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The Best Air Fryers

Never ones to blindly follow trends, we had to find out for ourselves whether air fryers were a worthwhile investment or just a clever marketing tool. So the members of our Tastings & Testings team gathered nine widely available air fryers, priced from $60.20 to $249.95, and used each to cook frozen French fries, homemade French fries, chicken wings, and chicken Parmesan. After evaluating them on performance, ease of use, size, safety, and cleanup, we’re pleased to report that an air fryer just might earn a place among our most well-loved appliances. And if you’re planning on adding one to your cooking arsenal, here are the models you should buy:

BEST ALL-AROUND

Philips TurboStar Airfryer, Avance Digital

This was the best air fryer in our lineup. It had a thinner, compact footprint and shorter stature than the other models, but it still had a roomy basket that could hold a full pound of food. This machine was easy to clean, its digital controls and dial-operated menu were intuitive to use, and it was also safe: Its drawer-like design allowed testers to remove food without exposing their hands to the heating element.

BEST INEXPENSIVE OPTION

GoWISE USA 3.7-Quart 7-in-1 Air Fryer

This air fryer’s digital controls weren’t quite as intuitive as those of the Philip TurboStar, but it was still easy to program once we got the hang of it. It cooked foods quickly and crisply, and its display was bright, large, and easy to read. It’s compact enough to fit under kitchen cabinets, and its drawer-style design and automatic shutoff were a boon to safety.

More About Our Testing Team

It’s not uncommon, as you walk through the offices of America's Test Kitchen, to pass a table of 25 or so staffers silently concentrating on tasting a dozen varieties of olive oil, peanut butter, or soy sauce. If you continue to the main test kitchen, you might find, say, eight slow cookers, each hooked up to a separate thermometer, each of which is connected to a computer so we can gauge how evenly they maintain a temperature over time (pictured below). Walk out the back door and you might see someone dropping one portable grill after another onto the pavement from a specified height to see how well they will stand up to abuse.

ATK Tasting & Testing team

It’s all in a day’s work for our Tastings and Testings team. And if you think the test cooks here at America’s Test Kitchen are obsessive in their quest for the best—and you’re quite right, they are—you should spend some time with this team. The lengths they go to in order to be sure that their tests are accurate, comprehensive, and conducted on a level playing field are enough to make the rest of us look relaxed.

There are strict written protocols for selecting the items to be tested, for running the tests themselves, and for evaluating them. There are detailed instructions for tasters. And if there is ever a question, our team will go back and run the tests again, just to be sure.

But even when that rigorous (and sometimes seemingly endless) process is over, their work is really just beginning. Because it’s not enough to say which product or piece of equipment came out on top—we need to know why. Sometimes it seems random to the rest of us, but these folks don’t believe in that word, so they keep digging and analyzing, consulting experts all over the world and sending samples to labs for analysis, until they find the keys to the particular puzzle. It might be the number of bevels on a serrated knife (spoiler: fewer is actually better) or the processing method used in making a particular soy sauce, but there will be a reason. Once they find it, we can appreciate even more clearly how solid a foundation our tastings and testings rest on.

This all holds true even for the smallest kitchen tools—the testing process has been just as disciplined, extensive, and intensive, because this group has never heard of cutting corners.

The result of all this obsessiveness? You can truly trust our recommendations.

Bookstore

75 Air Fryer Recipes Air Fryer Perfection

This is the air fryer book for real cooks. We show you how to cook the foods you love—from simple sides to full meals—more conveniently, while delivering fantastic flavor.