The best air fryer for two people
Anybody who loves delicious fried foods like French fries, chicken tenders and onion rings knows how unhealthy those greasy treats can be. With an air fryer, you can enjoy those fried classics with little to no oil, so you can eat them with a little less guilt. An air fryer is also pretty versatile, though, allowing you to bake, roast and more. If you only cook for two people, you don’t want to buy an air fryer that’s too large for your needs, but you still want to make sure you get all the features you need.
Our buying guide has plenty of tips to help you choose the best air fryer for two people. Our top pick from Ninja is a larger-end model for small families, but it has a slim design that can fit in nearly any kitchen.
What to know before you buy an air fryer for two people
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a countertop appliance that uses convection technology to circulate hot air around food as it cooks. That helps cut down on cooking times and creates a crispy exterior similar to the results you’d get from deep frying — but without all the oil.
You can prepare more than fried foods in an air fryer, though. Because it’s essentially a mini convection oven, you can also bake and roast in an air fryer, so you can make chicken breasts, pork chops, steak, fish fillets and even cookies.
An air fryer is a highly versatile appliance that’s perfect for a small family. A wide range of models can work for two people, but you’ll want to shop around to find an air fryer with all the features you need.
When you’re only cooking for two people, most air fryer models can handle enough food. That means you can find compact options that fit in a small kitchen.
Air fryer capacity is typically measured in quarts. The smallest models generally hold one to two quarts, which is best for single people or preparing snacks. For a family of two, a three-quart air fryer generally provides enough capacity.
However, if you like to prepare large batches of food to provide meals for the entire week or you entertain regularly, you may want a larger air fryer for more versatility. A four-quart air fryer can usually serve three people, while a five- or six-quart model is large enough for four people.
An air fryer is generally a much safer appliance than a deep fryer. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye out for important safety features, though. Make sure any model you consider has overheat protection and an auto-shutoff feature to prevent the appliance from getting too hot.
You can also find some air fryers with a stay-cool handle to prevent accidental burns and a lock for the cooking compartment to keep it from opening during operation.
Air fryer for two people features
Lower-end air fryers for two people usually feature simple dial controls that you turn to select the temperature and cooking time. If you opt for a higher-end model, you’ll usually find more precise controls that allow you to choose a specific temperature rather than a general low or high heat setting. They often have presets that determine the best temperature and cooking time for certain foods, such as a setting for French fries or pizza.
The controls themselves on higher-end air fryers are usually digital, too, so you only have to press a button to choose your setting. They often have a display screen that indicates the current temperature, timer and preset settings, so you can see the air fryer’s progress at a glance.
All air fryers allow you to “air fry,” so you can get a crispy exterior for foods like French fries and chicken tenders. You can also bake and reheat food in all air fryer models. However, some air fryers offer other cooking functions.
You can find models with a temperature range that goes as low as 120 degrees, so they can also dehydrate foods. Most air fryers for two people aren’t large enough to hold a whole chicken, so they don’t offer a rotisserie function. Some midsize options may have a rotisserie function for individual meat pieces or kabobs.
Cleaning an air fryer is much easier if it features dishwasher-safe components. It can be a convenient feature if you want to limit the mess that you generate in your kitchen.
Even if you’re looking for a compact air fryer for two people, you can find models that come with accessories for greater versatility. Some air fryers include a metal basket for air frying, a baking tray, toaster rack, fry liners, tongs, oil brush and silicone mitts to make cooking in the air fryer even easier.
Air fryer for two people cost
You’ll usually pay between $40 and $60 for a basic two- to three-quart air fryer that can accommodate two people. If you want more features like digital controls and accessories and/or a slightly larger model, expect to spend between $60 and $100.
Air fryer for two people FAQ
Why should I buy an air fryer?
A. An air fryer is a versatile appliance that can perform multiple functions, such as air frying, baking and roasting, so it can save space in your kitchen. It also lets you enjoy your favorite fried foods without much oil.
Will I sacrifice on performance with a smaller air fryer?
A. An air fryer that’s sized for two people works the same way that a large-capacity model does, so you won’t notice any performance differences. If you purchase a smaller model, it may use less energy because it isn’t as large. Clean-up is usually easier too.
Which air fryer for two people should I get?
Best of the best air fryer for two people
Ninja Air Fryer 4-Quart Basket: available at Amazon
Our take: A slightly larger air fryer for two people, this model comes from a trusted appliance brand and features user-friendly digital controls that make operation a breeze.
What we like: Food cooks quickly and always comes out crispy. Interior is easy to clean. Can handle nearly any tasks you would typically do in the oven. Has dishwasher-safe components.
What we dislike: Doesn’t automatically turn off when the fryer basket is removed.
Best bang for your buck air fryer for two people
Dash Compact Air Fryer: available at Amazon
Our take: An extremely compact air fryer that’s ideal for one or two people. Compact enough to leave out on the counter too.
What we like: Offers extremely easy operation and clean up. Comes in multiple colors. Basket handle and casing stay cool to the touch.
What we dislike: Have to shake the contents of the fryer basket periodically to ensure even cooking.
Honorable mention air fryer for two people
Gourmia GAF228 2.2-Quart Digital Air Fryer: available at Amazon
Our take: An excellent air fryer for couples that saves you from having to wait for a traditional oven to preheat.
What we like: Boasts a 2.2-qt. capacity. LCD touchscreen controls make it incredibly user-friendly. Food cooks up quickly and crisply. Doesn’t require any oil.
What we dislike: Some users report the fryer can shut down during cooking.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.