Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

Best air fryer 2022: Tried and tested fryers for easy, lower-fat meals

Advertisement

Cut fat from your favourite dishes, not flavour – here's our pick of the best air fryers

The best air fryers are ideal for cooking everything from chicken nuggets and chips to vegetables and even stir-fries. That's because air fryers are an efficient way to satisfy your craving for "fried" foods with a much lower fat content – so you can nibble on your favourite comfort foods with less oil.

They work by convection, meaning they circulate hot air around your food, ensuring every bit of surface area is exposed to the oil and heat. You simply need to spray or pour a little oil onto whatever you’re cooking before switching on the appliance. A clever chemical process called the Maillard reaction creates a crispy result with far less fat – up to 99% in some cases.

Air fryers generally operate between 150 and 200˚C, although different models will vary. Because so little oil is used, an air fryer won't recreate exactly the same results as your favourite chippy, though most of our picks below do come close. So if you're ready to make your favourite foods that little bit healthier, read our buying guide and bite-sized reviews to find the best air fryer for your needs and budget.

Get the Tefal Actifry Genuis+ for nearly £40 cheaper

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-range air fryer that offers a decent alternative to deep frying with minimal fuss, the Tefal Genius+ is the one to try. With a 1.2kg capacity, this air fryer will cook up to six portions of food with little effort. Currently down at £165, this is a great deal for the best overall fryer on this list.
Amazon
Was £200
Now £165

READ NEXT: What is an air fryer?


Best air fryer: At a glance


How to choose the best air fryer for you

How much should I spend?

Air fryers aren't the cheapest appliances, but you can get a decent air fryer for a starting price of around £80. This should do the basic job of frying food with a minimum of fat, but cooking times might be slow compared to pricier models and you may not always achieve perfection.

Style is also a factor, as is a machine’s capabilities. Some air fryers have quick cook functions and stirring paddles, which do all the hard work for you, while others can also grill or bake. You should also consider the capacity of the air fryer – some are big enough to cater for a family meal, while others are smaller and can fit into dinky kitchens. For a large, fast air fryer you should expect to pay somewhere in the region of £150-£250.

What are the standard functions?

The best air fryers will have a number of basics you should look out for. These include weight and temperature settings, so you can adjust the heat and cook time to suit your ingredients.

Good models will come with dishwasher-safe removable parts and a pull-out loading tray that slots into the machine. For easy cooking from the get-go, look out for models with preset functions for popular dishes too. These work out the timings and temperatures for you.

Most also come with a recipe booklet for culinary inspiration, which is ideal if you're new to air frying.

Do they come with accessories?

While most air fryers don’t come with anything beyond the standard basket, there’s a range of accessories that can turn your fryer into more of a mini oven. For example, certain Philips and air fryers have compatible grill pans, while others, like Tower, have roasting trays meaning you can bake in them too.

READ NEXT: Are air fryers healthy?

What else should I look out for?

Air fryer technology is improving all the time. Older models might take a while to get going, and can require more oil than newer designs. Cheaper models may also require you to parboil chips, which might not be ideal if you're looking for fast cooking times.

You should also look for additional functions if you plan on using your fryer for more than chips and nuggets – some air fryers can cook curries, stews, risottos and more.

How does Expert Reviews test air fryers?

We put every air fryer through a rigorous set of tests to ensure they do everything they claim, whether that’s cooking perfectly crispy chips, tender fish, evenly browned oven food or even whole chickens.

As well as observing how well they cook a single portion of potatoes and vegetables, or single pieces of protein such as fish and steak, we also fill each air fryer to its advertised capacity. This shows us how consistently each appliance cooks across the board, to ensure that four-portion air fryer really is big enough for a family dinner.

We run these tests on both the manual cooking settings and any automatic presets they might have for common ingredients or dishes. Some air fryers also come with additional functions, such as baking and roasting. In these cases, we use a similar testing method, looking for speedy, even results.

READ NEXT: The best juicers for delicious and healthy drinks every day

The best air fryers to buy in 2022

1. Ninja Air Fryer AF100UK: The best mid-range air fryer

Price: £100 | Buy now from Amazon

Promising healthy chip frying with up to 75% less fat (than deep-fried hand-cut French fries), this Ninja air fryer is arguably so much more. As well as whipping up to 900g of fries, its removable crisper plate and two fan speeds turn it into a far more versatile machine. You can not only roast and fry food, but dehydrate it to produce beef jerky, chewy apple rings, banana chips, veggie crisps and other healthy snacks.

One of its other great functions is a reheat setting, which is perfect for bringing leftovers back to life without having to turn on the oven, and for crisping up single slices of pizza. It goes without saying that the Ninja is brilliant for frozen food but, thanks to easy controls and a digital display, it's also simple to customise programs to suit whatever you're cooking. If the 3.8l model isn't quite big enough for the whole family, there's also a 5.2l MAX version for £150.

Read our full Ninja Air Fryer review for more details

Key specs – Power: 1,550W; Capacity: 3.8l; Display: Digital, Accessories: Removable crisper plate

2. Tower T17005: The best budget air fryer

Price: £42 | Buy now from Amazon

This low-cost air fryer is unassuming but sturdy and easy to use. It also produces great quality fried foods: it’s equipped to crisp up everything from chicken goujons to chips (which are made even better by parboiling first).

Price isn’t the Tower’s only attraction: it’s a solid contender for family use, as it has a large capacity, and is on the healthier side of the spectrum, reportedly cutting down on fat by 80%. Its parts are dishwasher-safe, which is great for speedy cleaning up after cooking, and there’s a range of accessories available, from a baking pan to a divider for making two foods at once.

Plus, while the Tower might still rely on a manual 30-minute timer with an auto switch-off, what gives it an extra edge is that it can also be used in conjunction with the Tower Recipe Alexa skill – so you won’t be limited to making tasty crunchy chips.

Key specs – Power: 1,350W; Capacity: 3.2l; Display: Manual timer; Accessories: Several available, sold separately

3. Tower Xpress Pro Combo 10-in-1: The best air fryer for cooking chicken

Price: £120 | Buy now from Amazon

If you want an air fryer that does a bit more than the basic chips and chicken nuggets, but can’t quite stretch to a premium model like the Tefal Genius XL, this is a well-priced compromise. It doesn’t feel too huge on the countertop compared to other brands but has plenty of space inside. You can bake, roast, air fry and dehydrate with this fryer and, unlike other models that have basket-style drawers, it has individual crisping trays, making it more like a mini tabletop oven

The real shining star, though, is the air fryer’s automatic rotisserie function, which allows you to cook a whole small 1kg chicken in just 45 minutes. Results are fantastic, producing a chicken with crispy skin and a juicy, perfectly cooked interior with little effort. If that’s not enough, this new and improved model also comes with kebab skewers, silicone oven mitts and a small pizza crisping tray.

Tower also sells a cheaper (£90) 5-in-1 model, which comes with fewer features but still has that excellent rotisserie and 11L capacity. Ideal if you’re looking to save more money but don’t mind giving up a few extras.

Read our full Tower Xpress Pro Combo air fryer review for more details

Read our full Tower 5-in-1 T17039 air fryer review for more details

Key specs – Power: 2,000W; Capacity: 11l; Display: Digital touchscreen; Accessories: Rotisserie spit, kebab skewers, 3 crisping trays, 1 pizza crisping tray, 1 multipurpose rack, silicone heat proof mitts

Buy now from Amazon


4. Ninja Foodi Dual Zone: The best air fryer for cooking two things at once

Price: £172 | Buy now from Amazon

Air fryers are great for low-fat dinners, but only being able to cook one part of your meal at a time isn’t exactly ideal. That’s why Ninja’s Foodi Dual Zone fryer – with its two separate cooking baskets – is so unbeatable. With the fryer’s sync function, both baskets can be set to different times and temperatures but will finish at the same time. So you can cook your chicken and chips simultaneously, without the worry that one will be done before the other.

The Dual Zone’s Max Crisp function is also worth shouting about, as it cooks thinner frozen foods such as chips, onions rings and nuggets in a fraction of the time it would take a standard convection oven. During testing, one portion of frozen potato lattices came out perfectly crisp and golden in just six minutes, compared to the recommended 15-minute oven cooking time stated on the bag. This air fryer can also bake, roast, dehydrate and reheat, making it a versatile tabletop multi cooker.

Read our full Ninja Foodi Dual Zone review for more details

Key specs – Power: 2,400W; Capacity: 7.6l; Display: Digital, Accessories: None

5. Tefal Actifry Genius+: The best air fryer overall

Price: £200 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-range air fryer that offers a decent alternative to deep frying with minimal fuss, the Tefal Genius+ is the one to try. With a 1.2kg capacity, this air fryer will cook up to six portions of food with little effort. You can opt for larger models in the Genius range, but these are rather large and we think this model is the ideal size.

The 360-degree stirring paddle is incredibly handy and ensures food is evenly and consistently cooked without the need for shaking your food mid-cooking cycle. Nine automatic cooking functions take most of the guesswork out of air frying but there’s still an option to manually set the time and temperature if need be. What's more, if you’re using these presets, the Genius+ (and every other Genius model in the range) automatically adjusts the temperature and stirring paddle during cooking so your food isn’t overcooked.

There’s no doubt that Tefal’s Genius range is expensive, but you really won’t find a line of air fryers that do the job better.

Read our full Tefal Genius+ review for more details

Key specs – Power: 1,500W; Capacity: 1.2kg; Display: Digital touchscreen; Accessories: Measuring spoon

Buy now from Amazon


6. Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1: The best high-end air fryer

Price: £270 | Buy now from Amazon

A whopping 1.7kg capacity makes the Genius 2in1 one of the biggest on our list. Like the other appliances in Tefal’s Genius range, there are plenty of preset options for cooking classic meals like chicken and chips, stir-fries and more. With these automatic presents, there’s no need to adjust the time and temperature yourself, though you can cook manually if you prefer.

All that space isn’t just there so you can bulk fry chips, though. The extra-large capacity houses Tefal’s 2in1 function, which enables you to cook two different elements of your meal in one place. With a rotating stirring paddle on the bottom and a static upper tray on top, you can cook a curry and air fry samosas in the same machine, saving on time and washing up.

In testing, chicken and homemade chips came out beautifully crisp with one tablespoon of oil and were ready in just 25-30 minutes. What’s more, the stirring paddle meant we didn’t even need to flip or check on them. This may be a bigger investment than some of the other air fryers on this list, but there’s nothing else quite like it.

Read our full Tefal Genius XL 2in1 review for more details

Key specs – Power: 1,500W; Capacity: 1.7kg; Display: Digital; Accessories: Measuring spoon, removable 2-in-1 tray

Buy now from Amazon

Read more

Best Buys