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Best air fryers for Canadians in 2021: Fried food made healthy

This article was created by Sustainable Planet and may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

We all love deep-fried food. It’s crunchy, greasy, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. But it’s also pretty unhealthy, and that means we can’t enjoy it nearly as much as we’d like. But as is often the case, there’s a compromise to be had! An air fryer offers the same delicious crunchy, crispy exterior and melty interior without all the fat and oil we associate with frying foods. For all the yummy goodness without the fatty badness, choose one of the best air fryers in Canada for your next French Fry or fried chicken cravings.

Why Trust Us?

We dedicated hours of research into narrowing down and choosing the best air fryers in the Canadian market. We analyzed each product based on ease of use, versatility, effectiveness, design, and overall quality to ensure we chose well-rounded, feature-rich air fryers with high scores all across the board.

Our Top Air Fryer Picks

Best Overall: Cosori Air Fryer

The Cosori air fryer is a highly effective and versatile appliance. With only 1-Tbsp oil requirement for an entire recipe, your whole family will enjoy fried foods without the guilt. The fryer comes with a whopping 11 presets for all of your cooking tasks: chicken, shrimp, seafood, steak, frozen foods, french fries, bread, desserts, root vegetables, vegetables, bacon, and preheat bread. The high 5.8-quart capacity offers the freedom to cook a meal for 3-5 family members without lifting a finger, and the included Cosori recipe book contains over 100 recipes so you’ll never have to wonder what to make for dinner ever again. As an added bonus, you can simply put the basket and your cooking utensils in the dishwasher for simple, painless cleanup after your meal.

With a temperature range of 170-400 degrees F, you have the versatility for any meal in any span of time. Plus, the one-hour long timer will let you take a short nap and relax without the sudden panic that your food is burning. This appliance comes with a few extra features that make it one of the most helpful cooking gadgets on the market. A shake reminder lets you know when it’s time to redistribute your food inside the air fryer for even exposure to the circulating air. A keep warm function keeps your food hot and ready to be served in case of delays getting kids or spouses to the dinner table. An automatic shutoff function keeps you safe and the machine running efficiently at all times. All in all, there is nothing lacking in this Cosori air fryer.

What Sets the Cosori Air Fryer Apart?

Cosori’s one-touch digital display is one of the most user-friendly on the market. It has individual buttons for each of its cook settings and has a large back-lit display for the timer and temperature settings. The buttons are one-touch for quick settings changes and the entire display is well spaced with clear images for the various cook programs. The display is also angled for optimal viewing from above, reducing the usual glare we struggle with on flat-faced displays.

The shake reminder is another feature that not all air fryers have. The reminder will sound an audible alert to remind you that your food needs to be flipped, rotated, and evenly redistributed so that it cooks evenly on all sides. Since we’re often multi-tasking in the kitchen, this reminder can be the difference between a delicious meal and an emergency trip to McDonald’s.

Overall, the Cosori air fryer is one of the easiest air fryers to use. For the price, it is leaps and bounds ahead of most other air fryers on the market. The basket slides smoothly, has a large capacity, is efficient, and is so user-friendly that even total novices can make a great meal their first time.

What Could be Improved On?

Though not a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, the Cosori air fryer has a single large basket that doesn’t allow for cooking multiple foods at once. While you can theoretically layer foods using another metal insert, some other air fryers have two baskets or dual-sided baskets for cooking two different foods at the same time, often with separate cook settings as well. The Cosori air fryer also cooks with a touch more fat than other air fryers that have advanced fat drainage systems in place to prevent the grease from your food upping the fat content during cooking. Though typical with air fryers, it is a bit of a pain that redistribution of food halfway through cooking is necessary. Since some other air fryers are designed with improved air circulation technology to not require flipping or rotating, it would be a great next step for the Cosori air fryer.

Performance of the Cosori Air Fryer

When looking at air fryers, the capacity, cook functions, and cook programs are the most important features to consider. Let’s take a look at how the Cosori air fryer measures up:

Capacity

In terms of cooking capacity, the Cosori air fryer is competitive. 5.8 quarts is enough for family-sized meals. Since the maximum capacity in air fryers is typically around 8-10 quarts, the Cosori is above average. The 5.8-quart basket can fit a 6lb whole chicken, a large bag of fries, or up to 5 servings of any other type of food you are craving.

Cook Functions

Unfortunately, the Cosori air fryer only has one function: air fry. This single-function design does hurt the versatility of this Cosori model and we would’ve liked to see one or two other simple cook functions such as a roast, bake, or re-heat.

Cook Programs

The Cosori air fryer is one of the most advanced air fryers when we look at cook programs. With 11 settings for all types of foods, fresh or frozen, the Cosori air fryer can handle just about any food you throw its way. It would definitely be a challenge to think of a food that isn’t covered by Cosori’s versatile cook programs.

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Best Value: Instant Vortex 4-in-1 Air Fryer

The Instant Vortex 4-in-1 air fryer is brought to you by Instant Pot and has the versatility of the brand we all know and love. This large 6-quart air fryer can also bake, roast, and reheat your food for additional convenience. The smart digital display is sleek, attractive, and incredibly easy to use. Multiple one-touch programs and a spin dial make it quick and easy to change settings and begin your meal with just a few taps and spins. The instant Vortex air fryer is a very efficient machine with a very fast preheat time for ultimate efficiency during the meal prep stage of your evening.

The air fryer can handle any type of food, from fresh to frozen, and saves you the storage space of half a dozen other kitchen appliances. The Instant Vortex has a fully adjustable timer that offers the freedom to go about your day without needing to check on your food regularly. Plus, the temperature adjusts with the dial as well for simplified setting changes between recipes. With EvenCrisp technology, your food will achieve that tender, juicy interior and perfect crisp exterior every time. This air fryer is also one of the more affordable options on the market, making it more accessible to those with tighter purse strings. You can also choose the Instant Vortex 4-in-1 air fryer in a 10-quart size if 6 just won’t cut it.

What Sets the Instant Vortex 4-in-1 Air Fryer Apart?

The Instant Vortex 4-in-1 air fryer is one of the most well-rounded air fryers available. It is a more affordable model that offers 4 cook functions, adjustable temperature and time settings, and is easy to use. The 4 cook functions do a great job of setting the Instant Vortex apart from the competition since it can replace your oven, deep fryer, and microwave, along with any other appliances and equipment you usually use for reheating, roasting, baking, or frying foods. This space-saver is also incredibly efficient with minimal to no preheating time required.

The Instant Vortex 4-in-1 air fryer is also one of the best performers in terms of fat content in your air fried foods. This fryer reduces the fat content in your food by up to 95% compared to deep frying, which is 10% higher than the Cosori model discussed above. For the versatility of this air fryer, the price truly is a steal.

What Could be Improved On?

No appliance is ever perfect, and there are a couple of areas where the Instant Vortex 4-in-1 air fryer could improve. First of all, there are no pre-set cook functions on this model. Though the display is large, it is taken up by the 4 cook functions and temperature/time settings. There would certainly be room to add cook programs for frozen foods, chicken, vegetables, desserts, and others on the large display, and we expect these improvements from the Instant Vortex since the lack of cook programs is damaging – most people looking for an air fryer would choose cook programs over cook functions if they must make a choice. Also, given the shape of the basket, the air fryer can only handle a 4lb whole chicken while other models with a slightly taller basket can handle a 5-6lb whole chicken even with a slightly smaller capacity. Though the wider design may make it a bit easier to store in a cupboard or shelf, the shorter basket does result in a few functional setbacks.

Performance of the Instant Vortex 4-in-1 Air Fryer

Capacity

At 6 quarts even, the Instant Vortex is above-average and an ideal size for 4-6 member families. Though still not ideal for bulk cooking for gatherings or weekly meal prep, 6 quarts is more than enough for the average family cooking appetizers, desserts, or main courses.

Cook Functions

We are very pleased with the 4 cook functions on the Instant Vortex air fryer. This one appliance has the versatility to replace a half dozen other kitchen appliances and is incredibly convenient for those in cramped apartment kitchens or who share their kitchen space with roommates.

Cook Programs

The Instant Vortex 4-in-1 air fryer is less impressive in this category. Though the appliance can handle a variety of foods, we don’t have any specific cook programs that make it so much easier to cook a variety of foods. You’ll need to use the manual to determine the temperature and time settings you need since this air fryer won’t help you with this task.

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Best for Families: Philips Analog XXL Air Fryer

The Philips Analog XXL air fryer is a pricier and simpler option. The large 4-quart cooking basket allows 3 lbs. of food to be cooked at once, meaning you can cook two whole bags of fries or fry that whole chicken without breaking a sweat – or doubling your meal prep time. For even more efficiency on those long days, you won’t need to wait for the Philips Analog air fryer to preheat – just set your timer and go. Twin Turbostar technology is present in this Philips model, meaning there is no need for shaking, flipping, or otherwise redistributing your food inside the air fryer halfway through cooking. Plus, this technology means that you can fill up the air fryer with fries or veggies and they’ll all cook perfectly without redistribution, a feat not manageable by most other air fryers.

This high-end model also offers grill, bake, and roast settings for your next cookout. Though this air fryer is one of the bulkier options out there, it isn’t a pain to use in the slightest. The controls are incredibly simple and cleanup really couldn’t be easier. Not only are the components dishwasher safe, the QuickClean basket has a removable non-stick mesh and cleans in seconds. For improving the health of your meals, this air fryer is designed with a fat reducer that catches all excess fat from your foods. Once your meal is finished cooking, simply remove the fat reducer and pour out the extracted fat – making your food up to 90% healthier. The Philips air fryer is also available with digital settings for a small increase in price if desired.

What Sets the Philips Analog XXL Air Fryer Apart?

There are a few things that set the Philips Analog XXL air fryer apart from other air fryers. The ease of cleaning this Philips Analog XXL air fryer is virtually unmatched by other air fryers. The basket and pot are both removable and the mesh bottom removes for thorough cleaning as often as you like. The basket, drawer, and mesh are all non-stick to prevent foods from getting baked on. The basket and drawer are both dishwasher safe, which we don’t often see in air fryers – it’s usually only the basket.

Another unique feature of the Philips Analog air fryer is the fat reducer located in the bottom of the basket compartment. This reducer ensures that your fatty foods will cook healthier than in other air fryer brands since it collects the fat and oils so they can’t circulate. All you have to do is pour it out once you’re finished cooking to truly appreciate how much healthier your food is in the Philips air fryer.

Finally, the controls on the Philips analog fryer are very different from the usual digital display we expect on air fryers – and all other appliances, for that matter. Instead of buttons and screens, this fryer has two very simple dials for controlling the temperature and the time. This design gives the Philips air fryer a unique appearance and makes it very simple to use.

However, the best feature on the Philips Analog fryer is that you’ll never need to shake or otherwise redistribute your food. In the majority of other air fryers, the food won’t cook evenly unless it is flipped and rotated. However, the superior Turbostar technology in this air fryer ensures that even if food is piled up, it will cook evenly without shaking or other redistribution.

What Are Some Drawbacks of the Philips Analog XXL Air Fryer?

One of the major downfalls with this Philips Analog XXL air fryer is that XXL isn’t very accurate when we compare it to other air fryers: at only 4-quarts, it is average at best in terms of capacity which can make it more difficult to cook for larger families. Given that this is the largest size of air fryer that Philips makes, we’re disappointed that it can’t be used for larger families who would enjoy the unique features of this air fryer. The analog-style may also be troublesome for some people given the very small print on the timer dial: larger numbers would be a great improvement to increase the air fryer’s ease of use for those with poorer vision – your nose shouldn’t need to touch the unit so you can read the timer.  The lack of cook programs and functions makes this analog air fryer less user-friendly as well.

Performance of the Philips Analog XXL Air Fryer

Capacity

The capacity of this air fryer is disappointing given the price. Though 4-quarts is enough for smaller families or preparing appetizers/sides to the main course, we don’t expect that larger families would find the smaller capacity useful since it is 2-quarts smaller than the others on our list and is one of the smallest sizes we would recommend to families over couples and individuals.

Cook Functions

The Philips analog fryer does not have any additional cook functions beyond air frying. The lack of digital controls means that all you can do with this air fryer is cook your food. However, the digital model does offer grill, bake, and roast settings, though neither model has a keep-warm function.

Cook Programs

The Philips Analog fryer does not come with any cook programs either since all you can set are the temperature and time.

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Benefits of Cooking with an Air Fryer

Healthy

Fried foods are typically covered in fat and grease, making them incredibly unhealthy and bad for the heart. Air fryers achieve that same fried crisp, but with hot air instead. Since foods cooked in an air fryer don’t cook in any oil, they are much healthier than the alternative with drastically fewer calories involved.

Convenient

Air fryers are the more convenient appliance compared to deep fryers and ovens because they are portable, don’t require any setup more than a preheat, they’re easy to store between uses since there’s no oil to worry about, and they are easier to use than a deep fryer.

Less Mess

Since air fryers work with circulated air and only ever need a very small amount of oil in the bottom to achieve the desired crispy exteriors on our foods, they produce significantly less mess than a boiling vat of oil in a deep fryer. Plus, cleanup is incredibly easy since you can often throw the components into the dishwasher or wipe them clean with a paper towel.

Safety

An air fryer is much safer to use than a deep fryer for a number of reasons. First, you’re never dealing with boiling oil that can spit at you and cause blisters and burns to your skin. Second, there’s virtually no risk of a fire with the electrical standards today with no risk of fire caused by overheated oil. Lastly, the risk of burning yourself is extremely low since the machine turns off if you pull the basket out of the air fryer, and you’ll never expose yourself to hot surfaces like you do when taking something out of a regular oven.

Versatility

Air fryers are very versatile machines. They often have at least two or three extra functions, including roast, bake, keep warm, reheat, and sometimes even dehydrate, rotisserie cook, toaster oven, and others. Air fryers can also be taken with you if you go camping with a generator, head over to a friend or family member’s house, or anywhere else you want to cook food since they are easy to travel with and only require an outlet to work.

 

How to Choose the Right Air Fryer

There are a number of features and factors to consider when looking for an air fryer. While some features may be more important to some users than others, each of these aspects adds up to a well-rounded, high-quality, efficient appliance – the three requirements for the best air fryers in Canada.

Price

Air fryers are neither the most expensive nor the most affordable kitchen appliance you’ll want to add to your collection. The price for a good air fryer depends on its size, features, and quality, but there are also a variety of budget-minded options for those who want basic functionality over frills. To be confident in your purchase, choose the best air fryer you can comfortably afford, and be sure to judge its value before deciding it is either expensive or affordable as its durability adds value for every year you get out of it.

Capacity

When it comes to cooking in an air fryer, the capacity of the basket is one of the crucial elements. For most medium-sized families, a capacity of around 3-4 quarts is usually enough to make enough portions in one shot. However, a larger basket may be required for certain foods like whole chickens or larger family sizes with 5-6 people, so a 6–8-quart basket would be ideal in these situations. Of course, there are also smaller 1–2-quart air fryers for individuals or couples valuing storability over bulk cooking.

Cook Functions

While the most basic air fryers only air fry, higher-end models usually have a few other cook functions to improve the appliance’s versatility in your kitchen. Common cook functions on an air fryer include roast, bake, reheat, dehydrate, and in the case of Instant Pot models, pressure cook, sauté, slow cook, and more. Additional cook functions on an air fryer drive up its value and make it possible to cook an entire meal in one appliance, saving time on cleanup and preparing dinner a more convenient, efficient process.

Timer

When you’ve had a long day in the office and must make dinner when you get home, the last thing you want to do is babysit your meal while it cooks. A timer on an air fryer ensures that you can sit back, relax, and let the machine do its thing since it will alert you when your food is finished. The timer function usually includes a flip alert halfway through your cook time so you don’t even need to remember to shake your food for even frying.

Temperature Minimum and Maximum

For all cooking tasks, the temperature is a crucial step in having food turn out as planned. For most foods, a range of 200-350-degrees F is a great start, though many air fryers will go below 200-degrees F and may offer maximum temperature settings of 400-degrees F, though 375-degrees F would also do.

Ease of Cleaning

You’ll definitely want an air fryer that is easy to clean since you’ll still be working with a small amount of oil for many foods and will want an easy and quick cleanup after dinner when you’ve stuffed yourself to the max. most air fryers nowadays have dishwasher-safe components so you don’t have to scrub a thing.

Safety

Air fryers are by default safe appliances, but there are a few extra features that up the safety rating a little bit more. An auto shutoff function when the basket is removed is a must since it prevents the machine from running without food inside, which could put you at risk of burns from hot circulating air. Air fryers also come with overheat protection and surge protection like most electrical items. A keep warm function also maintains the safety of your food since it will remain at a proper serving temperature after it finishes cooking, ensuring there is no chance for bacteria to begin growing on your cooling food.

Size

When we picture an air fryer, we imagine a large, bulky appliance, which is true in most cases but not all. There are many smaller air fryers that are better suited to apartment living or cramped kitchens in general, but you should still be prepared to keep it out on your counter if you don’t have a whole shelf to dedicate to storing your air fryer. The larger the size, the more you can do with it, but it will also be more difficult to store so choose wisely.

Pre-Set Cook Programs

No one enjoys complicated cooking steps or imprecise directions, and cooking new types of food in an air fryer can be a daunting task for novices and pros alike. Many air fryers come with a variety of cook programs for different foods including chicken, desserts, vegetables, fish, frozen foods, bread, French fries, bacon, and others. These presets make it much easier to use your air fryer for different kinds of meals without hesitation.

 

How Does an Air Fryer Work?

An air fryer uses circulated hot air to cook food similar to a convection oven; a fan and heating mechanism rapidly heat your food to achieve a crispy exterior without the oil and grease of a regular deep fryer. The hot air cooks the food quickly and to a nice brown colour with foods like French fries or frozen breaded chicken strips. The air fryer has a basket with a perforated bottom so that the food cooks evenly on all sides, though some foods may still require flipping halfway through to cook perfectly. Air fryers typically operate on timers and have adjustable temperature settings so you can customize your cook time for various foods.

 

Tips for Using an Air Fryer

If you’re new to air frying, there are a few things to keep in mind before and during the process:

  • Make sure you always have the grate in the basket. The grate allows the hot air to circulate under the food for an even cook, and it ensures that any fat from the food or oil in the fryer is kept away from the food.
  • The air fryer will shut off when you pull out the basket to check or flip your food, so don’t touch anything as it will continue to cook once you replace the basket.
  • Food cooks much faster in an air fryer than you’re used to with your oven, so follow a recipe’s guide for cook time or check your food regularly to prevent burning.
  • Since air fryers cook quickly with very fast circulating hot air, you’ll often question the lower cooking temperatures recommended for different foods. The lower temperature settings keep the food from becoming too dark or too crispy without cooking properly on the inside.
  • Avoid overfilling the air fryer as too much food will prevent the air from circulating properly. Instead, use a single layer of food only.
  • It’s always recommended to rotate and flip meats halfway through the cook time to ensure even cooking.
  • If needing to toss vegetables or French fries with seasonings or simply for even cooking, empty them into a bowl, toss, then add back to the basket for better redistribution.
  • If you’re struggling to achieve a proper browning in your air fryer, try patting food dry to remove excess moisture, add a small amount of oil to the bottom of the air fryer, and brush dough with an egg wash before cooking like you would in an oven.
  • To cook full meals at once, layer your foods with basket inserts.

 

 What Food Can You Cook in an Air Fryer?

Air fryers are incredibly versatile appliances that can cook just about anything. If you’re stuck for ideas for your next air fryer meal, try some of these air fryer-friendly foods:

  • Chicken – whole or otherwise
  • Lamb chops
  • Vegetables
  • French fries and other potato-based snack foods
  • Shrimp
  • Cookies
  • Steak
  • Bacon/eggs/toast
  • Pre-breaded mozzarella sticks
  • Burgers (well-done)

Pretty much anything can be cooked in an air fryer, though it is best to avoid:

  • Foods with wet batter
  • Foods with dry seasonings
  • Fresh greens
  • Cheese

Other than that, feel free to explore and experiment with your air fryer!