Kitchen Tips

The foodie's guide to the best air fryers of 2023

A complete buyer's guide to the air fryer, plus expert advice on choosing the best model for your household needs

It's essential that cooking for the whole family or a potluck is easy and stress-free, so an air fryer is the perfect gadget for creating good food.
A highly raved-about kitchen appliance, read our complete buyer's guide on purchasing your new air fryer and the models we recommend.

What is an air fryer, and how does it work?

Air fryers are similar to fan-forced ovens but lighter, more compact, and portable.
Despite their name, air fryers do not deep fry your food. Instead, they cook food by circulating hot air around it using a convection mechanism, circulating the air to temperatures up to 200°C, allowing your food to be cooked quickly.
Significantly, no traditional frying is involved. An air fryer extracts excess fat from your food for a healthier, tastier meal.

Are air fryers worth buying? What are their advantages?

With a quicker heat-up time than an oven, an air fryer is an excellent option for cooking a quick, healthy dinner. They're easy to use, and little prep is required.
Air fryers use far less oil than deep fryers while achieving a crispy texture. Even better, they provide an even result as they cook the food from all angles.
They're also a cost-effective gadget. Air fryers use far less energy than conventional ovens, saving you money on your power bill.

What can you cook in an air fryer?

Air fryers are perfect for heating leftovers, especially french fries or pizzas that typically get soggy if reheated in a microwave.
In fact, you can cook nearly anything in an air fryer, including tofu and chickpeas to ravioli and broccoli. Some models have extra features, including grilling, baking bread, and more.
If you're after some meal inspiration, New Zealand Woman's Weekly Food has the best air fryer recipes. Our favourites include chicken nuggets, pork chops with Brussels sprouts, roasted salmon and fennel salad, and a 5-ingredient celebration cake.

The best air fryers in New Zealand

Sunbeam 4-in-1 Air Fryer + Oven, $248, from Marston Moor

This air fryer offers all the benefits of an air fryer plus a rotisserie oven and dehydrator all-in-one. It's one of the most versatile options on the market, with a mesh basket for air frying needs (think crispy french fries in seconds), a dehydrating function to make the perfect dried fruit slices for summer cocktails, a rotisserie function to tender meats and a bake function for baked goods — consider your spring entertaining catering needs sorted.
Key features
  • 4-in-1 air fryer (air frying, rotisserie, baking, dehydrating)
  • 10L capacity
  • Includes a mesh air fryer basket, 3 airflow racks, a rotisserie spit and handling fork, and a slide-out drip tray
  • Clear viewing window
  • Detachable door for easy clean-up

1800W Maxkon 7L Oil Free Digital XL Air Fryer, $119.97 (usually 249.95), from Best Deals

A turbo-charged air fryer that ensures your food is crispy on the outside and flavourful and moist on the inside, it cooks everything from roasts and bakes to grills and broils. Whether you want to whip up some fries or meat from scratch or reheat everything from fried chicken to toast, rest assured this air fryer will retain your food's original flavour and taste.
Key features
  • 7 preset cooking functions (chicken, steak, fish, meat, shrimp, chips and cake)
  • 7L capacity
  • Adjustable 60-minute timer
  • Touch screen technology for convenience

Kitchen Couture Dual View Stainless Steel Air Fryer, $499, from Spotlight

If you're regularly feeding many mouths or hosting Sunday dinners, this Kitchen Couture air fryer is for you. It boasts a whopping 10-litre capacity, and its dual cooking zones mean you can cook with different functions simultaneously to maximise your cooking time. Enhance your food preparation game with this masterful air fryer today.
Key features
  • 6 preset cooking functions (air fry, max crisp, roast, dehydrate and bake)
  • 10L capacity
  • LED display screen
  • Dual cooking chambers
  • Detachable accessories for fuss-free cleaning
  • Viewing window and internal light to monitor food without opening the basket
  • Rapid air circulation technology keeps food crispy on the outside and soft on the inside

Breville the Smart Oven Air Fryer, $549, from Folders

Want the best of an oven and an air fryer in one appliance? This model is well worth considering. The Smart Oven Air Fryer from Breville offers intense heat with maximised airflow, helping to create healthier versions of your crispy golden favourites.
Key features:
  • 10 preset cooking functions (toast, crumpet, bake, roast, grill, pizza, air fry, reheat, warm and slow cook)
  • Dual speed convection
  • Element iQ system to detect where heat is needed the most
  • LCD display
  • 22L capacity
  • Clear, convenient glass door design

Sunbeam Copper Infused DuraCeramic Air Fryer, $127, from Marston Moor

Indulge in tasty, healthy air fried food the whole family will love with this best value air fryer. Its copper-infused DuraCeramic coating ensures consistent cooking results and lasts ten times longer than standard non-stick models, preventing flaking or peeling. We love that this model sends audible alerts to notify us when the food is ready to eat, an ideal feature for multi-tasking chefs. It's a small air fryer, so it's perfect for smaller households or one-to-two person dinners.
Key features:
  • DuraCeramic coating ensures excellent heat conduction
  • 3L capacity
  • Adjustable 30-minute timer
  • Detachable air frying basket for fuss-free cleaning
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Built-in cord storage for convenience

Russell Hobbs Brooklyn Air Fryer, $159.99, from Folders

Cooking dinner in a jiffy has never been easier with this award-winning air fryer from Russell Hobbs. From prawns to steak, it has a function for almost everything, and its digital touchscreen display makes using the appliance a breeze. Even better, it's highly energy efficient and cooks food quicker than a conventional oven.
Key features:
  • 7 preset cooking functions (chips, chops, prawns, bake, steak, fish and chicken)
  • 7L capacity
  • Dishwasher-safe, detachable crisping plate
  • Convenient carry handle

Living & Co Digital Air Fryer, $119, from The Warehouse

Whether you're craving crispy falafel, hash browns, or fish and chips, this air fryer is an affordable option for family dinners. With a digital touchscreen, it's easy to use. As well as cooking flavourful meals, happy customers say the air fryer is ideal for heating up leftovers.
Key features:
  • 8 preset cooking functions (chips, drumsticks, ribs, shrimp, steak, fish, cake, warm)
  • 6L capacity
  • Cool touch handle
  • Adjustable 60-minute timer