What size air fryer do you really need? It comes down to what you’re cooking, what family size you have, and how much space you have for small appliances.
Air fryers come in numerous sizes and various designs, all to accommodate a wide variety of family sizes as well as individuals.
Let’s take a look at different sizes so you can determine exactly what size of air fryers will work best for you.
What Size Air Fryer Is Best For You
Small Air Fryers
Air fryer sizes vary, but starting at the bottom, we have a simple small size. This could be anything from a single quart up to 2 QT, but rarely anything larger than that.
These sizes are best for making individual meals like chicken fingers, french fries, or other small-batch dishes. A small air fryer takes up a very little amount of space on your counter and in your cabinet.
Small air fryers close to 2 QT will work for two-person families, but normally, if you get a small air fryer it’s to make single meals with small portions in mind.
Medium Air Fryers
Medium fryers work for two to four people, and can come from 3 QT to 5 QT sizes. This is the most extensive range you’ll see in sized air fryers.
While medium air fryers don’t take up too much space, they’re able to cook quite a lot of food. If you’re going for nice crispy edges on whatever you’re making, there’s enough space to divide everything with air in between each piece of food, and get that exact crispy crust you want.
Medium air fryers are the last size category where you don’t really have too many cooking options, but larger fryers will get a little more complex and come with more programmable options.
Large Air Fryers
A large air fryer is anything from about 5 QT up to about 6 QT. This is a five-person family size, so if you’re batch cooking for a lot of kids, this is going to be your favorite kitchen appliance in no time.
Larger air fryers like these tend to come with a lot of cooking options, but remember, you’re getting into high energy consumption models now.
A large air fryer is big enough to cook a whole chicken in, so if you’re not keen on letting your bird roast in the oven, this has you covered.
Extra Large Air Fryers
Want to cook a turkey? These 6 QT+ models are always changing, because brands are recognizing large families and the growing desire to own an air fryer.
This is a six-person to ten-person range. Anything outside of that, and you’re just going to have to make batches.
Extra large air fryers create a lot of heat in the kitchen outside of the appliance, and they take up a ton of space. You’ll need a considerable amount of cabinet space to keep one of these in storage.
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Are All Air Fryers Universally Sized?
If only that were the case. If you see an air fryer labeled as medium-sized, that same set of dimensions could change from brand to brand. There’s no set, universal size that companies stick to here.
Instead, they focus on what the air fryers can do. The quart size eventually doesn’t matter quite as much when you get outside of smaller, more compact models. You want to know how many people you can cook for.
While there is no universal sizing chart for air fryers, all manufacturers do a great job at displaying what they can do regardless of the internal size.
What Size Air Fryer for a Family of 2?
How big is a 2 QT air fryer? Big enough for a family of two. Most of them in this category run around 1.8 QT up to about 2.5 QT, which is just enough to really get a good crisp on a healthy-sized batch of food.
Two-person air fryers are designed for couples eating in, and come in a compact countertop size. Because they run smaller power requirements than most air fryers, you save money on your utility bill.
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What Size Air Fryer for a Family of 3?
These don’t differ too much from two-person family sizes. You can typically see about 2.5 QT up to 3.3 QT depending on the brand. Over 3 QT is when you start taking up more counter space.
This is where you start getting into higher energy consumption territory. While this isn’t an air fryer you would use for Thanksgiving, it does offer a good amount of room for bigger batch cooking. If you’re into freezer meals and cooking one day a month, these work quickly enough to help you achieve that.
What Size Air Fryer for a Family of 4?
What sizes do air fryers come in? If only there were a universal sizing option, because in the four-person family range, you have a pretty big gap. Expect to see anything from some niche 3.5 QT sizes up to about 5.8 QT.
Power consumption and counter space become an issue around here, but thankfully, these four-person models come with some custom cooking options to help cut down on electricity use. This is a brand-by-brand thing, but this is traditionally where you start seeing these extended options.
What Size Air Fryer for a Family of 5?
Ever asked yourself “how big of an air fryer do I need for a turkey?” because this is where it begins. Most turkeys are fairly big, and an air fryer for a family of five would be the smallest one that you should use for a turkey.
These are typically between 5.8 QT and about 6+ QT, which should fit most of your needs for a family of five. With larger air fryers, there are more features to account for, so keep your eyes peeled.
Should I Just Get a Bigger Air Fryer to be Safe?
It depends. If you get an air fryer that’s too big and you’re not putting enough food in it, you can manipulate the settings to your liking. This will allow you to cook smaller batches of food. However, you have to be careful, because it doesn’t take long to overwork your air fryer.
Another few points to think of when you get an oversized fryer:
- You’re wasting electricity; there’s a higher capacity and more power required to keep it running. That’s not efficient for smaller batches of food.
- There’s more counter space taken up, which leaves less room for preparation spaces or other small appliances.
- Larger air fryers produce a lot more heat outside of the air fryer, especially when they run 1800W power supplies or above. This heats up your kitchen.
- There may be some features that you don’t really need. Larger air fryers come with more options and cooking methods that don’t necessarily suit smaller batches of food.
An air fryer comparison between size, programmable options, and time-to-cook will help you decide what the best size air fryer is for your needs.
A Cautionary Tale for Air Fryer Sizes
Brands can say their fryers are 2.5 QT or 5.8 QT, but that has some issues with the global marketplace.
Many of these United States-born brands do not make specific size changes for the international audience. Instead, they’ll change the electrical components to apply to EU standards.
That means that air fryer lovers in the UK or EU will end up seeing 0.94L instead of making these air fryers a universal 1.0L (0.94L is the equivalent of one quart).
You’re seeing the same products, but with different wiring and electrical requirements. However, this appears like you’re being shafted by a small capacity change compared to other models. It’s not the case.
We All Want That Goldilocks Air Fryer
Not too small, not too big, just right. When you make small batches of food in a large air fryer, it can burn or over-crisp them. Too much food in a small air fryer can leave some areas soggy and un-crisped.
Get the right size air fryer for your needs, and try to avoid getting anything bigger than that. If you’re not done growing your family, get an air fryer that fits your current needs and worry about upgrading later.