Although we think the Cuisinart toaster oven strikes the best balance of value, size, and versatility in this category, we’ve learned from commenters, customer reviews, and air fryer owners that many people prefer something more compact than a toaster oven or want a dedicated machine for cooking frozen snacks, meat, or vegetables. With that in mind, we’ve allowed our stance on air fryers to evolve. If you don’t plan to bake, and if you intend to make only one or two portions of food at a time, the Philips Premium Airfryer HD9741/96 may align better with your needs than a convection toaster oven, and it’s the best pod-shaped model we’ve tested. In 2021, we tested more lower-cost models to determine a budget pick: the Cosori Pro Air Fryer.
If you’re not sure whether you want a convection toaster oven or an air fryer, we’ve written a helpful checklist so you can better understand the trade-offs for each appliance. We also have general advice on how to adjust air-fryer recipes for your convection toaster oven.
Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven TOB-260N1
The Cuisinart oven’s large capacity, multiple fan speeds, and useful accessories make it a far more versatile appliance for air frying than any of the pod-shaped air fryers we tested.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $300.
When it comes to air frying, our top-pick toaster oven, the Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven TOB-260N1, produced better results than any of the air fryers we’ve tested since 2017, and it also has more accessories. The Cuisinart produced crispier, more evenly cooked food in our tests, and it easily accommodates much more than a typical pod-shaped air fryer does—including up to nine slices of toast, a 6-pound chicken, a 9-inch pie or cake, or a 13-inch pizza. It also comes with more useful accessories than any air fryer we tested, because it includes a baking tray, a ceramic pizza stone, and two oven racks (a rarity for most toaster ovens). You don’t need to buy any special equipment to bake in the Cuisinart oven, as you do with air fryers; an 8- or 9-inch cake pan or a standard loaf pan will fit with room to spare.
Philips Premium Airfryer HD9741/96
We think a convection toaster oven does the job better, but if you need something smaller, this is the model to get. When filled to capacity, the Philips HD9741/96 was able to cook food more evenly than the other pod-shaped models we tested.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $250.
You may want a small, pod-shaped air fryer if you have limited counter space, or if you plan to make only one or two servings of food at a time. The Philips Premium Airfryer HD9741/96 is the best pod-shaped air fryer we’ve tested. It has a relatively small footprint, it’s easy to use, and it cooks food more evenly than similar models. You can’t adjust or turn off its powerful convection fan, which means it’s not great for baking and you can’t use it to make toast. Aside from its “fryer” basket, all of its accessories are sold separately. We think many people are likely to be happier with the larger cooking capacity and versatility of a convection toaster oven. Bottom line: We recommend getting the Philips air fryer only if it’s suitable for your space and lifestyle.
Cosori Pro Air Fryer
This air fryer was the best we tested for under $100. It shares some of the design features of the Philips model, but it doesn’t cook as evenly, and its settings aren’t quite as accurate.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $85.
If you want a pod-shaped air fryer that costs less than the Philips model, we recommend the Cosori Pro Air Fryer. In our tests, it didn’t cook as evenly as the Philips, but we found its results perfectly acceptable considering its lower price. The Cosori has lots of preprogrammed settings, but some aren’t that accurate (which is true of many models), so you may have to fiddle with it more to find the optimal settings for what you’re cooking. It also comes with a recipe booklet, which is nice if you’re looking for some guidance when cooking with convection technology. Like the Philips, the Cosori has a well-designed exterior and won’t be an eyesore if you plan to store it on your counter.