The Best Small Air Fryers of 2022

Deep-fried foods are delicious, but all that oil isn’t healthy. Switch to an air fryer and enjoy your favorite foods without the guilt.

By Kat Hodgins and Jasmine Harding | Updated Jul 29, 2022 12:43 PM

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Best Small Air Fryer Options

Photo: amazon.com

Air fryers provide the crunch and flavor of fried foods with less fat and a fraction of the oil that deep-frying requires. In an air fryer, instead of submerging food into a vat of oil, hot air and fine oil droplets circulate food to make it crisp. The best air fryer provides options when cooking from home, enabling cooks to make a hearty meal in just a few minutes.

The best small air fryer takes up little counter space in the kitchen, offers a temperature range for precise cooking, and uses minimal oil. Some top picks for the best small air fryer include the following models.

    1. BEST OVERALL: Ninja Air Fryer 
    2. RUNNER-UP: Chefman TurboFry Air Fryer
    3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: GoWise USA Programmable Air Fryer
    4. BEST FOR ONE PERSON: Dash Compact Air Fryer Oven Cooker
    5. BEST ULTRACOMPACT: Elite Gourmet Personal Air Fryer
    6. BEST DISHWASHER-SAFE: Dash AirCrisp Pro Electric Air Fryer
    7. BEST WITH TOASTER OVEN: Cuisinart Airfryer Toaster Oven
    8. BEST FOR TWO: Bella 2.9 Qt. Air Fryer
    9. BEST MINI: Elite Gourmet 1.1 Qt. Personal Air Fryer EAF1121 
    10. BEST FOR LEFTOVERS: Instant Pot Vortex Mini 2 Qt. Air Fryer 
Best Small Air Fryer Options

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Small Air Fryer

The best small air fryer saves space in the kitchen, works efficiently, and cooks food at a range of temperatures. When shopping, consider some important factors, including size and capacity, power, temperature control, functionality, presets, safety, and ease of use.

Size and Capacity

An air fryer should fit in the kitchen, whether on the counter or in a cupboard. An average-size small air fryer has about the same dimensions as a small drip coffee maker. This small footprint makes them ideal for kitchens with limited counter space.

Capacity depends on the size of the household and the average servings required. Those who don’t like leftovers probably should investigate a smaller-capacity fryer. Typically, air fryer capacity is listed in quarts.

  • 1- to 2-quart fryers prepare dinners and snacks for one or two people
  • 2- to 3-quart sizes are suitable for two people
  • 3- to 5-quart fryers are large and can feed three or more people

Power

Air fryers use less power than a conventional oven because they require less time to preheat and cook food. Some manufacturers boast that their air fryer uses less energy to cook an entire meal than a conventional oven uses to just preheat.

Most air fryers range from 800 to 2,175 watts. Typically, the higher the wattage, the higher the temperature an air fryer can generate. On average, small air fryers require about 1,425 watts, while a standard oven uses an average of 2,400 watts. With power needs similar to other small kitchen appliances, small air fryers are relatively inexpensive to operate.

Temperature Control

Like a standard oven, air fryers cook at a range of temperatures, but they don’t get as hot as a conventional oven. Depending on the model, temperatures range from 100 degrees to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The air fryer’s circulating air makes the cooking environment more consistent than a regular oven, so high temperatures aren’t required to obtain similar results. In general, if the cooking instructions are for a conventional oven, lower the air fryer’s temperature by 25 degrees.

Functionality

The simplest air fryers have only one function: to fry food. Other models have multiple cooking modes, and some may be combination machines, such as an air fryer toaster oven. Additional functions include the following:

  • Roasting or broiling options allow users to roast food or brown food before cooking.
  • Dehydrating racks pull the moisture out of food to make apple chips, raisins, or beef jerky.
  • Baking brownies, cakes, and other desserts are possible in some air fryers. When converting oven recipes to air fryer recipes, remember that baking requires precise temperatures.
  • Reheating leftovers in an air fryer crisps food better than reheating in a microwave.

Presets

Presets are programmed time and temperature settings for cooking certain types of foods, including frozen fries, poultry, or seafood. They aren’t standard on every air fryer.

Each preset button cooks a certain amount of food, weighed in grams. Increasing or reducing the weight requires an adjustment in cooking time. Some models contain manual controls for time and temperature.

Safety

Air fryers are safer than deep-frying. Because the food cooks in an enclosed space, users don’t have to worry about hot oil spills and splashes. Other safety features may include:

  • A cool-touch handgrip protects users from burns and allows the removal of the air fryer basket without an oven mitt.
  • Overheat protection detects when internal components become too hot and automatically shuts down the machine. If too much oil or food is added, air fryers can overheat.
  • An automatic shutoff, if included, turns off the machine when the timer counts down to 0 or shuts off if the fryer hasn’t been used in a certain amount of time.

Ease of Cleaning

Small air fryers are relatively easy to clean. The air fryer basket and other components, such as the crisper plate or wire racks, are usually dishwasher-safe. If the manufacturer’s specs don’t mention a dishwasher, be safe and wash it by hand. The housing cannot go in the dishwasher, but the interior can be wiped clean with a damp cloth dipped in warm, soapy water. Use a soft sponge or clean cloth and avoid abrasive materials. Always dry each part before reassembling the air fryer.

Our Top Picks

Guided by the considerations outlined above, keep reading to find a compilation of top picks for some of the best small air fryers for the home.

Best Overall

Best Small Air Fryer Options: Ninja Air Fryer that Cooks
Photo: amazon.com

Make chicken wings for game day, cook fish for dinner, or dehydrate snacks with the versatile Ninja Air Fryer. Roast, air fry, reheat, or dehydrate food with the press of a button. A 4-quart capacity makes the Ninja a good pick for households with several people. Preheating takes only 3 minutes, and food cooks quickly thanks to programmable cooking functions and a digital timer. The air fryer’s fan automatically adjusts cooking speed based on the temperature setting.

A ceramic-coated basket and crisper plate allow hot air to get under food for even frying. The Ninja also has a multilayer rack to dehydrate food. All three components are dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 13.6 inches long by 11 inches wide by 13.3 inches tall
  • Capacity: 4 quarts
  • Cooking functions: Air fry, roast, reheat, dehydrate

Pros

  • Family-size capacity
  • Fast 3-minute preheat time
  • Dishwasher-safe accessories

Cons

  • On the loud side

Get the Ninja small air fryer on Amazon or at Best Buy.

Runner-Up

Best Small Air Fryer Options: Chefman TurboFry
Photo: amazon.com

The Chefman small air fryer has a two-in-one tank and flat-basket design that provides a capacity of more than 3.5 quarts in a small footprint (10 inches long by 12.9 inches wide by 11.875 inches tall). The Chefman can fry, roast, cook, or bake. A dual-knob control sets the time and temperature from 200 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The Chefman’s auto-shutoff function turns off the air fryer when the 60-minute timer hits 0 to save power and reduce hazards. Place the air fryer’s nonstick basket in the dishwasher, and clean the rest of the machine with a soft, damp sponge.

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 10 inches long by 12.9 inches wide by 11.875 inches tall
  • Capacity: 3.6 quarts
  • Cooking function: Air fry

Pros

  • Large capacity for its compact footprint
  • 60-minute timer
  • User-friendly control dial

Cons

  • Lacks presets and additional functions

Get the Chefman small air fryer on Wayfair or at Best Buy.

Best Bang For the Buck

Best Small Air Fryer Options: GoWISE USA
Photo: amazon.com

GoWise’s air fryer has a digital LCD control that lets users set time and temperature manually or use the eight presets. This air fryer can bake and reheat, too; simply shake the basket every 5 minutes to ensure all the food gets crisp. This 3.7-quart air fryer can make enough to feed three or more people. The air fryer has safety features that include a cool-touch handgrip, overheat protection, and automatic standby mode. The removable pan is dishwasher-safe.

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 14 inches long by 11.5 inches wide by 12.25 inches tall
  • Capacity: 3.7 quarts
  • Cooking functions: Air fry, warm

Pros

  • Useful recipe-specific presets
  • Digital LCD controls
  • Automatic shutoff feature
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Nonstick coating can wear off over time

Get the GoWise USA small air fryer on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Best For One Person

Best Small Air Fryer Options: Dash Compact Air Fryer
Photo: amazon.com

This Dash air fryer is suitable for singles or those who use an air fryer only for snacks. The crisper drawer has a 2-quart capacity, large enough to cook a meal for one or snacks for two. This handy little fryer cooks appetizers, snacks, baked goods, and other desserts. The Dash has no presets. Safety features include an automatic shutoff, cool-touch housing, and nonslip feet for stability. The basket is dishwasher-safe. This fryer comes in five color options.

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 10.2 inches long by 8.1 inches wide by 11.4 inches tall
  • Capacity: 2 quarts
  • Cooking function: Air fry

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Budget-friendly
  • Nonslip feet

Cons

  • Lacks built-in presets

Get the Dash Compact small air fryer on Amazon or Wayfair.

Best Ultracompact

Best Small Air Fryer Options: Elite Gourmet EAF-3218
Photo: amazon.com

Elite Gourmet’s 1.1-quart air fryer is only 8 inches tall and less than 8 inches in diameter, so it consumes little space on a counter or in a cabinet. Even though it’s tiny, it fries, roasts, cooks, and bakes. Use one of the seven presets, or set a timer for up to 30 minutes and manually select a temperature from 195 to 390 degrees Fahrenheit. This small air fryer boasts an auto-shutoff function and cool-touch handle to prevent burns. The drawer pan and frying rack are both dishwasher-safe, and the fryer can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 7.75 inches wide by 7.75 inches long by 9 inches tall
  • Capacity: 1.1 quarts
  • Cooking function: Air fry

Pros

  • Very small footprint
  • Affordable
  • Timer and auto-shutoff features
  • Dishwasher-safe accessories

Cons

  • The construction feels cheap to some users

Get the Elite Gourmet Personal small air fryer on Amazon.

Best Dishwasher-Safe

Best Small Air Fryer Options: Dash DMAF360GBBK02 AirCrisp
Photo: amazon.com

The Dash AirCrisp air fryer has presets as well as manual temperature and time settings. Set the fryer to cook at temperatures between 100 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, or use one of the eight presets to cook with the touch of a button. This midsize small air fryer holds 3 quarts to feed two to four people. It heats up quickly to prepare meals in minutes. An auto-shutoff function prevents overcooking, and cool-touch housing makes the fryer safer for younger users. The removable basket is nonstick and dishwasher-safe, making cleanup easier.

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 12.6 inches long by 10.4 inches wide by 13 inches tall
  • Capacity: 3 quarts
  • Cooking function: Air fry

Pros

  • 8 convenient present options
  • Midsize capacity
  • Dishwasher-safe accessories

Cons

  • Larger footprint

Get the Dash AirCrisp small air fryer on Amazon.

Best With Toaster-Oven

The Best Small Air Fryer Option: Cuisinart Airfryer Toaster Oven
Photo: homedepot.com

Combined air fryers and toaster ovens boast even more functionality than stand-alone air fryers. The Cuisinart Airfryer Toaster Oven is a premium toaster oven and air fryer that can bake, broil, toast, and air fry to create a huge range of recipes.

Unlike many small air fryers that have only an air-fry function, this air fryer toaster oven boasts seven functions: air fry, convection bake, convection broil, bake, broil, warm, and toast. At 15.5 inches long by 16 inches wide by 14 inches tall, it does have a larger footprint than many small air fryers. However, it’s much more versatile, so it’s worth making space for this device. With a 0.6-cubic-foot interior, this toaster oven is large enough to toast six slices of bread or bake a 4-pound chicken. Other features include an adjustable thermostat, 60-minute timer with auto shutoff, toast shade selector timer, and an included oven rack, baking pan, and air fryer basket.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 15.5 inches long by 16 inches wide by 14 inches tall
  • Capacity: 0.6 cubic feet
  • Cooking functions: Air fry, convection bake, convection broil, bake, broil, warm, and toast

Pros

  • 7 cooking functions
  • Spacious capacity
  • Includes air fryer basket, baking pan, and oven rack

Cons

  • The shortest oven timer setting is 10 minutes

Get the Cuisinart small air fryer at The Home Depot or Wayfair.

Best For Two

The Best Small Air Fryer Option: Bella 2.9 Qt. Air Fryer
Photo: amazon.com

Air fryers are an ideal appliance for two people because they take up little storage space in smaller homes and use less energy than preheating a large oven. With a 2.9-quart capacity, the Bella air fryer is the perfect size for whipping up both meals and snacks for two people. This air fryer comes with five functions for recipe versatility: air fry, broil, bake, roast, and reheat.

With an adjustable temperature range and 60-minute timer (with auto shutoff) using this air fryer is convenient and safe. It comes with an easy-to-clean nonstick cooking pan and crisping tray. At about 15 inches long by 15 inches wide by 15 inches tall, it is on the larger side for its midrange capacity. However, its all-black build and modern silhouette gives it visual appeal on the counter.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 15.11 inches long by 15.11 inches wide by 14.68 inches tall
  • Capacity: 2.9 quarts
  • Cooking functions: Air fry, broil, bake, roast, and reheat

Pros

  • Ideal capacity for 2 people
  • Attractive modern silhouette
  • 5 convenient cooking functions

Cons

  • Relatively large footprint

Get the Bella small air fryer on Amazon.

Best Mini

The Best Small Air Fryer Option: Elite Gourmet 1.1 Qt. Personal Air Fryer EAF1121
Photo: amazon.com

When it comes to the best small air fryers, it doesn’t get much smaller than the Elite Gourmet 1.1 Qt. Personal Air Fryer EAF1121. It measures only 6.5 inches wide by 9.8 inches tall to take up as little space on the kitchen counter as possible. With a 1.1-quart capacity and compact size, this personal air fryer is perfect for small kitchens.

Although small, this air fryer is still filled with features. Two knobs control its adjustable temperature and 30-minute timer (with auto shutoff for safety). Taking out the basket is safe with its cool-touch handle. The basket is small and made of dishwasher-safe nonstick material, so it is the ideal option for single-serve meals or reheating leftovers.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 6.5 inches wide by 9.8 inches tall
  • Capacity: 1.1 quarts
  • Cooking function: Air fry

Pros

  • Very compact size
  • Easy to clean
  • Simple operation

Cons

  • Small 5.2-inch basket diameter might not fit some foods

Get the Elite Gourmet EAF1121 small air fryer at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Overstock.

Best For Leftovers

The Best Small Air Fryer Option: Instant Pot Vortex Mini 2 Qt. Air Fryer
Photo: amazon.com

Air fryers are a favorite small appliance for heating day-old fries and pizzas, making them crisp instead of soggy. With a 2-quart capacity and reheat setting, the Instant Pot Vortex Mini air fryer is a quick and easy-to-use pick for heating leftovers.

The reheat setting helps to give leftover food its crisp back without drying it out by using the brand’s EvenCrisp technology. While this model won’t fully replace a microwave (for example, it can’t melt butter or cook a ready-made meal), it can bring limp leftovers back to life.

As a four-in-one device, this fryer’s full list of functions includes air fry, bake, roast, and reheat. With a digital display, the air fryer allows users to set more accurate time and temperature settings. Like other options on this list, this air fryer is a compact size at 11.26 inches long by 9.02 inches wide by 11.73 inches tall.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 11.26 inches long by 9.02 inches wide by 11.73 inches tall
  • Capacity: 2 quarts
  • Cooking functions: Air fry, bake, roast, and reheat

Pros

  • 4 convenient functions
  • Reheat setting crisps food
  • Digital display

Cons

  • Can’t fully replace a microwave

Get the Instant Pot small air fryer on Amazon or at Best Buy.

Our Verdict

With a roomy 4-quart capacity, fast preheat time, and useful cooking functions, the Ninja small air fryer is the best small air fryer for the average home cook. The Chefman small air fryer is our runner-up pick, which still boasts a 3.5-quart capacity in an impressively compact machine.

How We Chose the Best Small Air Fryers

The best small air fryers make it a pleasant task to reheat leftovers, cook crispy frozen fries, or fry up chicken wings for game day. With their recent boom in popularity, it can be overwhelming to shop for an air fryer that lives up to its culinary promises. We conducted thorough product research to find our top picks, choosing them based on performance, functionality, and ease of use.

When narrowing down our top choices, we looked for highly rated fryers from top brands. The air fryers on our list boast user-friendly designs (with effective crisper baskets and adjustable temperature settings) to get foods hot and crisp.

In terms of functionality, we looked for fryers with adjustable temperature, timers, and safety features like overheat protection, auto shutoff, and cool-touch exteriors. Extra functions or presets were also features we prioritized, as air fryers should work as a versatile countertop appliance. Last, we checked that the air fryers were easy to clean (and choose many with dishwasher-safe parts) to make cleanup as easy as the cooking process.

FAQs

Some frequently asked questions and answers about small air fryers appear below.

Q. How does an air fryer work?

Air fryers circulate hot air around food to crisp its exterior and cook the interior.

Q. What can a cook make in a small air fryer?

Many foods can be made in small air fryers, including appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Common preset functions include fries, seafood, poultry, meat, vegetables, and baked goods.

Q. How is an air fryer used?

Use preset buttons or manually set the temperature and time, load the food in the removable basket, and let the fryer get to work. Periodically during cooking, take out and shake the basket to ensure even cooking.

Q. How is an air fryer preheated?

Select the temperature to cook the food and let the air fryer heat up for a few minutes. Some models include an indicator light that tells the user when the air fryer reaches the correct temperature.

Q. How is a small air fryer cleaned?

Some air fryers have baskets and racks that can go in the dishwasher, while others require hand cleaning with a damp cloth. Dry all the parts before reassembling the air fryer.