We Compared the NuWave, Power Air, and Farberware Air Fryers: Here's Our Candid Review
According to Kitchn's research, three of the most Googled air fryers are for the NuWave, Power Air, and Farberware devices. Home cooks want to know how these three small appliances, specifically, perform. Do they have any quirks? Are they worth the money? Is one better than the other? In attempts to save you some search time, I've tested all three of these machines. Here's what I liked — and didn't like! — about each one.
Why You Should Trust Our Gear Pro
For more than 30 years, I was in charge of testing and reporting on everything from wooden spoons to connected refrigerators at the Good Housekeeping Institute. I've walked the floors of every trade show and read every new product release for longer than most digital publications have existed!
My street cred? I also worked as a chef in New York City restaurants for seven years. And I drink a lot of coffee.
I've tested, used, and played with nearly every piece of kitchen gear (including air fryers) to come on the market for years. When it comes to gear, it takes a lot to impress me, and I know what actually works.
- It won't eat up your countertop. It only holds three quarts but that's big enough for a bag of frozen steak fries or two pounds of chicken wings.
- Programming is easy. No touch pads here. Only old-fashioned dials that you know just how to use. And there are no preset programs that are designed to make things easy but wind up confusing you. All you do is turn the knobs to the temperature and number of minutes.
- It comes with a cookbook. Expand your air fryer repertoire to things like enchiladas or sweet potato chips.
- Cleanup is a cinch. The basket is coated with nonstick and goes in the dishwasher. And because this fryer isn't humongous, its parts won't hog the racks in your machine.
- It's cheap. I'm not sure you'll find one for less.
- It's not eye candy for your countertop. No one is going to stop and admire this utilitarian-looking gizmo.
- It doesn't heat evenly. You need to preheat and stir several times during cooking to get even results.
Bottom line: It's a good entry into air frying if your priority is spending as little as possible. And if you're one of those people who finds it challenging to program consumer electronics, you'll appreciate the fact that the Farberware has dials, not touch pads.
Buy: Farberware Air Fryer, $60 at Jet
- It comes very close to even cooking. But you do need to toss and turn food once during cooking for the best results.
- There's an intuitive digital control panel. The pads and the lettering are large and figuring out the automatic settings is a no-brainer.
- It comes with a divider. You can cook chicken and shrimp at the same time without their flavors intermingling when the divider's in place.
- It's big and bulky. It takes up some serious space on the countertop and if you don't use it regularly, you'll need to find considerable room for it in a cabinet or closet.
- Cleaning can be a chore. While the basket can go in the dishwasher, it's only top-rack safe and, as it's not small, it might not even fit in your dishwasher. The removable bottom of the basket is stainless steel so it takes a bit of elbow grease to get off stuck-on bits.
Bottom line: Looking for a good value in a family-sized air fryer? Here's your guy. It's a close rival to my fave, the much pricier Philips, but does require that you do some tossing during cooking.
Buy: NuWave Brio 6-QT Healthy Digital Air Fryer, $100 at Target
- There are preset programs. Time and temperature for seven categories of food — including fries, fish, and cake — are automatically set by pressing one button.
- It's got a sleek, clean look. The controls go to sleep when you're not using them, reducing the visual clutter in your kitchen.
- It cooks two different items at once. A divider comes with the Power Elite to separate the basket into halves.
- Color cookbook included. And the recipes are quite enticing … coconut shimp or doughnut bread pudding, anyone?
- It gets hot. The top of the handle gets almost too hot to touch.
- The fryer basket is tricky to use. There's a safety mechanism to prevent you from removing the cooking basket from the outer one and maybe having the hot outer basket land on your foot. However, I found it difficult and frustrating to remove the basket when I wanted to pour out fries or clean it.
- It cooks unevenly. You'll be disappointed if you don't stop and shake often, which could mean a longer cooking time
- It can't be machine washed. If you like to throw everything in the dishwasher, this isn't the air fryer for you. Although the nonstick finish will help make hand cleaning easy.
Bottom line: Not a top choice. There are better air fryers for the money.
Buy: 5.5-Quart Family Sized Power Air Fryer Elite, $120