For many people living alone or as a couple, looking for the best small air fryer makes perfect sense. Using an air fryer is a decidedly healthier way to prepare your food than to submerge it in fat and oil. In today’s health-conscious world, it’s just ideal.
An air fryer doesn’t need lots of oil to fry food. You can get by with just one or two tablespoons of cooking oil, and in fact it’s even possible to fry food without oil altogether.
What an air fryer does is to heat the air inside the chamber, and a fan rapidly circulates the air inside the food chamber to cook the food. The result is food that’s similar to traditionally fried food—crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.
Top 10 Small Air Fryers 2020 – Comparisons and Reviews
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10 Benefits of Using Small Air Fryers:
Here are just some of the advantages you enjoy when you buy a small air fryer:
- It’s very affordable. Who says high tech has to be expensive? That’s not true with small air fryers, especially when you get a small one. You won’t have to get into the 3-digt price range to find an exceptional model.
- It doesn’t occupy as much space. That makes it suitable for very small kitchens that you typically find in small apartments. You can use it in dorms too. You can just set it out on a countertop, as it takes up very little space and it looks nice enough. If you want to store it away, then you can easily find some cabinet space for it.
- It’s portable. While these things do need a power outlet, you can bring a small air fryer to another apartment if you have to without too much trouble. They not just compact, as they’re also lightweight as well. Bring it along to another dorm so you can enjoy some fries or chicken nuggets with your all-night study sessions.
- It’s healthier for you. That’s because it doesn’t use oil to cook the food, so it’s better for your cardiovascular system and you don’t get the calories that come with the oil. Any well-informed adult nowadays know that deep fried dishes aren’t exactly the epitome of health foods, and this is a much better alternative.
- You don’t get cooking oil burns. Everyone who has ever used oil to fry food has experience small cooking oil explosions that can certainly result in painful burns. That’s a problem you avoid complete with an air fryer—no cooking oil, remember?
- You don’t have to deal with the used oil afterwards. Dealing with the cooking oil you’ve used after you fry the food is certainly one of the most tedious tasks in the kitchen. It’s great that with an air fryer this is no longer something you have to worry about.
- Using an air fryer is very easy. It’s mostly about pushing buttons, turning dials, and setting the timer. You don’t need an advanced degree in the culinary arts. Even kids can use this with no problem.
- The cooking process is very quick. Air fryers can heat the air very quickly. The frying time is certainly short when you have a small unit with just a small amount of food to cook. Many small units have timers that go only for 30 minutes, because you seldom need more time than that to fry the food perfectly.
- You can cook a wide variety of food. You can go online and find lots of air fryer recipes for many types of food items, including steak, fish, chicken, and shrimp. Part of the fun is discovering just how many types of food you can fry with your air fryer.
- The cleanup is generally very easy. This is especially true of the best ones, since they use nonstick components so food bits don’t stubbornly cling to the food compartments. Most of the time, many of the air fryer parts can be detached so you can just stick them into a dishwasher, and for the other parts you can just wipe down them.
Our Picks of the 5 Best Small Air Fryers:
With these factors in mind, we’ve picked 5 small air fryers that should suit you:
GoWISE USA GW22621 4th Generation Electric Air Fryer
This does look small with a height of 12 inches and a base width of about 9 inches. Still, this offers a sizable capacity of 3.7 quarts. That should be enough food for a couple. Available in black, red, and plum colors, its features are quite impressive:
- There are 7 built-in programs on the touch screen for different foods, such as fish, shrimp, steak, chicken, meat, and chips.
- You can also manually set the cooking time and temperature.
- The basket is detachable, and there’s a guard feature that keeps you from detaching it accidentally.
- The temperature range goes from 175 to 400 degrees.
- The cooking timer can go up to 30 minutes, and afterwards the air fryer goes into standby mode.
- It looks great on your countertop.
- It’s very portable too, with the handle, compact size, and the 12-pound weight.
- Cleaning is simple because of the nonstick coating.
BLACK+DECKER HF110SBD 2-Liter Oil Free Air Fryer
This is a well-known brand, so it stands to reason that the company would produce an air fryer that wouldn’t sully its hard-earned reputation. This 2-liter air fryer looks very solid, with its wide 11-inch base.
- Unlike other air fryers with a single fan to circulate the hot air, this has a 2-fan design.
- The temperature ranges from 175 to 400 degrees.
- At 400 degrees, even thick frozen steak fries needs only 20 minutes to cook.
- When it’s powered on, there’s an indicator light.
- Another light turns off when it has reached the preheating temperature.
- The timer goes up to 60 minutes.
- The food capacity can accommodate 10 chicken nuggets, 6 chicken wings, 8 breaded onion rings, or a half pound of fries.
NuWave 36001 Brio Air Fryer, Black
This has a 3.5-quart capacity, so it’s large enough to cook a whole bag of fries at once. It’s actually big enough that in some cases you can fit in enough food for 4 people. Yet it’s not really all that big with its 11 by 8-inch footprint, and it only weighs 8 pounds.
- It’s very portable.
- It features LED digital controls.
- The temperature ranges from 100 to 390 degrees, and you can increase it by 5-degree increments.
- There’s an automatic preheat feature.
- The basket and the drawer are detachable, so you can serve the food more easily and the cleanup is much more convenient too.
- This won’t turn on if the food basket isn’t in place.
Della Electric Air Fryer w/ Temperature Control, Detachable Basket and Handle
This offers a food capacity of about 2.8 quarts, which is good enough for a couple of chicken legs or enough fries for two. It uses 1500 watts to get a temperature ranging from 176 to 392 degrees, and you don’t really need a lot of oil (or even any oil at all) to fry the food.
- It has a 30-minute timer.
- When cooking time is over, it automatically goes into standby mode.
- It weighs just 6.6 pounds, and it has a nice detachable handle.
- The base is only 14 inches wide.
- It has nonstick coating.
- The detachable food basket makes food transfer easier and the cleanup is simple too.
GoWISE USA Electric Digital Air Fryer w/ Button Guard & Detachable Basket
This looks very colorful on your counter-top, but afterwards you’ll probably be more appreciative of the features. This offers a 2.7-quart capacity that’s ample enough for 2 people.
- This has a digital display with buttons to set the temperature and the timer.
- The temperature goes from 175 to 400 degrees.
- The times can go up to 30 minutes, and then it goes into standby mode.
- The food basket is detachable so you can serve up the food with no fuss.
- There’s a guard that keeps you from detaching the basket accidentally.
- The basket and drip pan are also easy to clean as they have nonstick coating.
Buying Guide – How to Choose the Best small Air Fryer:
What’s best for you is more likely not the best for everyone, since we all have different preferences and requirements.
Nonetheless, certain factors tend to be more important than others when you’re looking for a best small air fryer.
It is true that you won’t have to spend too much money on an air fryer, especially if it’s just a small one. You won’t have to go past the $100 mark.
Your best bets may not go past $100 in price, but they do cost almost as much. You certainly don’t want to get any unit that comes with a sub-$50 price tag, as there’s probably a catch.
How small do you really want your air fryer to be? Some brands market their air fryers as “small” even though they may be too big for your needs. In this case, you have to be aware of both the size of the unit as well as the amount of food it can hold.
If you’re cooking for too, then obviously a very small air fryer that provides single servings won’t be ideal.
Ease of use
Generally speaking, air fryers are very intuitive and they don’t need too much brainpower to figure out how to use. But some units are simply much easier to use. There are models than let you push a button and you’re basically all set.
The main problem is that some recipes assume you’re going to use a regular oven or fryer to cook your food and an air fryer is just different. It can offer much higher temperatures than what the recipe anticipates, so you may have to cook your food for a shorter period of time.
Quick food preparation
You’re probably a busy person and you don’t have much time for cooking, so an air fryer is quite ideal for you. It can cut down on the frying time significantly.
You should see if the unit doesn’t need a lot of time for preheating. A higher temperature range is also good, since the hotter it is the faster you cook your food.
An air fryer that’s easy to clean usually feature a detachable food basket that you can just put into a dishwasher to clean. You may also want to check for nonstick parts so you don’t have problems with food bits sticking to your air fryer.
As for the other parts of the air fryer, a damp cloth should do just fine.
Pick any of these small air fryers, and you have yourself a winner for fried foods. However, you should really take a look at the GoWISE USA GW22621 4th Generation.
Also, the 3.7-quart capacity is great, despite the compact size of the air fryer. It’s no wonder that this is a bestselling unit and that many consider this the best small air fryer for their small kitchens.