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Which compact air fryer is best?

A compact air fryer has more uses than just air frying. It can act like an oven and even a microwave, like a Swiss Army knife of the kitchen. They’re affordable, can cook plenty of food for several people and can even improve the overall health of your diet when used appropriately. 

The best compact air fryer for those wanting to save space but still get their grub on is the Ninja Air Fryer 4-Quart Basket. This compact air fryer can feed three to four people and cooks quickly and efficiently. Most of its parts are dishwasher safe and from a well-known and respected brand.

What to know before you buy a compact air fryer


The size of your compact air fryer determines how much food you can cook at one time and how much kitchen counter space it will take up. If you’re striving to take up the least amount of space to accomplish your cooking goals, consider this: 2 quarts will typically feed one person, with every extra quart past this generally feeding one extra person.


Compact air fryers have many possible safety features but generally won’t have all of them unless you really shell out for a top-tier air fryer. 


Some, but not all, compact air fryers have a majority of parts that are dishwasher safe. Those that don’t can be a real hassle to clean, so try and find a compact air fryer that clearly states if it is dishwasher safe.

Compact air fryer features


Low-end compact air fryers use an analog temperature knob and timer knob to control the device. The more you spend, you’ll start finding digitally controlled compact air fryers with extra buttons and features.


The world of compact air fryers means you have every option when selecting an aesthetically pleasing compact air fryer. There are color options, material types and even different shapes. Pick one that makes you smile when you look at it. 


OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads

Compact air fryers will have fewer accessories than their larger brethren. You’ll usually find a compact air fryer with some combination of metal baskets and toaster racks, tongs, maybe a recipe book or even some mittens

Compact air fryer cost

You can find compact air fryers in the $60-$100 range. Compact air fryers below this range will get the job done but won’t have any extras and are exceptionally small in capacity. Above this range and your compact air fryer might have extra features or can even be operated by remote in some cases. Still, you’ll be approaching basket sizes large enough that “compact” will most likely no longer apply.

Compact air fryer FAQ

Do air fryers really fry food?

A. Technically, according to definition, food is only considered “fried” if cooked in oil or fat. When cooked in oil, the heat surrounds and quickly cooks the exterior to crispiness while leaving the interior moist. Air fryers surround and quickly cook the exterior using superheated air circulating the food, achieving the same effect.

Are air fryers really healthier than other methods of cooking?

OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

A. Yes and no. Air fryers use far less oil, which is better for you, but the types and amounts of foods you’re cooking with your air fryer can negate the benefits. For example, air frying broccoli is much better than living out your state fair dreams by air frying cookies.

What are the advantages of using a compact air fryer?

A. Taking up less space in your kitchen is the most obvious benefit, but it can also lead to a healthier diet by forcing you to cook less food, which fits in the air fryer basket. It also uses less power to save on your energy bill.

Which compact air fryer should I get?

Best of the best compact air fryer

Ninja Air Fryer 4-Quart Basket  

Ninja Air Fryer 4-Quart Basket  

What you need to know: An elegant design and easy-to-use digital interface make this brand-name compact air fryer the top choice.

What you’ll love: Food cooks quickly, and most parts are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

What you should consider: Unlike its namesake suggests, this compact air fryer runs quite loudly, and it doesn’t turn off automatically when you remove the basket as it’s a potential safety hazard.

Where to buy: Amazon, Kohl’s and Macy’s

Best bang for your buck compact air fryer

Dash Compact Air Fryer

Dash Compact Air Fryer

What you need to know: This is an affordable and beautiful addition to your kitchen’s aesthetic.

What you’ll love: An included recipe guide gets you sliding right into air fryer life.

What you should consider: The cooking can be uneven. Remove and shake the basket occasionally to rectify the problem, but it’s not ideal.

Where to buy: Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond and Macy’s

Honorable mention compact air fryer

Cuisinart AFR-25 Air Fryer

Cuisinart AFR-25 Air Fryer

What you need to know: This compact air fryer might seem small, but the interior is surprisingly large.

What you’ll love: Multiple uses besides air frying like reheating and defrosting make this a perfect all-around addition to your kitchen.

What you should consider: The tray does not slide out, making getting to your food difficult.

Where to buy: Amazon and Macy’s 


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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