Models from Chefman, Dash, Gourmia, and other brands jockey for top spots in Consumer Reports' air fryer ratings
By Tanya A. Christian
Crispy fries without all the oil? That’s the golden promise of air fryers, and it might explain why, in the U.S., the market for these appliances continues to grow year over year. In fact, the air fryer market is predicted to be worth more than $2 billion by 2030, according to MarketWatch.
These countertop cookers we call air fryers don’t fry food at all. They’re actually small convection ovens. A fan circulates hot air to quickly cook food in the basket from the outside in. At first glance, these cookers seem limited to finger foods (fries, certainly, along with chicken wings, chicken nuggets, even pizza bites). But you can actually use an air fryer to cook almost anything you’d throw into the toaster oven or stove, or deep-fry; it’s just that an air fryer adds a kick of crispiness to anything it cooks (without the added fat). For instance, both a toaster oven and an air fryer will cook and reheat tater tots, but the air fryer will crisp up the outer layer more quickly and evenly (and without you having to turn them midway). Both machines will toast a bagel, but you’ll probably get better results in the toaster oven—unless you prefer bagels with a crispier-than-usual surface. That said, some air fryer models have a "reheat" function that can handle a broader range of foods.
So are air fryers worth it? In the Consumer Reports lab, our testers ran through more than 50 models to reach our latest air fryer ratings. In general, they found that air fryers were all quite capable of turning out nicely cooked food. “Even when we held cooking times and temperatures constant, the results were very similar, with no discernible differences in taste," said Larry Ciufo, the Consumer Reports test engineer who oversees air fryer testing.
However, no one was fooled into thinking that the food was deep-fried. “You can tell the difference,” says Ciufo. Air-fried foods, of course, lack that rich deep-fried-fat taste.
But if you don’t mind that—and simply hope to cook (or reheat) food fast—then air fryers may indeed be worth considering. As you try to discern which air fryer is best for you, consider how much space you have for it and how much you want to cook at once. Most air fryers have a small capacity, ranging from 2 to 5.8 quarts. But as our testers discovered, the actual capacity is often smaller than claimed. (If size is your main consideration, take a look at our recommendations for the best small air fryers and the best large air fryers.)
Size aside, "the real difference among air fryers comes down to convenience, so we designed our tests around that," Ciufo says. To recommend the best air fryers, he and his team evaluate capacity, how easy the controls are to read and use, noise levels, and how much elbow grease it takes to clean a model.
For strategies on how to shop for an air fryer, see our air fryer buying guide. To learn more about what an air fryer is capable of whipping up, check out our deep dive on the topic, complete with cooking tips; we have ideas for how to use an air fryer to revive leftovers, too. CR members can also explore our comprehensive air fryer ratings, where you can filter according to price, size, and other criteria that are important to you. Below, a roundup of the seven best air fryers from CR’s latest tests, listed alphabetically.
Chefman TurboFry Air Fryer 4.5 Quart
CR’s take: The Chefman TurboFry 4.5 Quart air fryer is the latest shining star in our air fryer ratings. It aces our noise and controls tests, and earns a Very Good rating for cleaning. Despite its larger claimed capacity, the interior basket measures just 2.7 quarts. The one-year warranty is on a par with most of the models we test.
Chefman TurboFry Touch Air Fryer
CR’s take: A CR Best Buy, the Chefman TurboFry Touch has a measured capacity of just 2.4 quarts (contrary to its claimed capacity of 3.5 quarts). It earns high marks for controls and ease of cleaning, and it operates quietly, acing our noise test. Though it does have a digital display, it does not come with programmable settings. That means you’ll need to have a general idea of the temperature and time required for each recipe. It does, however, come with a one-year warranty, as well as a cookbook and parchment liners for the fryer basket.
Cosori Dual Blaze 6.8-Quart Smart Air Fryer
CR’s take: The Cosori Dual Blaze is on the expensive side—but we think it’s still worth highlighting, given its large measured capacity of 4.7 quarts, its smartphone integration, and its all-around strong performance in all the areas we test. The monolithic exterior may not be to everyone’s taste, but with few nooks and crannies in its exterior design, this machine is easy to clean.
Dash Digital Tasti Crisp Air Fryer 2.6 Quart
CR’s take: The Dash Digital Tasti Crisp is small but mighty. At a measured capacity of 1.9 quarts and an overall size of less than a square foot, this 6-pound model is one of the most compact air fryers in our ratings. Still, it ranks among the best. It earns Very Good ratings for controls and cleaning, and excels in our noise test. It has a one-year warranty, which is typical for most models.
Gourmia GAF686 Digital
CR’s take: One of the lightest large-capacity air fryers we recommend, the Gourmia GAF686 Digital is a top performer in CR’s air fryer tests. Though its measured capacity is 4.3 quarts, its overall size is equivalent to some smaller-capacity models. In addition to receiving an Excellent rating for controls, the model earns Very Good ratings for noise and ease of cleaning.
Williams Sonoma Open Kitchen Digital Air Fryer
CR’s take: The Williams Sonoma Open Kitchen Digital Air Fryer, a Williams Sonoma exclusive, has a brushed stainless steel exterior. The interior basket size measures 3.6 quarts. It earns only a middling score for its controls but aces the noise test. It’s also pretty easy to clean. This model is designed with a digital display and programmed settings. Like most of the models we test, this one comes with a one-year warranty.
Wolfgang Puck 9.7QT Air Fryer Stainless Steel, Large Single Basket Design
CR’s take: If you’re trying to air-fry wings for a crowd, the Wolfgang Puck 9.7QT Air Fryer is one of the largest we found. Like most air fryers, its measured capacity is significantly lower than claimed—we measured it at 8.2 quarts, which is still significant. Beyond that, the machine performed nicely in our cleaning and noise tests, and its dials are easy to read and maneuver. However, prepare to make some adjustments when you’re setting the temperature: When we set the machine to 350° F, it measured only 284° F.
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