What is the best air fryer 2021?

People are trading in their deep fryers for new and improved air fryers, and it’s not hard to see why. Air fryers are a healthier and easier way to enjoy your favorite crispy foods.

The Philips 3-Quart Premium Digital Air Fryer is a favorite due to its fat removal technology and user-friendly design. Whether you need an air fryer to have a small or large capacity, or oven or basket style, finding the best air fryer 2021 doesn’t have to be complicated.

What to know before you buy an air fryer

There are a few things to consider before picking out an air fryer:

How does an air fryer work?

Air fryers are so versatile and convenient because they combine several different cooking methods in one appliance. Inside the air fryer is a fan and a heating element similar to a stovetop coil. Air fryers don’t fry food but rather cook and crisp food by surrounding it with scorching air provided by the coil and fan. This action creates a convection effect that mimics a deep fryer to crisp and brown your food.


The two main air fryer styles are basket or oven-front.

Basket air fryer: A basket air fryer has a pull-out drawer where the food is held and cooked. A perforated basket helps circulate air and crisp food. Basket air fryers tend to have a smaller footprint and take up less room on your countertop. They’re also more convenient to store. One downside is their inability to fit a lot of food or larger food items.

Oven-front air fryer: Air fryers with an oven-front operate like convection ovens or toaster ovens. Your food cooks on a rack or baking tray. While they are larger and tend to take up more space in your kitchen, oven-front air fryers tend to have extra features like a rotisserie setting and the ability to cook a pizza. 

What to look for in a quality air fryer

Here are a few features to look for in your air fryer:


While you may be tempted to buy a bigger air fryer to have additional features, remember that a bigger capacity often means a bigger footprint. If you have a small countertop or storage area, you may want to consider getting a smaller volume option. However, if you have ample space and often have guests over, a larger capacity would be beneficial. Here are some guidelines when cooking your air fryer capacity.

  • 1- to 3-quart: one to two individuals
  • 3- to 5-quart: three to five individuals
  • 5- to 6-quart: four to six individuals
  • 6- to 10-quart: five to 10 individuals 

Presets and modes

Presets and modes make using an air fryer simple and straightforward. Without presets, you have to set the temperature and time manually. However, if there is a preset for fries, you push that button and you’re done. It eliminates a lot of the guesswork and is beneficial for new air fryer users. 

Ease of use

Paying attention to how much an air fryer weighs or how straightforward it is to clean will make your life a lot easier. A lot of smaller parts will be harder to clean, while dishwasher-safe parts are convenient. If you need to store your air fryer, check the weight before purchasing to make sure you’re able to move it back and forth with ease.

How much you can expect to spend on an air fryer

Air fryers come in all shapes and sizes and include a variety of extras. Depending on size, style and features, you can expect to pay $50-$300.

Air fryer FAQ

Can I cook frozen food in my air fryer?

A. Yes, frozen food cooks well in an air fryer without getting mushy. However, you will need to extend your cook time. Your manual may have specific cook times for frozen food.

Do I put oil in my air fryer?

A. While you could lightly brush your food with oil if you want to prevent sticking and add an extra-crisp, air fryers eliminate the need for oil. If you do add oil, do not use more than one tablespoon.

What’s the best air fryer to buy?

Top air fryer

Philips 3-Quart Premium Digital Air Fryer with Fat Removal Technology

Philips 3-Quart Premium Digital Air Fryer with Fat Removal Technology

What you need to know: This 3-quart air fryer is the perfect size for one or two people and features the brand’s unique fat removal technology.

What you’ll love: It has a user-friendly design and easy-to-use controls. The fat removal technology collects excess fat, making it healthier than other air fryers. Multi-cooking technology allows you to air fry, bake, roast, grill, reheat, dehydrate and toast. No preheat is needed, and the turbo function cooks food fast.

What you should consider: Users report a plastic smell right after opening. The temperature changes in 25-degree increments. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top air fryer for the money

GoWISE USA 5.8-Quart 8-in-1 Electric Air Fryer

GoWISE USA 5.8-Quart 8-in-1 Electric Air Fryer

What you need to know: Effortlessly air fry food for up to six people with eight cooking presets and a wide temperature range.

What you’ll love: The start/stop button gives the ability to change time and temperature in the middle of cooking. Features a cooking timer and shake reminder. Presets include fries/chips, pork, chicken, steak, shrimp, cake, fish and pizza.

What you should consider: The fryer coating could peel if you use cooking spray or clean while it’s warm. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

COSORI CO130-AO 12-in-1 Air Fryer Toaster Oven

COSORI CO130-AO 12-in-1 Air Fryer Toaster Oven 

What you need to know: With its oven-style design, this air fryer is versatile and fits a large amount of food. 

What you’ll love: It’s big enough to fit a 13-inch pizza or rotisserie an entire chicken. The LED screen and dial controls are convenient and easy to use. Easily cook and go with the 12 presets, including roast, toast, bagel, broil and cookies.

What you should consider: Preheating and cook times were a little longer than other air fryers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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