The best air fryers for families

Woman using air fryer

by Emily Gilbert |
Updated on

Last year saw a surge in interest in air fryers, especially Ninja air fryers and it's no surprise really. Not only do air fryers create a healthier alternative to fried food with very little oil but they're also much quicker and more energy efficient compared to using an oven, saving money on energy bills. Now the problem is, many of us out there have had the same idea, making it tricky to get hold of the best air fryers available.

Rather than provide you with lots of dreaded 'out of stock' products, we've sourced the best air fryers that you can actually buy today, saving you any disappointment and helping you create those quick and healthy toddler meals in a jiffy.

Rather than the food itself being healthier, it's the cooking method an air fryer uses which makes it so as it requires little no oil. According to Science Focus, "an air fryer can almost recreate the same sort of heat transfer you get with oil, but without adding so many calories to your food."

The choice is endless when it comes to cooking with an air fryer and you'll find that a lot of your family's favourites can be made in less time by using one. Our favourites include chips, veggies, roast potatoes and battered or breaded chicken and fish.

Here, we have selected the best air fryers for you:

The 5.5L square basket of the Cosori air fryer provides a larger cooking area, meaning it can serve more food at a time than round air fryer models. With a sleek, matte design, it offers 13 different one-touch functions and preset options to make using it easy.

Basket size: 5.5L

Review: "I couldn't be more happier with my purchase, cooks great, easy to use, easy to clean just a quick wash with soapy water. Great buy, very happy."

Pros

  • Stylish
  • Spacious
  • Dishwasher-safe components

Cons

  • May be too big for some homes

The 8 pre-set modes of this air fryer can be used for fries, roast chicken, fish, vegetables and even dessert. There's even a dehydrate function to make dried fruit snacks for your little one. Plus you can grill like a pro with the unique grill plate, made from die-cast aluminium for those authentic grill marks.

Basket size: 4.2L

Review: "Bought this as a present for my daughter and son-in-law for Christmas. What an amazingly versatile machine. For 5 days after Christmas, my daughter insisted that she did the cooking as she fell in love with the machine. Time saved by cooking this way is probably half the time an oven would use. This model will take some beating"

Pros

  • 2 in 1 machine will fry and grill
  • Easy to clean
  • Holds up to up to 1.2kg of food

Cons

  • Some reviewers found the pre-set modes unnecessary

The removable non-stick coated fry basket and crisping plate of this air fryer from Russell Hobbs are dishwasher safe and can be removed for ease of cleaning. Select from air fry, grill, bake, roast, dehydrate, reheat and defrost modes to suit whatever it is that you're cooking. The shake reminder will sound halfway through the cooking cycle, for foods like chips and nuggets that need a shake for that delicious, crispy crunch.

Basket size: 4L

Review: "Cooks really well, and easy to use. I have cooked many items and everything has been well cooked."

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Touch screen display
  • 10 pre-set food programmes

Cons

  • May be too small for families

Offering a generous 8.2 litre capacity across two cooking baskets, this extra-large air fryer can make double portions for families and cook different food ready to serve at the same time. It has a whopping 12 cooking functions with pause, resume sync and match features to ensure identical cooking times and temperatures.

Basket size: 2 x 4.1L baskets

Review: "This is such a great air fryer. It's easy to use and easy to clean. You can get plenty of food in each holder, I managed a whole chicken which easily cooked in 45 minutes and the sync cooking is such a great option to use as well. Might not be good for a big family, but could easily cater for 2 to 3 people's meals. I've cooked, meat, fish, vegetables and snacks in there."

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Can cook different foods at the same time
  • Sync and match cook functions

Cons

  • May take up too much room

It may look slightly different from the other air fryers on our list but this model from Tower comes with a spit and handle accessories to cook a whole chicken rotisserie style in under one hour. You'll also receive rotating kebab skewers and three air-flow racks for easily layering food.

Basket size: 11L

Review: "I've been using my Tower 10 in 1 for a month now & have only put my main oven on once in that time. I even did the Christmas turkey in it. I did 2 x 1.3 kg turkey crowns on the rotisserie and they were far better than when I've done a larger turkey in the oven."

Pros

  • Rotisserie option
  • Comes with lots of extras
  • Large capacity

Cons

  • The rotisserie fittings can't be removed

The see-through window and perfectly placed light of the Instant Vortex Plus means that you can check on cooking progress without opening the basket. It combines six cooking programmes in one appliance, with little to no preheating time you can make delicious dishes quickly, and as simply as the touch of a button.

Basket size: Available in either 5.7L and 7.6L

Reviewed by Digital Writer Emily Gilbert: "I am a huge fan of the Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer and am kicking myself that it's taken me so long to join the air fryer club. For the type of food that we like to cook, it's been a huge asset to our kitchen and now I don't know what we'd do without it."

Pros

  • See-through window allows you to check on food
  • Intuitive message bar which prompts add food and turn food reminders
  • Stylish stainless-steel finish 

Cons

  • None

Use the dial control panel to easily select a pre-set cooking option on this air fryer or adjust the timer and temperature settings. It has a large basket which will suit families and non-slip feet for extra stability on your kitchen surface.

Basket size: 7L

Review: "Useful addition in the kitchen. The window allows you to check on cooking without having to open the drawer. Speeds up cooking and uses less energy. Easy to clean."

Pros

  • Extra-large size
  • Easy-to-use dial controls
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • The shape can be inconvenient
  • No digital display

One of the most popular brands of air fryers, Ninjas are notoriously difficult to get hold of right now so you'll want to jump on this one quickly. Available in two sizes to suit your family, it has six cooking functions: Max Crisp, Air Fry, Roast, Bake, Reheat & Dehydrate.

Basket size: Available in either 3.8L or 5.2L

Review: "As expected, the fryer was out of the box and put to work almost immediately. Not only were the chips some of the best-textured homemade chips I've ever tasted, but the chicken he later cooked - which would've normally taken 1.5 hours in the oven - was done to perfection in only 45 minutes! According to my partner, the air fryer was also a real lifesaver as he prepared Christmas dinner for the family in a tiny kitchen at his mother's home. Roasting the potatoes and other veg in the air fryer (to near perfection) left precious room available in the oven for the turkey and other side dishes requiring a traditional oven for cooking."

Pros

  • Popular brand
  • Dishwasher-safe parts
  • Digital display

Cons

  • Can be tricky to clean

It may not look like a lot of the other air fryers on our list but the Salter AeroGrill offers 16 cooking functions to cook flavoursome meals with a touch control panel. Suitable for between 1-2 portions, it comes with a basket, grill rack, cooking pot and cleaning brush and has a cool zone to keep the oil fresher for longer.

Basket size: 3.8L

Review: "I brought this product 3 weeks ago. It's brilliant, easy to use so many features and the best part is that it's so easy to clean. I would recommend. This the third air fryer I have purchased and this one beats the rest by far."

Pros

  • Removable bowl
  • 16 cooking functions

Cons

  • Noisy
  • Bigger and heavier than other models

This smart air fryer from Philips can be paired with an app where you can choose from hundreds of tasty recipes and send it to your air fryer. Then just monitor your meal from your phone and the app will tell you once it's ready! The touchscreen has 7 different presets plus a keep warm mode so that your food will remain at an ideal temperature for up to 30 minutes.

Basket size: 6.2L

Review: "Replaced my 9yr old Philips Airfryer with this, and was happy with the size, I could fit a proper roast chicken and it is so quiet that I have to open the basket to check if it was running because the older model was very noisy. Great to have the digital controls for precise temperature and timing control. Hopefully, it will last me another good 5-7yrs."

Pros

  • Large size
  • Monitor cooking from your phone or tablet
  • Keep warm function

Cons

  • None

Types of air fryers

Basket-style air fryer: The most popular type of air fryer that you're sure to recognise, these air fryers have slide-out baskets or trays that can be pushed in and pulled out of the main unit which has heating elements and fans.

Rotisserie air fryer: Perfect for poultry lovers, these air fryers use a rotisserie function (where the meat is skewered on a spit) to produce whole chickens that are crispy on the outside but juicy on the inside.

Mini oven air fryer: Rather than a basket, mini oven air fryers typically use convection or fan technology to cook your food on slide-in trays.

How do air fryers work?

Despite the name, air fryers don't technically fry your food. Instead, they cook by circulating hot air in the perforated basket around the food. This creates an intense heat transfer that is more like frying than cooking.

A journalist since 2015, Emily Gilbertis the Features & Reviews Editor for Mother&Baby and has written for the website and previously the magazine for seven years. Emily writes about everything from the top baby products to pregnancy, fertility and maternal mental health. Specialising in product reviews, Emily is the first to know about all the exciting new releases in the parenting industry.

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