kept cooking times quick. The liner was also effectively nonstick and easy to clean. Two downsides: This liner wasn’t quite large enough to cover the entire cooking surface of the basket, causing fries to occasionally spill over its edges, which then required a quick wipe-down of the basket after use. The liner’s low sides also made it a bit difficult to remove from the basket when it was hot; we recommend removing cooked food and then letting the liner cool down before folding in the corners and lifting it out.
Our favorite cutting board impressed testers with its rock-solid stability and excellent durability. Thanks to its moderate weight and four small but capable rubberized grips, it never budged on the counter. At about ½ inch thick, it didn’t flex during use or warp; while it did scar somewhat over the course of testing, the damage was comparable to that seen on the other boards. And any stains and odors cleared up after a wash or two. Our one quibble: It was a little heavy for some testers, making it a touch harder to maneuver and clean by hand.
The broad, shallow shape of these inexpensive bowls put food within easy reach and allowed for wide turns of a spatula. These were also the lightest bowls in the lineup—the combined weight of all three that we tested was less than 1 1/2 pounds— allowing us to comfortably lift, scrape, and pour.
Our longtime inexpensive favorite remains a pleasure to use. With a sharp, gently curved blade, it effortlessly dispatched every task we set before it, mincing garlic precisely and breaking down chicken and dense butternut squash with authority. Its light weight and rounded spine made it easy to wield for long periods, and its textured plastic handle was comfortable to grip for hands of all sizes.