An appliance that can create crispy deep-fried delights using just a spoonful of oil sounds like the stuff of a George Foreman cheese-fever dream, but an air fryer can do just that by using convection cooking. This works by circulating hot air around food at speed to give it a crisp outer layer as a result of a chemical reaction called the Maillard effect. Which means you can fry chips, pieces of chicken and all manner of things (fried pickles FTW) using around 80% less fat than a deep-fat fryer. And most of these devices can also cook frozen food, roast meat and bake desserts, which makes them a handy addition to any kitchen.
Best Budget Air Fryer: Tower T17005 Air Fryer
This affordable appliance is a top choice for families with its 3.2-litre capacity (equivalent to roughly five servings). It’s great at producing top-quality fried foods and can crisp up everything from chicken goujons to chips (which are even better when the spuds are parboiled first). It’s sturdy, it’s easy to use and it comes with a temperature range from 80 to 200°C. At this price, it’s a great introduction to the world of air frying.
Buy on Amazon | £39
Best High-End Air Fryer: Philips Avance Collection Airfryer XL HD9240/90
This sleek device features a digital display with time and temperature settings and an integrated air filter to minimise lingering food smells. It’s one of the most powerful air fryers you can buy and it heats up in just three minutes. The convex design is said to help circulate the air to provide an even, crispy fry on everything from samosas to sweetcorn fritters.
Buy on Amazon | £179.99
Best All-Round Air Fryer: Tefal Original ActiFry GH840840 Health Fryer
This fuss-free gadget has a capacity of 1.2 litres and is particularly good at churning out healthier-than-average chips and roast potatoes using just one spoonful of oil. An automatic stirring paddle ensures that food is cooked evenly and you can cook two things at the same time using a divider to create separate compartments. The free MyActiFry app is loaded with more than 250 recipes for meal inspiration.
Buy from Argos | £169.99
Easiest To Use: Lakeland Touchscreen Air Fryer
With a large digital LED touchscreen, this compact device from British brand Lakeland is simple to control with an easy-to-use timer and temperature gauge (from 80 to 200°C) as well as an auto-stop function to prevent it being left on by mistake. It’s quiet when in use and any excess oil that escapes during cooking will drop into the tank below. The tank, non-stick pan and basket can all be put in the dishwasher.
Buy from Lakeland | £79.99
Best Air Fryer/Oven Combo: Sage Smart Oven Air
The Smart Oven Air might cost a pretty penny, but since it can do the job of a whole load of other appliances, it might end up being the most cost-effective option. As well as being a roomy air fryer that has the space to cook an entire chicken plus trimmings, it can also roast, bake and slow cook; it even has dedicated pizza and bagel modes, with the latter offering seven darkness settings. The ten one-touch presets make cooking with the Smart Oven Air easy, and the non-stick coating on the inside means that it’s not too much of a chore to clean afterwards either.
Buy from Lakeland | £329.99