best ninja air fryer

Best Ninja Air Fryer for Fuss-Free & Healthy Cooking

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

Ninja brand sells different types of air fryers. They provide an oven air fryer, a grill air fryer, a basket air fryer, and a pressure cooker. They are perfect for everything from chicken nuggets and fries to veggies and stir-fries. Ninja air fryers prepare healthy food fast and use up to 75% less fat. That said, check out our list of the best Ninja air fryer.

How Do Ninja Air Fryers Work?

Like other air fryers, Ninja models use extremely hot, fast-circulating air to flash-roast food in an enclosed frying basket. Though no or very little oil is often used, the results are usually similar to traditional deep frying in that the food comes out moist and crispy on the outside.

Air fryers usually heat up fast, cook swiftly, and make healthier versions rather than fatty, fried dishes. Besides, you can use an air fryer to crisp up skin-on chicken thighs, vegetables like mushrooms, onions, and pepper, and seafood like salmon, shrimp, and scallops. On the other hand, cleanup is often as easy as a quick spray and wash with a soapy sponge since most air fryer baskets are non-stick and dishwasher safe.

Now that we know how Ninja air fryer works let's check the best models on the market.

1. Ninja AF101 Air Fryer, 4 Quart

Sale
Ninja AF101 Air Fryer, 4 Qt, Black/gray
  • Now enjoy guilt free food; Air fry with up to 75 percent less fat...
  • Wide temperature range: 105 degree Fahrenheit to 400 degrees...
  • 4 quart ceramic coated nonstick basket and crisper plate fit 2...
  • The unit will need time to preheat before coming up to...
  • Dehydrate: Create flat, chip like dehydrated foods for fun,...

Ninja's AF101 4 Quart model is ideal for beginners as well as those on a budget. The air fryer has four presets: crisps, roasts, reheats, and dehydrates. I love the taller-than-wide design since I have a limited countertop space. Also, I found the manual guide easy to read, and the setup couldn't have been easier.

Image Source: homesandgardens.com

Cooking fries, one of my favorite meals, is easy and fast. You will enjoy deliciously crispy fries within 15 minutes of using the air fry mode. Besides fries, the air fryer prepares chicken wings and breasts as well as vegetables perfectly. However, it's crucial to note that the cooking time of this Ninja air fryer is about half that of a regular oven, so follow the instructions carefully to avoid accidentally burning your food.

Pros:

  • It comes in an affordable price tag
  • Offers fast cooking time
  • Ideal for smaller kitchen space
  • Lightweight and easy to use

Cons:

  • It comes with limited cooking functions.

2. Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill with Air Fry, AG301

Sale
Ninja AG301 Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill with Air Fry,...
  • THE ORIGINAL NINJA FOODI GRILL: The grill that sears, sizzles,...
  • CYCLONIC GRILLING TECHNOLOGY: Uses 500°F cyclonic air to...
  • OUTDOOR GRILLING POWER ON YOUR COUNTERTOP: With the BTU cooking...
  • FORGET ABOUT DEFROSTING: Transform foods from frozen to perfectly...
  • UP TO 75% LESS FAT: Air fry crisp with up to 75% less fat than...

Ninja AG301 has a cooking power of an outdoor grill, and I use it to bring outdoor grill flavors and to air fry meat, mostly on weekends. The indoor grill heats up to 500°F, ideal for grilling meat for great, char-grilled markings and tastes in less than 25 minutes. Besides, the unit has five presets, including an air fryer, roast, grill, bake, and dehydrate.

Image Source: rachaelrayshow.com

I realized that when air frying meat with this Ninja air fryer, I save up to 75 percent fat compared to deep frying. Another great thing with the unit is that it's easy to clean with a dishwasher, and the non-stick ceramic-coated grills are PTFE/PFOA free.

Pros:

  • All parts are dishwasher safe
  • It uses up to 75 percent less fat than regular deep frying
  • Offers reduce cooking time
  • PTFE/PFOA free model

Cons:

  • It was a bit expensive.

3. Ninja 8-in-1 Digital Air Fry Countertop Oven, SP101

Sale
Ninja SP101 Digital Air Fry Countertop Oven with 8-in-1...
  • DIGITAL CRISP CONTROL TECHNOLOGY: Precision-controlled...
  • 8-IN-1 VERSATILITY: The ultimate meal-making machine with 8-in-1...
  • LESS FAT: Eat all of your air fried favorites guilt-free with up...
  • FASTER COOKING: Cooks up to 60% faster than a traditional oven on...
  • LARGE CAPACITY: 45% larger usable pan cooking area vs. the flat...

Ninja SP101 has eight presets air fry, broil, roast, toast, bake, bagel, dehydrate, and keep warm. Besides, the unit features digital crisp control technology for optimum versatility and ultimate cooking performance. And like other Ninja air fryer models I have tested, I usually use less than 75 percent of fat when air frying chicken wings on the weekends.

Image Source: themanual.com

Furthermore, you can enjoy your air-fried chicken in less than 20 minutes which is 60 percent faster than in a regular oven. Preheat takes only 60 seconds. Conversely, the air fryer has a capacity that can fit 9 slices of toast, 13 inches of pizza, and chicken breasts. The capacity is enough for my family of five, including me.

The unit uses 50 percent less of my counter space than other air fryer models; I usually flip it up and away to store. Also, I never have a hard time cleaning it since it comes with a detachable crumb tray and a readily accessible back panel that allow thorough cleaning.

Pros:

  • It uses up to 75 percent less fat than regular deep frying
  • It comes with a detachable crumb tray and a readily accessible back panel for easy cleaning
  • Versatile model
  • It offers a reduced cooking time

Cons:

  • A bit expensive

4. Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 DualZone 2-Basket Air Fryer, DZ201

Sale
Ninja DZ201 Foodi 8 Quart 6-in-1 DualZone 2-Basket Air...
  • 2 INDEPENDENT BASKETS: The original Air Fryer with 2 independent...
  • SMART FINISH & MATCH COOK: DualZone Technology allows you to...
  • 6-IN-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Includes 6 versatile cooking programs: Air...
  • XL CAPACITY: The 8-quart air fryer capacity lets you fit mains...
  • SEPARATE HEATING ZONES: 2 independent 4-quart zones have their...

Count the Ninja Foodi DZ201 For the best Ninja Air Fryer that can cook two different foods simultaneously. The unit comes with two separate 4-quart cooking baskets as well as heating zones that allow me to cook different dishes simultaneously at varying cooking times and temperatures. So, on game days, I can prepare air-frying wings and fries at the same time conveniently.

Image Source: homesandgardens.com

Despite the "high-tech" design and multiple settings options, I find it user-friendly. For example, customizing the "Smart Finish" feature, which is the two cook times and temperatures for various dishes, is easy. In addition, the air fryer usually starts the basket with the shorter of the two cook durations, ensuring that both baskets complete cooking simultaneously.

Furthermore, the Ninja Foodi Air Fryer comes with six presents: air fry, roast, air broil, bake, dehydrate and reheat. Compared to other models, I find this one cooking faster, and most recipes' cooking times have to be reduced for optimum results. However, when using mirror cooking, you will find that the left air fryer basket cooks a little hotter and faster than the right one.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • All parts are dishwasher safe
  • Features dual cooking zones
  • It comes with an optional wire rack to increase cooking capacity

Cons:

  • Large batches usually cook longer.

5. Ninja Air Fryer Max XL, AF161

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Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer that Cooks, Crisps,...
  • LESS FAT: Up to 75% less fat than traditional air frying methods....
  • MAX CRISP TECHNOLOGY: Delivers 450 degrees of superheated air to...
  • XL CAPACITY: The 5.5 QT ceramic coated nonstick basket and...
  • 7-IN-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Includes 7 versatile cooking programs: Max...
  • EASY CLEANING: The ceramic basket is both nonstick & dishwasher...

If you want a small yet affordable air fryer, count on the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL. The unit has a cooking capacity of two pounds of fries or chicken wings. It has seven presets: air fry, max crisp, roast, broil, bake, dehydrate, and reheat. Besides, the air fryer retains the moisture and crispiness of the food considerably better than microwave ovens.

Image Source: purefitpurefood.com

The Ninja Air Fryer AF161 has a single cooking zone, yet it crisps up the same way as other big air fryers. It is ideal for a small family, a single person, or someone with limited counter space.

Moreover, the basket and the inserts are dishwasher safe and easy to clean. The top of the inside of the basket part, on the other hand, isn't easy to clean. That's where the heating element is, and if oil splatters up there, it might be impossible to remove.

Pros:

  • It comes in an affordable price tag
  • The basket and the inserts are dishwasher safe and easy to clean
  • Ideal for a small family
  • Retains the moisture and crispiness of the food than microwave ovens

Cons:

  • Not easy to clean the inside of the basket area

6. Ninja Foodi 10-in-1 Smart XL Air Fry Oven, DT251

Ninja DT251 Foodi 10-in-1 Smart XL Air Fry Oven, Bake,...
  • TRUE SURROUND CONVECTION: Up to 10X the convection power vs. a...
  • 10 VERSATILE FUNCTIONS: Air Fry, Air Roast, Bake, Whole Roast,...
  • SMART COOK SYSTEM: Achieve the perfect doneness from rare to well...
  • QUICK FAMILY MEALS: 90-second oven preheat time and up to 30%...
  • EXTRA LARGE CAPACITY: 2-level even cooking, no rotating...

The DT251 Smart XL Pro Air Fry Oven is large enough to cook rib or roast a whole turkey. Besides, it comes with ten presets, including air fry, air roast, whole roast, broil, toast, bake, pizza, bagel, dehydrate, and reheat. My favorite feature is the option to change the cooking temperatures allowing me to prepare food the way I want.

Image Source: wvbfa.com

When cooking a turkey, for instance, I usually choose what to cook on the buttons (air roast), wait for about 90 seconds for the oven to warm, and then start cooking. And when the turkey reaches the right temperature, it cuts off and signals that it's finished cooking. On the other hand, the air fry function uses up to 75 percent less fat compared to traditional deep frying and up to 30 percent crispier results than the traditional convection ovens.

However, the unit's top and sides might get hot to the touch, so be cautious. And though the outside of this unit is easy to clean, the inside isn't. For instance, if meat residue splatters on the fan, it might never come off. And if oil gets on the internal parts, it may never come off completely.

Pros:

  • It comes with ten presets
  • The air fryer uses up to 75 percent less fat
  • Large oven for large batches such as turkey
  • Easy to change the cooking temperatures

Cons:

  • The unit's top and sides might get quite hot to the touch.

7. Ninja Foodi Smart XL Indoor Grill with Air Fry, FG551

Sale
Ninja FG551 Foodi Smart XL 6-in-1 Indoor Grill with Air...
  • NINJA FOODI SMART XL GRILL: The Smart XL grill that sears,...
  • CYCLONIC GRILLING TECHNOLOGY: Uses 500°F cyclonic air to...
  • SMART COOK SYSTEM plus THERMOMETER: The Foodi Smart Thermometer...
  • XL CAPACITY: Grill grate fits up to 6 steaks, up to 24 hot dogs,...
  • 6 COOKING FUNCTIONS: Grill, Air Crisp, Roast, Bake, Broil and...

Ninja FG551 is one of the air fryers to count on if you love barbecue. The unit has six presets, air fryer, air crisp, grill, roast, broil, and dehydrate. Besides, it features a dual sensor thermometer that I use to monitor the food's temperature; in 25 minutes, the meat is usually ready to serve.

Image Source: ca.style.yahoo.com

One of my favorite thing about this air fryer is that it uses up to 75 percent less fat than regular deep frying. I use 500°F cyclonic air to properly cook or grill my meat for great, char-grilled markings and tastes. The grill grate fits up to 24 hot dogs, up to 6 chicken wings simultaneously, and more.

Furthermore, the Ninja FG551 comes with 9 customizable doneness levels and 4 smart protein settings, so when cooking, I only need to press some buttons and wait for the meat to be ready.

Pros:

Cons:

  • Not easy to clean the inside of the basket area

8. Ninja OL701 Foodi Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer, 14-in-1

Sale
Ninja OL701 Foodi 14-in-1 SMART XL 8 Qt. Pressure...
  • NINJA FOODI SMART XL PRESSURE COOKER STEAM FRYER: Extra-large,...
  • FOODI SMART THERMOMETER: Enables you to achieve even more...
  • SMART COOK SYSTEM: With 4 smart proteins settings and 9...
  • SMARTLID SLIDER: Slide to unlock 3 cooking modes and 14 cooking...
  • STEAMCRISP TECHNOLOGY: Steam and crisp at the same time for...

Look no further than the Ninja OL701 Food Pressure Cooker for one of the most versatile air fryers. The unit has four presets: pressure cook, air fry, slow cook, steam & bake, steam, steam & crisp, bake/roast, broil, sous vide, yogurt, dehydrate, sear/sauté, keep warm, and proof.

Image Source: 9to5toys.com

With this Ninja Air fryer, I usually prepare soft, juicy, and crispy food that other air fryers cannot easily achieve. Besides, unlike other Ninja air fryers, this model has one lid, which I use to air fry, steam, and pressure cook. So I don't have to keep switching lids between recipes. And that, in my opinion, is quite a convenience.

However, the main drawback is that some areas of the lid can be tricky to reach during cleaning. You will therefore need to run a steam cycle to make work much easier.

Pros:

  • Versatile air fryer
  • All parts except the lid are dishwasher safe
  • Features smart thermometer dials
  • You can use one lid for all your recipes

Cons:

  • The lid can be hard to clean.

9. Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro 7-in-1 Air Fryer, IG651

Sale
Ninja IG651 Foodi Smart XL Pro 7-in-1 Indoor...
  • NINJA'S MOST POWERFUL GRILL: 500F independently powered grill...
  • 12” BBQ GRIDDLE: flat top bbq griddle cooks foods grills can't...
  • HOOD UP OR HOOD DOWN COOKING: Keep the hood down to add cyclonic...
  • SMART COOK SYSTEM PLUS THERMOMETER: The Foodi Smart Thermometer...
  • UP TO 75% LESS FAT: Air fry crisp with up to 75% less fat than...

Ninja IG651 is another air fryer to count on if you love barbecue. The unit features a built-in thermometer which I conveniently use to get the precise doneness of my food. I usually insert the probe into the thickest section of the meat for accuracy. Besides, this unit has a grill grate that combines direct heat with air fry, mimicking the performance of an outdoor grill.

Image Source: reviewed.com

I love the size of the Ninja IG651 air fryer since it's enough for preparing an entire chicken, six steaks, and eight quarts of fries. And like other Ninja air fryers, it has seven presets, including an air fryer, grill, roast, barbecue griddle, dehydrator, and broil.

Pros:

  • It comes with a built-in thermometer for accuracy
  • All parts of the air fryer are dishwasher safe
  • Versatile model
  • Quite easy to use

Cons:

Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Ninja Air Fryers

1. Air Fryer Type

Ninja Air fryers are classified into four types: basket/drawer, grill-air fryer, oven-air fryer, and pressure cooker. Basket or drawer designs are genuine air fryers.

Image Source: lacademie.com

The basket and drawer designs are outstanding compared to others as they are more convenient and safer to use. For instance, to flip the ingredients, you need to remove the drawer, shake it off, or keep it somewhere safe.

On the other hand, though the drawer and basket design are most favorable, there are some situations where a grill-air fryer, oven-air fryer, or pressure cooker-air fryer may be preferable. That is if you want to save on counter space by replacing multiple kitchen appliances. So, choosing the best type of air fryer will depend on your preference.

2. Size of the Air Fryer

The size of the air fryer will depend on the available counter space. If you opt for a heavy air fryer, it should stay on your counter. Otherwise, bringing it out, again and again, will be inconvenient.

Although some of these appliances have a large footprint, they may free up some kitchen space. For example, the Ninja OL701 can replace your slow cooker, standalone steamer, etc., since it comes with these cooking functions. On the other hand, if you have limited counter space, you can opt for the Ninja Foodi AF101 model.

3. The capacity of the Air Fryer

Before buying the best Ninja air fryer, consider the number of people you intend to feed. Ninja air fryers come in various capacities, ranging from 2 to 10 quarts. For instance, if you will be making a small batch of French fries or chicken wings for the family, look for an air fryer that can handle the amount of food.

Image Source: gaabor-global.com

Besides, there are other Ninja air fryer models with two baskets that can simultaneously cook two different dishes at different temperatures. That said, we recommend considering the overall size of the fryer since a larger capacity may need more storage space when not in use.

4. Versatility

When shopping for the best Ninja air fryer, check its versatility. For instance, check the temperature range of the unit. A wider temperature range will give you more chances to cook various foods. Besides, air fryers that can get to higher temperatures can cook faster and brown dishes more easily.

Besides temperature range, we recommend looking for an air fryer with additional features. For instance, there are several all-in-one Ninja air fryers on the market that can toast, dehydrate, roast, bake, and do other things. If those extra features can replace another small kitchen appliance on your counter, the extra cost will be worth it.

5. Ease of Use

When looking for the best air fryers, you will come across basic models, while others have unique features; however, a unique one won't do you any good if it's complicated to use. The good thing is Ninja air fryers are easy to use. For example, some Ninja models come with preset settings that allow you to make fries, bake cornbread, or roast vegetables with the push of a button.

Image Source: sciencemeetsfood.org

Conversely, timers are always handy, and most Ninja air fryers come with one. In addition, timers with audio alerts or fryers that can switch off automatically will boost the appliance's ease of use.

Although more features are preferable, they might mean a more complicated appliance, so we recommend checking the interface and controls before buying, especially if you're a beginner.

6. Cleaning

Before buying the best Ninja air fryer, ensure it's easy to clean. We recommend looking for one with a non-stick basket and dishwasher-safe parts. It is usually easier to wash the air fryer parts by hand or put them in the dishwasher, but if easy cleaning is a priority, non-stick is the way to go. The good thing with Ninja air fryers is that they are easy to clean after use compared to other air fryer models.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Ninja Air Fryer

1. What makes a Ninja Air Fryer unique?

It's ideal for compact kitchen cabinets; it takes up little space on your worktop and is easy to move in and out of a cabinet if you don't want to leave it on your kitchen countertop. Besides, it can conveniently air fry, roast, bake, dehydrate, and reheat foods.

2. Is it necessary to preheat my Ninja air fryer?

Yes, most Ninja air fryers require preheating. The oven-type preheats in 90 seconds, whereas the basket-type requires roughly 3 minutes. The dehydrate mode is the only one that does not require preheating.

3. Can I use aluminum foil in a Ninja air fryer?

Yes. You can use aluminum foil on the pan that catches the grease. This way, cleaning will be easier. However, avoid covering the roast tray or the grill with aluminum foil, as this can affect heat distribution.

4. Are Ninja air fryers dishwasher-safe?

Except for the DT251 model, most Ninja air fryers are dishwasher-safe. For an entirely dishwasher-safe air fryer, we recommend avoiding the oven models.

5. What can I cook with a Ninja air fryer?

Most Ninja air fryer models can grill, bake, broil, roast, dehydrate, and so on, apart from crisping your fries. That means most Ninja air fryers are versatile kitchen appliances.

6. Is it worth getting a Ninja air fryer?

The Ninja air fryer is worth it if you want delicious food quickly. Besides, if you have a large family or prepare large amounts of food at once, we recommend buying the Ninja Max or the Large Dual Zone air fryer.

Featured Image Source: womanandhome.com

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.