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What size air fryer do I need? Take a closer look at the most common air fryer sizes to find one that’s perfect for the air fryer recipes you’ll be whipping up.
Before investing in a shiny new kitchen appliance, make sure it’s the right fit for you. You don’t want to sacrifice precious counter space in vain! When it comes to air fryers, the best way to ensure you’re going to actually use it is to choose the right size. After all, these gadgets range from small to extra-large. Here’s everything else our Test Kitchen wants you to know about air fryers.
To help make your choice easier, we called on pros Regina Chaperon and Kara Shilalie, creators of Air Fryer Addicts—an Instagram account devoted to scrumptious meals cooked in the mini oven—for guidance on finding the right air fryer size for every type of cook.
Psst: If you’re looking for recommendations on air fryer brands, check out our Test Kitchen’s review.
For the Solo Home Chef:
Let’s say you cook for yourself and the occasional guest. Look for a small-capacity air fryer that holds 2 quarts at most. It’s enough room to roast a few chicken tenders with a side of Brussels sprouts.
But don’t forget to consider your cooking bucket list. If you dream of making appetizers for all your friends or cooking a meal with plenty of leftovers, you might want to consider going one size up.
“We wish we went larger with our first model,” says Chaperon, who cooks everything from toast to chicken thighs in her air fryer. “We didn’t realize how much we would use it!” She even finds herself reheating leftovers, especially pizza and french fries.
We Recommend: The 2-quart Copper Chef Air Fryer
For the Date-Night Diners:
If it’s mostly you and your beau sitting around the dinner table, the air frying aficionados recommend a 2 or 3-quart air fryer. The basket provides enough space to cook approximately six chicken wings at a time or enough vegetables for two people.
The quick-cooking ability of the air fryer allows for versatility on busy weeknights. “Some nights when I don’t feel like having the same dinner as my fiance, I can throw something in and have dinner ready in 5 to 10 minutes,” says Shilalie, who has two air fryers at home.
We Recommend: The 2.75 quart Philips TurboStar Air Fryer
For the Family-Meal Maestros:
When you’re cooking for three or more, an air fryer with a larger basket allows you to get dinner (and dessert) on the table in record time. Chaperon, a full-time teacher, upgraded to a 6-quart air fryer to make meals for her family of three. “I love how the air fryer allows me to get dinner ready in half the time. As a working mom with a picky 6-year-old, the air fryer allows versatility and also allows me to get creative with meals,” she says.
We Recommend: The 5.8 quart GoWISE Air Fryer
For the Party Hosts:
When you have an open-door policy and find yourself surrounded by friends and family on the weekends, go for the extra-large basket size or an oven model air fryer. That way, you can whip up party plates and quick appetizers that feed a crowd in a jiffy. “The oven model air fryers are ideal if you are looking to replace other appliances, such as your toaster oven. They fit nicely on your counter and take up less space,” Shilalie says.
The 6- to 10-quart air fryer basket will provide enough room to roast a whole chicken, a whole pizza and pounds of finger foods.
We Recommend: The 7.6 quart OMORC Air Fryer
If you’re ready to purchase an air fryer, but don’t know which air fryer size will best serve the needs of your household, we have all the information you need!
Unless you’ve been living completely off the grid, it would be hard to ignore the rise in popularity of air fryer cooking. These versatile countertop appliances have really taken off in recent years.
Getting foods cooked faster and crispier than ever without cranking up your full-sized oven is pretty hard to resist. No wonder these compact convection ovens are becoming indispensable to so many home cooks.
If you’re reading this article, it means you’re seriously considering adding an air fryer to your kitchen. Good for you! You’re about to embark on a new and exciting experience in cooking.
With so many brands, models, and types of air fryer sizes available on the market, how does a person figure out which air fryer size they should buy?
To choose the right air fryer for your family, consider the size of your family, the shape of the air fryer you’ll need, and the amount of kitchen space you have available. A large family will likely need an air fryer with a five-quart or higher capacity. A single person will need a minimum of 2 quarts. The air fryer size that best fits your cooking needs is the one to buy.
Let’s break this air fryer size selection process down to help make things as clear and easy for you as possible.
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT AIR FRYER
SMALL TO MEDIUM AIR FRYERS
One of the main things to consider when looking at air fryer sizes is the type of foods you plan to cook. For example, let’s say you’re a tater tot and mini egg roll fan and just want an air fryer so you can quickly make the most perfect, crispy snacks ever.
A small to medium-sized air fryer will do a fabulous job for you. In this cooking scenario, it doesn’t much matter what shape the basket of your air fryer is. Since bite-sized snacks are pretty small, you can put several into any shape basket and get a good result.
Small families and single individuals can manage fine with a smaller air fryer size and will not have to sacrifice as much counter or storage space.
MEDIUM TO LARGE AIR FRYERS
If you plan to roast vegetables, such as whole carrots, or asparagus, you’ll need an air fryer basket large enough to accommodate the lengths of these types of vegetables.
A small, round basket won’t work for air frying/roasting longer veggies or a slab of ribs, because the food simply won’t fit. Other foods, like whole chickens or roast beef, require a more spacious family-sized air fryer to accomplish your meal preparation goals too.
So pay close attention to how you plan to incorporate your new air fryer into the daily cooking routine of your kitchen. Is this new appliance going to be used for snacks only or for family meals too?
The amount of people you’ll be cooking for is an important factor when choosing an air fryer size. If your family is large, you’re going to be happiest with a large air fryer that provides plenty of space for air frying family meals.
Just make sure you have adequate room in your kitchen for safely operating, ventilating, and storing a bigger air fryer.
TIPS FOR PICKING THE BEST AIR FRYER FOR YOU
Here are links to three top air fryer models including my favorite.
Cosori Air Fryer Max XL – 5.8 Quarts (my favorite!)
Chefman TurboFry Touch 8 Quart Air Fryer
GoWise Digital Air Fryer – 8 Quarts
Bella Electric Hot Air Fryer – 2.6 Quarts
These are top sellers and well-loved by air fryer cooks. Looking at them and their special features will get you started.
BIGGER IS USUALLY BETTER
Always choose an air fryer that is bigger than you think you need. Once people realize how versatile an air fryer is, most of them will upgrade from small air fryers to larger models within one year of buying one.
A more spacious appliance can eliminate or reduce the need to cook food in multiple batches.
LOOK FOR SAVINGS
After you decide which size air fryer you’d like to buy, shop around online and in stores. You can save yourself a lot of money by paying attention to special deals, sales, and rebates. Why pay more than you need to?
I find that Amazon has pretty good deals around the holidays and even randomly throughout the year! I post about these deals in my free Air Frying Facebook group.
WHAT EXACTLY SHOULD YOU BE LOOKING FOR WHEN DECIDING ON THE RIGHT-SIZED AIR FRYER
SIZE AND SHAPE
Select an air fryer that is shaped and sized right for cooking the types of foods you plan to cook the most. A snacks-only air fryer is going to be different from an air fryer that will be used for regular meal preparations.
There is also the circle versus square problem when it comes to air fryers. Many square shapes or air fryers with racks will allow for pans to be placed in them. Circles are better for snacks or smaller foods that can be cooked quickly and evenly.
I recommend a square or rectangle air fryer unless you know you will only make small foods inside.
THE CAPACITY OF THE AIR FRYER
Think about how large or small the meals are that you usually prepare and serve in your household and how many people you will be cooking for. Cooking capacity will greatly influence which size air fryer you need to purchase.
If you’re a college kid just looking for a little appliance to heat up food, small air fryer sizes are okay. But if you are a family of 4, you’ll need a larger air fryer for sure.
Evaluate how much physical space you have for an air fryer in your kitchen. Will this appliance sit out on the counter all the time or will it need to be stored away in the cupboard or closet? Your appliance needs to be big enough to cook food for your entire household, yet compact enough to fit in your kitchen.
WHAT AIR FRYER SIZE IS GOOD FOR A SINGLE PERSON
A small or compact air fryer, somewhere between 1-2 quarts is usually a good choice for an individual with living space limitations.
The shape of these air fryers is usually circular. This size and shape can cook a meal for one person or snacks for two people.
Here are my suggestions when purchasing this size:
Bella Electric Hot Air Fryer – 2.6 Quarts
Go Wise Electric Mini Air Fryer – 2 Quarts
iRUNTEK Mini Compact Air Fryer – 1.6 Quarts (this one is VERY small)
WHAT SIZE AIR FRYER DO I NEED FOR A FAMILY OF 2
For a family of two, an air fryer size of 3-4 quarts is generally recommended.
This size lets you cook two servings of chicken or fish fillets and still leaves room for some vegetables on the side. It’s a great size for reheating leftovers and cooking frozen foods to crispy yumminess.
I recommend one of two models for this size.
Cosori Air Fryer – 3.7 Quarts
Chefman Turbo Air Fryer – 3.6 Quarts
WHAT SIZE AIR FRYER DOES A FAMILY OF 3 NEED
A typical family of three will do well with an air fryer size of between 4 and 5 quarts.
This Ninja 4 quart Air Fryer is a very good choice for a family of three. If your family of 3 cooks large meals, it’s a good idea to size up to an air fryer that is over 5 quarts.
A 5.8 Quart air fryer or larger is a good size for a family of four with young children. I recommend going larger if you have teenagers or kids that are big eaters.
This size is the most frequently bought, so there are lots of options for you to choose from. Take a look at these popular models.
Here are some of my favorite 5.8-quart air fryers. Keep reading for larger options.
Cosori Air Fryer Max XL – 5.8 Quarts
Ultrean Air Fryer – 5.8 Quarts
GoWise 8-in-1 Digital Air Fryer – 5.8 Quarts
WHAT SIZE AIR FRYER DO I NEED FOR A FAMILY OF 6
For a family of 5 or more, you’ll want to buy as big of an air fryer as you can for your counter space. Even a 6 quart may be a little too small for 6 people, especially if you want to make main dinner dishes in the air fryer (trust me, you will).
Here are a few of my favorite larger air fryers:
Nuwave Brio – 15.5 Quarts
Instant Vortex – 10 Quarts
Ninja Foodi – can fit a 13″ pizza
WHAT SIZE AIR FRYERS ARE AVAILABLE
The most common size air fryers range from 3.7 quarts to 5.8 quarts, but they can also be as small as under 2.0 quarts and as large as 12 quarts, and even bigger.
I recommend choosing a larger model from the get-go. I can’t tell you how many people will buy smaller, realize how amazing an air fryer is, then decide to upgrade within a year!
Take a look at my article on the Best Large Air Fryers for some excellent tips and information when shopping for a bigger model air fryer and my Best Small Air Fryers post for those looking for something smaller and more cost-efficient.
What size air fryer should I get for my family?
You’ll have a lot of different questions about the size air fryer that you’re looking for and the factors I mentioned above will help you narrow down your choices. Let’s go over them again:
Capacity – This is probably the most important factor to consider with regards to the size air fryer you need. The number of people you’re cooking for can influence your decision here, so go over what type of foods are on your menu and also how often they are consumed to help prioritize which size model is best for your household.
What’s the largest air fryer you can purchase?
The largest air fryer that is commercially available right now is the Cosori Air Fryer Max XL. It’s gigantic. It holds a whopping 15.5 quarts of food and has a digital readout with 10 cooking options! You will be able to cook everything from frozen meals to large breasts of chicken. This is probably plenty big enough to feed a family of 4 or even 6 people when they are eating a lot at once, but there’s probably not much need for it if your family normally eats relatively small amounts of food at once.
What’s the smallest air fryer you can purchase?
The smallest air fryer available right now that is certified by Consumer Reports is the Instant Vortex. It holds barely over 1 quart of food, which is probably similar to what most people buy for themselves anyway. The main benefit of this model is that it only has touch controls, so you don’t have to worry about learning how to use a digital display control panel. In my opinion, the touch controls are much more reliable than a digital screen and makes it easier on you since it’s less complicated to use.
Is an air fryer really worth it?
The answer is YES! They are so much better than using your oven or stove top. You don’t have to use excessive amounts of oil, and it will save you money by not having to buy those pricey bags of mixed frozen vegetables or other frozen foods. You can also be rest assured that you’re cooking your food safely, as the use of any oil in an air fryer is purely for flavor!
What are the best large capacity air fryers?
There are lots of different large capacity air fryers available, so it’s hard to say whether one is better than another. It all depends on your needs. If you have a family with a lot of people having different dietary requirements, the size of your family, how often you cook, and how big the meals will be are all factors that may influence the decision.
The bottom line is that you get to decide which air fryer size will fit your family cooking needs the best. Pay attention to the things you like to cook and the number of people in your family. Also important is your available kitchen space and budget. Please check out my air fryer articles and recipes and please let me know if you found this article useful. Happy cooking!