If you are reading this, I probably don’t have to tell you what a great invention an air fryer is. Without a doubt, this is one of the best small appliances you can have in your kitchen, particularly if you live in a hot climate. But this Review of the 4 best Air Fryers of 2020 will help you find the best one at the best price and give you direct links to our favorites.
But what you may not know is that an air fryer really isn’t a fryer at all. It is a highly compact super-charged convection oven. And it is one of the most versatile and energy-efficient tools you can have in your kitchen. It’s as fast as a microwave with no harmful side-effects and it doesn’t heat up your kitchen. WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?
And, of course, you add to it that air fryers use 80% to 90% less oil than traditional frying techniques. And food cooked in an air fryer results in a product with an average of 65% fewer calories.
Not too shabby for an under-the-counter appliance that takes almost no electricity.
The air fryers that made the top cut in our research range from around $70 to about $130. We’ll start from the least expensive model that we think is really a good buy for what you get. But be sure to read the differences with the higher end models — and particularly note the last one.
And, as always, we’ll tell you what we think the absolute best deal for the money is.
BELLA 2.6 Quart Air Fryer in Stainless Steel
It is important to note the size when you are buying an air fryer. You have to always remember that you cook things with edges not touching when you use an air fryer, so you cook in smaller batches than you are probably used to.
This model is the smallest air fryer that made the cut in our review. The inner basket is only 2.6 quarts. So be sure to keep that in mind. To put things in perspective, this model will cook four to six chicken nuggets at a time, depending on the size of the nuggets. They do cook fast. But expect that if you are cooking for more than one person, you could be standing there a while to feed everyone.
For one person, this is a reasonable size. It limits the variety you can use the air fryer for, but this model is highly rated in most consumer reviews. And, as all of the ones that made our cut, the inner basket is dishwasher safe so it’s a breeze to clean.
But unlike most of the competitors, the Bella has rotary dials both for temperature and time. For single shopper who want a bargain machine, this one is great. But you have to keep in mind it is small. And we find it clunky-looking. But it works well for a unit its size. And it definitely is a bargain.
One relatively odd thing about the Bella is that the Stainless Steel model (which we suspect is actually metallic silver plastic that looks like stainless steel) is about $10 less than the same model in Black. So unless you are married to an all-black line of appliances, we find this the better deal.
You can find this Bella 2.6 Quart Air Fryer in a Stainless Steel finish on Amazon here.
GoWise USA 5.8 Quart 8-in-1 Air Fryer in Black
Unlike most air fryers on the market today, GoWise markets this baby in a fairly wide array of both sizes and colors. Prices vary by both.
But there is a weird twist in GoWise’s marketing, at least as of the date of our review.
We reference the mid-sized unit here, but GoWise makes an air fryer in a 5.0-quart, 5.8-quart, and 7.0-quart size. The smallest one, the 5.0-quart size comes only in Black, but it is more expensive than the larger 5.8-quart size in Black. Go figure.
The 5.8-quart size we find is the best deal in GoWise’s lineup. And it comes not only in the basic Black, but also in White, Red, and Plum. All are about the same price, except for the Plum. Get ready to pay a shocker premium if you want it in Plum. (But it is really pretty.)
This unit is a 1700-watt fryer that is fully digital. And although it markets itself as an 8-in-1 appliance, it really is exactly the same as all other air fryers. The only difference is that GoWise has eight digital pre-sets for different cooking “styles.” We’re not saying that isn’t handy. But it doesn’t change the nature of the beast.
GoWise has a one-touch digital “button” for Fries/Chips, Pork, Chicken, Steak, Shrimp, Cake, Fish, and Pizza. And it has a cooking timer up to 30 minutes. It also has a built-in “shake” reminder. Those are nice. But they aren’t any kind of earth-shattering difference from other models.
Now while we’re on this cute marketing strategy, let me point out here that this unit is an “Amazon’s Choice.” And we point it out to question exactly how Amazon makes this kind of decision and to warn you to not place an abundance of weight on this designation when you see it on Amazon. If you look at customer reviews, the GoWise does not fair very well. And that’s particularly true on more recent models. BUT it does have these cute, easy pre-sets . . . .
We often agree with Amazon assessments. But in this case, we do not. We strongly suggest you go with a different model unless these pre-sets hold massive weight for you.
COSORI 5.8 Quart Max XL Air Fryer
This is an Amazon best seller. And there’s a good reason for that.
Cosori makes two size versions of air fryers. One is smaller than this one. It’s a 3.7-quart unit for only about $10 less than the larger one that made our cut.
This one is a 5.8-quart unit, the largest that Cosori makes. Both sizes come in three colors: Black, White, and Burgundy Red. The latter two colors are about $10 more than the Black.
Like others in our review, the inner basket is dishwasher safe and BPA-free. It also is fully digital with 11 pre-sets: Steak, Poultry, Seafood, Shrimp, Bacon, Frozen Foods, French Fries, Vegetables, Root Vegetables, Bread, and Desserts.
This model is a full-family sized unit. It can hold an entire 5-6 pound chicken. So it truly can take the place of a kitchen oven in most households.
And although most air fryers have after-initial-purchase add-ons available, the Cosori has a particularly impressive 6-piece accessory bundle for around $30. It includes a cake pan, a pizza pan, a metal rack with 5 skewers, a silicone mat, an egg-bite mold for seven egg-bites, and an all-purpose metal rack.
We totally agree with Amazon customers on this one. For most households, this is a GREAT little appliance. We whole-heartedly recommend this Cosori.
But don’t stop here. Read our next review before you come to a final decision.
CHEFMAN 6.3 Quart Digital Air Fryer Plus
First, it is clear this is the largest unit that made the cut in our reviews. But second, what may not be immediately obvious, is that this appliance really does take the place of a lot of different appliances.
Unlike any of the others, it has a glass front and an internal light so that you can view your items as they cook. We really love that feature.
The Chefman has only eight pre-sets (also fully digital) but it is a very different design than the other air fryers we reviewed here. The pre-sets are: Fries, Meat, Fish, Shrimp, Chicken, Bake, Rotissere, and Dehydrate. It is the latter two that we find most unique and that truly set this air fryer off into a class of its own. With a $300 stand-alone dehydrator in our kitchen, this unit would have saved us TONS of money.
And that doesn’t even get us to the Rotissere. What a deal.
It also has two racks instead of the one basket all of the others have. So you could cook an entire meal in this sweet little contraption from Chefman and cook it all at once. FAST.
It comes with two removable racks, a removable fry basket, a Rotissere spit, and an easily removable drip tray — all included in the one price.
I didn’t mention it, but it is only $10 more than the Cosori we reviewed above. And it also is an “Amazon’s Choice” product. And this time, we totally understand why!
Like the others, all of the parts are dishwasher-friendly and BPA free. And like all of the units that made our cut in this review, this Chefman ships free on Prime and has free returns.
So if you haven’t already guessed, what is our top pick?
For most households and for the absolutely most versatile small appliance on the market, the hands down winner is the
that you can find here on Amazon.
We seriously could eliminate our ovens with this appliance at a fraction of the installation cost. It uses far less energy and does not heat up the kitchen. Plus, we get both a dehydrator and a rotissere in addition to the incredible evenness and speed of convection cooking.
Always planning our next kitchen design, we have seriously considered one of these units and two or three mobile induction burners — with no stove or ovens at all. We would save thousands of dollars on installation cost. And that doesn’t include energy costs savings over time.
A thought worth considering.
One last note on recipes for air fryers.
Most of the units in our review come with at least a basic cook book. But we strongly suggest you check out our article on the Five Best Cookbooks for Air Fryers in 2020. We promise you won’t be disappointed. And it will make your air fryer experience all the more enjoyable. Read our review of the best air fryer cookbooks here.
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We assure you, we are an Amazon Affiliate by CHOICE because we find Amazon offers the widest marketplace for the best price. We review nothing that weighs our commission based on our choices or comments. And we receive no products at discounted rates or as promotional gifts. And if that ever changes, we will make that clear in our review.