Best small air fryer for individuals and couples in the UK

A small air fryer doesn't mean you have to compromise on results...

Best small air fryer uk

by Rosie Floyd |
Updated on

If you've been thinking about getting a good-quality air fryer but don't have the space in your kitchen for a huge appliance, the UK's best small air fryers are perfect for the job of serving up delicious meals without taking up too much room on your countertops.

Air fryers are everywhere at the moment and they're fast becoming an essential for households across the UK. One of the main reasons it seems like the whole world is going crazy for them is that they deliver a faster preheating and cooking type compared to your traditional oven. This level of convenience is just what you need when life gets busy. You may think that air fryers are built just for families, but that's simply not the case. You can get some great small air fryers that are designed to whip up solo snacks or multiple meals for one to two people.

Best small air fryer UK at a glance:

• Best overall air fryer: Russell Hobbs 26500 SatisFry Small Digital Air Fryer – Buy now on Amazon UK
• Best budget small air fryer: Salter EK2817 2L Air Fryer – Buy now on Amazon UK
Best small Ninja air fryer: Ninja Air Fryer - 3.8L – Buy now on Amazon UK
Best small air fryer for fast cooking: Tower T17023 Vortx Manual Air Fryer – Buy now on Amazon UK

Just because you choose a small air fryer doesn't mean you have to compromise on features, and you can still cook with your air fryer for a family of four. Many of the best small air fryers come packed with features to help make cooking that simple, whether it's pre-programmed settings so you can perfectly cook chips, chicken or vegetables every time, or different cooking modes that you can grill steaks, roast potatoes or even bake sweet treats.

As they're more compact in size, small air fryers usually come with a smaller price tag. In fact, a couple on our list are air fryers retailing under £100. Whether you're after one of these little gadgets to cater to the size of your household or need a space-saving option for your kitchen, we've rounded up all the best small air fryers you can get in the UK.

Best small air fryer UK

Best overall air fryer

Tested

Yours/Russell Hobbs

Ideal for one person, this Russell Hobbs SatisFry Small Air Fryer has a choice of seven cooking functions. You can cook chips, fish, chicken and steak to perfection as well as bake sweet and savoury treats. With a 1.8-litre capacity, it is one of the smallest on our list but it can still hold 700g of chips, which is more than enough for individual meals and side dishes.

Customers love that it's small, easy to use and cooks fast. One comments that it's a little bigger than a large kettle, as it's a neater alternative to a microwave. To preserve the lifespan of the non-stick coating, use air fryer liners; this makes it easier to clean too.

Emily from Yours reviewed this air fryer and was impressed with how quickly it heated up. She used it for reheating sausage rolls, baking cookies, hard "boiling" eggs, roasting chicken and roast potatoes. She says this is a less bulky air fryer than others, but it can still accommodate small chicken.

Read our full Russell Hobbs SatisFry Air Fryer review

Pros

  • Just a little larger than a kettle, so a neat appliance that's perfect for one person
  • Easy to use
  • Basket and rack can be cleaned in the dishwasher
  • Fast and energy-efficient cooking that makes great chips

Cons

  • Customers comment that the non-stick coating is not very durable

Best budget small air fryer

Salter EK2817 2L Air FryerSalter/Amazon

With simple-to-use dial controls that have clear numbers and icons, this Salter air fryer is a great option for someone who finds it easier to use manual controls. It's a great value for money appliance at less than £40. A larger version is available for family-size meals. Some customers have used this two-litre model in their campervan, and it's ample for one or two people. Cook from frozen, but do bear in mind that this air fryer has a five-minute preheating phase, which some newer models have done away with.

The adjustable timer and temperature settings range between 80 and 200°C for up to 30 minutes at a time, it's also super easy to use. Customers say it's ideal if you want an easy-to-use appliance that cooks for one or two people. Additionally, customers have purchased it for elderly relatives who find the controls much easier to see and use than digital models.

Pros

  • Manual controls may suit some people better than digital
  • Compact design, so it doesn't take up too much room
  • Make low-fat meals and cook from frozen

Cons

  • Some customers found it was too small and wished they'd bought the next size up

Best small Ninja air fryer

Ninja Air FryerNinja/Amazon
Price: $84.51

With a capacity of 3.8 litres, this Ninja Air Fryer is at the larger scale for a small air fryer, but it's still small enough that it won't overcrowd your kitchen counters. An air fryer of this size is great for couples as the basket is more than big enough for a 1.35kg chicken or 900g of chips. It offers four cooking functions, so you can air fry, roast, reheat and dehydrate, and the digital control panel makes it easy to use. Use it for crispy bacon, sausages and even hard-boiled eggs.

Customers love its versatility, cooking steaks and chicken to perfection, as well as great healthy chips. They say it's the best size for a two-person household. For effortless cleaning, invest in some silicone inserts that are much easier to clean than taking the whole basket out.

This air fryer is an Amazon's Choice recommended product with nearly 40,000 customer reviews rating it 4.8 out of 5.

Pros

  • Customers agree it is very easy to set up and use
  • Slightly larger than others, so it can fit a small chicken or chunky cheese toasties
  • Ninja's outstanding reputation for the best air fryers on the market
  • Versatility: roast, reheat, dehydrate as well as air fry

Cons

  • No automatic preheat
  • No automatic pause when checking basket

Best small air fryer for fast cooking

Tower T17023 Vortx Manual Air FryerTower/Amazon

Another air fryer with manual controls, this Tower Vortx Manual Air Fryer has simple timer and temperature dials. It's ideal for reheating pastries in minutes or for cooking chicken by turning the timer up to 30 minutes. In just 15 minutes, you can have deliciously crispy golden chips. The 2.2-litre basket offers plenty of space to cook small meals, side dishes and snacks, yet it's compact enough to either be neatly stored away when not in use or displayed on your kitchen sides without taking up too much room.

Customers really like the speed and convenience of this air fryer. One comments that they had been able to fully cook their food in the time it takes their oven to heat up. Many people say that chips taste so crispy on the outside yet soft and fluffy inside – better than an oven. Again, it's recommended to buy some silicone or paper air fryer liners to preserve the non-stick.

Bear in mind, at 1,000W, it's not the most powerful air fryer, but it's ample for crisping up some croissants (plus much more) and saves turning on the oven.

This Tower air fryer is an Amazon's Choice recommended product with over 13,000 reviews rating it 4.4 out of 5.

Pros

  • Very easy to use manual controls
  • Cook side dishes and snacks for two people
  • One of the top energy-saving small air fryers
  • Doesn't require oil to cook a range of cooks

Cons

  • Non-stick coating will get damaged over time, so consider using liners or silicone bakeware

Best small air fryer for convenience

Tested

Lakeland Digital Compact Air FryerYours/Lakeland
Price: £49.99 (was £64.99)

www.lakeland.co.uk

This compact Lakeland Digital Compact Air Fryer is ideal for smaller kitchens. It has a slimline design with simple digital controls, so you can control the temperature from 60 to 200 degrees as well as the timer. The pause function automatically stops cooking and the timer if you need to pull the basket out to check progress and the cool-touch body and handle will keep you from burning yourself.

Natalie from the Yours team owns this air fryer. She says she uses it all the time for chips, crisp curried cauliflower and jerk tofu. It's her partner's favourite kitchen appliance because it's so easy to use and convenient. Bear in mind, the capacity is a bit small, but you can double the vertical space buy purchasing seven-inch diameter air fryer racks. Additionally, Natalie uses silicone bakeware to separate items and stop breaded frozen foods leaving crumbs in the drawer.

Because it's small, chips need a shake halfway through cooking to ensure the ones at the bottom get a chance to crisp up. But, other than that, this little air fryer is utterly dispensable and saves putting the oven on.

Pros

  • Simple to use digital control panel
  • Safety features such as cool-touch body and handle
  • No preheating, unlike an oven
  • Perfect for one or two people

Cons

  • Some reviewers have commented that their coated tray has lost its coating over time

Best quiet small air fryer

Tested

Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer with ClearCook & OdourEraseYours/Instant

Cook a whole roast chicken in the Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer. Just like an oven, there's a window to watch your food cooking and its generous capacity can serve up to four people. Emily from Yours tested this air fryer. What stands out with this model is the OdourErase air filter (that limits food smells), its clear window and its Quiet Mark award.

Emily was new to air fryers but found this a doddle to use. In particular, she thought the ClearCook window was super useful for monitoring food as it cooks. Also, it was so easy to clean as the cooking tray and basket can go in the dishwasher. Although there are cheaper air fryers on the market, this Vortex Plus has more functions and features that makes it worth the money. We also tested the previous Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer, which is cheaper but it doesn't have the OdourErase filter.

Read Emily's full Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer with ClearCook & OdourErase review

Pros

  • Multi-purpose with six pre-set programmes to make air frying even easier
  • Awarded Quiet Mark
  • Large capacity
  • Dishwasher-friendly basket and cooking tray
  • Requires very little if no oil for healthier cooking

Cons

  • May be too large for some kitchen counter-tops

Best small multifunctional air fryer

Tested

Haier I-Master Series 5 Multi Air FryerYours/Haier
Price: £139

As well as air frying, you can bake, roast, slow cook and much more in the Haier I-Master Series 5 Multi Air Fryer. This versatile small appliance can replace an oven in so many instances, plus it's an oil-free and cheaper way of cooking. Michael tested this Haier multifunctional air fryer for Yours.

This is one of few air fryers that comes with racks and two baking dishes; along with the cooking basket these are dishwasher safe. Our tested tried out silicone trays and paper liners in the air fryer too and said food cooked just as well and the basket was much easier to clean as a result.

This appliance has a double glass window so you can watch your food cooking without any heat loss. Whilst the body of the air fryer stays cool to touch.

Customers love its compact design and versatility. This air fryer can grill, roast and even dehydrate, so if you're short on space this is an ideal replacement for an oven.

Read our full Haier I-Master Series 5 Multi Air Fryer review

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight and well-built
  • Large capacity – roast a whole chicken
  • Fast cooking time
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Max temperature only 200°C

Best lightweight small air fryer

Tefal Easy Fry Compact Digital Health Air FryerTefal/Amazon

Weighing just 0.6kg, you can easily pop the Tefal Easy Fry Compact Digital Health Air Fryer into storage after every use or move it elsewhere in your kitchen after you've finished cooking. Like most air fryers, it uses hot air circulation to give your food that crispy and crunchy texture. It offers a large digital touchscreen display so you can easily see what you're doing, with pre-programmed cooking settings for chips, chicken and even cakes.

Customers have used this small air fryer in a range of ingenious ways, even cooking fish and chips in it. Consider it like a mini oven that can cook from frozen, and the possibilities are endless. This model is recommended for single-person households, and it's ample for cooking a pie or roasting a chicken breast.

Tefal invented the air fryer with their original ActiFry appliance that has a paddle to push food, such as chips, around the cooking area to get an even crispness. Should you want a larger air fryer, there is a new model of the Tefal ActiFry available.

Pros

  • Four functions: fry, grill, roast and bake
  • Very compact design for single households or have in a caravan
  • Easy to use large digital controls and display with pre-set functions

Cons

  • Some customers found it too small

Best small air fryer for versatility

Power XL Vortex HF-5096TS Air FryerHigh Street TV/Amazon

This is the 2.8-litre version of the Power XL Vortex Air Fryer, in particular customers are praising it for cooking chicken to perfection, whether that's crispy chicken strips or juicy chicken fillets. Some air fryers offer more than just healthily fried foods, and the Power XL Vortex Air Fryer is a great example of one of them as not only can it air fry, it can roast, reheat, dehydrate and bake all in one appliance. Not only that, it has eight pre-set cooking functions so you can cook all your favourites at the ideal temperature every single time. When it comes to clearing up, the bowl is removable, and it includes dishwasher-safe parts for ease.

Customers say this is ideal for one or two people, and it's much quicker than using the oven. Whether it's fried snacks, roast chicken or pie, customers found their food was done in half the time it takes in an oven. This Power XL Vortex Air Fryer has 393 reviews rating it 4.6 out of 5.

Pros

  • Five different cooking modes and eight pre-set functions for versatility
  • Includes a recipe book
  • Dishwasher-safe parts for easy cleaning
  • Customers comment that it cooks chicken really well

Cons

  • Some customers found it a little complicated to use

Our verdict: What is the best small air fryer?

In our opinion, the Russell Hobbs 26500 SatisFry Small Digital Air Fryer is more than worthy of the top spot for the best small air fryer in the UK. If you're new to air frying, there is a choice of seven pre-set cooking functions that are already set to the right time and temperature so you can enjoy perfectly cooked chicken, chips and steak from the get-go. The 1.8L capacity is perfect for solo meals or to create sides as part of bigger meals for multiple people.

Best small air fryer UK FAQs

What is the ideal capacity of a small air fryer?

The ideal capacity for a small air fryer will depend on what you typically cook and the number of people you usually make food for. The beauty of small air fryers is that they take up less room compared to larger models, such as dual air fryers, so the overall capacity tends to be smaller. Small air fryers in the UK can range from 1.5 litres to 3.8 litres so they can cater for individual meals, side dishes or preparing food for two.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of cooking in a small air fryer?

As with any new kitchen appliance, you should weigh up the pros and cons before you buy a small air fryer to make sure it's right for your cooking preferences and the needs of your household. Here’s a breakdown of just some of the advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages

• Convenient for small meals and quick snacks as they don’t take very long to preheat compared to traditional ovens.
• Offer a shorter cooking time and lower energy consumption compared to conventional ovens as they’re smaller in size and use convection technology to circulate hot air around your food, so your meals will be cooked faster.
• Require minimal preheating time compared to traditional ovens and cook your food faster, too, so they’re extremely convenient.
• Compact size means they won’t take up loads of room on your countertops, making them ideal for households with limited space and smaller kitchens.

Disadvantages

• Smaller cooking capacity won’t be ideal if you’re cooking a large amount of food at once or have a larger family to cater for at mealtimes.
• Due to their compact size, they might not be suitable for all types of foods, like a large chicken, for example. You may need to cook certain foods in smaller batches, which will ultimately take longer for you to dish up everything.
• Small air fryers can be limited in cooking styles compared to some of the larger models. They may only have a fryer mode whereas larger models could have modes for grilling, roasting and baking, too.

Rosie Floyd is a Pets, Homes and Garden Product Writer for Yours, specialising in home appliances, décor and furnishings, as well as all things dogs. After completing her Journalism & Media degree from Coventry University back in 2015, she started her career writing about must-visit holiday destinations, moving on to creating content around outdoor living and garden buildings, before joining the team at Bauer.

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