The best Air Fryers are revolutionary gadgets that literally allow us to have our fried 'cake' – by which we mean chips and other food you'd usually deep fry – and eat it too. An air fryer uses hot air combined with just a teaspoon of oil (as opposed to the gallons required in a standard deep fat fryer) in order to produce the delicious crispy food we all know and love.
For those of you who are sceptical; yes we know it doesn’t taste quite the same, but with a decent air fryer model, it’s not far off. Plus we think with the reduction of health risks, they’re a no-brainer to enjoy some of your favourite foods without an added pinch of guilt.
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How to choose the best air fryer for you
When buying the best air fryer for you, you’re going to be looking for the same things you look for in any kitchen appliance. First off: capacity. The size of the machine you buy will depend on the size of your family and the size of your kitchen, and the last thing you want to do is end up with a huge appliance that’s cumbersome and far too big to use for just you and your partner.
Of course, the bigger you go, the more options you get, with some allowing you to fry multiple food items at a time, or even doubling up as other appliances such as steamers and grills. One of the other major advantages of air fryers compared to deep fat fryers is that they are much less hassle to clean and low maintenance in general. Look out for models with dishwasher safe parts and intuitive controls which allow you to vary the temperature for cooking to perfection.
3 toppings you really need to try on your French fries
If you've ever been to a Dutch snack bar, you'll know that they know how to top off a portion of fries to turn them into little cartons of joy. Here are three Nederlandse snackbar toppings you must try on chips made in your air fryer. Eet smakelijk!
1. Patatje flip: fries with satay sauce and mayonnaise on top.
2. Patat speciaal: fries with ketchup and mayonnaise and a sprinkling of finely chopped raw onions on top.
3. Patatje oorlog: Oorlog translates as 'war' and that's basically what happens here as your fries are drenched in satay sauce, mayonnaise and topped off with chopped raw onion. Some regions add curry sauce, too. A decadent delight.
The best air fryers to buy, in order
Philips Airfryer XXL packs a lot into an admittedly sizeable package in order to accommodate anyone who needs to cook on a big scale thanks to a wide basket that can handle, for example, a whole chicken. There are a handful of preset modes so you can air fry, grill, roast, bake and dehydrate foodstuffs or take the manual route and choose from heat settings anywhere between 40°C and 200°C. A lack of accessories is a disappointment but the ability of the Philips Airfryer XXL to cook food quickly and efficiently cannot be faulted. Top marks also go to the digital display too, which works exquisitely and, thanks to simple-but-effective icons such as meat and fish, means it’s pretty hard to mess things up. Aside from the main electrical unit the Philips Airfryer XXL is dishwasher-friendly too.
In the UK, this is technically called model HD9650/99. The version in the USA seems to be slightly different and is called HD9630/96 Airfryer XXL as far as we can tell.
- Read our Philips Airfryer XXL review
Ninja’s AF100UK Air Fryer immediately impresses as you take it out of the box due to its more compact size and lighter weight. It’s not the smallest air fryer on the market, but if you’re stuck for space this model is perfect. Better still, the container you cook your food in is nicely made, with an extremely durable ceramic-coated crisper plate insert that you rest food on for more consistent results. Apart from the main unit, everything is dishwasher-friendly.
Results-wise, the Ninja AF100UK Air Fryer is capable on all fronts, so it naturally does perfect air fry chips but can roast, reheat and dehydrate too. You can cook using presets or manually across the whole heat spectrum, as well as benefitting from two fan speeds when needed.
- Read our Ninja AF100UK Air Fryer review
Both a strong rival to the Ninja, and a worthy Mini Me to Philips’ XXL Airfryer, this model, the Viva Collection Airfryer gives reliably succulent results, with a crisp outer skin. It makes great chips as well. Obviously, you can’t get an entire chicken in this one, but you can’t have everything.
- Read our full Philips Viva Collection Airfryer review
As well as turning out your classic air-fried staples – ie: chips, chicken and salmon – this actually doubles as a slightly Instant Pot-like cooker for 'wet' meals such as curries, stews and casseroles. It may look a little complicated at first glance but it's actually very intuitive.
With a glass dome so you can see what's cookin' and a handy little spatula/paddle thing that turns around inside to stir food, so you don't have to, it's something of a joy to use. If your kitchen is cramped you might struggle to find storage space for this hefty beast but when something is this useful and effective, why store it away anyhow?
- Read our full Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 review
We haven't tried this one yet but the majority of online reviewers reckon this is a great gadget to have in your kitchen. Not only is the price low, but it's compact –36.7cm high, 35cm wide. It gives you a whole host of cooking options including baking, roasting, grilling and steaming, knocking up whole meals or one element of your tea couldn't be easier - plus it cuts down on cooking time too. The only issue is you’ll have to have some patience when learning how to master it as the instructions are a little thin. The Tower T14001 also looks a little alarming and there's some online gripes about its longevity – but given its low price, neither of those things are too surpirsing.
We haven’t yet tested this, Tefal’s answer to the Philips XXL, but judging by user feedback, the Tefal ActiFry Express is worth considering. Using only one spoonful of oil, this air fryer can make classic fried treats in a fraction of the time it takes in an oven, but Tefal also claims it’s faster than rival air fryers. It‘a quicker than Tefal’s 1kg model by 30% for a start.
This doesn’t require preheating and the automatic stirring paddle means you literally just have to chuck food in and wait. Its extra-large bowl can, according to Tefal, cater for up to 6 people and it cooks at a higher temperature to get perfectly even results in no time at all. You can also download the ActiFry app for hundreds of delicious recipes to try at home.
Morphy Richards Health Fryer (model 480003) is proof positive that you don’t need to spend a fortune in order to enjoy high-end, primo chips. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about this air fryer, but it is very good at what it does, which includes providing us with yet more chicken wings.
We love the simple to use manual controls so you can fine-tune cook times. As per most air fryers it’ll fry, obviously, as well as roast and grill to great effect. We’ve found its baking prowess pretty good too with pizza dough and the odd muffin or two coming out tops.
Available temperatures range between 80°C and 200°C while the air fryer uses rapid air technology to ensure consistent results. Other positives include a timer, up to 30 minutes, plus automatic switch off. There’s a removable basket, although a downside with this machine is its lack of dishwater-friendly parts. No matter, it’s reasonably easy to clean and that square design means it’ll slot away in a cupboard when you’re done scoffing those fab fries.
The Duronic air fryer is small and compact but still roomy enough to make chips for 2, plus soups, chicken wings and even souffles. The closed-door fryer packs in flavour while keeping cooking as healthy as can be, and it doesn’t spit so it’s totally mess-free, too. Some users have noted that the handle of the basket is a little flimsy, so be sure not to toss your chips too vigorously to avoid any accidents. This air fryer has an adjustable temperature gauge so you can fry anywhere between 80 and 200C for the perfect even results every time.