If you’ve wanted to buy an air fryer but did not due to a lack of counter space, you’re not alone. Fortunately, brands have now expanded their lineup to include small air fryers that get the job done. Small air fryers can air fry, cook, and grill as well as their bigger counterparts for a fraction of the price and size.
What do I need to look for when buying a small air fryer?
Before you purchase a small air fryer, consider the following:
Think about how much you want to spend on an air fryer. A small air fryer can cost between $50 to $200. Of course, the more you spend, the higher the capacity will be in addition to extra accessories, presets, and more.
How Much Can You Cook In It?
The most important factor is the capacity of the small air fryer. If you buy one with very little capacity, you will have to cook in batches which can be a real drag!
Typical air fryers have capacities ranging between 2 and 12 quarts and this determines how much food can be cooked in it. A typical air fryer can cook between 1.8 and 2.5 pounds of food, which is adequate for every day cooking such as fries, and chicken. If you want to cook a whole chicken/ turkey or cook for more than 4 people, a small air fryer won’t be a practical option for you. See our guide on air fryer sizes for more guidance.
Are There Presets For Easy Cooking?
Do you love french fries on movie nights? Or batches of chicken wings on game day? Similarly, if pizza, cake or grilled cheese is part of your staple diet, then you might want to choose an appliance that has pre-programmed settings for these. If you’re comfortable with choosing the temperature and time settings by yourself, presets may not be an important consideration.
Before you buy any appliance for the kitchen, checking the warranty should be a priority as the chances of mishaps are higher! Some brands offer a short warranty of 30 days which is not good enough. You wouldn’t have cooked enough by then to fully check the functionalities. Some brands go up to 1 year.
Like most other appliances, you will need to be able to wash this appliance after every usage. So you’ll definitely appreciate the air fryer being dishwasher friendly. Not all parts can be placed in a dishwasher but ideally, the basket/bowl, lid, and stirring paddle should be dishwasher safe.
Where are the best small air fryers available?
It features Philip’s Rapid Air technology which circulates hot air around a mesh cooking basket to ensure the food is cooked evenly. If you can’t stand the smell of fried oil, you’ll love this feature. Because this air fryer uses the ‘Starfish’ design that facilitates air circulation so you’ll be cooking with little to no oil.
This Philips air fryer can cook up to 1 and ¾ pounds or 1 bag of fries. But you won’t be limited to just frying as you can grill, roast and even bake. The air fryer also comes with a non-stick coated drawer and food basket that is also dishwasher safe. This makes for easy, hassle-free cleanup.
Storage is not a tough task as it only measures 11*12*15 inches and weighs just over 15 pounds. The Starfish airfryer is also equipped with an integrated timer that allows you to preset cooking times up to 30 minutes. It’s fully adjustable automatic timer lets your preset the best cooking temperature up to 390F. It also has an automatic shut-off function that lets you know when your food is ready for the sound indicator.
Other amazing features include a cool wall exterior so that it doesn’t heat up easily; non-slip feet so that the appliance stays in place; cord storage for clutter-free storing. You will get a recipe booklet with over 100 recipes to help you decide what to cook next.
Philips was the first brand to introduce the air fryer to the market and since then they’ve always made an effort to add new features to the lineup. Now us mortal folks may not understand how the starfish design improves frying but this must be the secret sauce to its high ratings. Their sleek LED is the best amongst its peers and its presets are helpful for newbies and experts. However, you may need extra accessories to make the best use of the air fryer.
|The Rapid Air technology with the starfish design makes the food extra crispy with results similar to frying normally
Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
|The mesh in the basket is tricky to clean as you’ll need a toothpick or a toothbrush to clean the stuck grease|
You can cook like a pro while avoiding calories with this programmable countertop appliance. It uses ‘Rapid Air’ technology that helps you cook and fry dishes with little to no oil. This innovative frying system cooks food evenly creating a crispy texture. It has 8 built-in presets that include fries, shrimp, steak, fish, pork pizza, chicken and cake. These functions will certainly make cooking staple dishes much easier.
You can choose from a range of temperatures from 180F to 400F and a timer for up to 30 minutes. The cool-touch handle will help you check the food during the mid-cycle setting. It also features an alarm in increments of 5, 10, and 15 minutes. Its 5.8-quart capacity offers more room for your favorite foods.
The digital touch screen display shows cooking time. This sleek and compact air fryer uses a PFOA and FDA certified pan. The baskets are easy to detach allowing you to transfer your dish to a plate or dish.
In conclusion, the GoWISE air fryer has a good capacity and can almost replace your stove for frying, grilling, baking, roasting with minimal oil. Plus, the eight preset cooking programs make the task really quick especially if you’re a beginner at cooking. There is also a bonus book with 50 air fryer recipes to help you get started.
|Large capacity of the food basket which can hold food for 3-4 people
Great safety features like a cool-touch handle, a button guard and a built-in alarm
|The food basket has only a 30-day warranty|
The Chefman TurboFry allows cooking and frying using only 20% of the oil that you would normally use. With dimensions of 9.8 x 9.8 x 12.5 inches, the TurboFry is perfect for small kitchens. As for the features, it has manual temperature control and a 30-minute timer. It will also auto shut-off safety feature, which will shut the machine down even whether or not you have food inside.
It offers a temperature range of 200°F – 400°F which is the standard range found in most good fryers. A 2L capacity basket is housed in a narrow design to save as much space as possible. The rubber handle lets you remove the basket without coming in contact with heated elements. You can air fry, roast, cook, and even bake a range of healthy dishes.
This is a much smaller air fryer which means you can only cook about 4 chicken wings at a time or you can choose to make drummettes. Also, this means that you cannot cook two different items at a time. So if you’re trying to make fries and wings, they’ll have to be done in batches. This compact air fryer is easy to clean as its fryer basket and the tray is removable and dishwasher safe. The 1-year warranty is also provided by Chefman.
All in all, the Chefman TurboFry t is a good quality air fryer at an extremely affordable price. It has a very elegant design in black color which goes well in all kitchens. It does not have an LED screen which is alright considering it’s price. This small air fryer is best suited for college students or single folks.
|Simple dial control makes it easy to adjust temperature and heating indicator lights for added safety.
Removable, dishwasher-safe cooking tray for ease in cleaning
|The capacity is small so you’ll have to stack food one on top of the other|
3Qt Dash Deluxe Compact Air Fryer
The compact and lightweight metal and plastic construction with its cylindrical design adds to its space-saving shape. It comes in a range of colors to match your kitchen which includes aqua, white, red, and black. It features non-skid pads on the feet which keeps it in place when you’re pulling and pushing the pan. This is a small appliance for your kitchen that is ideal for a single person or a couple. It’s compact yet spacious enough to hold a dozen chicken wings or a pound of potatoes. Weighing just 7.45 pounds, you should face no challenges finding a place for it on your kitchen counter.
The heat is generated instantly so there’s no waiting time for the oven to get up to temperature. You can regulate the temperature up to 400F. It has a shut-off feature that shuts off the machine when cooking is complete. This is an important safety measure in case you get distracted.
Cleaning the air fryer is simple since the cooking tray and accessories are dishwasher-safe. Let the tray cool-off and place it into your dishwasher top rack and you’re done.
To conclude, the Dash is an affordable introduction to air fryers. If you expect to cook for 1-3 people, then its capabilities might be perfect for you. The USP is the AirCrisp technology which brings air into the air fryer to give your food crispy, delicious flavor.
|Fryer is quiet when in use
The non-stick is great which makes clean up easy
Affordable and comes in many colors
|The appliance is analog and can be controlled via dials. Greasy fingers will find the knob difficult to work with.|
It features 1300 watts of power which helps circulate the superheated air all around your food. all controlled by a LED display screen. The Brio can be set to cook in 50-degree increments between 100F to 390F. You can bake, grill, air fry, roast, broil, and toast with this nifty machine.
The Nuwave Brio has a 3-quart capacity which is large enough to cook a whole batch of fries. With its 11 inches by 8-inch footprint, it is not very heavy at 8 pounds.
When you press start/pause, the Nuwave Brio automatically cooks at 360F for 10 minutes. You can pause the cooking process without erasing the settings by simply pressing the start/pause button once.
The basket and the drawer are detachable so you can serve food easily and the cleanup will also be convenient. The basket is unique as it has a stainless steel mesh that allows easy circulation of hot air.
Overall, the price is very attractive and offers great features. The only issue is that recently manufactured products have shown some defects. NuWave does offer to replace damages models and this could be an issue with one batch alone. We also really like the preheat options which many small air fryers don’t have.
|You can pretty much cook everything with good results- potatoes, steak, chicken, fries, nuggets, burgers, cakes, and brownies
Affordable and unlike similarly priced models, it comes with digital controls
|A few customers have complained that the basket does not close fully.|
Conclusion – which is the best small air fryer
Since you’re looking to buy a small air fryer, forking over $100 may not be the best idea especially when there are so many affordable and good options available. This is why we would recommend the Nuwave Brio Air Fryer which sits squarely in the middle of the capacities for a small fryer with 3 quarts.
There are not too many frills such as LED screens, timers, or alerts but it certainly gets the frying done. If you simply want to fry, grill, or roast food a couple of times a week, the Dash Air Fryer will do the job. You can make enough food for 2-3 people and it’s especially good for fries, hot wings, fish, cinnamon rolls, and more. It comes in adorable colors and design which is a plus.
Hello there, my name is Tracey Allen from New York. I am a cooking enthusiast and a restaurant industry veteran. I have been spreading my passion for air fryers and simplified cooking with colleagues and friends for close to a decade. If you have any questions about air fryers, air cooking or healthy cooking feel free to contact me on the contact page.