Fried food is one of the simplest pleasures of life. Sadly, deliciously fried food is not very good for you. The oils used to cook the food add tons of extra calories, which can cause you to overeat. Fried food is often not practical to cook at home either. The oil tends to make things quite messy and standing over the fryer cooking can get tiresome quickly.
Luckily, air fryers fix both of these problems. They can fry your favorite foods with hardly any oil, making your food healthier and tastier. They do not require you to stand guard over them while you’re cooking either.
Of course, not all air fryers are made equal. We reviewed three of the best air fryers to help you make the best buying decision. We considered each fryer’s ease of use, versatility, temperature range, ease of cleaning, and many more factors when reviewing each product.
Best Small and Compact Air Fryers
DASH Compact Electric Air Fryer – Best Overall
This small air fryer by DASH comes with an easy-to-use digital display. It has 5 presets as well as a manual setting option. You can easily track the temperature and cooking time using the display. This machine also heats up very quickly, allowing you to start cooking almost immediately.
This small air fryer has an auto-shutoff feature that prevents overcooking and accidental fires. The cool-touch housing and handle allow you to handle the machine even when it is hot inside, preventing accidental burns. The nonstick fryer basket is dishwasher safe, making this machine extremely easy to clean.
The DASH Compact Electric Air Fryer is also lightweight and small, which allows it to fit in more enclosed spaces. Plus, it is designed to cook a wide variety of foods from deserts to appetizers. This lets you replace many different appliances in your kitchen with this one, small machine.
Appearance and Size
This small air fryer has a capacity of 2 quarts. That is enough space for about 1 pound of fries. It has a sleek, modern appearance and comes in five different colors: black, white, grey, red, and aqua. It also has silver accents on the top and handle.
2. Chefman TurboFry 2 Liter Air Fryer – Smallest Air Fryer
The Chefman TurboFry 2 Liter Air Fryer features a flat basket design. Basically, the frying basket is flat, allowing you to fit more food into a smaller space. It has an adjustable, 30-minute timer, so you’ll never forget about your food. The auto-shutoff function turns the fryer off as soon as the timer is done, preventing burned food and fires. The adjustable temperature ranges from 200 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range should allow you to cook most recipes.
The flat frying basket is dishwasher safe, making clean up quick and easy. The cool-touch exterior stays cool even when the inside is blazing hot. You won’t have to worry about you or anyone else accidentally burning themselves on the fryer.
This fryer cooks food with 80% less oil. Less oil means fewer calories, so you can eat more. It also cooks in a fraction of the time a traditional oven takes.
Appearance and Size
This fryer by Chefman has an extremely compact design. It has a 2 liter capacity, enough for about one serving of food. However, because of the flat frying basket, it takes up much less room than other models. If you’re looking for the smallest air fryer available, this is a great option.
The one major downfall of this air fryer is that it only comes in one color – black. Plus, it is not considered as visually appealing as some other models.
3. Cuisinart AFR-25 Air Fryer – Our Favorite Multi-Function Air Fryer
This space-saving machine can perform countless functions in your kitchen. On top of air frying, it can also broil, bake, warm, and toast. A specially designed motor fan keeps hot air circulating inside the machine, helping fry your food evenly and quickly. This motor is also nearly silent for quiet operation.
The interior is all non-stick, making clean up very easy. It wipes clean in seconds. The viewing window allows you to keep an eye on your food while it’s cooking. Since you don’t have to open a door to check on your food, hot air doesn’t escape and your cooking time won’t increase.
Appearance and Size
The Cuisinart AFR-25 Air Fryer has a different design than most models. It looks more like a convection oven than an air fryer. This design makes it look more fitting on a countertop, so you don’t have to worry about storing it away in a cabinet.
It only comes in silver, however. It also doesn’t look as modern or sleek.
This air fryer can hold about 2 and a half pounds of food. This should be plenty to feed most people. Still, the design is somewhat bulky and it takes up more counter space than you might expect.
When purchasing a small air fryer, there are a couple of things you need to consider. The best air fryer for everyone else might not be the best air fryer for you. It is important to consider your own situation and needs when making a purchase.
Air fryers come in all different shapes and sizes. In this article, we reviewed some of the smaller units we could find that were still high-quality. These smaller air fryers come in a few different sizes, so you should consider how much space you can reasonably dedicate to your new machine.
While you can leave your air fryer sitting on the counter permanently, many people decide to store them away in a cabinet. You should consider how much counter and cabinet space you have available before purchasing an air fryer. Taking the time to measure your space and compare fryer dimensions can prevent you from buying a machine that is simply too big.
How an air fryer looks can be vital, especially if you plan on leaving it on your countertop. While most air fryers look at least somewhat presentable, some are more visually appealing than others.
Out of the small air fryers we reviewed, the range of appearances was very large. Some were sleek and modern, while others were bulky and looked outdated. If visual appeal is important to you, be sure the fryer you purchase fits your tastes.
Many air fryers have pre-programmed cooking settings in place to make using them easier and faster. Sadly, this feature seems to be less common on smaller air fryers, likely because of their smaller display panels. If you plan on using your air fryer for online recipes only, presets will likely not be very important. But, if you plan on using your fryer for a variety of foods regularly, presets can make the process much easier.
Pretty much every air fryer has a timer. However, some timers can only be set for a very small amount of time. If you want to cook food for longer periods, these timers are basically worthless.
Some timers also integrate with an auto-shutoff feature, which turns the fryer off when the timer runs out. This feature prevents your food from burning and accidental fires from starting. While this isn’t a must-have feature, it can be very useful.
All air fryers come with an adjustable temperature setting. The temperature range can vary quite a bit, though. Some air fryers have a very small range, while others have a huge range. Those with a larger range can cook a large variety of foods and tend to be more versatile.
The stability of the temperature is also important. Some temperature settings are not very accurate and some fryers cannot hold a temperature stable for a long period. Of course, it is hard to figure out how accurately a fryer heats up before buying it, so it is important to read reviews (like this one).
The air fryer you purchase should have easy to use settings. Some air fryers have simple knobs, which can be easy to use but inaccurate. Others have digital displays, which are often more accurate but can be harder to understand if poorly designed.
The number of buttons an air fryer has also affects the overall ease of use. Those with preset options can appear more confusing at first glance since they often have many different buttons.
If you’re dedicating money and space to an appliance, it should be able to cook a variety of different foods. Air fryers that have well-designed timers and a large temperature range are going to be decently versatile. Some air fryers take versatility a step further, though, and have different cooking options. These fryers can pull double-duty in your kitchen, baking, frying, and broiling all your foods.
There are a few other features that are somewhat common on air fryers. Some have two racks that allow you to cook two different foods at the same time. Others come with recipe books. These features are not must-have, but they can be useful in certain situations. They aren’t very common, though. It typically isn’t worth sacrificing on other features to get these extras. We recommend not worrying about them unless you absolutely can’t live without them.
Conclusion – What is the Best Small Air Fryer You Can Buy
If you’re looking for the absolutely smallest air fryer you can get for your money, the Chefman TurboFry 2 Liter Air Fryer is the best option. It is very small with an ultra-compact design. Plus, it has a large temperature range, dishwasher-safe frying basket, and auto-shutoff feature.
With that said, the best small fryer overall we reviewed was the DASH Compact Electric Air Fryer. While this fryer was a little larger than the one by Chefman, it features cooking presets which make your air frying cooking endeavors a lot easier and allow for a much simpler cooking experience!