Whether you just like to have a spicy chicken wing now and again, or you consider cooking your passion and you are constantly looking for ways to improve your skills in this department, having the proper equipment to make something would be the first step toward being able to cook the thing you want in the comfort of your home.
Now, when it comes to the contraptions that you may need to make your cooking endeavors easier to pull off, the more versatile they are, the less of them you need to buy. For example, if you buy an oven that you can use to heat your lunch, convection cook, broil, roast, and use several cooking techniques to prepare your favorite meals, you won’t have to buy contraptions that can do all of these things separately.
In this article, we’re going to talk about small air fryers – a special breed of contraptions that you can use to prepare a wide variety of meals of all sorts. Although frying is the main cooking technique you’ll be using when these contraptions are in question, you will likely be able to also use them for other cooking tasks than frying.
To help you choose an air fryer that would suit your needs, we’ve organized a list of 10 products, so you can see which one of them you like the best. Also, there’s a brief buyer’s guide you can read through to get acquainted with the most important parameters connected with these contraptions, in case you’ve never bought one of them before. Last but not least, we’ve made sure to answer some of the most frequently asked questions in this category, so you can consult this section for further reference if you’re not sure about something.
Here’s the deal.
What is a Small Air Fryer?
A small air fryer is an electrical cooking appliance that allows you to fry various sorts of food, as well as perform other cooking techniques.
What makes these tools so special would be the fact that you don’t need too much oil to use them well, because these cook your food mostly thanks to the heat of the surrounding air. Of course, most air fryers do require a little bit of cooking oil, but it’s typically 75 – 90% less than what you’d otherwise have to use with a regular deep fryer.
Also, small air fryers, as their names suggest, are suitable for smaller cooking tasks and preparing food for no more than one or two people. (depending on your preferred size of the portion) When it comes to cooking larger quantities of food, getting a large air fryer might be a better fit. Of course, the advantage that small air fryers have over their larger cousins is that they cook your food quicker and are easier to store and clean.
Best Small Air Fryer – A List of Products
1) Instant Pot – Air Fryer
As our entry number one, we’ve got a product that you can use in a variety of different ways thanks to its curious design and a universal utility, so to speak. For example, because this is just a lid, you can snap this onto any sort of pot that will be the appropriate size and immediately use it for cooking your favorite foods in the way you see fit.
The way you use this contraption is fairly straightforward – snap it onto a pressure cooker, set the cooking parameters for the meal you want to prepare, and then watch this thing do its magic. Thanks to its air-frying technology, this thing will use 95% less oil than any other deep fryer, so you won’t need to worry too much about your food getting too greasy or oily as a result of the cooking process.
In the department of safety, this model would score fairly highly thanks to its special overheat protection, as well as the automatic shutoff feature. So, you can set the cooking parameters for this model, leave it to do its magic in your absence, and then it will shut itself off when the timer is up.
- Compatible with 6-quart instant pot pressure cookers
- Overheating protection
- Uses 95% less oil than regular cooking
- Detachable air fryer lid
- Comes with preset cooking programs
- Only compatible with pots made out of inner stainless steel
- Some customers complained about the customer services at Instant Pot
2) COSORI – Air Fryer
Featuring a curious-looking sloped control panel and a variety of options to choose from on that panel, too, this model from COSORI can be an excellent choice for a person in need of an advanced air fryer you can use preparing a wide array of different recipes.
The thing about this COSORI contraption is that it comes with 11 cooking presets, so you can prepare many of the most common recipes out there without even having to look up cooking tips and recipes themselves. All you need to do is get the necessary ingredients into this fryer, push the button corresponding to the meal you want to eat and you’re pretty much good to go.
The cooking basket on this model features a special non-stick surface, and it’s completely PFOA and BPA-free. This means that you won’t even run the risk of your food getting contaminated by these rough chemicals. Also, the cooking basket is completely dishwasher-safe, so you can easily clean it once you’re done with your cooking task.
- Comes with 11 cooking presets
- Non-stick coated cooking basket
- 100 original cooking recipes included
- Uses 85% less oil than a regular fryer would
- Easy-to-use LED panel
- A bit pricey
- Some users may not like the design of this model
3) Ninja – Foodi 8-in-1 Pressure Slow Cooker & Air Fryer
Although this Ninja model would predominantly fall into the category of pressure cookers, it also works as an air fryer. Thanks to these two cooking technologies, you can prepare your food both 70% faster than before and also using 75% less oil than you used to. This means that you’ll get your meals quicker and that all the meals you prepare won’t be so heavy in cholesterol and other potentially dangerous fats that are typically present in the cooking oil you use in regular cooking.
This pot features a non-stick surface and it’s fairly easy to clean thanks to it. Also, these surfaces are PTFE and PFOA-free, so you won’t have to worry too much about any of these negative chemicals getting in your food due to chipping or just regular erosion of the material over time.
As far as the power rating of this contraption is concerned, you will get some 1,400 Watts of power thanks to this thing. This would include a special crisping lid, a stainless steel reversible rack, and a convenient recipe book containing more than 45 different recipes you can follow to make all sorts of delicious foods.
- 5-quart baking pot
- Comes with a UL safety certification
- 1,400-Watts of power
- Stainless steel reversible rack
- There’s a cookbook with over 45 different recipes
- Nonstick surface
- BPA-free design
- A tad too big
- Fairly expensive
4) Ninja – Air Fryer
Using up to 75% less cooking oil than a regular cooker would, this Ninja air fryer can be an excellent choice for anyone who doesn’t like cooking oil and the potentially negative health consequences of using it for preparing food.
Once you’re done preparing your food in this air fryer, you’ll be relieved to hear that you can take most of this thing apart and then clean it in your dishwasher. This can be a lifesaver if you aren’t the biggest fan of having to obsess over all sorts of little greasy specks and details that will no doubt end up being a part of the deal. It’s not only the removable parts of this contraption that are a breeze to deal with maintenance-wise. The non-stick surface the folks at Ninja coated the interior of this thing also helps a bunch when it comes to cleaning this thing after you’ve finished cooking.
- Easy-to-use control panel
- Ceramic-coated basket
- Uses up to 75% less oil than conventional fryers
- Removable parts are dishwasher-safe
- Comes with 4 programmable cooking functions
- Some users have reported a weird flapping some coming from this machine
- Some users complained about a strong smell of burning plastic during use
5) GoWISE USA – 3.7-Quart Programmable Air Fryer
If you like fried food, but you don’t like to prepare it with a ton of oil, getting an air fryer like this GoWISE USA should be a priority on your kitchen appliance to-buy list, so to speak. What makes this contraption so easy to use, would certainly also be the fact that it comes with 8 presets you can choose from.
As far as the temperature range on this model is concerned, (in case you want to set the cooking parameters yourself rather than using the presets) the lowest value stands at about 170 degrees, while the highest value goes to 400° Fahrenheit. It’d be safe to say that pretty much all frying tasks would fall somewhere in between these two values, so you can rest assured that you will be able to prepare all sorts of meals with this contraption on your side.
Once you’ve set the cooking time, this machine will go on with the cooking process and only stop it once the timer runs out. You will know this has happened because the timer will emit a beeping noise 5 times before this thing will shut itself off.
- Requires little to no oil to work
- Features 8 cooking presets
- Easy cooking parameter setup thanks to the easy-to-use digital screen
- Comes with a recipe book
- Automatic timer
- Some users reported that the beeping sound is too loud
- Some users complained about the non-stick coating peeling off after a while
6) Chefman – Turbo Fry 3.6-Quart Air Fryer
With an air-frying efficiency that goes up to 98% of less oil used for your cooking purposes, this model from Chefman represents a tough and reliable contraption you can use for a wide variety of recipes. Whether it’s making an elaborate meal from scratch, or just heating some leftovers, this Chefman contraption can be just the thing for you.
The way this thing works is there is a cooking basket you will use to cook all sorts of food. Once that thing gets dirty, all you need to do is take it out of the oven and place it in your dishwasher for an easy cleanup session. Thanks to its non-stick coating, you can rest assured that the cleaning process will be a breeze.
When it comes to controlling the cooking process itself, there is a timer onboard that you control with the large rotund knob located on the upper part of this fryer. Also, you’ll be using the same knob to control the temperature, so you will figure out easily how to use this contraption, even if you’ve never used an air fryer before.
- Comes with dishwasher-safe parts
- 60-minute integrated timer
- Uses 98% less oil than other air fryers
- The temperature can be set to go from 200-400° Fahrenheit
- 1-year hassle-free warranty
- Some users reported that the non-stick coating starts wearing fairly quickly
- The power cord could have been a bit longer
7) DASH – Compact Air Fryer
If you like the idea of simply dumping your favorite food ingredients in a frying basket and then getting excellent and crispy results immediately after, then this contraption from DASH can be just the thing for you. Thanks to the onboard timer the folks at DASH decided to put in this thing, you won’t have to worry too much about the results of your cooking task, because they will be perfect every time – provided you know the exact temperature at which that particular food needs to be fried at.
As far as the fats and oils involved are concerned, you will be in the position to use up to 80% less cooking oil with this thing, because it will do the majority of the cooking process with air, so to speak. Once your food is ready, you can take it out of the oven straight away without waiting for it to cool down. Thanks to the cool-to-touch handle that is built on this oven, you can grab it as soon as the timer shuts down this fryer to get some fresh, steaming-hot food out of it pretty much right away.
- Compact size
- Comes with a convenient timer
- Features a temperature thermostat you can use to set the cooking parameters together with the timer
- There’s a cookbook included in the offer with more than 15 delicious recipes
- Available in multiple colors
- Some users reported problems with cleaning this contraption
- Some users may not like the design of this thing
8) Phillips Kitchen Appliances – Avance Digital Turbostar Air Fryer
For those of you who dislike having to preheat ovens and different cooking contraptions before you can use them to prepare your favorite food, this model from the world-renown Phillips corporation would be a great option, because it requires zero preheating before use. To start cooking with this thing, simply chuck whatever meat, veggies, and fluids you want in it and hit the ‘ON’ button. After the designated value on the timer elapses, you will have a finished meal ready to be eaten.
An interesting thing about this model is that it features a so-called Turbo Star technology, meaning that the meals you put in this thing will be crispy on the outside and softer on the inside. Also, throughout the cooking process, you’ll be using up to 75% less oil than you would otherwise have to use for similar cooking processes with a regular fryer or an oven.
In case you’re not sure what to cook with this thing or you just want to do a little bit of experimentation with your meals, you can download the Airfryer recipe app and get over 200 recipes you can prepare right away with this fryer. (Provided, of course, that you have all the necessary ingredients ready.)
- The removable non-stick drawer & the basket are dishwasher-friendly
- No preheating necessary
- This model comes with a booklet with 200 recipes you can use right away
- Comes with an easy-click handle
- Preset functions
- Uses 75% less fat when frying
- Some users complained that the temperature control knob is not accurate
- Some users reported that the instructions sheet could have been written a bit better
9) DASH – Tasti Crisp Electric Air Fryer
Representing a compact and light electric air fryer you can use in a variety of everyday cooking tasks, this DASH contraption can be a lifesaver if you don’t have much time to prepare your food, but you still want to achieve excellent results.
Thanks to its simple build and a powerful heater onboard, you won’t need to preheat this thing. Instead, all you need to do is take the ingredients for the meal you want to prepare, chuck them all in the basket of this contraption, add the necessary seasoning according to your taste, and then watch this thing do its magic. You can also set the timer so that it counts down the time needed to prepare this meal so that you don’t have to bother with it. Once the timer finishes counting the lasts seconds of the designated time, it will shut itself off. This is great news for the folks who can’t be present for the cooking process because they are too busy, for example.
- Automatic shutoff feature
- Lightweight design
- Comes with a cookbook with 15+ recipes
- 1,000 Watts of power
- Non-stick fryer basket
- Cool-touch handle
- Some users reported a ‘plasticky’ smell emanating from this thing after use
- Some users may not like the design of this unit
10) POWLAKEN – USA Patented Design Airfryer
Shaped like a bullet with a large button and a handle on it, this air fryer from POWLAKEN represents a contraption that is simple to use, and that requires 80% less oil to cook something in it. Instead of the oil, this thing uses Air Crisp technology to cook the food inside mostly by the hot air that it generates.
All you need to do to make your favorite meals using this thing would be to put the ingredients of the thing you’re trying to make and then simply set up the timer. Once the time is up, this contraption will shut itself off automatically, so you don’t need to worry about having to be there when the cooking process is complete.
Another interesting thing about this contraption is that it comes with a cool-to-touch handle, so you don’t have to wait for the food to cool down before you can take it out of the oven.
- Comes with a cookbook
- Lightweight design
- Convenient timer
- Automatic shutoff feature
- The cool-to-touch cooking basket handle
- Uses 80% less oil than other fryers
- Does not come with a temperature control
- Some users reported that the timer is a bit imprecise
Why Should You Buy a Small Air Fryer?
Small air fryers can be a great option for people who want to prepare their food quickly, efficiently, not use too much oil doing it, and do not intend to cook for more than one or two people at a time.
The thing about air frying is that it enables you to cook your food with little to no oil, so the food that comes out of the cooking basket will not only tasteless oily, but it will contain less cholesterol and other fats that are potentially bad for your health.
Also, the ease-of-use and quick preparation play a major role in why so many people decide to buy one of these contraptions. Typically, many of these contraptions come with intuitively-built control panels and different cooking presets, so more often than not you won’t even have to set any timers or fiddle with the temperature adjustment, as pushing a single preset button will do all the necessary preparatory work for your cooking task.
All you need to do is place the ingredients you want in the cooking basket and then set an air fryer to work. You can then go do something else with your day and then come back to a deliciously prepared meal you can eat right away.
Buyer’s Guide of Small Air Fryer
One of the most interesting parts of modern-day air fryers would certainly be the control panels they come with. What these digital features enable you to do is pick your favorite preset, or type in the individual parameters such as the cooking temperature, or the timer, and then let the machine do the rest.
Also, the control panel will typically display the timer values (how much time has elapsed and how much time to go), as well as the temperature reading, among other relevant parameters. Also, the presets will typically be included as buttons you can push to automatically set all the necessary values for the cooking tasks you want to accomplish. (Something along the line of frying a chicken breast, for example.)
Pretty much all electrical appliances that work with higher temperatures are often at risk of overheating.
The consequence of overheating can be broken heaters, dead motors, and molten plastic, which can both destroy the contraption itself and pose a potential safety risk if something catches fire.
Now, to prevent such a terrible turn of events, the manufacturers of small air fryers often make sure to build in some sort of overheating protection in their units. So, to ensure that your air fryer won’t catch fire any time soon, aim to find a model that comes with overheating protection.
When it comes to the design of air fryers, whether they’re small or large, they often come with some accessories. (To be fair, though – they’re more common with the larger versions.)
What these accessories usually come down to are different surfaces you can place in the air fryer and then use them to cook various foods in different techniques. For example, a cooking grill would be one of the most common ones, while different pans and tongs for taking these accessories out of the oven once the cooking process is over are included in the air fryer packages, too.
While the recipe book isn’t necessarily the most important part of an air fryer package, so to speak, it still can be quite useful – especially if you’re new to cooking and you’re eager to learn how to prepare new and exciting dishes.
The thing is, some of the meals represented in these specialized recipe books are a part of the presets for that particular air fryer, so you don’t even have to try that hard to cook these.
At the same time, you’ll find many other interesting recipes in these small cookbooks, and in particular those meals you can prepare using the air fryer itself. So, if you want to learn how to use your air fryer and experiment and improve your cooking skills along the way, definitely consider buying an air fryer with a cookbook as a part of the package.
It is a well-known fact that air fryers are not the easiest kitchen appliances to clean.
Even though you’ll be using only a little bit of oil to cook your favorite foods, the grill rack and other removable parts of the air fryer will still get a bit grease and you’ll need to clean them.
Now, while this can be achieved fairly easily by using some warm water and some soap, it also helps a bunch if the removable parts of the air fryer you’ve chosen are dishwasher-friendly. This way, you won’t have to do much cleaning yourself, other than perhaps taking care of the interior of the oven.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) What is the best size of an air fryer for one person?
If you only want to cook for yourself or gift someone an air fryer who lives by themselves, the best size would probably be within the category of small air fryers.
These contraptions can do wonders for a wide variety of cooking tasks, and their cooking basket capacity is typically more than enough for the needs of one person.
2) Is a 2-quart air fryer too small?
This depends on the cooking task and for how many people you are preparing the meal.
If you’re only cooking for one person or perhaps two people, then 2 quarts are more than enough to prepare most dishes. Of course, different recipes may require more or less space, but if the meal is for one or two people, an air fryer with a 2-quart cooking basket capacity should be more than enough.
3) Can I cook a chicken in an air fryer?
Yes, you can.
Of course, if the air fryer is not that big, you may want to either choose a small chicken or cut it up into several pieces, so that each piece can fit in the fryer.
Generally speaking, air fryers are excellent tools for preparing chicken, so as long as you can place the chicken in the cooking basket, preparing chicken in an air fryer is a piece of cake.
4) What are the disadvantages of air fryers?
One of the downsides to air fryers is that they tend to be fairly expensive, especially in comparison to some other cooking contraptions such as deep fryers.
Also, they tend to be difficult to clean, and some of the models can be quite noisy, which can be annoying if you’re working in your kitchen around them. Last but not least, even the smaller models are still quite bulky, so they do require some space on the countertop or wherever you plan to store them.
That said, if you can afford them and you have a place to keep them, these contraptions can be an excellent choice for preparing your favorite meals easily, efficiently, and without having to use too much oil.
5) Can you put oil in an air fryer?
Yes, you can.
Many air fryer models require oil to be able to fry your food properly. The biggest difference between conventional fryers and air fryers is the amount of oil used in cooking.
Most air fryers require 75% or less oil than the regular fryers do because the frying itself is done by air.
All in all, cooking food from the comfort of your home is of great use for both professional cooks, as well as amateurs, and owning a contraption such as a small air fryer is a great way to prepare some of your favorite dishes quickly and easily. As long as you’re cooking for no more than one or two people, these little appliances can truly be lifesavers. We hope this article helped you learn the more about these useful apparatuses and we wish you a merry and hassle-free purchase.