Air fryers have been hugely popular over the last few years thanks to their convenience, speediness and healthy cooking properties, but in the last few weeks they've been flying off the shelves, with many of the best air fryers selling out completely.

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So what's with the high demand? With the recent rises in energy prices, people are on the hunt for ways to keep their bills down, and with Christmas approaching, we can expect even more pressure on our bank accounts.

According to the Bank of England, we spend an average of £740 more in December, which is 29% more than other months.

Luckily for us, the savvy air fryer happens to have excellent energy-efficient properties.

We've put the top four best air fryer brands - Ninja, Tower, Tefal and Cosori - through their paces to see which one came out on top when it comes to cooking that all-important turkey roast, to help you save money this Christmas.

With the recent rises in energy prices, people are on the hunt for ways to keep their bills down, and the savvy air fryer happens to have excellent energy-efficient properties.

Tried-and-tested: best air fryers at a glance


How we tested the air fryers

We decided to find out if we could cook a Christmas dinner in three of the top-selling air fryers; Ninja, Tower and Tefal. We cooked a turkey crown in the Ninja, a chicken crown in the Tower and chicken legs in the Tefal (due to the shape of the basket), plus potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and stuffing. (We cooked the TikTok feta sauce recipe in the Cosori and Ninja Mini, which we tested at a later date).

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Christmas dinner in an air fryer rep

For the Christmas dinner testing models, we scored them on how easy they were to use (out of 4), the cooking results (out of 6), their value for money (out of 4) and the tech specs (out of 4) meaning the maximum score a model can get is 16/16. Watch how we got on in our video:


Tried & tested air fryers:​

1

Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Multi-Cooker, RRP £229.99

Best air fryer for families

  • Score: 15.5/16
  • Fits a turkey? Yes, we used a 1.9kg turkey crown
  • Total time to cook Christmas dinner: 2 hours 25 mins, but this included defrosting the turkey
Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Multi-Cooker

The lowdown: The swanky Ninja 9-in-1 looked a tad intimidating at first due to its size but we found its easy-to-navigate digital panel a doddle to use. We wrapped a frozen 1.9kg turkey crown in foil and paced it skin face down in the air fryer basket for an hour at 180 degrees on the Air Crisp function, followed by 30 minutes on the other side and another 30 minutes without foil. For a non-frozen turkey, you wouldn’t need foil or as much time as this. We took the turkey out and kept it warm under foil while we added the potatoes, carrots, sprouts and frozen stuffing balls to the air fryer basket. These took 25 minutes in total to cook.

Taste test: The turkey looked delicious and the meat was juicy. The potatoes were tasty, too - crispy on the outside and fluffy inside. The carrots and sprouts were sweet with just the slightest bite to them, and the stuffing balls were perfect.

Should you buy it? The Ninja 9-in-1 air fryer function will reduce oven cooking time and the handy cheat sheet booklet and recipe book help to take the guesswork out of timings and temperatures. The eight other cooking modes are a huge help too for busy households. It’s weighty and large in dimension, so it’s best bought with the intention of keeping it out on the counter.

Buy now | Ninja Foodi Multicooker 9-in-1, £199.99, Ninja Kitchen

Read our full, in-depth Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Multi-Cooker review.


2

Tower T17087 Vortx Compact Air Fryer, from £40

Best air fryer for budgets

  • Score: 14.5/16
  • Fits a turkey? Yes, if you can find one for 700g. We had to use a chicken crown.
  • Total time to cook Christmas dinner: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Buy now from AO. (If this is out of stock, the Tower T17023 Compact Air Fryer is a great substitute and a little larger in capacity | Buy the Tower T17023 Compact Air Fryer, £49.99, from JD Williams)
Tower Vortx Compact Air Fryer

How to use: Tower’s Compact air fryer may be small but the size didn’t compromise on performance. We put our chicken crown directly in the basket skin-side up at 160 degrees for a total of 40 minutes. We popped it out and kept it under foil while we cooked the veg and stuffing. We turned the temperature up to 180 and set the timer for 30 minutes for these.

Taste test: Overall the veg, stuffing and potatoes were delicious and we were impressed by how yummy they were out of this more, straightforward affordable model. The chicken was juicy and flavoursome too, with no complaints.

Should you buy it? The price point of the Tower Compact is amazing (around £40 currently), it’s easy to set up and doesn’t require much space on the countertop thanks to its compact size. The instruction manual included was helpful and the cooking results spoke for themselves.

Read our full, in-depth Tower Vortx Compact Air Fryer review.


3

Tefal ActiFry Advance Snacking, £179.99

Best air fryer for fuss-free cooking

  • Score: 13/16
  • Fits a turkey? No, due to the basket shape we used chicken legs (10)
  • Total time to cook Christmas dinner: 50 mins

Buy the Tefal ActiFry Advance Snacking, £179.99, from JD Williams

Tefal ActiFry Advance Snacking Air Fryer

How to use: The lightweight Tefal ActiFry was super simple to set up. We chose to use it without the optional air frying basket and popped the ten chicken legs directly into the pot. The only function buttons are a plus and minus which determine the timer, you can’t specify specific temperatures. We initially set the timer to 25 minutes for the chicken. After 5 minutes we noticed one side was cooking more than the other (thanks to the handy viewing window) so we added on the stirring paddle accessory and this helped enormously with creating a more even cook. We took the chicken legs out and kept them warm while we added in the potatoes, veg and stuffing. We set the timer for 25 minutes again, but we should have added in the stuffing later as the stirring paddle broke them up into bits. We also realised we’d missed a trick not using the air frying basket accessory for the veg, as it would have cooked them faster.

Taste test: That being said, the potatoes were nice and fluffy and had crispy skin. The veg was packed with flavour although had a bit of a bite to them. By far the best were the chicken legs, they were deliciously juicy with salty crispy skin.

Should you buy it? For crispy, succulent legs, wings and flavoursome veg and chips you can’t fault this model. The viewing window was a huge help when determining if food was ready or not, and the size and weight make it possible to store away and get out easily whenever you need.

Read our full, in-depth Tefal ActiFry Air Fryer review.


Cosori Lite Smart 3.8L Air Fryer, £99

Best smart air fryer

  • Total time to cook TikTok feta pasta: 10 minutes

Buy Cosori Lite 3.8L Smart Air Fryer, £99, from Amazon

COSORI Lite 3.8L Smart Air Fryer review

How to use: The Cosori Lite air fryer was good to go straight out of the box and came with a helpful instruction booklet and recipe and timing guidance too. It was much larger than the other drawer air fryer we tested, the Tower Compact, but its capacity is nearly double the amount. The sleek design makes up for its larger size too, so if you have enough counter space, it looks pretty neat out on display. It has an intuitive digital screen that's simple to navigate, including 4 pre-set cooking modes for chicken, fries, steak, bacon and veggies. It also has a shake alert for foods that need a longer cooker time and a midway shake for a more even cook.

We tested it by cooking the TikTok viral Feta pasta recipe. We set the temperature to 180 degrees and the timer for 10 minutes. We could hear lots of happy bubbling from within and by the time was up and the ingredients looked deliciously brown and melted.

Taste test: This was hands-down one of the easiest meals we've ever made and it tasted so good! The sweetness of the baked cherry tomatoes against the saltiness of the feta is a treat for the tastebuds.

Should you buy it: The Cosori Lite is great all-rounder air fryer that fits in a large amount of food. The model can go up to 230 degrees and we were impressed by how quickly our ingredients cooked. The model also has the advantage of smart technology - letting you control your cooking times via your phone.

Read our full, in-depth review of the Cosori Lite 3.8L Smart Air Fryer


Ninja Foodi Mini 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker, £169.99

Best air fryer for smaller households

  • Total time to cook TikTok feta pasta: 20 minutes

Buy Ninja Foodi Mini 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker, £169.99, Ninja Kitchen

Ninja Foodi Mini 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker review

How to use: Even as a mini version, the Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker is still pretty hefty in size and weight but once you've found a good spot for it, it's easy enough to plug in and get going. It comes with an in-depth ‘inspiration guide’ with helpful timings and settings guidance. We tested the model by cooking the viral TikTok feta pasta sauce recipe.

We set the cooking function to Air Crisp (making sure we had the Air Crisp lid on), the temperature to 200 degrees and the timer to 20 minutes. The 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker doesn't require any manual shaking which is handy, and when the timer was up the dish was definitely ready. In fact, we probably could have cooked it for 15 minutes, not 20 as the tomatoes were a little browner and mushier than we were expecting.

Taste test: The meal was delicious, perfectly creamy and rich in flavour.

Should you buy it: The Ninja Foodi Mini is pricier than other air fryer models, but it has a greater capacity than many standard designs (4.7L) and offers more cooking functions than your standard oven. Its clear digital navigation screen and comprehensive instruction guide made setting it up easy too. The size is best suited for a 2-3 person household.

Read our full, in-depth review of the Ninja Foodi Mini 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker


More bestselling energy-efficient air fryers:

While we haven't had chance to test these models yet, we have done plenty of research and read their reviews, and believe they are well worth recommending.

Tower Vortx Air Fryer Oven

We love the rotisserie feature

  • Size 38.2 x 32.4 x 33.9cm (H x W x D)
  • Capacity 11L
  • Power 2,000W

Key features

  • Viewing window to keep an eye on your cooking
  • Eight pre-set cooking programs
  • Removable wire shelves
  • Roasts a 1kg chicken in 40 minutes

The low-down

Love a crispy-cook chook? If so the Tower Vortx air fryer could be a great option for you. As well as air frying, roasting, baking and even dehydrating, the Vortx has an excellent rotisserie function, and comes with a rotating spit and handle specifically for that method of cooking.

A window and interior light let you keep a close eye on your food, which cooks fast – Tower claims it takes just 40 minutes to cook a 1kg chicken.

Three wire racks can be added to cook chips, pizza, jacket potatoes and more, and they’re super easy to clean. The Vortx’s 11L capacity makes it a great choice for families or keen dinner party hosts, and its automatic switch-off function keeps things safe if you’re juggling several tasks at once.

Top tip

Some air fryers require shaking halfway through for a totally even cook. If that sounds like something you might forget, you may want to opt for a higher-end model that doesn’t require this step or choose an air fryer that has shake reminders.

ProBreeze Air Fryer with Digital Display

We love the great price

  • Size 33.2 x 34.3 x 29.3cm (H x W x D)
  • Capacity 4.2L
  • Power 1,400W

Key features

  • Seven pre-set cooking modes
  • Detachable non-stick frying basket
  • Roasts chicken in as little as 25 mins (weight not specified)

The low-down

The ProBreeze air fryer is a fab, fuss-free machine. It can fit a whole chicken in as well as smaller food like wings, fish fillets and chips.

Deliciously flavoursome chips, chicken, fish, lamb chops, steak and more, take less than half an hour and testing by ProBreeze found it uses up to 80 per cent less fat than a traditional fat fryer. There are seven handy pre-set cooking modes to save you the effort of working out timings and the large LED display is easy to read and navigate.

You can manually change the temperature and timings too, if you prefer. This model also has over-heat protection and auto-off sensors for peace of mind, plus the removable non-stick tray is dishwasher safe.

Instant Brands Vortex 4-in-1 Air Fryer

Great for saving energy when you're cooking.

Instant Brands Vortex 4-in-1 Air Fryer
  • Size ‎31.4 x 37.9 x 32.6 cm (H x W x D)
  • Capacity 5.7L
  • Power 1,300W

Key features

  • Fun colours to choose from
  • Space-saving
  • Can roast a 1.8kg chicken in as little as 40 minutes

The low-down

Cooking for one or two and want to make a style statement while you’re at it? Then this delightful model from Instant Brands is the air fryer for you.

The Vortex uses ‘EvenCrisp technology’, which aims to create the same results as deep-frying with almost no need for oil – 95 per cent less, according to the manufacturer’s claims. There are three cooking modes, as well as the air fry setting, that let you roast, bake and reheat leftovers.

A useful shake and turn setting ensures your food gets cooked evenly and the drawer has a removable tray, which means you can give a crispy finish to saucy foods, such as pasta, as well as chips and pizza. The removable drawer and tray can be hand-washed or popped in a dishwasher.

Air fryer out of stock? Don't worry...

Why not try a multi cooker instead? Multi-cookers can act as air fryers, slow cookers, grills and pressure cookers all in one unit. Here are three of the top sellers:
  •  
  • Tefal Multicooker, Black Friday special price: £95, from AO 
  • Crockpot Turbo Express Pressure Multicooker, £129.99, now £99.99, from Amazon
  • Ninja Foodi OP350UK Multi Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer, £199, from Currys
  • Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1 Electric Multi Cooker, £169.99, now £144.50 from Amazon

FAQs:

Which is the best air fryer?

We asked our 104,000 HomeStyle Instagram followers whether they owned one of the two most popular air fryers; a Tower or Ninja air fryer. These are the results... It was a close call!

  • Ninja air fryer - 58%
  • Tower air fryer - 42%

How does an air fryer work?

Essentially an air fryer is a countertop oven. It rapidly circulates hot air to evenly cook your food from every angle and crisp the food’s outsides without the need for oil.

How much do air fryers cost to run?

Not only are air fryers ideal for making healthier meals but they also heat up much faster than conventional ovens, meaning you can have a sizzling roast chicken in half the usual time. Their speediness also makes them a more economical way of roasting and baking, as they are so much faster to heat up than traditional ovens. Given the current cost of living crisis, this has made air fryers a viable option if you're looking to reduce your energy bills and well worth the investment.

Research by Utilita in August 2022 found that using an air fryer could save you up to £279.66 per year. Air fryers were found to cost £55.91 per year to run, versus traditional gas cookers which cost £121.06 per year, and electric cookers which cost £335.57 per year.

With that kind of saving, why not try using an air fryer to cook your Christmas roast this year? With an efficient air fryer you can make a flavour-packed feast with less oil and less energy used - what's not to love?

What can I cook in an air fryer?

The question might be, what can’t you cook in an air fryer (and for the inquisitive among you, we’ve answered this below). The point is, part of the reason there’s such a frenzy around air fryers is that they can be used in so many different ways. Our favourites include:

  • Roasts – as we discovered with our tests, air fryers cook roasts quickly, while still retaining the hallmarks of a great roast: juicy meat and brown, crispy skin. And don’t forget, this includes crispy roast potatoes, too. Air fryers can even cope if your Sunday joint is frozen – simply check the manual and factor in extra cooking time.
  • Weekday quick suppers – and by this, we mean sausages, burgers and patties. Cooked on a medium to high heat, they can be ready in around 15 minutes. Perfect for feeding a hungry mob.
  • Chips – probably one of the most popular foods to cook in an air fryer as considerably less fat is used to produce top notch fries, which are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
  • Unusual ingredients – OK, garlic and tofu aren’t that unusual, but you’d be forgiven for grabbing a frying pan rather than an air fryer. However, they come out well in next to no time at all. Try chickpeas too, for a tasty, crunchy snack.

But this list is by no means exhaustive, because you can cook pizza, bacon and frittatas in an air fryer, and we haven’t even started on puddings and deserts.

What can’t I cook in an air fryer?

As much as air fryers are championed for cooking most dishes known to man, there are some that are best left to an over or other kitchen appliance. We suggest you stay clear of the following foods:

  • Popcorn – mostly because air fryers can’t get hot enough, but there’s also an issue with stray kernels getting stuck in the heating element (if it’s exposed), which could cause a fire hazard.
  • Pasta & rice – air fryers aren’t designed to boil or steam food so best to stick to the traditional methods.
  • Stews – as with boiling rice and pasta, stews with lots of liquid aren’t designed to be cooked in an air fryer. Ovens or slow cookers are a much better bet here.
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How to clean an air fryer?

Most air fryers to clean, with removable sections that are easy to clean. Start off by wiping clean with a power towel to remove greasy residue, and then wash in warm soapy water, or in some cases, in the dishwasher (check your user’s manual). Don’t neglect the exterior, where grease and dirt builds up overtime. Wipe with a damp microfibre cloth, focusing on the buttons and controls. For stubborn marks, try using a light cleaning spray and then wipe clean.

Before you go...

Looking for more ways to keep the energy bills down this winter? Check out our energy saving tips guide. And, if you're looking for other kitchen essentials, why not check out our comprehensive buyer's guides on the best blenders on the market, best soup makersbest toastie makers and best coffee machines.

We've also found an interesting article on the BBC: Christmas hacks to reduce your energy spend.

Authors

Katie is a Staff Writer for HomeStyle magazine and YourHomeStyle.uk. She previously worked on Gardens Illustrated magazine and has written for various other lifestyle magazines and brands. She particularly enjoys writing about indie and eco homeware brands, interior styles through the ages, urban gardening, and decor hacks for small spaces. She is also responsible for HomeStyle's buyer's guides, so you'll often find her testing out the latest homeware gadgets and kitchen appliances.

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