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Choosing the right Air Fryer is hard! Let me help you pick between basket-style and toaster-oven-style models. It all depends on your family’s needs!

Three Air Fryers on a kitchen counter

There are so many different Air Fryers on the market, that it’s hard to choose which one is right for you! After developing hundreds of Air Fryer recipes we share our top picks and what you need to consider before buying an Air Fryer.

There are four different kinds of Air Fryers: Basket-Style Air Fryers, Toaster-Oven-Style Air Fryers, Multi-Cooker that have an Air Fryer Function, and Air Fryer Lids for your Pressure Cooker. With so many choices it’s difficult to decide which one is right for your cooking needs!

What to consider before you buy

  • Capacity – Depending on the size of your family you might want to choose a larger Air Fryer to avoid cooking in batches
  • Functions – Do you want a stand-alone Air Fryer or a more versatile model?
  • Clean-up – Some trays/baskets can go in the dishwasher others are more difficult to clean
  • Crisp-Factor – Basket-style air fryers usually crisp food up better than toaster-oven style Air Fryers
  • Size and weight – Do you have enough space in your kitchen or do you need a lighter Air Fryer that can easily be moved around
A cooked peach crumble in a baking pan in an air fryer basket

Basket Style Air Fryers

Basket Style Air Fryers come with a basket that sits below a heating element. They heat up quickly, cook evenly because of their design, and are usually smaller than toaster-oven style Air Fryers. The basket makes it easy to shake food and cooking times are usually very accurate!

Some cons are that the size of the basket can be limiting because ideally, you want to cook most foods in a single layer. Clean-up is also often harder, especially if the basket is made from wire, but most baskets can go in the dishwasher. The noise level is quite high but the results are great. Here are my favorite Basket Air Fryers:

  • Cosori Air Fryer 5.8qt – Looks stylish and comes with lots of presets and a shake reminder. It feels a little bit flimsy and it is not as durable as some higher-end Air Fryers. The big basket makes up for that, it’s perfect for 3-4 people. The basket can go in the dishwasher and food comes out perfectly crisp! It’s also lighter than other models so you can move it around easily. The newer Cosori DualBlaze is also a great choice, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have an inner basket which can be a problem if you make french fries often because grease tends to pool at the bottom and makes it hard to transfer the fries.
  • Ninja 4qt. Air Fryer – This is a great Air Fryer with a ceramic coated basket, that is very easy to clean. It is sturdy and feels higher-end than the Cosori. A perfect choice for 2 people. The Ninja DualZone 8 qt. is a great buy too, especially if you cook for more people or want to air fry two dishes at the same time.
  • Philips Air Fryer XXL – The most high-end Air Fryer that gives you the best results but is also the most expensive! I used to have one and loved it for fries and other breaded dishes, cooking times were always accurate, and it didn’t need to be preheated. But the wire basket is hard to clean and it often started to smoke when cooking greasy food. The size is perfect for cooking for 3-4 people!

Toaster Oven Style Air Fryers

Oven-style Air Fryers have a much bigger capacity making them a great choice for a larger family. It often comes with 2-3 trays and lots of different functions from dehydrating to baking. They are often quieter than basket-style air fryers and can be easier to clean but there are also some cons. Toaster-oven-style air fryers take up more counter space and are heavier. They usually tend to cook slower and turning food over is harder.

  • Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven Air Fryer – This is one of the most popular toaster-oven-style Air Fryers. It feels a bit more flimsy than the Ninja but it can fit a lot of food.
  • Ninja Foodi 8-in-1 Digital Air Fry Oven – Like the basket-style Ninja Air Fryer this model feels sturdy and uses quality materials. It flips up to store and can easily be cleaned because it has a removable back panel. It comes with a 13″x13″ sheet pan which is perfect for large families or a 13″ pizza.
  • Breville The Smart Oven Digital Air Fryer – The most high-end oven-style Air Fryer but also more than twice as expensive as the first two choices. Breville is known for its quality and this Air Fryer is no exception. It looks stylish and has a large capacity! Some reviews say it’s hard to clean if you cook lots of greasy dishes but if you’re looking for a more traditional toaster oven and plan to only air fry occasionally this would be my choice.

Multi-Cooker with Air Fryer Function or Air Fryer Lid

Using a multi-cooker instead of a stand-alone Air Fryer minimizes the number of small appliances in your kitchen and can be a great way to save money. But those with an integrated Air Fryer function are often very heavy and are difficult to move around. Capacity is also limited and the round-shaped basket is not ideal for many dishes.

  • Ninja Foodi 10-in-1 – This is a perfect choice if you have a smaller kitchen! It’s a pressure cooker, air fryer, and slow cooker (and more) combined into one “small” appliance. I own the older version and it has earned a permanent spot on my counter because it’s so versatile. It comes with lots of accessories which makes it super convenient. The basket and inner pot are super easy to clean, it cooks fast and crisps food up perfectly. The only thing is that the basket is round and on the smaller side but it works well for 2 people.
  • Instant Pot Duo Crisp Lid – If you already own an Instant Pot this would be a great choice if you don’t plan to constantly air fry. Simply turn your Instant Pot into a Pressure cooker by switching out the lid.

Julia’s Top Air Fryer Pick

My top pick at the moment (July 2022) is the Cosori Air Fryer 5.8qt. I use it for developing and testing most of my Air Fryer Recipes. Here are my latest recipes:

About Julia Foerster

Hi, I'm Julia! Born in Germany, I call Canada now my home and love to share my favorite dishes with you! Here you'll find hundreds of recipes, all made from scratch, with lots of tips and detailed step-by-step instructions.

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