Air fryers are one of the cheapest ways to cook food, so it’s no surprise that growing numbers are turning to them as a way to keep energy bills down during the current cost of living crisis.
Air fryers can cost anywhere from around 7.8p to 21.53p to run for 20 minutes, which is long enough to cook most things that could take up to 45 minutes in a standard oven. The cost of using your oven for this length of time could be as much as 87p, according to Utilita, more than triple the cost of an air fryer.
Like buying any other kitchen appliance, which is the best air fryer for you is really down to personal preference and your needs. After all, the best option for a family of four probably won’t be the most suitable for someone living by themselves.
If you’re tempted to buy an air fryer, or are looking to buy one as a gift for Christmas, but are baffled by the array of different sizes, functions and price ranges, you aren’t alone. Here, we’ve rounded up the best air fryers in a number of different categories so you can find the one that’s right for you.
How to find the best air fryer
Air fryers are not only cheap to run but also offer a healthier way of cooking food as you are able to use minimal oil while still achieving a great crisp to your food.
If you’re looking to add an air fryer to your kitchen appliances, it’s worth considering the following points before you splash any cash, as they’ll influence the type of air fryer you might want:
What do you plan to cook in your air fryer?
Air frying may be a relatively new experience for even the most proficient cooks. As a starting point, it’s important to know that some things cook better than others in an air fryer.
Air fryers work by circulating hot air around your food, essentially mimicking the cooking process of deep frying, but without a lot of hot oil. This does mean, though, that they are better at cooking things you’d usually want to be crispy, such as chips, chicken wings, roasted veg or shepherd’s pie. They aren’t so great at cooking sauce-based dishes, so a curry or bolognese probably won’t work.
However, if you want your air fryer to do more than just air fry, some models come with additional features, such as grills, steamers, rotating paddles and even rotisseries. Of course, additional features make these machines more expensive, so you’ll need to weigh up whether it’s worth the markup.
How many mouths do you need to feed?
One of the biggest limitations of air fryers is their size, and despite behaving like a powerful fan oven, their capacity is considerably smaller. When using an air fryer, you’ll load up the basket with whatever it is you’re cooking, whether that’s chips or a piece of chicken, so it’s important to think about the cooking capacity.
If you’re cooking for one or two people you’ll probably need to buy an air fryer with a 2-4.5 litre capacity. However, if you’re cooking for two to four people then a larger one with a 4.5-10 litre capacity is probably better. If you’re regularly cooking for more people than this, then you might want something bigger.
To give an idea of space, a 2-4.5 litre air fryer will usually have enough space for two fillets of fish or chicken, or enough for two portions of chips. Air fryers that have a capacity of 4.5 litres or more are usually able to hold much larger items, such as pizza, a whole chicken or larger portions of vegetables or chips.
If you’re limited on space and opt for a smaller model, it’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll need to cook in multiple batches, which could mean that you end up paying more in energy than if you cooked it in a regular oven.
Have you got a price limit?
Air fryers vary hugely in price, ranging from £30 to £300 or more, so start your decision-making process with an idea of how much you’d like to spend. This way, you won’t go over budget.
How much counter space can you spare?
Few of us have a large amount of space to fill with appliances on kitchen surfaces, so choosing an air fryer that won’t take up your entire work space is important. They range in size from 9cm to nearly 50cm wide, and between 12cm and 80cm high and 9cm and 40cm deep, so measure the space where you plan to put it before choosing a model.
How much do you want to spend on running costs?
If you’re conscious of your energy bills, then it’s important to think about how much your airfryer will cost to run. Different models have different features so the running costs of air fryers can vary considerably. For example, smaller models (1000w) can cost around 0.4p a minute to run, whilst the largest models (2400w+) can cost double this. Although the difference is small, when you multiply this out by total cooking time and frequency of use, the cost can easily add up.
Compare the cost of usage to your oven
If you’re looking to buy an air fryer to cut your energy bills, then it’s important that you take the time to work out how much your oven is currently costing you.
According to Utilita, the following figures show how much you can expect to spend cooking with various types of cooker based on an average of 43 minutes of use each day:
Cost per day to run
Cost per week to run
Cost per month to run
Cost per year to run
Dual cooker (part electric, part gas)
The benefit of air fryers is that they can cook food faster than a standard oven, so while you might use your oven for 43 minutes, you might be able to cook the same thing in 20 minutes using an airfryer.
It’s important to look at how much energy an air fryer uses if you’re conscious about energy costs. The cheapest model we found had a power output of 900w, costing 7.8p for 20 minutes, whereas the most expensive had an output of 2460w, costing 21.53p for the same amount of time.
Generally, air fryers with lower wattage will cost you less to run.
Most compact air fryers
For many of us, kitchen counter space is at a premium, so if you’re looking for a smaller air fryer, here are some compact versions you might want to consider. For simplicity’s sake, we’ve listed air fryers available on Amazon, and shown the prices quoted there, but it’s always worth shopping around to see if you can find cheaper deals elsewhere as there are numerous retailers that stock air fryers. All prices are correct as of 29.11.2023.
Salter EK2817 Compact 2 litre Air Fryer - From £32.99
The Salter compact air fryer is a fairly compact model, measuring 23.5cm wide, 23.5cm deep and 30.5cm high. With a 2 litre capacity, it’s a good choice for small households or those with limited counter space. On top of this, it’s one of the cheapest on the market, has pretty low running costs (10p for 20 minutes), all of which make it a great option.
|Size (cm)||23.5W x 23.5D x 30.5H|
|Power and cost||1200w – Costing 0.53p a minute to run, or 10.5p for 20 minutes.|
|Programmes||It can roast, broil, bake, steam, and reheat|
Cosori CAF-L501 - £89.04
If you need to cook for more than a couple of people, then the Cosori 4.7L 9-in-1 air fryer is one of the most popular compact air fryers on Amazon, with over 9,000 five star reviews. Here’s the rundown:
|Size (cm)||27.4W x 38.4D x 30.7H|
|Power and cost||1500w – Costing 0.66p a minute to run, or 13.13p for 20 minutes.|
|Maximum temperature||232℃ (450℉) – the temperature only appears in fahrenheit on this model|
|Programmes||Nine cooking functions, including chicken, french fries, frozen foods, steak, seafood, veggies, bacon, preheat, and keep warm.|
Air fryers that are cheapest to run
While air fryers are generally one of the cheapest ways to cook, the amount they cost to run varies widely.
Depending on the model and size you go for, the cost can range anywhere from 10p to 28p for 20 minutes of use. While this difference might not seem like a huge amount, if you use your air fryer every day for a year, it could cost you anywhere from £35 up to nearly £100 in total, Running costs can make a difference over time, and particularly if your main aim is to save money on your energy bills.
Here are some of the cheapest models to run for a small, medium and large air fryers:
Tower T17025 Vortx Compact air fryer - £49.94
This is one of the cheapest air fryers on the market and comes with the lowest running costs too, costing 10p for a 20 minute cycle. Here’s it’s specifications:
|Size (cm)||12.7W x 10.8D x 10.8H|
|Power and cost||900w – Costing 0.39p a minute to run, or 7.8p for 20 minutes.|
|Programmes||Five cooking functions, including air fry, bake, roast, steam and reheat.|
Salter EK4221 air fryer - £48.99
This Salter air fryer is a slightly larger size, offering 4.5 litre capacity with a running cost of 14p for 20 minutes. Here’s some more detail:
|Size (cm)||12.9W x 10.8D x 12.6H|
|Power and cost||1300w – Costing 0.57p a minute to run, or 11.38p for 20 minutes.|
|Programmes||Seven cooking functions, including chips, bacon, prawns, cupcakes, chicken legs, steak and fish|
Daewoo SDA1032 Deluxe Halogen Air Fryer - £34.98
This Daewoo halogen air fryer offers a whopping 17-litre capacity, and costs the same to run as the smaller Salter air fryer, coming in at just 14p for 20 minutes. It’s definitely not as flashy as some of the other air fryers on offer, but with over 4,000 five-star reviews, it’s a popular and cost-effective option. Given its size, it’s suitable for a large family.
|Size (cm)||15.7W x 15.7D x 11.8H|
|Power and cost||1300w – Costing 0.57p a minute to run, or 11.38p for 20 minutes.|
|Programmes||The Daewoo air fryer doesn’t have any pre-programmed settings, but you can manually adjust the temperature to whatever you like.|
Air fryers with the largest capacity
The largest air fryers on the market at the moment have a 22-litre capacity, but really anything over 10 litres should give you plenty of room to play with. The Daewoo halogen air fryer that we’ve linked to above also gets an honourable mention here, as it ranks as the cheapest air fryer to run with the biggest capacity.
It’s worth noting that with the rise in popularity of air fryers, and particularly large air fryers, a number of these models are selling out quickly, and others have a one to two month lead time, so it’s worth keeping your eye on them if you’re after one.
Here are some of the best large capacity air fryers:
Tower Xpress Pro Combo T17076 Vortx Air Fryer - £85.00
A favourite amongst the Rest Less community is the Tower Xpress Pro Combo Vortz air fryer, which has a capacity of 11 litres and comes with the added bonus of a rotisserie feature, allowing you to cook whole chickens perfectly. Here’s the rundown:
|Size (cm)||33.9W x 32.4D x 38.2H|
|Power and cost||2000w – Costing 0.88p a minute to run, or 17.5p for 20 minutes.|
|Programmes||Ten pre-programmed settings including: fries, steak/cutlets, chicken fillets/drumsticks, fish, prawns, roast chicken, rotisserie and dehydrate|
Salter EK3999 22L Air Fryer Mini Oven With Rotisserie - £78.39
A slightly cheaper option than the large Tower air fryer, both in upfront and running costs, is the Salter 22 litre rotisserie air fryer. Here are its specifications:
|Size (cm)||45.5W x 42.1D x 40.5H|
|Power and cost||1700w – Costing 0.74p a minute to run, or 14.88p for 20 minutes.|
|Programmes||Multiple programmes including: toast, air fry, roast, rotisserie, grill, bake or dehydrate|
Cheapest air fryers
The cheapest air fryers tend to be on the smaller side, but as they cost less than other models, they tend to sell out fast. If you’re trying to keep costs down, it’s worth checking places like Facebook Marketplace for second-hand air fryers rather than buying a brand-new one.
If you’re set on buying new, however, we’ve rounded up some of the cheapest ones currently available.
NETTA 4.2L Air Fryer - £34.99
The NETTA 4.2L air fryer is a cheap, compact, and attractive air fryer. With a 4.2 litre capacity, it’s big enough for 4 people. Here are its features:
|Size (cm)||26W x 27D x 34H|
|Power and cost||1300w – costing 0.57p a minute to run, or 11.38p for 20 minutes.|
|Programmes||Three cooking functions, including air fry, bake and dehydrate.|
Tower T17021 Family Size Air Fryer - £36.99
A slightly larger option, but at a relatively cheap price is the Tower T17021 air fryer. It has a 4.3 -litre capacity, making it ideal for cooking for two to four people. Here are its specifications:
|Size (cm)||24.5W x 31D x 30.5H|
|Power and cost||1000w – Costing around 0.44p a minute or 8.75p for 20 minutes.|
|Programmes||It can air fry, grill, bake and roast|
Best dual basket air fryers
Dual basket air fryers allow you to cook two different things simultaneously, with each basket working independently from the other. They can be useful if you are a smaller household that sometimes cooks for guests, or if you want to cook both your main and side dishes in your air fryer. Here are two of the best ones:
Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer- AF300UK - £139.00
The Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air fryer has a whopping 6,781 five star reviews on Amazon, making it one of the most popular air fryers out there. Here are its features:
|Size (cm)||38W x 26.5D x 31.5H|
|Capacity (L)||7.6 = 2 x 3.8 baskets|
|Power and cost||1200w – for one drawer – 0.53p per minute or 10.5p for 20 minutes|
2400w – for two drawers – 1.05p per minute or 21p for 20 minutes
|Programmes||six cooking functions, including air fry, max crisp, roast, bake, reheat and dehydrate|
Tower T17088 Vortx 9L Dual Basket Air Fryer - £98.99
Slightly larger than the Ninja dual zone air fryer, the Tower dual basket air fryer offers a huge capacity of nine litres. It’s by no means a cheap option but with its 10 preset programmes and large capacity, it’s definitely popular. Here are its specifications:
|Size (cm)||39W x 34D x 42.9H|
|Capacity (L)||9 = 2 x 4.5 baskets|
|Power and cost||1800w – Costing around 0.79p a minute or 15.75p for 20 minutes.|
|Programmes||It has 10 pre-set programmes, including defrost, fries, bread, chicken, steak, fish, cakes, prawns, dehydrate and keep warm|
Air fryers with the most functions
If you want an all-singing all-dancing air fryer, here are some of the best air fryers on the market offering plenty of additional functions:
Tefal ActiFry Genius XL - £149.98
The Tefal ActiFry Genius XL is one of the only air fryers to come with a ‘paddle attachment’, which removes the need to shake or turn your food while it’s cooking. It also comes with two trays so you can cook a main dish and a side alongside each other. Here are its features:
|Size (cm)||19.3W x 15D x 11.6H|
|Power and cost||1500w – Costing around 0.66p a minute or 13.13p for 20 minutes.|
|Programmes||Nine auto-programmed settings, including: chips and fries, breaded recipes, battered recipes, pastry, meat and fish, chicken, wok and desserts.|
It’s also worth knowing that Aldi are currently offering a deal on the more basic version of this air fryer at a reduced rate, if you don’t want to splash out for the newest model. You can find this deal here.
Ninja Foodi MAX Pro Health AG651UK - £229.99
If you’re prepared to pull out all the stops to get a top of the range air fryer, then the Ninja Foodi Max Pro Health air fryer could be the one for you. Offering not just air frying, but a grill and a flat plate too, this 3.8 litre capacity appliance offers a huge number of cooking options. Here are its specifications:
|Size (cm)||17.4W x 15.7D x 11.6H|
|Power and cost||2460w – Costing around 1.08p a minute or 21.53p for 20 minutes.|
|Programmes||It has seven cooking functions, including a grill, flat plate, air fry, bake, roast, reheat and dehydrate. You can cook with the lid open or closed, giving you the flexibility to use it like a grill / flat top or oven alternative.|
Air fryer recipe inspiration
Mid week pot roast
Air fryer orange chicken
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