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Best air fryers under $250

The cheapest fry buys that impressed in our expert testing.

Last updated: 20 September 2023


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Need to know

  • Our experts reviewed 30 air fryers and benchtop ovens from popular brands such as Philips, Kmart, Tefal, Breville, Sunbeam and DeLonghi
  • We tested cheaper models from $89 through to premium air fryers costing over $600
  • We rate performance on key factors including how well they cook crumbed chicken, frozen chips and roast pork (among other foods), and how easy they are to use

It's the appliance everyone's (still) talking about, and whether you've jumped on the craze recently or you're a fan from way back, there's no doubt air fryers are still hot property.

They're often praised for their convenience – they're great for smaller households and for cooking simple dinners. They also cook some foods quicker than an oven, and take less time to preheat – a bonus if you don't want your oven heating up the kitchen. There are now even twin air fryers for those who want double drawers to cook different types of food at the same time, plus air fryers with fancy new functions, including steaming, dehydrating and grilling.

It's worth considering how much you're prepared to pay to buy into the fervour

But with prices ranging anywhere from around $600 or more for a top-of-the-line Philips model to $89 for the Kmart 5.3L air fryer, it's worth considering how much you're prepared to pay to buy into the fervour. 

Our expert testers have put 30 popular air fryers through their paces in our labs – and there are a few cheaper models costing less than $250 that get their tick of approval.

How we test air fryers

We conduct five cooking tests to assess each air fryer's performance. We give each model a score based on how well they cook frozen crumbed chicken and frozen chips. For those who want to use their fryer beyond frozen foods, we also score based on how well they cook roast pork and marinated chicken wings. 

We also give each an 'ease of use' score, taking into account things such as how easy the controls are to use, how bulky the units are and how easy they are to clean.

How to pick the air fryer that's right for you

When buying an air fryer, CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair advises taking special note of the internal capacity and bulkiness of the model.

"Air fryers can't cook huge quantities of food at once, but they do come in different sizes, so choose a capacity that's right for your household," she says. 

Air fryers can't cook huge quantities of food at once, but they do come in different sizes, so choose a capacity that's right for your household

Fiona Mair, CHOICE kitchen expert

"And they do take up quite a lot of bench space. It would be more useful if you could keep it out permanently rather than storing it away in a cupboard, so before buying, ensure it's something that you're going to use regularly."

Do your research, whatever your budget

Our testing finds that models costing a few hundred dollars less than other brands still perform well. So even if you are spending at the lower end of the budget, it's worth taking a look at our air fryer reviews to find the best and worst performers.

Budget-friendly convenience

So, if the convenience of an air fryer appeals, but you don't want to part with a lot of cash, check out these options that represent the best for the least. We've rounded up five air fryer models that our experts recommend, all costing under $250. 

Consider becoming a CHOICE member to access these results and our full air fryer reviews. Plus, you'll have access to reviews for more than 200 other product categories. 

The best air fryers that cost less than $250

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breville the air fryer chef

This Breville air fryer comes recommended by our experts and is available at a bargain price.

1. Breville The Air Fryer Chef

Price: $229 
CHOICE Expert Rating: 83% 
Performance score: 93% 
Ease of use score: 67%
Cooking performance (crumbed chicken): 95% 

This Breville number is the cheapest air fryer to snag official "CHOICE Recommended" status (and we've even recently spotted it on sale for cheaper than its recommended retail price at some larger retailers).

In our testing, it was rated as 'excellent' for overall performance, with particularly good results for cooking frozen chips, crumbed chicken and marinated chicken wings. It comes with 11 pre-set cooking functions (including one for roasting a 1.5kg whole chicken and cooking chips and vegetables, plus a dehydrate function), and comes with detailed instructions, which always gets a big tick from CHOICE testers.

It also has an alert that reminds you to shake or turn your food for most preset functions. It's quite bulky though, so if you have a smallish kitchen with limited storage space, perhaps head into a store to check how big it is before you buy.

Read the full Breville The Air Fryer Chef review.


This Sunbeam is worth considering if you're looking for a small, low-cost option.

2. Sunbeam AFP4000WH Copper Infused DuraCeramic Air Fryer

Price: $179 
CHOICE Expert Rating: 77% 
Performance score: 86% 
Ease of use score: 63% 
Cooking performance (crumbed chicken): 85% 

If you're after an air fryer that's on the cheaper side, and you don't need a larger one, this Sunbeam model could be worth considering. It has a capacity of three litres, making it one of the smallest air fryers we've tested, but if you want a model that takes up less bench space and only cooks a small amount of food for one to two people, then it might suit. 

Our experts say its cooking performance is very good, and that it's excellent for cooking roast pork and marinated chicken, and the white plastic exterior is easy to clean. It also makes a sound when the timer ends so you know it's finished.

A downside, though, is that it comes with basic instructions and limited cooking guidelines, so a bit of trial and error may be required to get best results.

Read the full Sunbeam AFP4000WH Copper Infused DuraCeramic Air Fryer review.


This slightly larger Sunbeam model is another decent option.

3. Sunbeam 4L DuraCeramic Copper Infused Digital Air Fryer AFP4100BK

Price: $199 
CHOICE Expert Rating: 76% 
Performance score: 78% 
Ease of use score: 72% 
Cooking performance (crumbed chicken): 80% 

If you're just after a smaller air fryer that's relatively easy to use and very good at cooking items such as crumbed chicken and pork belly, this is a good buy. It has a smaller capacity (four litres) but has a clear and bright digital display with seven auto-cook functions, including chicken, meat, fish, dessert, veggies, fries and prawns. It will fit 1kg of shoestring fries, 1kg chicken and a 23cm cake tin.

Another great feature is that it makes a sound to tell you when cooking is finished, and it also has the ability to vary temperatures. It's also lightweight and easy to lift and move, which is an important factor to consider when buying an air fryer – many can be very bulky and heavy which make them difficult to store and clean.

Some downsides our experts noted are that there is no viewing window so you can't see your food as it's cooking and the controls have no written labelling on the functions, so you may need to initially refer to the instruction manual to understand what certain functions mean.

Read the full Sunbeam 4L DuraCeramic Copper Infused Digital Air Fryer AFP4100BK.


This Tefal air fryer is a solid basic model.

4. Tefal Easy Fry Classic EY2018

Price: $220
CHOICE Expert Rating: 76% 
Performance score: 83% 
Ease of use score: 65% 
Cooking performance (crumbed chicken): 83% 

Tefal have a few air fryers on the market, and this is one of their smaller, simpler and cheaper models. It has a 4.2L capacity with dial controls for temperature and time, so if you had your heart set on a digital interface it's not for you.

Our experts noted that it's very good for cooking both frozen and homemade chips and excellent for cooking roast pork and marinated chicken wings. They say, however, that the food does need to be shaken a few times during cooking to get even browning (however, this is the case with almost all of these types of drawer air fryers with a smaller capacity that don't have a rotating basket). 

Read the full Tefal Easy Fry Classic EY2018 review.


This Phillips is a good entry-level model for a first-time air fryer buyer.

5. Philips Air Fryer Essential HD9200/21

Price: $199
CHOICE Expert Rating: 75% 
Performance score: 79% 
Ease of use score: 68% 
Cooking performance (crumbed chicken): 90% 

If you're looking into buying an air fryer, you've almost certainly come across the Philips range. They were one of the first brands to launch an air fryer and now have multiple models to choose from, with various capacities and features available. 

This model is the smallest they have available (and the cheapest), with a capacity of 4.1 litres that means you can cook around three servings of food. It scored well in our expert testing (particularly on cooking crumbed chicken and marinated chicken wings), and has useful features such as an integrated timer that allows you to preset cooking times of up to 60 minutes and it makes a sound to let you know when your dish is ready. 

Our testers also note that it's relatively compact which makes it easier to store and clean, making it a good entry-level option for a first-time air fryer buyer. 

Read the full Philips Air fryer Essential HD9200/21 review.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.

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