While there's no denying that deep-fried food is delicious, no one is pretending that it's good for you. However, it can be a heck of a lot better for your waistline if you're willing to swap out your deep fryer for an air fryer.
Whether you're craving crispy chicken wings or want to try out a viral recipe from TikTok, 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 2023 for less than $100, $200 and $300.
Best air fryers under $100
This top-rated Chefman TurboFry air fryer has a 2-quart capacity and a space-saving design. More than 15,000 shoppers have given the countertop appliance a five-star rating, dubbing it a kitchen game-changer. "Food turns out fantastic," according to one shopper.
With a 3.4-quart capacity, this little-but-mighty air fryer is the perfect size for small families. It has a wide temperature range of 180-400 degrees Fahrenheit and is small enough for most kitchen countertops. It's "changed the way we cook," lauds one reviewer. Your food gets "crunchy and crispy," and overall, it's "a way better way of cooking," they write.
This compact air fryer boasts eight simple touch controls that make cooking a breeze. With an average rating of 4.6 stars, shoppers say it's "perfect" for small families.
Priced at just $70, this versatile air fryer offers seven preset cooking modes and cooks food with 88 per cent less fat than traditional frying methods. With a 4.5-star average rating on Canadian Tire, users call it an "indispensable" appliance.
Best air fryers under $200
This 4.2-quart air fryer has racked up 33,000 reviews from Amazon shoppers. Available in three 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 more than 2,300 reviews , 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 reviewer.
This reviewer-loved 4-quart air fryer features a multi-layer rack to dehydrate fruits, vegetables and meats. The appliance has earned rave reviews from Best Buy shoppers, who call it a versatile "workhorse" that's "worth the money."
This compact but versatile air fryer has five quarts of cooking space, which fits enough food for two to four people. It has a dishwasher-safe basket, nine cooking functions and comes backed by 45,500+ reviews. It's "one of the best air fryers we've owned," writes one shopper.
This best-selling Innsky Air Fryer comes with seven preset programs that allow you to cook steak, seafood, French fries, bread and more. With nearly 12,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating, Amazon shoppers say, "you need this air fryer!"
With nearly 32,000 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.
Best air fryers under $300
This family-sized air fryer can comfortably fit an entire chicken and uses innovative fat-removal technology to extract and capture excess fat. This air fryer is the "best in the market," according to one shopper, who says it has become "indispensable to [their] household."
This reviewer-loved 10-in-1 air fryer is the ultimate kitchen gadget. The Ninja Foodi bakes, roasts, broils, toasts and more, so you can cook nearly anything you can dream up in one appliance. With a perfect five-star rating, shoppers say it's "by far one of the best kitchen appliances that [they have] ever owned, if not the best."
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 5,700 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.
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. The multi-purpose appliance has racked up a 4.6-star rating from Canadian Tire shoppers who call it "superb."