Foods like French fries and fried chicken sure are delicious, but with all the excess calories, oils, and carbs that go into them, you know they aren’t very good for you. Now, instead of going to McDonalds or KFC, there’s a way to fry up delicious foods with just a fraction of the calories. What is this magical mechanism? It’s an air fryer, and when used correctly, it can mimic the effects of frying, only using just a little bit of oil. You still get that crispy, golden exterior and the soft, fluffy center. However, we should stress that you should not expect the exact same results as you would using a traditional fryer, as an air fryer does not actually “fry” anything. It cooks your food with electric heat that’s circulated by powerful fans, and the air that’s generated helps get the surface of the food dry and crispy while keeping the inside moist. If you’re in the market to try one as a calorie-saving alternative to frying, we’ve rounded up the best air fryers on the market now.
1. THE ONE-STOP SHOP
Breville The Smart Oven Air
Why you should buy this: It does everything, from toasting to dehydrating to air-frying.
How much it’ll cost: $320
Who it’s for: Anyone without a lot of counter space to spare can get this one appliance in the place of many.
Why we picked the Breville The Smart Oven Air
This appliance can do just about everything you’d want to do in the kitchen. It can accommodate nine slices of bread and toast them to a golden crisp. It can cook a 13-inch pizza or 12 muffins in a tray. It can even roast up a 14-pound turkey (Thanksgiving, we’re looking at you). As for air frying? The device offers two different fan speeds, an easy-to-program timer, and preset functions for different foods. The high heat maximizes air flow, so your “fried” foods are perfectly crispy. This one appliance can single-handedly replace your toaster, dehydrator, slow cooker, and maybe even your regular oven.2. THE ORIGINAL
Philips Avance Collection Digital Turbostar Airfryer
Why you should buy this: It was the original air fryer.
How much it’ll cost: $250
Who it’s for: It’s a solid option for anyone looking to try air-frying for the first time.
Why we picked the Philips Avance Collection Digital Turbostar Airfryer
This fool-proof air fryer is much more user-friendly than most models, thanks to its digital display, programmable timer, and intuitive interface. This appliance is also good at what it does, claiming to cook fired foods 50% more evenly than other brands. You’ll likely experience some trial and error when cooking air-fried foods for the first time, but the four presets for popular dishes will help start you out on the right foot. The air fryer also comes with a recipe book and app that includes hundreds of recipes to choose from.3. IF YOU WANT TO KEEP IT OLD-SCHOOL
Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven Air Fryer
Why you should buy this: Not fan of digital displays and touch screens? This air fryer keeps it old-school in the best way.
How much it’ll cost: $160
Who it’s for: Those who prefer manual controls and a traditional vibe will enjoy this air fryer.
Why we picked the Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven Air Fryer
This air fryer is a simple, old-school option for those who just can’t stand digital displays, touch screens, and other modern shenanigans. The controls are easy to use, and the seven pre-set functions make this a versatile addition to your kitchen counter space. Whether you’re frying some chicken, roasting a turkey, or cooking up some asparagus, this Cuisinart toaster oven and air fryer has you covered in one convenient package.4. THE COST-EFFECTIVE OPTION
Gowise Electric Air Fryer
Why you should buy this: It delivers effective air-frying for a lower price than most brands.
How much it’ll cost: $94
Who it’s for: Looking to dip your toe into the world of air-frying without making a dent in the wallet? This is for you.
Why we picked the Gowise Electric Air Fryer
For the relatively low price, this device air-fries foods very well. Accommodating a maximum of 3.7 quarts, it has a smaller capacity than most, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you’ll only use it once in a while. The basket is removable and easy to clean, and the user-friendly touch screen offers pre-set programs for your favorite recipes. Now you can try air-frying without spending an arm and a leg.5. THE BEST OPTION FOR GIFT GIVING
T-Fal Actifry Airfryer
Why you should buy this: Oprah named it one of the best gifts for college studentsin 2016.
How much it’ll cost: $134
Who it’s for: Those who are looking for that perfect French fry crisp without excess oil.
Why we picked the T-Fal Actifry Airfryer
This air fryer is a stand-out option that will air-fry foods perfectly without breaking the bank. The most unique aspect of its design is a rotating “arm” that moves the food around inside the fryer while it’s cooking, which ensures all sides get equal exposure to the hot air and equal crispiness. While some users may see this as a pro, others will find that the arm ends up mangling more delicate foods, such as fish. The secure lid guarantees you won’t splatter oil everywhere, and the filter ensures your kitchen isn’t left with odor for days. Plus, the ceramic-coated nonstick pan is removable and easy to clean. The relatively lower price point and the efficacy of the appliance make it a great gift option during the holiday season.
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