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Air fryers to avoid buying

These not-so-hot air fryers will leave you underwhelmed.

air fryer to avoid with red cross
Last updated: 23 March 2022

Hailed as a kitchen appliance that's easy to use and can handle a multitude of tasks, the air fryer is enjoying its moment in the sun. 

But while there are plenty of fly fryers on the market, there are also many that won't give you much crunch for your cash, so make sure you know what you're buying. 

These five air fryers disappointed our kitchen experts with their airfrying capabilities. If you're looking to up your kitchen game, give these models a miss.

What to look for when buying an air fryer

"When choosing an air fryer it's important that it comes with comprehensive instructions including cooking guidelines and recipes, particularly if you've never used an air fryer before," says CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair

"Digital controls give better accuracy, and pre-programmed settings take the guesswork out of choosing a temperature and cooking time, and may also give you a reminder to shake the food to ensure even cooking."

The worst performing air fryers in our tests

kmart anko 9l twin air fryer afd2906

Kmart Anko 9L Twin Air Fryer AFD2906

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 58%
  • Performance score: 50%
  • Price: $129

While we've found many a Kmart appliance that delivers great bang for your buck, unfortunately this isn't one of them.

It disappointed our testing experts on tests like cooking frozen thick-cut chips and crumbed chicken, and was rated as only OK overall.

t does have some redeeming features, however. Our experts say it was very good when it came to cooking roast pork and marinated chicken wings, and it has 11 pre-set functions from baking and defrosting through to cooking steaks, pizza, bacon and drumsticks.

It may be the cheapest air fryer in our test, but it's also the worst performing

And of course it has two separate cooking baskets, so you can cook two different types of food at the same time, using different cooking functions and temperature settings. But the extra basket means a larger unit, so it'll take up quite a bit of bench space compared to other deep fryers.

It may be the cheapest air fryer in our test, but it's also the worst performing. If you're prepared to spend $129 on an air fryer, spending just a little more will get you a machine that will do the job well. And you don't need to spend a fortune: a number of the air fryers our experts recommend cost less than $200.

easycook e727

EasyCook E727

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 70%
  • Performance score: 75%
  • Price: $199

Look, a score of 70% overall isn't terrible – it's still classed as 'Good' by our experts. And a 75% performance score is good, too. 

But if you're going to drop $200 on an air fryer, you might as well buy one that works well (and maybe doesn't look like a UFO). 

On the upside, the EasyCook has an auto clean function for ease of cleaning, and its glass bowl is dishwasher-safe. Plus, you can keep an eye on your food through the clear viewing window. It warms up quickly, too, so doesn't need to be preheated, except when grilling. 

An air fryer that costs this much should deliver out-of-this-world performance – the EasyCook does not

But that glass bowl, for all its benefits, is quite large and awkward to handle, and the unit overall is quite large and heavy and requires a fair bit of cupboard space to store. The exterior of the lid reaches temperatures above 60°C when cooking at 200°C, so you'll need to be careful not to burn yourself. 

The EasyCook's dial controls for temperature and time are simple to use but may not be accurate, our experts found.

Overall, an air fryer that costs this much and looks like something from outer space should deliver out-of-this-world performance – but the EasyCook does not. 

ninja air fryer max af160anz 52l

Ninja Air Fryer Max AF160ANZ 5.2L

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 70%
  • Performance score: 68%
  • Price: $230

Again, a score of 70% isn't too bad, and the Ninja Air Fryer Max is very good at cooking marinated chicken wings, and good at cooking roast pork and crumbed chicken. But it's pretty abysmal when it comes to cooking frozen thick-cut chips.

It comes with six pre-set programs, one of which is the Max Crisp function. It's recommended for frozen foods such as nuggets and chips, but you can't adjust the temperature setting so you'll need to keep a close eye on the food as cooking time may need to be reduced. This rather defeats the purpose of having a pre-set program function that's for particular type of foods, doesn't it?

If you're after crispy chips, this isn't the best buy. Check our expert air fryer reviews to make sure you're getting the maximum crispiness for your coin. 

The least best of the rest

Next in our line-up of sub-par air fryers are five units that received the same CHOICE Expert Rating (that's our overall score). Two of them are from the same brand (Tefal), one is a shelf unit (Miracle Chef) and one is a twin unit (Ninja Foodi). 

They all have different features, and different pros and cons. But they have one thing in common: our kitchen experts don't recommend them. 

"Unfortunately both Tefal models have only basic instructions that can be difficult to comprehend," says Fiona. 

"Having easy-to-read instructions with guidelines and recipes allows the user to get the most from their purchase."

miracle chef 7 in 1 multi cooker txg dt10l

Miracle Chef 7 in 1 Multi Cooker TXG-DT10L

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 71%
  • Performance score: 73%
  • Price: $349

Despite scoring a very healthy 85% for cooking homemade French fries, this unit isn't the miracle it claims to be. We've tested plenty of models for this price (and cheaper!) that perform far better. 

It's particularly poor at cooking marinated chicken wings, scoring just 40% for this test, and our experts say it's not especially easy to use and the shelves only have a small surface area. 

Don't expect a hallelujah moment with this unit. 

tefal easy fry deluxe digital ey401d

Tefal Easy Fry Deluxe Digital EY401D

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 71%
  • Performance score: 73%
  • Price: $280

This unit didn't score too badly on most of our tests, but really bombed out on cooking homemade French fries – it scored just 45% on this test. It did ace the crumbed chicken cooking test, scoring 80%. 

But even if you're crumbed chicken-obsessed, there are better buys out there. 

tefal easy fry classic ey2018

Tefal Easy Fry Classic EY2018

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 71%
  • Performance score: 75%
  • Price: $220

Again, this Tefal unit did clock up some great scores in our test, and a score of 75% for performance isn't to be sniffed at. But you can still find air fryers for the same price that will perform better. 

Our kitchen expert Fiona has cooked marinated chicken wings and roast pork in this unit and rates it as 'Excellent' for these, but still doesn't recommend it. 

ninja foodi dual zone air fryer af300anz

Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer AF300ANZ

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 71%
  • Performance score: 70%
  • Price: $450

If you have $450 to spend on an air fryer, don't spend it on this one. There are plenty of other models for this price (and less!) that will do a better job.

The Ninja Foodi did an excellent job of cooking pork belly, and was pretty good at cooking chips, crumbed chicken and marinated chicken wings. But it's bulky, doesn't have a viewing window, and some of its functions don't live up to the hype.

It also delivered unevenly browned chips when we cooked frozen chips in both baskets using the same cooking function, so its dual-zone cooking may not be all it's cracked up to be.

Before you drop $450 on an air fryer, check our expert air fryer reviews to make sure you don't end up with a dud.

magic bullet air fryer in black mba07100

Magic Bullet Air Fryer in Black MBA07100

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 71%
  • Performance score: 71%
  • Price: $130

Weighing in at just 3kg, this diminutive air fryer costs just a dollar more than the Kmart twin air fryer – and delivers similarly underwhelming performance.

It's not so much that it did any one thing terribly. It's more that it just wasn't great overall. Throw an extra $30 at your air fryer budget and you can bring home a product that will actually deliver the crispy foods of your dreams. This one just isn't it. 

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.