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Small Appliances

The hunt for the best air fryer

After putting the heat on eight air fryers, we pick the best one.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Makers of home air fryers promise a lot. The biggest claim is that they create the delicious deep-fried taste you crave, but with almost no oil. Some companies say their air fryers can roast whole chickens complete with perfectly crisp skin. That's why we decided to see for ourselves just what these countertop cookers can do.

We put eight different air fryers to the test, including units from Black & Decker, DeLonghi, KrupsPhilips, Simple Chef and T-Fal. We cooked everything, from french fries to frozen snacks to chicken wings to burgers. Can they compete with a deep fryer? Is it time to throw out your oil? Here's what we found. 

The Black and Decker Purify.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Black and Decker Purifry

The $100 Purifry from Black and Decker is a solid air fryer choice. It's affordable and performs well, but its small food capacity is no crowd pleaser.

Available at Amazon

The DeLonghi Multifry 1363.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

DeLonghi Multifry 1363

The DeLonghi Multifry 1363 successfully conjures some of that deep fried flavor and crunch in the food it makes. It also comes with a motorized mixing paddle. Just don't try to use it to make risotto, which it claims it can do.

Available at Amazon

The Krups Fry Delight.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Krups Fry Delight

This Krups air fryer is reasonably priced and makes decent fries. It's hard to clean its metal mesh basket though, and its shape and size make it bulkier than most people will want for a countertop appliance.

Available at Amazon

The Philips Airfryer XXL.

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Philips Airfryer XXL

Here's an air fryer that's simply massive. The Philips Airfryer XXL cooks up the biggest batches of all the fryers we've looked at so far, but it's also expensive and has confusing controls.

Available at Amazon

The Philips Avance Collection Airfryer.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Philips Avance Collection Airfryer

This Philips Avance Collection Airfryer is one appliance you'll want to skip. The Avance cooked fresh food no better than a conventional oven despite its steep price.

Available at Amazon

The Philips Viva Collection Airfryer.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Philips Viva Collection Airfryer HD9621

The Philips Viva Collection Airfryer is compact, cooks frozen snacks quickly, and is a snap to clean. Its low-powered heating system though couldn't make food with deep-fried flavor and texture. It's also more expensive than it should be.

Available at Amazon

The Simple Chef HF-898 Air Fryer.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Simple Chef HF-898 Air Fryer

The most affordable air fryer we've tested so far, the Simple Chef HF-898 Air Fryer is also the easiest to keep clean. We weren't entirely blown away by its cooking performance, but overall this one is a solid choice.

Available at Amazon

The T-Fal Actifry FZ7002.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

T-Fal Actifry FZ7002

If you crave truly outstanding fries at home, the T-Fal Actifry FZ7002 is the air fryer to buy. Most shoppers though shouldn't spend this much on an appliance that can't do much else.

Available at Amazon

To air fry or not

Countertop oil-less fryers are gaining hype as a small appliance category, and many manufacturers now sell these products hoping to cash in on the air fry trend. Whether you should buy one depends on how much you enjoy fried potatoes and frozen snacks in all their varied forms. If the answer is a lot, then by all means choose a model that you can afford. Otherwise, consider relying on your trusty oven when the fried food craving strikes.

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