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Which Ninja air fryer is the best?

Ninja is part of the innovative line of brands that were developed by SharkNinja Operating LLC. The company’s goal is to offer highly functional products that fit the busy lifestyle of today’s homeowners and renters. While Ninja currently only manufactures three items specifically designated as air fryers, the company has a few other multipurpose appliances that include air frying settings.

The best Ninja air fryer is the one that fits your budget and your needs. For example, if you have a big family that loves the healthier cooking method offered by an air fryer, a 4-quart model probably won’t be large enough, but a 6.5-quart model will work just fine.

What to know about air fryers

How does an air fryer work?

While the name seems to suggest otherwise, an air fryer functions more like a convection oven than a deep fryer. As it heats up, hot air is moved about by a fan so it circulates around the food inside the device, cooking it evenly and crisping the outside.

This heating results in a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction, which changes the tastes and texture of food, making it more desirable to most people. When you toast bread, this is an example of the Maillard reaction. As a result, an air fryer offers homeowners a quick, convenient and healthier option than deep frying.

Are air fryers safe?

What is considered healthy today may be considered harmful as science learns more about the topic in the future. Alternatively, some things that are currently deemed unhealthy may one day be considered safe again — consider the everchanging view on eggs as evidence of this. Since an air fryer uses little to no oil, it is a better cooking solution than eating soggy food that has been immersed in a deep fryer.

However, more and more studies are examining the health risks of cooking foods — particularly plants — by methods such as frying, roasting or baking since those methods create a substance known as acrylamide, which may be harmful to humans. While the FDA states, “it’s not clear exactly what risk acrylamide poses to humans,” it does offer guidance on how to reduce exposure to acrylamide from foods that are prepared at home.

What can you make in an air fryer?

When most people think about what can be cooked in an air fryer, they gravitate towards french fries and chicken fingers. However, anything from desserts to vegetables can be cooked in an air fryer.

Because of this, rather than listing what can be cooked in an air fryer, it’s easier to point out the types of foods that may be problematic. For instance, any foods with wet batters or items that melt, such as cheese, can be troublesome when cooking in an air fryer, but most anything else is good.

How much do Ninja air fryers cost?

While there are outliers, as a general guide, you can find Ninja air fryers for roughly between $100-$200.

Five best Ninja air fryers

Dedicated air fryers

The following three models comprise Ninja’s current line of air fryers. They range from a small 4-quart model, which is best for up to two or three individuals, to an 8-quart model that is suitable for the whole family.

Ninja AF101 Air Fryer

Ninja AF101 Air Fryer

This is a 4-quart air fryer that is perfect for two to three individuals. It features a ceramic-coated, nonstick basket and crisper plate. With a temperature range of 105°F to 400°F, this appliance allows you to cook, crisp or dehydrate your favorite foods. 

Sold by Amazon, Home Depot, Kohl’s and Macy’s

Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer

Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer

This larger 5.5-quart air fryer is suitable for the average size family. It is capable of heating up to 450°F and comes with a crisper plate that can fit up to three pounds of french fries. The range of functions on this model includes max crisp, air fry, air roast, air broil, bake, reheat and dehydrate. 

Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s and Macy’s

Ninja DZ201 Foodi 6-in-1 2-Basket Air Fryer

Ninja DZ201 Foodi 6-in-1 2-Basket Air Fryer

If you want the biggest and best that Ninja has to offer, this dual-zone, 8-quart air fryer has two independent baskets that allow you to cook two different foods, two different ways, at the same time. However, if you’d like to use all 8 quarts for the same food, you can use the match setting to do that as well. The unit has six programs that can be customized to your needs: air fry, air broil, roast, bake, reheat and dehydrate. 

Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s and Macy’s

Other Ninja models to  consider

While these appliances aren’t dedicated air fryers, they do include an air fry feature, making them a versatile option for an individual who is looking for an all-in-one type cooking device.

Ninja FD302 Foodi 11-in-1 Pro Pressure Cooker plus Air Fryer

Ninja FD302 Foodi 11-in-1 Pro Pressure Cooker plus Air Fryer

This offering from Ninja combines pressure cooking with air frying to give the user an extensive range of cooking options. There are 11 programmable cooking methods to choose from, including steam, slow cook, sous vide, air fry, bake, sauté, broil, dehydrate and more. The nonstick pot can fit enough food for large groups. It operates at the touch of a button and purchase includes a nesting broil rack and a crisp plate. 

Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s and Macy’s

Ninja SP101 Foodi Countertop Convection Oven

Ninja SP101 Foodi Countertop Convection Oven

If you are looking for an air fryer that is more along the lines of a countertop oven, this offering from Ninja might be a better fit for you. This 1800-watt appliance offers the ability to air fry, air roast, air broil, dehydrate, keep warm and more. When not in use, it can be flipped on its side for storage to save counter space. This oven has a 60-second preheat and comes with a dishwasher-safe sheet pan, a dishwasher-safe air fry basket and a removable crumb tray.

Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s and Wayfair


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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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