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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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