Are air-fryers worth it?
Air-fryers have become the must-have gadget of late, but are they worth the hype? We weigh up the benefits of investing in one
Over a third of households in the UK now own an air-fryer – that's no surprise given they've been flying off the shelves over the last two years. But if you've not yet bought one, and you're wondering whether to take advantage of one of the many air-fryer deals currently available, you might be asking: are these popular, potentially energy-saving gadgets actually worth the hype?
Many people have been drawn in by their compact size and versatility versus a standard oven, but some features make them less suitable for certain households. Here, we've run through the key pros and cons of air-fryers, to help you decide whether they're worth adding to your shopping list.
Jump to section:
- Are air-fryers worth it?
- What are the benefits of getting an air-fryer?
- Is now a good time to buy an air-fryer?
- Our recommendations for air-fryers to buy in 2024
- The verdict: are air-fryers worth it?
- Air-fryers circulate hot air to cook food more quickly
- With a range of presets on offer, most air-fryers can cook a variety of dishes
- Air-fryer ovens and dual-drawer models have a large footprint and can be difficult to store
- They can be cheaper to run than a standard oven, depending on your energy provider
- Air-fryers have a limited capacity, so might be less convenient for large meals
- Many models have in-built fans, which can be noisy during use
- Air-fryers require less oil, so can create healthier meals than deep-fat fryers
Air-fryers are convenient
One of the primary perks of owning an air-fryer is the convenience they offer. Like any kitchen gadget, you want something that’s going to make life simpler, and there’s no doubt that frying and baking conventionally can be messy and even dangerous.
Think of air-fryers as mini ovens that can tackle almost anything you’d put in a conventional oven or deep-fat fryer. And because they're typically more compact than traditional ovens, they also heat up and circulate hot air more efficiently around food – resulting in meals cooked faster.
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"When using an air-fryer, I tend to opt for simpler recipes that take longer and use more energy when cooked differently – for example, jacket potatoes," says Samuel Goldsmith, food copy editor for BBC Good Food.
"Energy savings will depend on what tariff you are on and also what you’re cooking, but most things cook more quickly and air-fryers tend to be more energy-efficient than convection ovens."
Air-fryers are versatile
Most models are able to perform multiple functions, and it’s impressive to see how much is packed into their compact countertop footprint. You can bake, roast, dehydrate and grill in almost all of the models we’ve tested, and some also come with presets for specific ingredients like chicken, pizza, fish and steak.
When shopping for air-fryers, we recommend looking closely at the settings, features and capacity of each model to ensure it meets your needs. For a smaller household of one or two people, a single-drawer, basket-style air-fryer might be ideal, while dual-drawer options may be better suited to larger households.
Air-fryers require less oil
That said, air-fried foods are still classed as fried food, so you should try to enjoy them as part of a balanced diet. Read more about the health credentials of air-fryers in our guide – is air-frying healthy?
Air-fryers can be energy efficient
Not only does an air-fryer save you precious counter space, they’re often cheaper to run than ovens, particularly if you’re only heating up food for one or two people.
They do vary in their energy efficiency, but you can work out how much energy your appliance is using, to get a better idea of how much money you can potentially save. To calculate this, multiply the wattage of your air-fryer by the number of hours it's used each day, and divide the total by 1,000. This will give you its daily kilowatt-hour (kWh).
The cost-per-kilowatt-hour will vary depending on where you live and what your energy tariff is, but if you have a smart metre installed, you should be able to see the cost-per-use during cooking will be visible without doing any calculations.
Now is an ideal time to save on a top-rated air-fryer – particularly with brands like Ninja, Sage, Cosori, and Tefal. To find out which products are on offer, visit our air-fryer deals page and discover the best Ninja deals via our sister site, olive. We've seen several discounts going live and will be continuing to track prices, so keep checking back to discover new deals as they go live.
If you've not yet bought an air-fryer, discover our top picks in our best air-fryers guide, which is filled with options to suit a variety of needs and budgets.
The BBC Good Food team has been testing air-fryers for five years, and we're continuing to review the newest models to bring you the most up-to-date recommendations – so you know which air-fryers are worth spending your money on. Here's a few of our favourites:
Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air-fryer
Star rating: 5/5
Best for cooking a complete meal in one
This Ninja air-fryer is a good-looking piece of kit with a sleek matte finish and bright touchscreen. We were impressed that it came in fully recyclable packaging, and while its footprint is large, its controls are intuitive and easy to use – with independent controls for each drawer. This model also produced excellent thick and thin-cut chips, as well as a deliciously crisp duck breast.
Read our full Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air-fryer review.
Sage the Smart Oven air-fryer
Star rating: 5/5
Best multi-tasking air-fryer
With a stainless steel finish, handy inner trays and nicely-weighted door, this Sage appliance offers functions that can handle anything from slow-cooked casseroles to air-fried chips. It's spacious enough to make main meals for a family of four, and comes with pull-out wire baskets, a pizza tray and grill pan, plus reminders of what should go where for every preset function.
Read our full Sage the Smart Oven air-fryer review.
Cosori Air-Fryer Lite 3.8L
Star rating: 4.5/5
Best WiFi-enabled air-fryer
Sporting a robust and smart-looking body, this compact Cosori air-fryer comes with touchscreen controls on the hood, tactile accents on the handle, and useful cord storage. Ideal for one to three portions, its five presets include chicken, fries, steak, veggies and bacon. It's also WiFi-compatible and comes with an app, where you can check how much time is left from afar and find a bank of Cosori recipes.
Read our full Cosori Air-Fryer Lite 3.8L review.
The verdict: are air-fryers worth it?
Air-fryers have become a game-changing gadget for many households, and when used appropriately, they can transform how we prepare and cook meals at home. The key is to do your research before you buy – think about your individual requirements, like functions, size, speed, and price, and perhaps mostly importantly, what you like to cook.
Capacity is also a big factor. For instance, if you're switching your oven on to cook one or two smaller items, like chips or chicken wings, you should find an air-fryer is more efficient in comparison. But, for larger portions that exceed the capacity of your air-fryer, you might want to think about using a different appliance instead.
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If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.