Best Air Fryer: The 2023 Tasting Table Awards
Jul 27, 2023
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Air fryers have quickly become a staple kitchen appliance, lauded for their ability to cook foods in a healthier way and at a much more efficient rate than a traditional oven or deep fryer. They're also highly valued for requiring less upkeep, taking up minimum storage space, and being a safer alternative to an open flame or hot oil. There's no denying that these machines do their job right — but with the plethora of air fryer brands and models available now, which ones actually do it well?
We tested nine popular air fryers and scored them based on capacity and size, versatility, design, additional features, efficiency and performance, and ease of use. When selecting the models, we capped the price at $225. What we found was a wide range of devices that work well for many different purposes. Here are the air fryers that should be on your radar.
Read more about the 2023 Tasting Table Awards methodology and all the top picks here.
You basically know what you're getting with most air fryers, but the Ninja Foodi DualZone exceeded expectations across multiple areas. The appliance has a 10-quart capacity divided between two 5-quart baskets. We found that this was plenty of space for preparing two separate items at once, something that none of the other air fryers we tested could do. What's even more appealing is the Smart Finish and Match Cook options which allow you to select different settings, temperatures, and times for each side. Beyond air frying, you can also broil, roast, bake, reheat, and dehydrate.
We tested the Foodi DualZone once using it the traditional way and again with the Smart Finish and Match Cook functionality, and the food quality did not disappoint. It heated the items to the appropriate internal temperature in half the time it takes a standard oven (and without preheating). Our food had a satisfying crunchy layer that wasn't as easily replicated in the other air fryers we tried.
There is a slight learning curve involved with operating the Ninja Foodi DualZone, but it does become easier to use once you're comfortable with the Smart Finish and Match Cook functions. Though one of the pricier air fryers we tested, its standout features and performance more than make up for it.
Purchase the Ninja DZ401 Foodi 10-Quart 6-in-1 DualZone XL on Amazon for $180.
The Chefman TurboFry is a trooper. It's simple to use, whether you want to try one of the preset cooking options or adjust your own temperature and time. Plus, the machine is easy to clean with its dishwasher-safe basket and crisper plate. Exterior maintenance only requires wiping the surface down with a cloth.
The TurboFry offered one of the quickest cooks of the air fryers we tested and the quality of the food never disappointed. However, if you want an air fryer that does it all, this will likely disappoint. It lacks the versatility and advanced features that you'll find on other models. But if your focus is on air frying, the price and overall performance of the TurboFry is tough to beat.
Purchase the Chefman TurboFry 8-Quart Air Fryer on Amazon for $74.
The level of customization for the Nuwave Brio 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven is remarkable. Out of the box, it has 50 memory slots to set temperatures and times for various recipes, but there are over 100 default presets at your disposal. You can easily adjust these settings during the cooking process with the ability to edit the running timer accordingly. Likewise, if the temperature needs changing, you can do so in five-degree increments. (We played with this feature while testing the appliance, and it cooked our food seamlessly.)
The Brio heats food in stages, which can also be modified to your liking. For example, if you want to start preparing your food at one temperature and then reduce it to a different one when it's nearly done or add a sear toward the end, you have this flexibility.
The customization doesn't stop there. Users can also change the wattage, mute beeping alerts, and switch between small details like having temperature measured in Fahrenheit or Celsius. It even includes a digital temperature probe which comes in handy if you are trying out a new recipe and unsure about how long it needs to be prepared in the appliance.
Purchase the Nuwave Brio 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven on Amazon for $89.
We were skeptical whether a convection toaster could do as well at air frying as the standard appliance, but the Cuisinart TOA-70 Air Fryer and Convection Toaster Oven was up to the task. Its frying results equaled those of several of the other machines we tested. Because it doesn't feature many of the added features you may encounter with standard air fryers, it's also relatively easy to use and maintain. Besides air frying, there are settings for baking, grilling, broiling, warming, and toasting, so you can prepare your next dinner and make some toast the following morning — all in the same machine.
In terms of frying power, we found that this machine isn't as efficient as others on our list as it takes a bit longer to reach crispiness. However, we were a little more forgiving, considering it shares a primary function as a convection toaster oven. If you're looking for something with a bit more cooking and temperature range, this is the pick for you.
Purchase the Cuisinart TOA-70 Air Fryer and Convection Toaster Oven on Amazon for $204.
Personally, we love extra bells, whistles, and functions on our appliances. If you do, too, consider the Cosori Pro II Air Fryer Oven Combo, 5.8-Quart Max XL. The inner basket is detachable, which allows you to filter out extra oil much more effectively by shaking off the excess liquid into the drip pan so you don't dump food and grease on the same plate. We also appreciated the accessibility of the crisper plate. Both parts of the Cosori Pro's basket are dishwasher safe, which isn't the norm among similar appliances.
If you have a preferred cooking temperature or timer for meals, this air fryer offers the ability to customize up to 10 presets. Prefer medium rare instead of well-done steak? With the tap of a button, you can adjust the default setting to execute consistent results with each use. The machine also allows you to set a "shake reminder," which will beep when it's time to flip or shake your food part of the way through. The freedom to walk away from the kitchen without setting an extra timer and worrying about uneven cooking proved to be invaluable. There are also several unique safety features available, such as an anti-scald exterior design, overheat protection, automatic shutoff, and a button guard on the basket.
Purchase the Cosori Pro II Air Fryer Oven Combo, 5.8-Quart Max XL on Amazon for $103.here