Air fryers are highly versatile appliances allowing you to replicate the crunch and texture of deep-fried food with only a tiny amount of cooking oil.
The good news is that buying an air fryer isn’t particularly tough. These appliances are pretty straightforward so you should start your decision focusing on sizing.
Now, you’ll need to strike a delicate balance with air fryers. You want enough capacity to cook for the whole family in a single session. Beyond this, you’ll need to make sure that the overall dimensions fit with your kitchen.
We’ll kick off by breaking down these multipurpose gems by size category so you can get an idea for what would work best for you.
Air Fryers: Size Divisions
There’s no right or wrong answer to sizing, simply what makes the smoothest fit for you.
Air fryers can be broadly categorized by size:
- Small Air Fryers
- Medium Air Fryers
- Large Air Fryers
Small Air Fryers
Small air fryers have a capacity of anywhere from 1 quart to 3 quarts.
At the lower end of this threshold, 1 to 2-quart air fryers are the ideal choice for singles. If you’re cooking dinner, you could accommodate a chicken breast on one side and some fries or potatoes on the other. When it’s time for snacks, you can make light bites for 2 in one of these dinky small air fryers.
Still categorized as small but better suited for singles who cook more, 3-quart air fryers are still compact enough to slot into a small kitchen so make a great bet for apartment dwellers. With this size air fryer, expect to fit in perhaps a half-dozen chicken wings. You could also use a 3-quart unit for couples although you might be better placed with a medium fryer instead.
Medium Air Fryers
When you step up to medium-sized air fryers – we’re talking 3 quarts to 6 quarts – you’ll get a much more substantial and versatile appliance.
Usually, as you ramp up the size, you’ll also find more cooking methods featured giving you even greater choice.
Mid-sized air fryers are an effective choice if you have a family of 3 or 4.
While medium air fryers won’t give you quite enough room to roast a whole chicken, you’ll still have space if you chop it down slightly.
The 3-quart to 5-quart sweetspot is probably the most popular air fryer sizing. This allows you to cook for 3 to 5 people whether you’re rustling up dinner or snacks. With an air fryer like this, you’ll be able to cook more than one item at the same time.
At the upper end of this category, you’ll find air fryers with 5-quart to 6-quart capacities. This gives you ample interior space to cater for a family of 5. Once you start hitting appliances in this size range, you can expect a much deeper assortment of accessories to complement those multiple cooking methods beyond simple air frying.
Large Air Fryers
When air fryers hit 6-quart capacity and above, they are labeled large and come with some advantages and drawbacks brought about by this size.
Some of these beasts can accommodate a pair of pans and as many as 3 grill racks.
In the 6-quart to 10-quart range, you’ll easily slide in an entire chicken or turkey. Baked goods respond well to larger air fryers as you’ll have ample opportunity to spread the ingredients out across the tray.
The largest air fryers are ideal for large gatherings and parties. These can boast capacities of up to 16 quarts.
What’s a Quart?
If you’ve been asking yourself what a quart relates to, it’s roughly 1 liter (0.94L in the US and 1.13L in the UK).
Some manufacturers quote capacity in liters while most use quarts.
One rogue exception is Philips who sometimes quote the sizes of air fryers in pounds.
So you can see at a glance which sizings work best for different families, here’s a quick summary:
- 1 person: 1 to 2 quarts
- 2 people: 2 to 3 quarts
- 3 people: 3 to 5 quarts
- 4 people: 5 to 6 quarts
- 5+ people: 6 quarts and above
Does Size Matter with Air Fryers?
Having laid bare all the various sizes you can expect to find when you’re shopping air fryers, should you simply buy the biggest unit you can afford?
If you have the space to house a hulking air fryer, you’ll get more versatility, more attachments, and much more power with a spacious 5 or 6-quart cooker. The other significant advantage of going large is the way you’ll be able to layer food. This streamlines cooking and saves you a great deal of time without impacting the consistency of cooking.
Think about who you typically cook for day-to-day and whether or not you often have guests over. If you only invite people over once a year at Christmas, this doesn’t justify basing your decision on. If, however, you’re a frequent entertainer, buy accordingly.
Measure up the countertop where you plan to put your air fryer and check for sizing as well as capacity before committing to purchase.
Get the sizing right and you’ll have a healthy and flexible addition to the kitchen.
Well, you should now be clear on what to expect from each size of air fryer up for grabs. To reiterate, you should make certain you’ve got enough space inside to cook all your favorite foods. If you sell yourself short here, you’ll end up neglecting your new appliance. Don’t go over the top, though. The last thing you want is a kitchen counter overcrowded with equipment.
So, take your time before committing to purchase and there’s no reason not to get an air fryer that will return years of faithful service.
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