Best budget air fryer 2023 - Our top picks for cooking

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If you're searching for the best budget air fryer, we've got you covered right here.

Air frying is more popular than ever right now, and rightly so, because air fryers allow you to enjoy all of your favourite fried foods in a much healthier way.

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In fact, some even claim to use up to 99% less oil than traditional fryers. This is because they work by rapidly circulating hot air to give your food a fine, even coating of oil for crisp results.

And air fryers aren't just used for fried foods; they can also be used as a substitute for an oven, so you can use them to roast a chicken or even bake cookies.

In many ways, they're similar to the best countertop ovens as in they don't take up too much space and can cook your food far quicker than in a traditional oven. This can be really useful if you want to cut down on your energy bills, especially given some air fryers don't even need to be preheated.

The main area we'd suggest looking out for when buying one is the amount of food it can hold. For instance, if you're a big family, you'll generally need something with a capacity greater than 4.5 quarts, whereas if there are only one or two of you, anything between 2 and 4 quarts should suffice.

So, with all of this in mind, we've created a list of what we believe are some of the best budget picks on the market to kick off your search for the best air fryer the right way.

Now, let's dive in and take a closer look...

Best budget air fryer

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Best budget air fryer - COSORI Lite Smart Air Fryer

Best budget air fryer - COSORI fryer with app
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Credit: COSORI
Brand: COSORI | Temperature range: Up to 450°F | Capacity: 4 quarts | Presets: Chicken, fries, bacon, steak and veggies | Dimensions: 13.6 x 10.8 x 12.8 inches | Weight: 9.75lbs

This COSORI fryer comes with a whole host of smart features to make cooking that little bit easier.

It connects to your Wi-Fi and comes with its very own VeSync app, where you can find over 150 different air fryer recipes by COSORI’s chefs to give you some inspiration.

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You can also control the fryer using the app and monitor your food while it’s cooking. It even comes with voice control; simply issue a command to Alexa or Google Assistant and the fryer should subsequently obey.

This should allow you to focus on other areas of your meal, like chopping or preparing a side dish, without needing to pull your attention away from it while you tend to the fryer to change its temperature, for instance.

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Another extremely beneficial feature of this smart appliance is that you can scan the barcode of your favourite foods with the app, which should then tell you exactly how to cook it in the air fryer to give you the best results, providing you with the temperature and cooking time.

Moreover, it can reach a temperature of up to 450°F, so should produce excellent results whilst using up to 97% less oil than traditional fryers according to COSORI itself.

It also has a 4-quart capacity, which should be suitable for large meals for around two people, again, according to COSORI. Overall, we'd say this air fryer is definitely worth checking out.

Best budget air fryer with a large capacity - Chefman Large Air Fryer

Best budget air fryer - Chefman family fryer
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Credit: Chefman
Brand: Chefman | Temperature range: 200°F to 400°F | Capacity: 8 quarts | Presets: French fries, chicken, meat and fish | Dimensions: 12.75 x 13.5 x 10 inches | Weight: 12.8lbs

If you’re looking for a fryer for big family meals, this Chefman Large Air Fryer might be the right choice for you given its 8-quart capacity.

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It should be able to cook a variety of different foods, from oven pizza to crispy french fries, all whilst using around 98% less oil than traditional fryers, according to Chefman.

It has a digital touchscreen and a sleek stainless steel design. With the touch-screen control panel, you can select four different built-in presets for specifically cooking french fries, chicken, meat and fish.

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And to help ensure your food is cooked evenly, it has an LED shake reminder designed to let you know when it's time to turn over your food so it cooks on both sides.

The fryer’s temperature settings range from 200°F to 400°F, thus giving you plenty of temperature options for cooking a variety of different foods.

Also, if you have a dishwasher, cleaning up is made easy as both the non-stick basket and flat frying stray are dishwasher safe, so you can let the machine do the work for you. So, if you have a big family, we'd say this fryer is definitely worth checking out.

Best budget air fryer with cooking presets - GoWISE USA Programmable Air Fryer

Best budget air fryer - GoWISE fryer with 8 presets
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Credit: GoWISE
Brand: GoWISE | Temperature range: 170°F and 400°F | Capacity: 3.7 quarts | Presets: Warm, fries/chips, chicken, steak, shrimp, pork, fish, and cake | Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 8 inches | Weight: 13lbs

This 3.7-quart GoWISE fryer should be simple to use thanks to its eight different cooking presets. These modes are varied and include warm, fries/chips, chicken, steak, shrimp, pork, fish, and even cake.

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This should make cooking a little easier as all you really need to do is press the corresponding button depending on what you want to cook and the temperature and cooking time should automatically set for you.

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It also features a digital control panel that lets you set the temperature anywhere between 170°F and 400°F as well as the cooking time between 1 to 30 minutes. This is useful if you’re cooking your own recipes or following a specific one online and need to set a custom timeframe.

Once the fryer has finished, it will beep five times to indicate that your food is ready to take out. This should stop you from leaving your food to overcook.

This air fryer also comes with a recipe book filled with 50 different recipes specifically designed to be made using GoWISE’s appliance, which will hopefully offer you some inspiration when you need it. Overall, we'd say this fryer is well worth checking out.

Best 4-litre budget air fryer - Ultrean Electric Hot Air Fryer

Best budget air fryer - Ultrean 4 litre fryer
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Credit: Ultrean
Brand: Ultrean | Temperature range: 180°F to 400°F | Capacity: 4.2 quarts | Presets: None | Dimensions: 14.25 x 13.25 x 13 inches | Weight: 9.97lbs

If you're looking for an air fryer but don't quite have the space for a large machine, then this Ultralean Electric Hot Air Fryer should be a great size for you at 4.2 quarts (4 litres).

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It should be able to fit enough food in to produce two large meals. And, as with any air fryer, you'll have plenty of choice in what to cook because it can fry, grill, roast and bake many of your favourite foods.

In terms of temperature, it can reach anywhere between 180°F and 400°F, which you can easily adjust from the control panel depending on what you want to cook.

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It also comes with an auto-off timer that you can set for up to 30 minutes. Then, once the timer is up, the fryer will turn itself off, which is very useful if you accidentally forget about your food or if you're in a different room while it's cooking.

It should also be quite easy to clean, especially if you have a dishwasher because the detachable basket is safe to go in your machine. Plus, it's non-stick, so any food remnants will likely wipe away easily.

And last but not least, this product comes with its very own recipe book to give you a little helping hand at meal times. So, if it's a 4-litre machine you're after, make sure you check out this Ultralean bit of kit.

Best small budget air fryer - DASH Compact Air Fryer

Best budget air fryer - DASH compact fryer
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Credit: DASH
Brand: DASH | Temperature range: 175°F to 400°F | Capacity: 2 quarts | Presets: None | Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.1 x 11.4 inches | Weight: 5.7lbs

The DASH Compact Air Fryer looks great if, once again, you don't have the space for a larger appliance and only need to cook for one or two people.

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With its 2-quart capacity, you should find it's fairly compact. This also means it should fit easily anywhere on your countertop.

According to DASH, it's also half the weight of a standard deep-fat fryer, making it easy to pick up and move around if required.

It comes with a timer that you can set anywhere up to 30 minutes - all you have to do is set the temperature and the timer and you're ready to go. It doesn't even need pre-heating.

And once the timer is up, it shuts off automatically, which is really handy if you accidentally forget that your food is almost ready and wander off into the living room for a while to watch TV, for instance.

It's also worth mentioning that it comes in a choice of five different colours, so there are plenty of options to suit your kitchen's decor. If you ask us, this is an appliance that's definitely worth considering.

Frequently Asked Questions

You're bound to have a few queries about the best budget air fryers, so we've helped you out by answering some of the most frequently asked questions.

What food can you cook in an air fryer?

An air fryer is an extremely versatile appliance and you can use it to cook a number of different foods, such as french fries, burgers, roast chicken, steak, bacon, vegetables, and even cookies.

Essentially, an air fryer can be used as a substitute for an oven or deep-fat fryer. This generally means that any type of food that you would usually fry or oven-bake can be cooked in an air fryer.

The advantage of this, certainly over oven-baking, is that your food should crisp up better because the hot air they circulate to cook food is confined to a much smaller space than an oven, giving a more intense heat. This also allows your food to be cooked faster, thus saving time and energy.

Is it worth buying an air fryer?

Air fryers are incredibly popular at the minute and we’d say they’re definitely worth the investment thanks to their versatility and fast cooking time.

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This countertop appliance can be used as both an alternative to a deep-fat fryer or an oven.

The main benefit of using one over an oven is that they're faster, with the overall cooking time reduced by about 20%. This can also be a useful way to save on your energy bills as you won't need to run it as long as an oven, for example.

Additionally, cooking with an air fryer is much healthier than with a deep-fat fryer. This is because they mainly cook using convection and, therefore, don’t use anywhere near as much oil.

What size air fryer do I need for a family of four?

Air fryers come in a range of capacities, although when it comes to feeding a family of four, you're going to need something on the larger end of the scale.

Anything between 4.5 and 6 quarts should be big enough to feed a family of this size. But for large portion sizes, we’d suggest going for an appliance that is above 6 quarts just in case.