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Best Small Air Fryers in 2022 – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

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Recently, air fryers have been all the rage, and for a good reason. Cooking with these handy appliances is a healthier alternative to frying your food in oil. On top of that, air fryers offer impressive versatility.

We have good news if you’re hesitant to purchase an air fryer due to limited space on your countertop. Many manufacturers make small air fryers that can easily compete with their larger counterparts.

You can get overwhelmed when looking for your perfect air fryer with myriad available models and makers. So, we’ve rounded up our five best small air fryers to help you make an informed decision.

Best Small Air Fryers of 2022

Although many great choices are available, these are our five best small air fryers.

Cosori Air Fryer Oven Compact 3.7 QT [Best Overall Choice]

COSORI Air Fryer Oven Combo 5.8QT Max Xl Large Cooker (Cookbook with 100 Recipes), One-Touch Screen with 11 Precise Presets and Shake Reminder, Nonstick and Dishwasher-Safe Square Design Basket, Black

Thanks to their ease of use, the Cosori brand products are perfect for those just starting with air fryers. Their 3.7-quart model is big enough to hold food for up to three people.

What We Like

  • Easy to use and clean
  • Variety of presets
  • Spacious square basket
  • Fantastic cookbook included
  • Affordable

What is Not Ideal

  • Short cord
  • According to some consumers, there is an unpleasant lingering smell. We have this model and have not noticed this smell.

If you’re unsure how to cook a particular meal, you can use one of the 11 food-specific presets. The presets include some of the most popular air fryer cooking choices, such as French fries, chicken, and steak. Plus, this Cosori air fryer offers preheat and keep warm options. 

Another handy feature is a shake reminder—the air fryer will give you a heads up midway through cooking, indicating it’s time to shake your food. Finally, removing the basket from the unit is straightforward, thanks to a slider.

This spacious square basket allows for more versatility with your food choices. For example, you can cook longer food items almost impossible to fit into typical circular baskets that most smaller air fryers use.

The basket is PFOA and BPA-free, meaning you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals coming into contact with your food. Moreover, the basket is easy to clean, so the leftovers won’t cause any issues. The basket is dishwasher-safe, but manual cleaning will ensure the product lasts longer.

This Cosori air fryer comes with a cookbook containing 100 quality recipes. The recipes are well laid out and broken into five categories: breakfast, entrées, appetizers, sides, and desserts. They are accompanied by beautiful photos, making choosing and cooking more enjoyable.

There’s no need to alter recipes, a rare feat for these cookbooks. What’s more, the indicated time and temperature settings are remarkably accurate.

Unfortunately, the cord for this air fryer is relatively short. As a result, you can only set it up close to an outlet. Also, some users reported an odd smell lingering in the kitchen after using this air fryer.


Ninja AF101 Air Fryer 4 QT [Highest Capacity Option]

Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer that Cooks, Crisps, Roasts, Bakes, Reheats and Dehydrates, with 5.5 Quart Capacity, and a High Gloss Finish, Grey

Ninja’s AF101 model is frequently present on best small air fryers lists, and it’s easy to see why once you look at its features.

While many smaller air fryers feel and look flimsy, this Ninja air fryer is sturdy and has a quality feel. This reliable appliance also has a small base for an air fryer of this capacity, making it highly compact and easy to store.

It’s ideal for cooking for two to four people, and it never fails to produce food of impressive appearance and crispy texture.

What We Like

  • Compact Design
  • Includes dehydration option
  • Excellent temperature range
  • Easy to clean

What is Not Ideal

  • No presets
  • Strong smell while preheating

This Ninja air fryer has an intuitive multi-function display. One of the most valuable features is a dehydrate option. Thanks to this, you can easily extend the shelf-life of many ingredients or create fun snacks using apple slices, strawberries, and kale.

Although this model makes dehydration easy, the same can’t be said for other cooking methods. Namely, the Ninja AF101 doesn’t offer any presets. Instead, you can choose whether to air fry or roast your food. Also, there’s a reheat option, great for finishing off leftovers.

But don’t let the lack of presets deter you from purchasing this multifunctional appliance. It takes some getting used to, but the wide temperature range will give you plenty of cooking options. In the end, you’ll be left with delicious fried, grilled, or baked goods.

After enjoying your food, you’ll be happy to know this air fryer is incredibly easy to clean by hand. The 4-quart ceramic basket doesn’t stick. As a result, there’s almost no need to turn your dishwasher on, although the basket is dishwasher-safe. If you still opt for the dishwasher, you can use it to clean the crisper plate and the multi-layer rack for dehydration.

Note that you have to preheat this unit before using it. Fortunately, preheating takes only about three minutes. But unfortunately, some users have complained about a strong rubbery smell spreading around during the process.


GoWISE USA 3.7 QT Programmable Air Fryer [Best Display]

GoWISE USA 1700-Watt 5.8-QT 8-in-1 Digital Air Fryer with Recipe Book, Black

One of the most critical aspects of an air fryer is how easy it is to interact with it. This GoWise air fryer takes the confusion out of cooking with a brightly-lit display surrounded by graphic and easy-to-understand functions.

What We Like

  • Intuitive display
  • Good selection of presets
  • Spacious basket
  • Included recipe book
  • Easy to clean

What is Not Ideal

  • Short warranty period
  • Poor quality coating

The functions include eight presets, perfect for those just getting the hang of air frying. While French fries are arguably the most popular food choice for an air fryer, the presets make cooking meats like chicken and pork easy. In addition, the large basket offers more space than most smaller models, making you always ready for unexpected guests.

If you don’t need the presets, you can set the air fryer anywhere between 180°- 400°F. Moreover, you can set the timer for up to 60 minutes, making it easy to cook a range of dishes. Once the set time is up, the timer will beep a couple of times to let you know it’s time to retrieve your food.

You can look at the included recipe book when choosing what to cook. The book contains 50 quality recipes made explicitly for GoWISE air fryers. In addition, you can choose from various options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert.

After you’re done cooking, you can easily clean the interior surface. In fact, only a wipe of a paper towel is frequently enough to get rid of any leftover mess. If the air fryer requires a more in-depth cleaning, you’ll be happy to know the removable pan is dishwasher safe.

However, although convenient, the pan and the basket have only a 30-day warranty. This is particularly troubling when you consider many users complaining about the basket coating wearing off rather quickly.


 DASH Compact Air Fryer Oven Cooker 2 QT [Most Affordable Choice]

DASH Compact Air Fryer Oven Cooker with Temperature Control, Non-stick Fry Basket, Recipe Guide + Auto Shut off Feature, 2 Quart - Red

This DASH model might be perfect if you’re looking for a trendy air fryer to proudly display on your kitchen counter.

Most air fryers are only available in the staple black color. However, you can also purchase the DASH air fryer in white and grey and vibrant red and aqua color options. Thanks to its sleek design, it will complement any kitchen.

What We Like

  • Trendy design that suits your kitchen décor
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Affordable
  • Automatic shut-off feature
  • Up to 24-month warranty

What is Not Ideal

  • No presets
  • Not suitable for larger portions

This model has the lowest capacity of all the products on our best small air fryers list. With a 2-quart basket, this air fryer is ideal for cooking for one.

This means the air fryer takes up little space, which can fit perfectly even in dorm rooms. In addition, it weighs only 5.7 pounds, so you can even carry it along when traveling.

Although this DASH air fryer is the smallest on our list, it’s also the most affordable model. At around $50, this air fryer is perfect for students and buyers on a tight budget.

When cooking with this air fryer, you can set the temperature anywhere between 170°- 400°F. The timer goes up to 30 minutes. After the set time is up, the air fryer will automatically turn off. This handy feature prevents food from overcooking and makes the appliance safer.

Unfortunately, no presets are available, so there is a learning curve if you’ve just started using these gadgets. The cooking process is reasonably simple and quick, as there’s no need to preheat this air fryer. However, if you plan on cooking larger portions of food, it may take some time, as the manufacturer instructs users not to stack food.

Once you’re done cooking, you can wash the basket manually or plop it in the dishwasher.

The DASH air fryer comes with a 12-month warranty. However, if you join the DASH Feel Good reward program, you can extend this warranty for up to two years.


Chefman Small Air Fryer Healthy Cooking 3.6 QT [Best Value for Money]

CHEFMAN Small Air Fryer Healthy Cooking, 3.6 Qt, User Friendly, Nonstick, Digital Touch Screen, Dishwasher Safe Basket, w/ 60 Minute Timer & Auto Shutoff, Matte Black, Cookbook Included

If you’re on a hunt for a budget-friendly air fryer of medium-capacity, consider Chefman’s 3.6-quart model. This air fryer costs significantly less than other models with the same or similar basket capacity.

What We Like

  • Affordable
  • Spacious basket
  • Sleek design
  • Automatic shut-off feature
  • Dishwasher-safe basket

What is Not Ideal

  • Temperature levels are not precisely adjustable
  • No presets

This capacity allows the air fryer to serve up to three people. This is made possible by a flat basket design that can hold more food than traditional baskets. But, you don’t have to worry about the bulkiness that comes with larger baskets.

In fact, this air fryer has a very appealing look to it. It has a matt-black finish that results in a sleek and modern design. For this reason, it is worthy of a prime spot on your kitchen countertop.

When cooking, you can set the temperature from 200°- 400°F. This range is perfect for various meals that will be evenly crispy every time. However, note that the levels are set at 25° marks. So, if a recipe calls for 260°F cooking temperature, you’ll have to adjust the cooking time.

The integrated timer goes up to 60 minutes. After the desired cooking time, the air fryer will automatically turn off, avoiding overcooking and safety hazards.

The temperature and timer functions are the only functions this appliance offers. Unfortunately, this means no presets are available. But, with some practice, you’ll be able to fry, bake, or roast your favorite food easily.

Once you’re done cooking, you can wash the nonstick basket in the dishwasher. However, manually cleaning this item will extend this appliance’s life span. Just make sure to avoid abrasive sponges.

This Chefman model comes with 12-month hassle-free assurance, a user guide, and a helpful recipe book.

air fryer with bowl plate and cutting board

How to Choose the Best Small Air Fryer

Knowing what to look for can be challenging if you're new to air fryers. Here are some essential aspects to ensure you’ll end up with one of the best small air fryers.


When looking for your perfect air fryer, the first aspect you should consider is your household size. The more people you want to feed, the higher the capacity you need.

Air fryer capacity is typically listed in quarts. Here are the capacities you should consider based on the number of people you intend to feed:

  • 1–2 quarts: one or two people
  • 2–3 quarts: two people
  • 3–4 quarts: three to four people

Of course, the capacity depends on the average portion sizes. Also, if you don’t like leftovers, you should go for a smaller-capacity fryer.

Cooking Presets

If you’re an adept cook, you’ll probably require just the temperature and timer setting.

However, some air fryers are also equipped with several presets. The presets are programmed temperature and time settings based on the cooked food. Most commonly, presents include frozen fries, meat, poultry, and seafood.

Presets aren’t standard on every air fryer. So, if you need a helping hand in the kitchen, look for an air fryer with various presets.

Ease of Use

If you’re looking for a small air fryer, chances are the available space is a contributing factor. Therefore, it’s essential to look for compact and lightweight air fryers. This way, you can easily put them away if there’s not enough room on the countertop.

Next, the air fryer type contributes significantly to its ease of use.

Manual air fryers might be a better choice for older adults and children, as they are pretty straightforward. In contrast, digital air fryers require a bit of tech-savviness. But, they are also much more precise and offer more possibilities.

Ease of Cleaning

A good air fryer should be as easy to clean as it is to use.

The most helpful feature is undoubtedly a removable basket that can be washed manually without a hassle. This is made possible with a nonstick coating. As a result, the cleaning will only require a damp cloth dipped in soapy water.

If the basket isn’t coated, or you’re not fond of doing the dishes, make sure your chosen air fryer has dishwasher-safe elements. If the manufacturer’s specs don’t mention cleaning, it’s better to play it safe and avoid the dishwasher.


If you plan on using your air fryer frequently, it’s essential to ensure it has an extended warranty period. Ideally, your chosen appliance should come with at least a 12-month warranty.


The air fryer's price typically depends on its functions and the accompanying accessories. So, naturally, the more complex the air fryers are, the more expensive they get. But, if you’re not a fan of all the bells and whistles, you can find a decent machine for as little as $40.

BBQ Chicken Legs in air fryer

FAQ About Small Air Fryers

What Is the Capacity of a Small Air Fryer?

The capacity of air fryers is typically listed in quarts. A quart is a unit of volume equal to a quarter gallon. On average, small air fryers’ capacities range from one to four quarters.

Should I Buy a Circular or Square-Shaped Air Fryer?

Choosing the best shape of an air fryer depends on what you intend to use it for.

If you need the air fryer for snacks or smaller food, you should choose circular air fryers. This way, the items will be cooked quickly and evenly.

In contrast, square-shaped air fryers are better for larger or longer food items. Moreover, you can place pans in these air fryers, resulting in more versatility when cooking.

What Can You Cook in a Small Air Fryer?

Despite their lower capacity, small air fryers allow you to cook a variety of foods, including:

  • Appetizers
  • Snacks
  • Baked goods
  • Desserts
  • Roast vegetables
  • Roast meat
  • Seafood
  • Toast

You might be unable to cook a large portion at once or more significant foods like a whole chicken. But, all in all, the possibilities are almost endless. You can make tasty foods without using a deep fryer.

Do Air Fryers Get Hot on the Outside?

Depending on their design, some air fryers can get hot on the outside.

If you’re worried about the heat, look for air fryers with a cool-touch exterior. These appliances are designed to keep the heat contained within the unit. Alternatively, always cook in a well-ventilated area.

Can You Put Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?

Putting in a layer of aluminum foil can help minimize the mess left after cooking. Fortunately, you can put aluminum foil in your air fryer.

However, you should only put it in the basket and not the bottom of the drawer. Also, insert the foil only after you’ve preheated the air fryer. The aluminum foil should always be weighed down by the food.

Can You Put Parchment Paper in an Air Fryer?

Parchment paper can be beneficial when cooking sticky and greasy items. While you can use parchment paper in your air fryer, there are some guidelines you should follow.

  • Ensure the parchment paper can withstand the maximum cooking temperature
  • Avoid stuffing oversized paper
  • Avoid using parchment paper during preheating

Depending on the model you use, you can contact the manufacturer directly. This way, you can ensure that using parchment paper won’t pose any safety risks.

Here is an article that details what containers can be used in an air fryer.

Final Thoughts

Although you’d probably be satisfied with any of these options, Cosori Air Fryer stands out among the best small air fryers.

Its most impressive feature is the 13 available functions, 11 being various preset options. For this reason, people who are not skilled at cooking won’t have problems using this appliance.

The spacious square basket allows for more flexibility with food choices and sizes, ensuring a family of three will always be content with their food.

If you’re looking for a more affordable option for the same number of household members, consider purchasing the Chefman Small Air Fryer. Also, the DASH Compact Air Fryer is half the price of our winner, but it will only serve one person.

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