Ever since I started sharing air fryer recipes about 3 years ago, the most common question I get is “which air fryer is best?” I don’t like to share an opinion until I’ve had the chance to really use a machine, and compare it to other models on the market, so over the past year or so, I have tested out 9 different models of popular air fryer brands.
And now I’m ready to help you shop for the model that’s right for you!
Today, we will cover which air fryer is the most non-toxic, which one is the best for large families, and a few that I think are a great overall value. We’ll cover both basket-style models and oven-style models, along with the Instant Pot Air Fryer lid, so let’s dive in!
Disclosure: I was gifted the Breville Smart Oven and the Instant Pot Vortex, and I bought the rest of these air fryers with my own money as a research project. The links below are affiliate links, so I may receive a small commission if you choose to purchase through one of my links.
Jump to an Air Fryer Review
Click on one of the links below if you want to skip to my review of a specific model.
- Nuwave Brio 6-quart Air Fryer
- Instant Vortex 4-in-1 Basket Air Fryer
- Ninja 4-quart Air Fryer
- Yedi 6-quart Ceramic Air Fryer
- Big Boss Glass Air Fryer
- Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid
- KitchenAid Air Fryer
- Cuisinart Air Fryer
- Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer
Curious which is best?
Is an air fryer necessary?
You definitely don’t need an air fryer to cook healthy recipes. An air fryer is essentially a small convection oven, fitted with a wire basket or tray, to help air circulate evenly under your food.
Here’s what you may love:
- You can cook with less oil. This is probably one of the biggest reasons people reach for an air fryer. You can achieve crispy results, without using a deep fryer.
- Air fryers turn off automatically. This is great for busy or distracted home cooks! The cooking cycle will automatically turn off when the timer goes off. No worries about burning your food, especially if you’re cooking multiple components for a single meal.
- Energy savings. An air fryer should use less energy than turning on your big oven every time you want to cook.
- It won’t heat up your whole house. Keep your kitchen cool during those hot, summer months!
- Multi-purpose. Some air fryers also have the ability to help proof or dehydrate food, which makes them extra-helpful for various cooking projects you may want to try.
Overall, you don’t need an air fryer if you have already own a convection oven, but if you want to look into them more, I hope the following reviews will help!
Which Air Fryer is Best?
Below, you’ll see the pros and cons of 9 popular air fryer models, so you can decide which one is best for you. Further down, I’ll rate them by the most non-toxic air fryer, the best affordable air fryer, and the most multi-purpose air fryer.
This 6-quart NuWave Brio is the first air fryer I ever bought, after reading the positive reviews on Amazon.
- It’s affordable.
- It has a square base, with lots of room for making homemade French fries.
- It can fit a whole 5-pound chicken inside.
- It gives consistently crispy results.
- I love the 4-minute reheat button. We use it instead of the microwave!
- Your food is in contact with a stainless steel wire tray, rather than a non-stick coating.
- It smells like burning plastic the first few times you use it. (Like, you’ll need to open all the windows in your house to let it air out.)
- It has a non-stick coating on the bottom of the basket, which has started flaking off over time. It doesn’t touch your food, but I do think it contributes to that smell.
- It’s not dishwasher safe, so it’s not the easiest to clean.
Overall, this a fine starter model if you don’t mind the burning plastic smell. I prefer the Ninja down below, however, because it didn’t have an overwhelming smell.
Instant Vortex 4-in-1 Basket
This 6-quart Instant Vortex was gifted to me by the company, after I wrote The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook. It’s the model you’ll see most often in my air fryer videos, because it stays cleaner than the ones I use every day in my kitchen.
- It’s affordable.
- It’s easy to clean. I wash both pieces by hand, but this one is much easier to clean by hand compared to the NuWave Brio model.
- It consistently gives crispy results.
- It smells like burning plastic the first several times you use it. (I recommend plugging it in outside the first few times you use it, if you can, so it won’t make your whole house smell.)
- The basket is more shallow than other models, so you can’t fit a whole chicken inside. This one will work better for more flat items to cook, like chicken breasts or French fries.
- It has a non-stick coating in direct contact with your food, which is not my favorite from a non-toxic cooking standpoint.
- It’s not dishwasher safe.
Overall, this isn’t my favorite air fryer for everyday cooking. I still use it in my videos because I love the shallow basket for photos and videos. It lets more light hit the food! But, I assume the average home cook does not care about that sort of thing.
Ninja 4-quart Air Fryer
This was a recommendation from many of you on Instagram, so I had to buy one to try it out. I bought the most affordable Ninja I could find, which is this 4-quart model.
- It doesn’t smell like burning plastic the first time you use it. Huge win!
- It’s easy to clean & dishwasher safe.
- It gives consistently crispy results.
- It’s affordable.
- It has a dehydrator function! (Though the basket is so small, it would have to be something pretty tiny to dehydrate.)
- It’s too small. The 4-quart size is too small in my opinion, unless you’re only cooking for 1 person. Most of my cooking is geared towards 2 adults, and I much prefer the 6-quart model for me and my husband.
- Round basket. This shape isn’t as conducive to arranging food as the square-shaped baskets, in my opinion.
- It has a non-stick coating. Granted, this one has a ceramic coating, which might be a more green option? But, I typically prefer to have my food in contact with stainless steel options, when possible.
Overall, I’m impressed that this basket-style air fryer doesn’t smell like burning plastic when you first use it. The 4-quart model is too small, even for 2 adults in my opinion, but I imagine that the larger 5.5-quart Ninja Air Fryer or the 8-quart Nina Foodi Air Fryer would also be smell-free, and work just as well.
Yedi 6.8-quart Air Fryer
After having success with the Ninja air fryer, I was curious… is it the ceramic coating that helps avoid that terrible burning plastic smell? This Yedi Air Fryer is one of the only brands I could find that also has a ceramic coating, so I bought it to compare.
- It comes with a lot of accessories. It has a silicone muffin pan, a cake pan, oven mitts, and racks to help you cook more vertically in the basket.
- It provides consistently crispy results.
- It looks pretty on the countertop, if you like the stainless-steel look. (Which I do!)
- It smells like burning plastic when you first use it. Apparently, the ceramic coating is NOT the only reason why the Ninja model above didn’t smell.
- The electrical cord comes coated in oil or grease (perhaps something like WD-40?). It smelled, and is the only model I recall having a greasy cord upon opening the box.
- No extra functions, like dehydrating and proofing, if you want those extra options.
The screen isn’t intuitive. I find the photos of food as buttons a little unnecessary, but that’s personal preference. I prefer the way the NuWave tells you the proper time & temperature for different foods, rather than having a pre-set button for 6 items that you may or may not cook in your air fryer.
Overall, I would only choose the Yedi if you love the extra accessories that it comes with. It’s very similar to the NuWave Brio, so I would choose whichever one has the best price while you are shopping. (Prices seem to fluctuate often with air fryers, so I’m not listing the prices here because they probably won’t be the same tomorrow!)
Big Boss Air Fryer
I was hesitant to buy this Big Boss air fryer, because it looks quite different from other air fryers, but I’m so glad I gave it a shot! It has a whopping 16-quart capacity, and features a glass bowl, for those who are worried about heating food inside a plastic air fryer.
- It’s glass! This is makes it the most non-toxic option, in my opinion.
- It doesn’t smell like burning plastic. Probably due to the glass bowl and stainless steel accessories. There’s no non-stick coating here.
- It’s huge. You could definitely cook a 5+ pound chicken in here, and probably at least a 13-inch pizza. It also includes racks so you, in theory, could cook two layers at once, but this is probably better for heating up frozen food, rather than cooking things from scratch, as I’m not sure how evenly the heat will be distributed.
- It gives you crispy results. I tested crispy tofu, air fryer french fries, and chicken breasts in this machine, and all turned out just as well as they do in my basket-style air fryers.
- Dishwasher safe bowl. Since it’s glass, it’s dishwasher safe, and so are the accessories. The only downside is that it takes up quite a bit of space in your dishwasher.
- It’s huge. This is a downside for your counter, if you don’t have a lot of room to work with.
- No extra functions. This is a very straight-forward air fryer. It adjusts the heat by turning on & off the light in the lid, so there’s no dehydrating or proof setting. I also don’t know how long the light will last in the long run, as I’ve only owned this air fryer for about 4 months at the time of this review.
- Manual dials. If you like digital touch screens to get precise timing and temperatures, this might not be the model for you. This one has only two dials: one for time, and one for temperature.
Overall, this definitely gets my vote as the most non-toxic air fryer. It’s very similar to the Instant Pot Air Fryer lid, which we’ll discuss next, only this one is much larger.
Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid
After writing The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook, the #1 question I got from you was about using the Instant Pot air fryer lid. I didn’t think I’d use this much, but I bought one anyway to see how well it works.
- It’s easy to store. Unlike other air fryers, this lid is small enough to store in a kitchen cabinet. The basket will fit inside your Instant Pot for streamlined storage, or in a cabinet, too.
- It provides crispy results. I tested homemade french fries side-by-side in this model and the NuWave air fryer basket, and both machines gave me exactly the same results. So you can definitely get “air fryer” results with this lid.
- No smell! While this basket does seem to have a non-stick coating, I didn’t notice any burning plastic smell, even the very first time I used it. Perhaps this is because it cooks in the stainless steel liner of the Instant Pot?
- It’s multi-purpose. Not only is it an air fryer, it also can act as a broiler for anything else you cook in your Instant Pot, like a whole chicken. (Which would otherwise turn out very pale from pressure cooking alone.)
- It’s small. This is my #1 complaint. I own a 6-quart Instant Pot, and bought the lid that fits it, so the inner basket is quite small. I can only fit about 8 to 10 french fries in a single layer, and even though this lid comes with a second layer (see my review video for a visual) it still doesn’t have a huge capacity. This would probably be best if you’re cooking for one or two people, at the very most. You could probably squeeze 2 small chicken breasts in there, but definitely not a whole chicken.
- It doesn’t make enough fries for me and my husband to share; unless you’re cooking a bag of frozen french fries, in which case, you can reheat a whole 1-pound bag at once. The single layer isn’t necessary when simply reheating previously fried foods.
- The basket has a non-stick coating. This is a downside, if you typically try to avoid them. I wish it were stainless steel, instead, like the classic interior of the Instant Pot. The extra tray insert appears to be stainless steel, if you only want to use that layer, though.
Overall, I think the air frying aspect of this lid works, but I don’t find myself using it that often. I can easily broil anything I pressure cook in my oven to get a browned look, and the size is so limiting, that I can’t think of what I’d air fry in here on a regular basis.
Note: At the time of writing this review, only a 6-quart lid is available for purchase on its own, from Instant brands. You can buy the 8-quart size lid with a whole Instant Pot, but not separately. There are, however, many other brands available for purchase that say they will work on an 8-quart Instant Pot, if you want to experiment with those for your larger machine.
KitchenAid Air Fryer
Moving on to oven-style air fryers, I bought this KitchenAid Air Fryer because I typically trust this brand (I love their food processor, mixer, and high-speed blender!), and it has an affordable price point for a model that says it can hold a 9- by 13-inch pan.
- It’s wide enough to hold a 9- by 13-inch pan. Keep in mind, it won’t necessarily hold one of the pans you already own at home (because handles can make pans wider), but it does come with a pan you can use. It’s just not particularly deep, so you might not be able to cook a lasagna in it.
- It has extra functions! I love air fryer ovens that have the proof & dehydrate options, like this one does. It comes in handy if you like to bake in the winter months, but your kitchen is too cold to let things rise properly. And you can dehydrate fruit roll-ups or jerky!
- It gives you crispy results. I tested homemade french fries in here, and they turned out perfectly crispy, just like the basket air fryers do.
- This smelled the first few times I used it. I was hoping the oven-style model might no be as smelly as the plastic machines, but perhaps that’s just the nature of new appliances? It does go away after several uses.
- It’s not very tall. I tried to cook a 5-pound chicken in here, and the top of the chicken ran into the heating element at the top. This is not ideal in my opinion; the other oven-style air fryers I tested are taller than this.
Overall, this is air fryer oven is a pretty good option, because I love all of the functions it offers at an affordable price point. It would be best for someone who plans on cooking more flat things– like chicken breasts, roasted vegetables, fries, cookies, fruit roll-ups, etc.
If you want to cook a whole chicken, or something taller like that, I’d recommend a different model.
Cuisinart Air Fryer
This Cuisinart Air Fryer is the first oven-style model I ever bought, and I chose it because of the stainless steel basket at the time. (Now, many other models include that, too!)
- The air fryer basket is stainless steel. This means your food isn’t in contact with a non-stick surface, which is what I prefer!
- It’s tall enough. This model can easily hold a 5-pound chicken or a whole head of cauliflower for roasting.
- It’s compact. It doesn’t take up as much counter space as the other oven-style air fryers listed here, so that may be a bonus if you’re working with a smaller space.
- It gives you crispy results. I love how crispy potatoes turn out in here!
- It runs hot. I couldn’t figure out why I kept burning things in here at first, and then after reading several online reviews, I realized this oven simply runs hot. Turn the temperature down 25-50ºF for recipes, and you’ll get more consistent results.
- No extra functions. This machine uses manual dials (so no digital touch screen to get exact temperatures and times) and doesn’t have any extra bells and whistles, like a proof or dehydrate setting.
- It has a non-stick coating on the interior of the oven. This may contribute to the initial “new appliance” smell, but it does go away after the first couple of uses.
- It’s compact. This is a downside if you’re cooking for a large family. This size is great for me and my husband, but if we had teenagers, I don’t think this would be enough cooking space.
Overall, I’m satisfied with this oven and love the look and size of it. It’s not my very favorite oven-style air fryer, but it currently has the best price of all the oven-style models, and gives consistent results once you get used to the heat settings mentioned above.
Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer
This Breville Air Fryer was gifted to me by the company, and at first I was shocked by the size. It’s much larger than the Cuisinart that I had sitting on my counter already! But, I’ve quickly grown to love this one.
- It’s size. Yes, it’s large, but that also mean that you can cook almost anything in here. It easily will cook two 5-pound chickens at once, an entire pizza, or you can cook two trays of food at once.
- Stainless steel air fryer basket. Your food doesn’t touch a non-stick surface, if this is a concern for you. (The baking sheet that came with this machine does have some sort of coating, though.)
- Lots of functions! This one has the most functions, by far. I use this one to dehydrate, proof, and warm, in addition to air frying. In the winter, I use it to soften butter when my kitchen is too cold!
- Consistent crispy results. This makes homemade french fries well, but sometimes it needs an extra few minutes of cooking to get extra-crispy results. (Sort of the opposite of the Cuisinart model.)
- Doesn’t smell like burning plastic. It does have a “new appliance smell” the first couple of times you use it, but it’s much better than the basket style air fryers mentioned above.
- It’s price. This one is by far the most expensive model I own. I can see why it’s more expensive, though. It’s the most multi-purpose air fryer that I’ve seen!
- Size. It takes up a considerable amount of counter space. I have mine situated in a corner of my kitchen (you can see it behind me in my YouTube videos!) but if you don’t have a lot of space, this is a downside.
- Pans do have a non-stick coating. The baking sheet that this machine came with does seem to have some sort of shiny black coating. It has not flaked off in the years that I’ve owned it, but you can also buy your own pans, if you prefer, for cooking in this air fryer.
Overall, this is my very favorite air fryer that I own. I love the size, and I love the variety of functions. It would be great for a large family. My husband and I both use this to heat up leftovers instead of using a microwave, and I probably tend to use it for things other than air frying the most.
Air Fryer Winners
Most Non-Toxic Air Fryer
- The Big Boss Air Fryer, with its glass bowl and stainless steel accessories, wins the most “non-toxic” award in my opinion. Its 16-quart size also makes it great for large families, if you want to cook something like a whole chicken that’s 5+ pounds.
- Runners Up: The Cuisinart or Breville Air Fryers, since your food touches a stainless steel basket, with very little smell the first few times you use them.
Best Air Fryer for Large Families
- The Breville Air Fryer is by far the largest air fryer I own, and the most multi-purpose. I use it all the time for my family, especially for big holiday gatherings, and would highly recommend it if it fits in your budget.
- Runner Up: The Big Boss air fryer has a 16-quart capacity! It just doesn’t have as much flexibility when it comes to functions, so I don’t use it quite as often for my family.
Best Overall Value
- If you want to spend less than $200, the Cuisinart air fryer and the 5.5-quart Ninja Air Fryer both give you crispy results without the burning plastic smell. I prefer the shape of the Cuisinart model, but the Ninja model gives you a dehydrating setting, if that’s important for your needs.
I wish I could try every single air fryer on the market, but for now, this is what my house (and husband!) could tolerate. If I have the chance to review the Corosi, or Phillips, or any other model in the future, I’ll be sure to update this post accordingly.
Reader Feedback: Do you have a favorite air fryer model that I’ve missed? I’d love to hear your reviews in the comments below, too! We can all help each other out with our collective feedback.