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Okay, I get it. Fried foods aren’t exactly the healthiest thing on the planet. But, in terms of deliciousness, they are just the best.
Drop bland potatoes into a bath of hot oil, and they transform into basically the most addicting substance on the planet. Simple dough—fried and sprinkled with sugar—can take you on a trip to tastebud bliss.
Thanks to the wonders of technology, we now have a new, healthier way to fry foods: the air fryer or oil less fryer. These gadgets use hot air circulation to allow you to fry your favorite foods with only a few tablespoons of oil (as opposed to a few cups or more).
This means that you can enjoy delicious fried foods when the craving strikes, without the slick of calorie-heavy fats and associated guilt.
Since air fryers are fairly new to the market, most shoppers may not know what to look for. Below, you’ll find our buyer’s guide and air fryer reviews that will help you pick the best healthy air fryer for your needs.
- Why air fry?
- Who should buy a non oil fryer?
- What should you look for when shopping for an air fryer?
- The Best Air fryer reviews
- So of the products we reviewed, which is the best air fryer?
Why air fry?
As a whole, you can use a hot air cooker to make your favorite fried foods healthier. These gadgets are easy to use, basically like having someone else doing the cooking for you, and most companies have also kept convenience in mind when it comes to simple programming settings and easy clean-up.
A hot air fryer works by using fans to circulate heated air all around the food. The addition of a small amount of oil adds the quintessential “fried” taste without adding a ton of fat. However, you can use an air cooker without any oil at all.
As we all know, traditional deep or pan frying techniques aren’t the healthiest way to prepare food, as that shimmering bath of oil contains a hefty slick of trans and saturated fats, which is obviously undesirable.
While our bodies need fat, especially the Omega-3s found in some seeds and nuts, cooking your food in oil generally provides a big dose of calories without many nutrients. (1)
People concerned with consuming GMO or non-organic foods will also want to stay away from traditional frying methods which usually use rapeseed or canola oil as many mass produced frying oils may also contain traces of pesticide. (2)
However, most people can’t afford to use cups of high-quality organic oils to cook their food, but since low fat fryers use less oil, you’ll be able to use healthier oils, like coconut or flaxseed, in your cooking.
Who should buy a non oil fryer?
Health-conscious folks will likely love a low oil fryer, but there are other groups who swear by them as well. If your family is super busy and home cooking is a struggle, a hot air deep fryer may simplify the process of making dinner.
Many dry fryers have multiple functions for grilling, poaching, or baking. In other words, you can throw just about anything in there—from a cake to steak—and the oil less fryer will take care of it.
That being said, people in the market for hot air fryers should temper their expectations. If you are a fried food purist (and yes, they do exist!), you may not be satisfied by the results from your air fryer.
Though some people swear the goodies from their air fryer are just as good as the deep-fried restaurant versions, others are left craving more greasy goodness.
However, for those of us who prefer our food more “lightly” fried, or more crispy than greasy, an air fryer could well become an indispensable kitchen gadget.
READ NEXT: WHAT IS THE BEST COOKWARE TO USE ON A CERAMIC GLASS COOKTOP
What should you look for when shopping for an air fryer?
Before deciding on the best hot air fryer for you, consider the following:
What do you plan to cook?
Oil less fryers all use similar technology, but some may be better suited for cooking certain types of foods.
For example, one dry air fryer may be able to tackle heating frozen foods no problem, while another may be more geared toward fresh cooking.
Reading oil less fryer reviews such as those we have featured below can give you an idea of what other cooks suggest.
How many people will you need to cook for?
The biggest difference you’ll see between different models of air fryers is capacity. Some units are designed to whip up one or two servings while others could serve the whole block.
Certain makes of dry air fryers offer their products in a variety of capacities, but some companies stick with a “one size fits all” approach.
How much control do you want when air frying?
If you’re a finicky cook who likes things just so, you’d love a no oil deep fryer with lots of temperature control settings and options.
If you’d rather not be bothered with making decisions, there are options that have a limited number of temperatures for easy cooking.
Do you like to “set it and forget it”?
Busy? Yeah, us too. Some non oil fryers have pre-programmed cooking options and auto shut-off timers. This means you can throw in food, set the timer, and not worry about burning dinner (or the house down).
What are your needs as far as cleanup?
Yet another benefit of hot air frying is a much easier cleanup when compared to a traditional deep fryer. Still, there is variability in how easy dry air fryers are to clean.
Some fryers feature dishwasher safe parts or cooking baskets with non-stick coating. Others will require more careful hand-washing.
Read the packaging and hot air cooker reviews carefully to glean information about what to do once dinner is done.
The Best Air fryer reviews
Although you now you know a little more about air frying and what to look for when buying your next air cooker, the question remains, What is the best air fryer?
To give you a little more insight, we’ve put together a brief review of each of the most popular air fryers on the market. Here we’ll examine the pros and cons of each and give you a better idea of what you can expect to get for your money.
Let’s dive straight in!
Philips Air Fryer HD9220
This is the air fryer that started it all. Happy cooks report the Philips Air Fryer HD9220 makes tasty fried food easy and mess-free. This hot air deep fryer cooks faster than a conventional oven and will make foods exceptionally crispy quickly and efficiently.
The Philips Air Fryer also “grills, roasts, steams, and even bakes,” but most customers say it really works best as a fryer. It also does particularly well cooking frozen foods.
However, some people had issues with the Philips Airfryer not heating consistently, which added to the cook time and made dinner less than tasty. Because of the small basket size—about 7 inches across and 4 inches deep—this oil less air fryer would work best for a singleton or light-eating couple, rather than a bigger family.
- Most customers are satisfied with the taste and texture of food
- Works well with frozen products
- Small; may not work for a hungry family
- Doesn’t live up to the hype of all the different functions
- Some issues with heating and consistent cooking
SimpleTaste Air Fryer 1400w
The SimpleTaste Air Fryer 1400w stands apart for its many pre-set options. All you have to do is insert food, add a little oil, and push a button. This dry fryer is a “set it and forget it” type of tool that may appeal to busy families. It also includes multi-functions to bake, grill, or even warm plates…what a brilliant idea! Customers don’t have many issues with this air cooker. It seems to hold up over long-term use, and the company responds promptly to complaints. There are a few stories of lemons out there, but SimpleTaste provided replacements and everyone seems happy in the end. Before you buy this air fryer, you will want to clean off some counter space. With a 3.2 quart capacity, this gadget will take up some serious kitchen real estate. Though this size may be a blessing if you’ve got a bunch of people to feed, this low fat fryer may not be worth the lost space for people who have smaller kitchens.
Easy set “smart cook” settings Quiet No reports of excessive cooking smells Works well for a variety of foods Large capacity will appeal to families
Bulky and heavy Some issues with flimsy parts
COSORI Air Fryer Max XL
While it may not be the most attractive appliance on our list, the COSORI Air Fryer Max XL is certainly the most popular. With over 50,000 ratings averaging at 4.7 out of 5, this is a machine that makes you sit up and take notice.
So, what makes it such a sought-after air fryer? Well, there’s a number of reasons, such as its incredibly generous 5.8 quart basket size, the 13 cooking functions, the choice of three different colors, and, most importantly, the fact that you’ll use 85% less oil when compared to your traditional deep fat fryer.
Not bad, but all of the above could be seen as marketing gumpf if it doesn’t deliver in the taste department. So, does it?
Thankfully, yes it does. Food made in the COSORI air fryer comes out as crisp as you want it to be and the timing seems to be far more accurate than many of the other brands we reviewed.
Best of all, though, is the ease with which this air fryer cleans up. It’s safe to put in the dishwasher, but it’s also a breeze to wash by hand, too. No wonder so many people love it!
- Huge 5.8 quart basket
- Really easy to clean
- Simple to operate
- All 13 cooking functions work as expected
- Drops oil intake by 85%
- Exceptionally crispy results
- Pretty quiet
- Relatively inexpensive
- Some durability concerns
- Some units give off a plasticky smell
Black and Decker PuriFry Air Fryer HF110SBD
The Black and Decker HF110SBD PuriFry hot air fryer is a fan favorite for cooking food evenly with or without oil.
It has an auto shut-off 60-minute timer, which is longer than other models and this low fat fryer also includes a handy guide for recommending the optimal quantities of popular foods like onion rings and frozen appetizers.
However, the PuriFry no oil fryer does not have any pre-set cooking options, but variable temperature control “allows you to find the best temperature for frying foods.” If you’re an experienced cook, you may have that in the bag, but some of us don’t want to experiment and may prefer pre-set functions.
This oil less fryer’s reviews are plentiful, and there are a couple of complaints to be found. First, some people had issues with the baskets breaking or coming apart after only a few weeks of use.
Others complained that this Black and Decker air fryer is smelly and noisy—not exactly what they were expecting for a peaceful dinner at home. Reports of interactions with customer service are also mixed.
- 2-quart capacity isn’t big enough for a family
- Easy guide to optimal food quantities
- Lots of control over cook temperature and timing
- Noisy and may produce cooking smells
- Basket isn’t very durable
- Some had negative experiences with customer service
NuWave 36001 Brio Air Fryer
The NuWave 36001 Brio Air Fryer cooks food quickly and evenly. Some customers claim that it helps them eat healthier or even avoid the “eater’s remorse.”
The drawer and food basket are dishwasher safe and covered in a non-stick coating to make cleanup easier.
Customers report that the NuWave is excellent for heating up restaurant leftovers. No more polishing off a plate of fries at the restaurant because they won’t be good reheated! (We’ve all done it.) You can even use the NuWave as a healthy chip fryer to add some crispness back to your restaurant-made potato chips.
On the downside, the NuWave seems to take a while to preheat, so you may have to plan ahead when using it. Owners also report some issues with longevity. In particular, that handy non-stick coating apparently wears off over time (which is never a good thing). Using gentle dish detergents or non-abrasive sponges may help it last longer.
- Dishwasher safe, non-stick coating
- Great for reheating
- Simple digital temperature settings
- Takes a while to pre-heat
- Nonstick coating may be prone to chipping and flaking
- Didn’t meet durability expectations for some customers
GoWise USA GW22621 Electric Air Fryer
The GoWise USA GW22621 Air Fryer is available in two large capacity options: 3.2-quart and a whopping 5.7-quart!
The touch screen lets you control temperature and select preprogramed settings for different foods and, when the timer goes off, this no oil fryer automatically switches to warm mode.
The GoWise Air Fryer also comes with a few baskets and trays for different cooking methods.
This electric air fryer has plenty of enthusiastic fans. Customers report that they use it to make everything from burgers to fried rice, and the larger model can also cook a whole bag of frozen fries in one hit! People also love that it is quiet and doesn’t give off a lot of cooking smells.
The biggest complaint with the GoWise air fryer was the lack of durability. Some people say that it only lasted a few uses, while others had issues getting it to work right out of the box.
The cooking baskets and trays also need to be handled delicately or they may chip, rust, or dent. The GoWise hot air deep fryer also seems to work better with foods that require heavy cooking. Delicate dishes like chips and vegetables tend to burn.
However, plenty of owners seem pleased with the versatility of the GoWise health fryer and the meals they’ve made. This may be a good choice if you have a lot of mouths to feed and don’t mind sacrificing the space in your kitchen.
- Pre-set cook options
- Auto shut-off timer
- Large capacity compared to others
- May not hold up to heavy use
- Cooking containers are a little delicate
- May not work well for delicate foods like veggies
T-fal Actifry Air Fryer FZ7002
The T-fal ActiFry FZ7002 Air Fryer can cook up to 2.2 pounds of food with just a tablespoon of oil. The squat design may make it easier to store in cabinets than taller models. You can also stack light things on top if you’re really short on cabinet space.
Unfortunately, the T-fal air fryer seems to have some issues. Several customers report that this fryer gives off a smell of burning plastic that may linger on the food. A few have even said that the fryer melts itself! Sometimes the plastic exterior simply doesn’t hold up to the heat of cooking, which isn’t something you’d expect from such a big name.
The problems don’t stop there, though. The ActiFry only has one temperature setting which limits the types of food you can cook, leaving some dishes undercooked and others inedibly dry. Owners of this air fryer also report that you really need the “rotating cooking basket” to cook food evenly. The fryer doesn’t come with this accessory, so it must be purchased separately.
That being said, plenty of buyers like the simplicity of the T-fal ActiFry and are perfectly satisfied with their meals. However, this no oil fryer may not be the best choice for picky cooks or people sensitive to smells. You should also keep a close eye on it while cooking. Just in case.
- Compact design makes for easy storage
- Easy to clean
- No-brainer cooking setting
- Some burning smells reported
- Only one cooking temperature
- May need additional accessories to get the most from the appliance
So of the products we reviewed, which is the best air fryer?
All in all, our pick for the best air fryer is the COSORI Air Fryer Max XL. Of the models we reviewed, it seemed to last the longest and have the best customer support track-record.
People love the taste of their food when using this appliance, and the easy pre-set cooking options are extremely popular. The COSORI Air Fryer Max XL is also widely regarded as the best health fryer because of its quiet cooking cycle and the fact that it reduces the amount of oil used by 85%.
Food comes out crispy and well-cooked, and the presets work brilliantly…which is more than can be said for some of its competitors. It’s also really easy to clean and relatively inexpensive, too.
At 5.8 quarts, the COSORI Air Fryer Max XL is a good choice for a busy family, but people with smaller kitchens may struggle to find space for this heavy-weight air fryer. However, you’ll likely use it often enough to be more than happy to give up some of your precious counter space.
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Whichever air fryer you choose, remember that healthier doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. While these machines will help you lower your oil intake, you’ll still be getting a fairly hefty dose if you use them too often, so use yours mindfully.
Now, where’s that ketchup…
About The Author:
Lisa Williams is a committed vegan, passionate animal welfare advocate, and keen follower of too many v-friendly food blogs to mention. She started happyhappyvegan.com back in 2016 because she felt there was a need for more straightforward information on plant-based living.
Back then, too many sites seem to either concentrate solely on recipes or be too intimidating or inaccessible for the v-curious, and she wanted to change that. The landscape is certainly a whole lot different now!
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- Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD | The Skinny on Fat: Good Fats vs. Bad Fats | https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/skinny-fat-good-fats-bad-fats#1
- S. D. Wells | Health Basics: Why are fried foods terrible for your health? | https://www.naturalnews.com/034483_fried_foods_health_damage.html