The air fryer is the “it” kitchen appliance these days, and it’s easy to understand why. They’re fast, easy to use and cook food with about 80% less oil than by traditional frying methods. And air fryers can do so much more than air fry - they’re also good for roasting and even baking.
Air fryers can also be quite expensive, unfortunately. But the good news is that you don’t actually need to drop that much to get a high quality air fryer. Here are the six absolute best air fryers under $100 on the market.
Kicking off this list of the best air fryers under $100 is the Air Fryer 3.6QT by Hoepaid. I really like this product for its superior air frying performance, but also for a few added features that I will cover in more detail below.
First, let’s talk about size and expectations. The Hoepaid is relatively small, at just 3.6 quarts, although they do have a larger, 5.6 quart model here. But that said, I actually prefer the reduced size and shape of this model.
It stands just over one foot tall, with a diameter - that’s right, it’s a perfect tube - of about 11 inches. The whole thing is just really sleek, with great brushed stainless steel accents and an easy to use touch screen, time and temperature dial, and LED display.
And 3.6 quarts is really plenty for me - big enough to make food for 3 - 4 people, and besides, I always like to economize when it comes to taking up precious space on the kitchen countertop. And speaking of countertops, I also really appreciate the silicone, anti-skid feet that keep this machine in place on mine.
So now a few design features that I think are really cool. First, there is the automatic shut off, activated when your food is finished air frying. Simple, I know, but pretty important as far as safety goes, and helpful to prevent overcooking.
Second, and particularly convenient, is the “pause” feature. This essentially pauses the power when the food basket is removed, kind of like the “sneak a cup” feature on many coffee makers. This is perfect for those of us that like to impatiently check our food as it cooks!
Finally, the Hoepaid Air Fryer 3.6QT has two nested baskets, which make it really easy to cook and pour out food without re-mixing it with the separated fat. It also makes for very easy and efficient cleaning afterwards.
All in all, this thing is a great quality product, and one that definitely sits at the top of my list for best air fryers under $100.
The Ultrean AF0402 6 Quart Air Fryer is a great option if you’re looking for a larger capacity air fryer under $100. It’s one of your big boys, that’s for sure, but it’s also a solidly built, reliable machine.
Even though it’s fairly large, I really like the shape of this air fryer. It’s got some nice curves towards the top, and the control panel is tilted, at an ergonomic and easily visible angle.
So let’s talk about that display, or rather, control panel. It’s got soft buttons and an LCD display with seven presets, with pretty easy to understand icons. The temperature is easy to adjust, and ranges from 180 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
And there is also an integrated timer, ranging from 0 to 30 minutes. And although 30 minutes is probably sufficient for most air frying, I’d still prefer a timer that goes up to 45 or even 60 minutes, because why not?
Functionally, the Ultrean AF0402 performs on par with the top of the pack. It’s also got a detachable, nested non-stick basket, which rests inside of the fryer pan. This is great for trapping grease, separating it from your food, and making for easy clean up.
Best of all, this thing is dishwasher safe. That said, I would recommend hand washing non-stick components, just to preserve that precious coating.
I like the Innsky 5.8 Quart Air Fryer for a few reasons. In many ways, this air fryer is almost identical to other comparable air fryers on the market - it’s similar in design, composition and temperature controls. But that said, this model has some game changing programming features that make it stand out, and secure a place on this list.
First, let’s cover the basics. The LED panel is easy to use, and comes with seven cooking presets for different food items, ranging from french fries to fish. The temperature control is also pretty standard, ranging from 180 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
The machine itself is also really solid - it’s made from stainless steel, with a nice wave-like design on the top. The basket is non-stick, and huge - big enough to fit an entire chicken.
So basically the features that make the Innsky air fryer a stand out are the delayed start and warming feature. These features are super important for properly timing your meal.
Start too early and still need to wait for something on the stovetop? Flip on the warmer function to keep your food hot while the rest of the meal cooks. Won’t need your french fries for a while? Set the delayed start feature so that your fries finish with the rest of your meal.
The only real downside to this machine is the food tray. And this seems to somehow be symptomatic of many air fryers - it just doesn’t extract that easily.
I imagine it has to do with safety - who wants to burn themselves on super hot air? But still, it can be a little inconvenient.
If you can overlook the small bother of taking care while removing the food tray and basket - and you have the space for this beast - then I consider the Innsky 5.8 Quart Air Fryer to be perfect.
Aesthetically, the Cosori CP137 Air Fryer is what I imagine we would get if you asked Apple to design kitchen products. The sleek curves and angled LED panel just look ultra modern. And Cosori products are, in fact, designed in California.
The LED panel is really the first thing you’ll notice on this machine. It’s rather large, which I suppose it needs to be for 11 preset functions, and a warmer function. Despite the wide array of buttons, these are all very easy to understand thanks to the iconography.
And the panel can be used to adjust temperature along a pretty extensive range, from 170 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This is rather standard for air fryers, and for me the stand out feature with respect to temperature control is the warmer function, which is super convenient for keeping food warm while finishing off other aspects of my meal.
The basket and tray design are also pretty straight forward, with one square basket nested snuggly inside of a tray that catches and separates grease. That said, it’s a little bit difficult to release the tray - that quick release button will take some getting used to.
The cooking basket is pretty sizable too, holding about 3.7 quarts - good for two to four people. It’s also protected by a PFOA and BPA-free non-stick coating. And although Cosori claims that their baskets are dishwasher safe, I’d still recommend hand washing to preserve the non-stick coating.
I like Elite Gourmet quite a bit for making simple yet high quality kitchen appliances for an affordable price. This 2.1 quart air fryer certainly fits that mold - it’s small, simple and easy to use, and comes in under $50.
Although this air fryer doesn’t come with any pre-set controls, the top of the machine has some cooking references for different items, ranging from chicken to french fries. This is really ok with me, since I don’t usually use presets anyway, opting instead for direct temperature and time control.
What I really like about this machine is the size. Countertop real estate is definitely a premium in many kitchens, and this thing barely takes up any space at all. It’s less than a foot tall, less than eight inches across, and just ten inches deep, about the same as a moderately sized coffee maker.
But, with compact size comes reduced cooking capacity. This air fryer holds just about two quarts of food, which is great for two people, but not much beyond that.
The fryer basket is blanketed in a PFOA/PTFE-free, non-stick coating, and although Elite Gourmet says this is dishwasher safe, I’d still recommend hand washing.
In my opinion, this is a really good option if you’re not impressed by bells and whistles, and just want to get down to some good old fashioned air frying in a small space.
Dash’s Tasti Crisp is another compact, very affordable air fryer. I like this thing’s simplicity and convenience, and the fact that it comes in a variety of colors that match any kitchen.
First, it’s small. At just seven by seven inches, it won’t take up any counter space at all. The basket - and food capacity - is also relatively small, holding just over two quarts, but still plenty large for one to two people.
The temperature can be adjusted from 200 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, but unfortunately, there are no preset food programs. The timer is also cool, kind of similar to an old fashioned countertop egg timer.
While the Tasti Crisp has no real frills, it nevertheless gets the job done. It’s also really light, making it easy to move around the kitchen and/or store away. I appreciate its simplicity, and moreover, the affordable price.
There are a few final things to consider when purchasing your air fryer. The truth is, there isn’t actually all that much variation when it comes to air frying technology. That said, there are a few details that you’ll want to pay attention to.
First, how big do you really need your air fryer to be? This is by far the biggest difference among the models listed above.
There are two things to consider here - how much counter space do you have, and how many people do you plan to cook for?
If you’re limited to one or two people, I would definitely go with the Hoepaid, or even one of the budget air fryers, like the Dash or the Elite Gourmet. But if you need to go big, the Ultrean air fryer is the obvious choice.
Another thing to consider when researching air fryers is the temperature and timing controls, and the preset functions. Almost all of these machines work according to a specific combination of heat and time - like all cooking, really - but some of the air fryers above have these settings pre-programmed.
This can be very convenient, especially if you don’t know off hand how long to air fry french fries, for example. That said, they aren’t by any means necessary, and you can always go rogue.
Really, the pre-programmed settings are a luxury, rather than a necessity. If you can live without them, you can probably save yourself a few bucks. Up to you!
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