What Capacity Air Fryer Do I Need?
Over the decades, kitchen appliances have been improved through modern technology and the air fryer is no different.
The original air fryer was invented in 1945 by a man called William L. Maxson. He had a fascination with the frozen food and reheating process which led to his invention of the Maxson Whirlpool Oven. This air fryer had a 120 DC volt heating element with a fan attached to the back of the unit which circulated the hot air around the food.
Since then, there have been many modifications to this original design until in 2010 Philips introduced the first modern air fryer. This air fryer was revolutionary to the cooking world as it cooked food faster and easier with less oil.
Needless to say, the market quickly caught on and today there are so many models, makes, and sizes of air fryers.
Consumers are now spoiled with so much choice that it could be hard to decide. The first thing you should consider is what size capacity air fryer would be best for you.
Choosing Air Fryer Sizes
The main factors to consider when you are deciding on the size of your air fryer are:
- What is your intended use for the air fryer?
- If you are looking for an alternative cooking method to quickly reheat food and make light meals throughout the day then you can get away with a smaller air fryer.
- However, if you intend to use it to cook full meals then you would need to consider whether you need a bigger air fryer based on the next few questions.
- How many people do you regularly cook for and how big are their appetites?
- Here is a quick glance of the different sizes:
- 1-2 people: A Small air fryer between 1 to 3 Quarts (0.95 to 2.8 Litres).
- 3-4 people: A Family sized air fryer between 4 to 6 Quarts (3.8 to 5.7 Litres).
- 5-6 people: An Extra-large air fryer between 7 to 8 Quarts (6.6 to 7.6 Litres).
- 7-9 people: A Multifunctional air fryer which can range from 9 Quarts to 30 Quarts (8.5 to 28.4 Litres).
- Here is a quick glance of the different sizes:
- The availability of countertop space in your kitchen.
- You may be tempted to go for a bigger air fryer than needed however, bear in mind that a larger air fryer can take up a lot of countertop space.
- The last thing you want to be doing is to be moving the air fryer from a cupboard to the countertop space and back.
- What are your dietary needs or preferences?
- Love to have meat on the bone that are of irregular shapes and bulky then you might need a bigger air fryer so that it can fit in the basket.
To make things easy, I have grouped the different sizes in 4 categories.
Now let’s take a look at what each size can do!
Cooking with these small air fryers is a breeze and will accommodate any busy lifestyle.
Small air fryers usually range between 1 to 3 Quarts (0.95 to 2.8 Liters) of food capacity. For the 1 Quarts (0.95 Liters) air fryers you should be able to fit 1 small chicken breast with some fries on the side in one cooking session. The 2 to 3 Quarts (1.9 to 2.8 Liters) air fryers generally fit 2 chicken breasts or 4-6 chicken wings in one cooking session.
The small air fryers are great for making snacks and light meals which are quick and easy with no mess. They are also a good alternative to the microwave for reheating food as they heat up really quickly and keep the food juicy on the inside.
For single individuals or those who are only cooking for one or two people at a time, a smaller air fryer is likely the best option as you’ll be able to save on countertop space.
In this category we will be exploring medium to large air fryers which range between 4 to 6 Quarts (3.8 to 5.7 Liters) of food capacity.
The 4 to 5 Quarts (3.8 to 4.7 Liters) air fryers should fit 4 chicken breasts or half a packet of frozen chips in one cooking session. This is a good serving size for 3 to 4 people for your daily meals however if the appetite levels are a bit larger you may want to consider a 6 Quarts (5.7 Liters) air fryer. This is because overcrowding the basket could lead to uneven cooking and food not being cooked properly on the inside.
Most 6 Quarts (5.7 Liters) air fryers would be able to fit a whole chicken or one full bag of frozen chips in one cooking session. This size air fryer also comes with more features which means you cook a variety of things with it (depending on the model and make).
Any of the air fryers in this range would suffice for a family of 3 to 4 people however depending on the appetite levels and the types of food you cook for your daily meals you may decide to go with the 6 Quart (5.7 Liters) basket.
Bigger families of 5 to 6 people would need to consider getting an extra-large air fryer. These air fryers are around 7 to 8 Quarts (6.6 to 7.6 Liters). They can spaciously fit a whole chicken (about 3 lbs or 1.3kg) or 23 chicken wings or two bags of frozen fries.
The other benefit of this bigger size air fryer is the number of pre-set programs that come with them. The pre-sets are generally air fry, bake, grill, roast, reheat, dehydrate, and toast. This makes it so user friendly as you are able to just put your food in the air fryer, and with one touch, your food is cooking.
Are you still looking for more of what an air fryer can do? Well, there are the awesome Multifunctional Air Fryers that actually combine the basic air fryer with other cooking functions!
There are so many variations on the market that we could be going on for pages so I have highlighted 3 types of Multifunctional air fryers that I find useful in the kitchen:
- Air Fryer with Rotisserie: This is for the meat lovers that want versatility to grilling their meats. These air fryers have a rotisserie function where your meat (like a whole chicken) is either placed in a rotating basket or a rotating rod for cooking. The rotating function and the 360 degrees circulation in air flow makes your meat succulent and juicy on the inside.
- Air Fryer with Toaster Oven: Households that prefer baked food anything from pizza’s, bread, and cake would be amazed by the Air Fryer Toaster Oven. They generally come in the form of a toaster oven with one of two racks but it has the air fryer functionality built into it.
- Air Fryer and pressure cooker combo: Who would have guessed that two totally different cooking methods could be combined into one? These air fryers look like a high-tech pressure cooker on the outside. The clever design of this device lies with the interchanging lids and pots or baskets.
As you could imagine, these air fryers have so many functions, the devices are a lot bigger than the normal air fryer. This also means that the food capacity levels are higher too! Depending on which functions you are after, these air fryers range between 6 Quarts to 30 Quarts.
So, if you frequently have more than 7 people to feed, the Multifunctional air fryer is something for you to consider.
What Capacity Air Fryer Should You Buy?
In summary, there are 4 different capacity sizes you can choose from:
- Small air fryers: These are ideal for solo couples which is primarily used for reheating and cooking light meals.
- Family sized air fryers: This size is sufficient for families of 3 to 4 people where the air fryers are used frequently to prepare meals.
- Extra Large air fryers: Best for bigger families of 5 or 6 people and the air fryer will be used for daily meals.
- Multifunctional air fryers: To be considered for feeding 7 or more people on a frequent basis.
Once you have established the size category and intended use, you can consider this like countertop space and dietary needs and preferences.
To help you with finding the best air fryer for you, have a look at our reviews for each of these categories. This is where you can narrow your search even further.
We hope that this has been helpful with your decision on the best air fryer that suits you.