We had similar results with many of the air fryers in our tests. Much of the test food came out crispy and delicious, even if it didn’t taste much like deep-fried food. The NuWave Brio set itself apart by offering consistency – throughout many batches and across the full width of the basket. Other fryers had lighter spots, usually in the middle, and entire batches that were less cooked or overcooked. The Brio was great at offering predictable results every time. We used almost no oil – just a spray in the pan to keep things from sticking.
It also has very user-friendly controls. The touchscreen makes it simple to use compared to ones with dials. There is a huge temperature range, and you can select with 5-degree increments so it gets more specific than cookers with 10-degree increments. The Brio is the smallest fryer we tested and features an integrated cord wrap to keep your countertop tidy. Counter space is precious when you’re preparing a meal, so we appreciate the space-saving design. This is one of the best air fryers for multitasking. It comes with a non-stick baking pan and a baking rack so you can do more than just air frying. You can bake, grill, toast, broil and roast if you use the appointed accessories, and most of those methods you can do faster than in a conventional oven. The small size is not family friendly, but for a smaller household this NuWave appliance is perfect.
There is only one air fryer in our comparison that costs less than the GoWise Air Fryer, and it represents a dramatic drop in quality. The GoWise produced crisp and delicious foods nearly identical to those from machines twice as expensive. It is only slightly bulkier than the best overall fryer, taking up little counter space. You can get one in red, purple or black, providing options for your personal taste. The GoWise is also one of the quietest air fryers out of the bunch.
The GoWise has user-friendly controls and is easy to clean. The user manual does not recommend putting it in the dishwasher, and that is one drawback, but it was easy enough to clean by hand. It features a non-stick coating in the basket making it easier to clean, but the trade-off is heat consistency. It had some hotter spots in some batches, even when we reshuffled and tossed the food midway through, as recommended. There are seven presets for common items like fries, chicken, steak and fish, which can be a time-saver.
We also contacted Isabel Maples, MEd, RDN, who is a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, to talk about potential nutritional benefits of using one of these machines. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics does not endorse any products, but Maples did indicate there can be nutritional benefits to using these machines.
“Little or no oil is used, depending on what’s being cooked. In general, hot air dryers use about three-quarters less oil. The biggest health benefit is the calorie reduction,” according to Maples. “Enjoying food with fewer calories is important, since two out of three Americans are overweight or obese.”