This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and özgü been adapted for the UK audience.

Remember how the air fryer became the new cooking fad during lockdown? Well, several years on it’s become more than that: a must-have kitchen appliance. The appeal, of course, is a combination of easy cooking — just chuck your food in, press a button, and occasionally stir — and the fact that using air fryers is healthier.

If you’re in the market for an air fryer — and, indeed, a healthier diet — we’ve put together a list of the best models. But before we tuck in, here’s some helpful info.

What is an air fryer?

Simply put, it’s like a deep fryer without the oil. In other words, deep frying without the unhealthy part. Some people might say cut back on fried foods, but is that really the only option? Nope. Deep fryers heat food from frozen to ready-to-eat in minutes by dunking them in a bath of super hot oil. This is how your food gets brown and crispy and delicious, but also drenched in fat. While your typical deep fryer needs enough oil to completely drown the food, an air fryer barely uses any. A tablespoon at most.

How does an air fryer work?

Air fryers use a convection fan to surround the food with hot air instead of oil. The air bounces off the bottom of the air fryer and back up through the food, cooking it all over to create a crisping effect in a matter of minutes — something that was previously only possible with deep frying. Not only are you getting that great taste and texture, but you’re getting it in just a fraction of the time. And more healthily.

Air fryers can also cook more foods than a deep fryer. They can be used for things like grilling steaks or baking pizzas. It’s like having a combo oven and deep fryer, except it fits on your counter and it doesn’t require you to thaw out your frozen food first.

Are air fryers actually healthy?

Eliminating the guilt from guilty pleasure eating is one of the reasons you want an air fryer, right? Manufacturers claim that air frying can reduce calorie intake by up to 80%, so yes, air frying is certainly a much better alternative. They’re health-ier. However, scientists aren’t messing around with the whole “moderation is key” thing, and calories aren’t the only factor to measure health.

Owning an air fryer doesn’t mean that a diet consisting of french fries and pizza is OK. Making sure you get those plant-based oils and vitamins from fruits and veggies should still be a priority. If you’ve got a picky eater at home, air fryers are a great way to crisp up courgettes, carrots, squash, and more to give them added taste and crunch, teaching kids that they don’t always have to run for cover when the veggies come out.

What is the best air fryer?

As with any appliances, there are various sizes, features, and options from all of the major brands you’d expect. We’ll keep it simple and fill you in on the need-to-know details and differences, so your brain doesn’t get too, erm, fried.

These are the best air fryers in 2024.

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