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Deep-fried food may be tasty, but these meals are greasy, messy, and extremely unhealthy, especially when you’re eating them regularly. To get the same flavor without the use of all that oil, many people are switching to an air fryer. These allow you to create delicious meals that are crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Though they can be expensive, there are numerous options available for less than $100 to help you save money while making numerous healthy food options.
If you’re in the market for the best air fryer under $100, there are a few features you may want to consider. To help, we spent numerous hours researching manufacturers and their products, checking out the features each one has to offer and reading countless customer reviews. First we looked at the capacity as this tells you just how much food you can cook in it at once. An adjustable temperature range is also great since it allows you to cook a wider variety of foods. The dimensions of the machine tell you how big the unit is and how much space it will take up on your counter, which is especially important for those with limited space in their kitchens.
More features: 4 programmable cooking functions; nonstick coating
If you want the best-rated air fryer under $100, the Ninja AF101 may be the best small digital air fryer under $100 there is. It has a ton of great features that excel in pretty much every way, giving you those tasty, crispy dishes without adding all the fat.
This air fryer includes a four-quart basket that can hold up to two pounds of French fries, two pieces of chicken, or a bunch of wings. This basket is ceramic-coated to keep all of those foods from sticking, too, for less of a mess when it’s time to clean up. There is a crisper plate in the basket that increases the airflow around the food, so it cooks quickly and evenly every time.
You can choose one of four functions when it comes to cooking with this air fryer, including air frying, roasting, reheating, or dehydrating. This allows you to cook what you want and how you want, to get the perfect meal. There is even a multi-layer shelf for dehydrating, so you can increase how much food you can do in each batch.
The control panel is all one-touch, with one button for each cooking function. The temperature and timer are controlled with simple arrow buttons as well, so you can set it exactly how you need it.
Since cleanup is the worst part of cooking, the Ninja makes this extra easy. The basket, crisper plate, and multi-layer rack are all dishwasher safe for quick cleanup after your meal.
More features: includes 50+ recipe book; 2 cooking racks
There are a few reasons that the Big Boss Oil-less Air Fryer is one of the best air fryer models under $100 on Amazon. It allows you to do more than just fry your food, you can also bake, grill, and roast as well. If you add a bit more time to your cooking, you can even dehydrate some fruit for a tasty trail mix, making this one of the most versatile models around.
This model has 1300 watts of power and uses triple cooking power. The halogen heats the food’s surface while the convection circulates the air for even heat distribution. The infrared heat gently cooks your meals from the inside out, which helps to seal in the moisture.
The controls on this air fryer are easy to use. On the top of the unit are two dials, one for the temperature and the other for the timer. There is an auto shut-off that turns off the heat when the timer goes off. Two indicator lights also show you that the power and the heat are on. For added convenience, there are also a few directions for specific foods next to the dials.
Though a bit heavy, the glass bowl is sturdy and large enough to cook a decent-sized meal. It includes an extender ring for cooking larger foods, a shelf set that lets you cook two different foods at the same time, and a cookbook with over 50 recipes to help get you started.
More features: cool-touch handle; dual convection fan
Despite its low, budget-friendly price, the BLACK+DECKER HF110SBD is a high-quality air fryer that makes some delicious meals. It uses dual convection fans to circulate the air around your food, giving it a crispy outside and a moist inside.
The basket has a two-liter capacity, giving you enough room for a couple of potatoes, two chicken breasts, about eight chicken wings, or a decent batch of fries. There is also a basket separator that splits the cooking area in the basket, giving you the space to cook two foods at the same time. These two pieces are also non-stick and dishwasher safe.
There are two dials, one for the variable temperature control that ranges from 175-400 degrees Fahrenheit, and the other for the 60-minute timer. The timer has an auto shut-off feature as well to prevent burnt meals. The numbers on these dials are a bit small though, making them hard to read.
Indicator lights tell you when your air fryer is turned on and when the unit has pre-heated to the desired cooking temperature. The handle stays cool, so you don’t need to use any oven mitts when pulling out the basket.
Another great feature this model has is its sleek design, It comes in black, with silver on the top and the handle, so it should fit into any modern kitchen. The smooth surface is also easy to wipe down when your meal is finished.
More features: 7 functions; whisper-quiet operation
If you want the best air fryer oven under $100, the Cuisinart AFR-25 may be the one you’re looking for. This model has a unique look, similar to a toaster oven, but uses a motor fan and heater combination that is specifically designed to give you more airflow and high heat. This provides you with excellent results, though your meals may cook faster than expected, requiring you to keep a close eye until you’ve mastered the use of this unit.
Though its compact design lets you squeeze this air fryer under a cabinet or in the corner of your counter, it still has a decent capacity. It can cook a 12-inch pizza, over a dozen wings, or even toast up to six slices of bread at the same time. This means you can feed a couple of people with each batch you cook.
Another great feature is the fact that this unit allows you to use seven different features, letting you air fry, toast, warm, convection bake, convection broil, bake, and broil, all with one handy appliance.
The interior is non-stick, and the exterior is stainless steel, so it is simple to clean the entire unit when you’re done the cooking. It comes with an air fry basket and a baking pan/drip tray. The slim opening does make it tricky to remove these items, so be extra careful.
For the controls, there are dials for the 60-minute timer and the temperature, which goes from warm to an incredibly high 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Why did it make our list?
Flat cooking basket
What is not ideal about it?
Cooks faster than expected (needs to be monitored)
More features: 30-minute auto shut-off timer; dishwasher safe parts
Those who have limited space may not have the room for a large air fryer on their counter. The solution may be the Dash Compact Air Fryer, which is a smaller unit than most of the models out there. This also means it makes smaller batches in its 1.3-quart basket, but for singles or couples who have yet to have kids, this is a great option.
The Dash air fryer comes in five great colors, so you can pick the one you like best to match the rest of your kitchen. This model is also lightweight, making it more portable than the average air fryer, so you can take it with you in your RV or camper, or send it with along a teenager going off to college.
This model is easy to use, with two simple dials for the controls. The temperature dial is on the top of the unit, while the timer is on the front above the basket handle. The numbers on these dials are a bit small, though, so they may be hard to read for some people.
On the top, there are two indicator lights, one for the power and the other for the heat. When the timer runs out, an auto-shutoff turns the heat off, so you don’t need to worry about overcooking your meals.
Other great features include the dishwasher safe non-stick basket and the cookbook with over 15 recipes to help get you started.
More features: ready indicator light; 60-minute timer dial
The BELLA 14538 uses 1500-watt convection technology, which circulates the heat throughout the oven area. This cooks everything inside quickly and evenly without the use of those fattening oils. Not only does this ensure healthy meals, but they will also taste fantastic.
This unit has two indicator lights on the top, one for the power and one for the heat. There is also a dial for the temperature, which allows you to adjust it as needed from 175 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This gives you the exact temperature needed for pretty much any meal you want to cook.
There is a timer dial as well, so you can cook what you want for as long as it needs. When the time is up, the auto-shutoff turns off the heat and the indicator light mentioned above.
The baking tray slides in at the front, with a large handle on it for easy maneuvering when it’s full of food. The baking tray inside has a non-stick coating to keep your food from sticking while it cooks. It is also dishwasher safe so that you can clean it up quickly and easily after each meal.
The basket capacity is 2.6 quarts, which is great for smaller meals for only one or two people. For more people than that, you may need to make a few batches to be able to feed everyone. It runs a bit loud, too, though it’s not overly distracting.
What do we love it for?
Dishwasher safe basket
What were we disappointed with?
Only cooks small batches
Things to Consider
If you want to eat delicious foods without the guilt of all the fat that comes from deep-frying in oil, an air fryer may be exactly what you need. Not only are the air fryers we’ve reviewed here great models that make a variety of tasty meals for you and your family, but they are also all budget-friendly, with prices under $100. To help make the decision on which one to buy even easier, check out the following sections, which tell you everything you need to look for in a decent air fryer.
Why cooking with an air fryer is healthier
A deep fryer can give your food a crispy outside and moist, tender inside, but everything you cook comes out drenched in oil. This adds a lot of unnecessary fat to your foods and your diet. Though this isn’t too harmful once in a while, it can cause a lot of health issues if you’re eating this way every day.
That’s where an air fryer is different. These cookers use circulated air to cook your meals, giving it that same crispness on the outside and locking in the juices on the inside. It tastes quite similar to the deep-fried foods, but you need little to no oil to get these results. This helps to keep your caloric-intake low since the food you’re eating is much healthier. This also reduces cholesterol and lowers the fat in your diet. Not only does this make it easier to eat healthy, but you also don’t have the guilt of munching on greasy fries, onion rings, and wings. You can eat those foods all you want when you’ve cooked them in an air fryer.
Features to consider while choosing an air fryer
If you’re in the market for an air fryer that has a great low price, you don’t need to sacrifice the quality. The following features are still available on these cheaper models, making them well worth the price.
The capacity of an air fryer refers to how much food it can hold while still cooking everything quickly and evenly. This can vary, from low-capacity models like the Dash Compact Air Fryer to the 18 quarts offered by the Cuisinart AFR-25. The larger the capacity, the more food you can add to the basket for each batch.
This is especially important if you’re feeding a bunch of people.
Smaller batch models are fine for one or two, but if you’re cooking for a family of four, it may take much longer to feed everyone than you anticipated. For bigger families, you’ll want a larger model that can handle enough food for everyone.
Another thing to consider is how full you’re filling the basket. Just because it has a large capacity, it doesn’t mean you can pack it full. The air needs to circulate to cook everything, so the more packed the food is, the more often you’ll need to pull out the basket and mix everything around. If you don’t, you’re going to end up with food on the outer edges of the basket that is burned while what’s on the inside will still be cold.
An air fryer can range from about 1,000 watts, like the Dash Compact Air Fryer, to around 2,100 watts. When it comes to choosing wattage, there are a few things to consider. First of all, the higher the wattage on your air fryer, the faster it will be able to heat up and the easier it is for the unit to maintain its temperature. This means your meals can be cooked quickly.
The higher wattage models also tend to have higher temperature ranges, reaching up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit. The lower wattage units tend to hit about 350-400 degrees. This is still pretty hot, but some foods cook better at higher temperatures, so you’ll need to add to your cooking time to account for the lower temperature or avoid those foods altogether.
Another thing to consider with higher wattage air fryers is that the faster heating and shorter cooking times makes them more energy-efficient than the lower wattage models. So, they can save you some money on your heating bill as well as some time in the kitchen.
The wider the temperature range is on your air fryer, the more versatile it is when it comes to cooking. For instance, the Ninja AF101 has a range of 105-400 degrees Fahrenheit. The lower temperatures are great for dehydrating food for banana chips or jerky. The higher temperatures are better for meats and French fries. The middle ground is best for veggies. This lets you cook a wide range of meals all in one unit.
Some foods do require a higher heat level than this, though, so a model like the Big Boss Oil-less Air Fryer, which heats up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit, may be a good option for those looking for a bit more heat.
Nobody has time to stand around the kitchen, watching their meals cook. That’s why a timer on your air fryer is a must. These allow you to set the amount of time you want the meal to cook and then walk away. The timer runs down and then the auto shut-off kicks in when the time is up, turning off the heat, so your food stops cooking.
On a regular manual model that uses dials for the timer, like the BLACK+DECKER HF110SBD, there is usually a set range of up to 60 minutes, though some models only go up to 30 minutes. The digital models allow you to set the timer as you see fit, depending on the meal you’re making.
Another thing to consider when using the timers is that they don’t account for the time needed to flip the foods in the middle of the cooking cycle. So, you may want to set it for half the time, turn the food when it goes off, then set it to cook for the other half of the cooking time. This will ensure your food is cooked nice and even.
The dimensions of the best air fryer under $100 will tell you how much room the unit will take up on your counter. This is quite important, especially for those who plan on leaving it in a specific spot at all times. The more you use it, the more likely it is that it will stay in its designated spot on your counter, so it needs to fit well in that space without sacrificing your other appliances or your cooking space.
Some air fryers are taller than others, like the Big Boss Oil-less Air Fryer, which is 16 inches high. It also has its controls on the top of the unit, making it tough to fit it under most cupboards, so you’ll need to take this into account when choosing the place it will stay.
There are compact models available, though, which are a bit smaller in their height, as well as their width, so they will likely fit more easily between your other appliances.
Warranty is always one of the most important features to look at in any product, and an air fryer is no exception. Though the cheaper models under $100 don’t have all the bells and whistles of a more expensive air fryer, they still need to work properly for as long as possible. If not, you don’t want to be stuck paying any costly repairs for issues you didn’t cause.
Most of the air fryers on our list have either a one- or two-year limited warranty. This is pretty good, assuming the issues show up right away. If something breaks down after this time, though, you’re going to need to foot the bill for fixing the problem.
That’s why a longer warranty, like the three-year limited warranty on the Cuisinart AFR-25, will give you a bit more time to really try out your machine and work out the kinks. Of course, these warranties usually only cover defects with the parts or the workmanship, so don’t expect to be covered if you’re misusing your air fryer.
Most customers are usually just looking for an air fryer but some models come with convenient extra functions. These allow you to do more than just air fry using your machine. Some of them have low temperatures for dehydrating. Others allow you to bake, roast, broil, or even reheat your leftovers, all in the same unit.
A non-stick coating is also a great extra feature to have. Not only does this help your food stay intact during the cooking process, but it also makes cleanup much simpler when the meal is over. For non-stick areas, check the basket as well as any extras, like separators for cooking more than one food at once. All of these pieces should have the same non-stick coating on them.
Handwashing the cooking pieces in your air fryer can be a hassle, so if you want to save some time on cleanup, look for an air fryer with dishwasher safe parts, like the basket and the inside food shelves. The outside of the unit should also be easy to clean using nothing more than a damp cloth.
Indicator lights are also a must, to tell you when the power is on or when the air fryer has preheated and is ready to start cooking.
How to clean an air fryer
To keep your air fryer working its best and creating those tasty treats for as long as possible, you need to keep it clean. Here’s how to do it:
Unplug the air fryer and let it cool down.
Wipe down the outside of the air fryer with a damp cloth.
Wipe down the inside using hot water and a non-abrasive sponge, including the heating element.
For any hard residue stuck on the unit, scrub gently with a soft brush and a paste of baking soda and water, then wipe with a soft cloth.
If the basket and pan are dishwasher safe, place them in the dishwasher and run it on a normal cycle, otherwise, wash them by hand in warm soapy water.
Dry all of the parts thoroughly and then put them back together.
Though air fryers and convection ovens both include a fan to blow the hot air around, an air fryer circulates the air much faster inside a smaller chamber. This speeds up the cooking process, so your meals are cooked much faster. They also use a basket for more even circulation around the bottom of the foods being cooked. Air fryers also cook smaller batches, so if you’re only cooking for one or two people, it may be a good option rather than turning on a large convection oven.
Some models have a plastic odor when you first purchase them, which can alter the taste of your food. To get rid of this, you need to wash the components with warm soapy water, rinse out the inside, and then wipe it all down with a paper towel. Then reassemble it and run it for a few minutes on high heat. When cooking, there should be only a slight odor from the food you’re using, though it isn’t the greasy odor that you would get from deep-frying, and is easily dispersed with an open window or a kitchen fan.
Air fryers are much more energy-efficient than a regular oven for a few reasons. First of all, they have a much smaller capacity, so it takes only a fraction of the time to preheat it. The airflow system also allows it to speed up the cooking time, so it doesn’t have to run as long to cook the same meal. A regular oven cycles the heat on and off to maintain the temperature while the air fryer has it on all the time, but the other factors still keep the energy usage down, so an air fryer will use less electricity than an oven every time.
There are a wide variety of air fryers on the market, all of which use the same air circulation technology to cook your food quickly and evenly, without the grease. Many of them also have low price tags to make them even more convenient. Though all of the models we’ve reviewed are great air fryers, a few rise above the rest.
Our top choice is the Ninja AF101, which has a four-quart capacity and a wide temperature range. It has four functions, includes a crisper plate and a multi-layer shelf, and easy to use one-touch controls. The components are all dishwasher safe for added convenience.
The Big Boss Oil-less Air Fryer is also a good option. It has multiple functions and triple cooking power, including halogen, convection, and infrared. The translucent bowl, easy to use controls, two cooking racks, and the included recipe book are also great features.
The BLACK+DECKER HF110SBD is our Budget Pick. As well as a great low price, this one features dual convection fans, a cool-touch handle, simple controls, a basket separator for cooking two foods at once, and dishwasher safe components.