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While there's no denying that deep-fried food is delicious, it's rarely the healthiest option come mealtime. Thankfully, that's where air fryers come in. Whether you're itching for crispy chicken wings or want to try out one of TikTok's many cooking hacks, air fried food is a healthier and faster way of cooking. Is it finally time you invested in one? Scroll down to find out if an air fryer is right for you.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a countertop appliance that uses a combination of hot air and oil to mimic the result of a deep fryer. However, unlike deep fryers and other traditional frying methods, an air fryer only requires a small amount of oil, on average one tablespoon or less, to cook crispy and delicious meals.
While air fryers are similar to convection ovens in that they use convection fans to circulate hot air, meals cook much faster in an air fryer thanks to its perforated basket and compact design.
What can you cook in an air fryer?
An air fryer can cook almost anything you would put in an oven. While French fries and chicken strips may come top of mind, the dinnertime possibilities are next to endless.
From baked potatoes and roasted vegetables to entire chickens and chocolate chip cookies, air fryers are incredibly versatile and best of all, they're a healthy option as they use little to no oil.
To see what all the fuss is about and try out an air fryer for yourself, scroll down to shop the best air fryers you can buy in 2022 for less than $100, $200 and $300.
Best Air Fryers Under $100
This top-rated Insignia air fryer has a 4.8-litre capacity, large enough for meals with friends and family. More than 1,800 shoppers have given the countertop appliance a five-star rating and say it's an excellent, high-quality product. "Anything you would out in an oven, you can put in here for a fraction of the time," writes a reviewer. "For someone like myself who doesn't like spending a long time prepping food, this is a godsend."
With a 2.5-quart capacity, this little-but-mighty air fryer is the perfect size for one-to-two people. It has a wide temperature range of 180-400 degrees Fahrenheit and is small enough for most kitchen countertops. "It's my favourite appliance to use when preparing a quick meal," writes one reviewer. "I've done chicken, veggies, egg rolls and other snacks. It comes fully cooked, hot and perfectly crispy."
This 4.2-quart air fryer has racked up nearly 22,000 reviews from Amazon shoppers. Available in four colours, including black and mint green, reviewers say the unit is "good for everyday use." It's "amazing how fast things cook" in it, says a shopper.
With over 1,500 reviews singing its praises, Best Buy Canada shoppers call the Bella Pro air fryer a "healthy eating must-have." My favourite feature "is the fact that the cooking pan and air circulation crisping tray insert are both dishwasher safe, making clean up as easy as tossing both components in the dishwasher," writes one user.
A steal at less than $100, this 3.2-quart air fryer has earned an average rating of 4.8 stars from Best Buy Canada shoppers. It's "more useful than [I] imagined," writes one five-star reviewer. "As I live alone, I didn't expect to have much need for this appliance, but I have been proven so wrong."
Best Air Fryers Under $200
This best-selling 5.8-quart air fryer comes with 11 preset smart programs so that you can take the guesswork out of cooking. Its extra-large design can easily fit a whole five-pound chicken, making it an excellent buy for families and larger households. It's the "best appliance I own," raves one reviewer. "I use it every single day!"
This user-loved 5.8-quart air fryer comes with a digital touch screen and eight preset cooking settings for easy use. The appliance has earned an average rating of 4.5 stars from Walmart shoppers who rave about its "awesome" capabilities. "I love it and can honestly say I recommend it to anyone considering buying one," says a reviewer.
This best-selling Instant Pot Vortex Plus Air Fryer comes with six preset programs that allow you to fry, bake, roast, broil and more. Plus, the appliance comes with a dehydrating setting so that you can make jerky at home. It's a "game-changer," writes one shopper. "If you are teetering on getting one, no worries, just do it!"
With nearly 27,000 ratings, Amazon shoppers can't get enough of this 5.8-quart air fryer. "A revelation, life-changing!" raves one reviewer. It can "cook almost anything" in less time and with less fat than traditional cooking methods.
Earning an impressive average rating of 4.8 stars, Bed Bath & Beyond shoppers say this 4.2-quart air fryer is "amazing." One reviewer writes, "I never knew how badly I needed one! I've used it every day, sometimes twice a day. It's so easy to use."
Best Air Fryers Under $300
This 3-in-1 gadget steams, grills and air fries, so shoppers have a variety of ways to make delicious dinners. Backed by a 4.5-star Amazon rating from more than 1,100 reviews, it's a great option for larger families.
This top-rated Kalorik MAXX Digital Air Fryer Oven replaces ten kitchen appliances in one compact device. The meal-making powerhouse has the capabilities of an air fryer, oven, grill, toaster, roaster, broiler, rotisserie, dehydrator, pizza oven and warmer.
With an average rating of 4.7 stars from over 3,400 reviews, Best Buy Canada shoppers call this family-sized air fryer a "wonderful addition to your kitchen arsenal." Boasting a 7.6-litre capacity, the Bella Pro touchscreen air fryer requires no preheating and allows you to air fry, broil, bake, roast and reheat with little to no oil.
This top-rated air fryer is designed with two independent food baskets so that you can cook two types of foods at once, at two different temperatures. It comes with six customization programs: air fry, air broil, roast, bake, reheat and dehydrate, and has an extra-large eight-quart capacity. "Everything we have made in it from French fries to reheating a Philly cheesesteak sub has been out of this world," writes one shopper. "My daughter's chicken nuggets have never been so appetizing to me!"
Equipped with intelligent features and cutting-edge technology, this T-Fal ActiFry Genius + 1.2 kg appliance provides a healthy and easy way to cook your favourite foods. Unlike its competitors, no pre-heating, shaking, or monitoring is needed with this air fryer. The appliance is powered by the brand's Dual Motion Technology which evenly cooks foods through hot air and automatic gentle stirring.
This versatile two-lid appliance has an 11-in-1 functionality so that you can prepare anything, from dehydrated fruits and vegetables to golden-brown fries and chicken. It's the "best of both worlds," writes one reviewer. "I have been blown away with this Instant Pot. It is my first one, and now I can not imagine life in my kitchen without it."