Best Small Air Fryers – Buying Guide

5 Best Small Air Fryers 2021

Best Small Air Fryers – Buying Guide explores the features and pros and cons of 4 small air fryers in the 2 – 3.5 quart capacity; Nuwave Brio, Hamilton Beach, Elite Platinum, and Phillips Premium. You’ve probably heard about air fryers, but when cooking for 1 or 2 people, they just are too big and take up too much counter space. However, did you know that they make smaller air fryers that fit well with the person cooking for 1 or 2.

By reading this post you will become a better-informed consumer and be able to discover the best air fryer for you. There is a table at the bottom of the post for an easy side-by-side visual comparison.

Preview Table – Air Fryer

15 Best Small Air Fryers 2021 - NuWave BrioNuWave BrioBest With Temperature Check
25 Best Small Air Fryers 2021 - Hamilton BeachHamilton BeachBest Name Brand
35 Best Small Air Fryers 2021 - EliteElite PlatinumBest With Timer and Auto Shut-Off
45 Best Small Air Fryers Philips PremiumPhilips PremiumBest With Most Functions

Why Should You Purchase An Air Fryer?

There are many reasons air frying might be perfect for you, but I think at the top of the list for most people is how much more healthy it is in preparing food, especially those that are typically fried food. Imagine preparing chicken wings frozen fries with minimal fat and oil. No added fats means less calories and saturated fat.

But nowadays, air fryers can do so much more than prepare food in a healthier manner. They can also bake, grill, broil, dehydrate, roast, toast, and even reheat.

It seems so much easier and faster than cooking the traditional way with so many options. Don’t get me wrong, you can still use your oven and other kitchen appliances if you are a person that loves to cook or bake. But there may be a time when you are short on time, and an air fryer most of the time will prepare food faster than the traditional methods.

How Does An Air Fryer Work?

An Air fryer is a kitchen appliance that cooks by circulating hot air around food. By using circulating fans there is minimal heat loss through the cooking chamber.

Unlike an oven, the air fryer does not need to preheat. Simply place your food into the cooking chamber, set the temperature and timer, and let it work its magic.

The fan circulates heat around your food for even cooking so you’ll get evenly crisp vegetables and meats without any added oils or fats.

NUWAVE BRIO 3-Quart Digital Air Fryer

5 Best Small Air Fryers  - NuWave Brio


  • 3-Quart
  • Color
    • Black
  • Non-Stick Coating
  • Temperature Range
    • Between 100°F and 400°F, Adjustable In 5°F Increments
  • Reheat and Preheat Buttons
    • Reheat function Warms Food at 360°F For 4 Minutes
  • 6 Preprogrammed Settings
    • Air Broil
    • Grill
    • Roast
    • Bake
    • Dehydrate
  • Drawer and Food Basket Are Dishwasher Safe
  • Notice: DO NOT immerse the whole Air Fryer in water
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  • Product Dimensions
    • 9 x 9 x 12.5″
  • Weight
    • 14.6 lbs
  • 1300 Watts
  • Manufacturer: NuWave
  • Brand: NuWave
  • ASIN: B075X3287P
  • 1-year Limited Manufacturer Warranty


  • Dishwasher Safe
  • Pre-programed Settings
  • Temperature Check


  • Wire Mesh In Bottom of the Pan Can Be Hard To Clean


The brand NuWave has been a front runner in small kitchen appliances for years. This particular air fryer has a 3-quart capacity.

The Nuwave has quite a few features, including six preset programs and a preheat and reheat setting.

The NuWave checks the temperature 120 times per second. This allows a more consistent cooking temperature than many of its competitors.

Overall the NuWave Air Fryer comes with some excellent features such as the preheat and reheat and preprogrammed settings. Having these features and with the added temperature check, it could be the small air fryer that fits your needs.

Hamilton Beach 35050 Electric Fryer

5 Best Small Air Fryers  - Hamilton Beach


  • 2.6 Quarts
  • Color
    • Black
  • Temperature Up to 400°
  • No Preheating Necessary
  • Non-Stick Basket
  • 6 Pre-Programmed Settings
    • French Fries
    • Chicken
    • Seafood
    • Steak
    • Baked Goods
    • Vegetables 
  • Beeps When Food Is Done
  • Hand-Wash
  • Notice: DO NOT immerse the whole Air Fryer in water
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  • Product Dimensions
    • 14.5 x 12.5 x 12.5″
  • Weight
    • 9.28 lbs
  • 1400 Watts
  • Manufacturer – Hamilton Beach
  • Brand – Hamilton Beach


  • Programmed Settings
  • Known Brand Name


  • Hand Wash


The Hamilton Beach 35050 Air Fryer has a 2.6-quart capacity. It comes with six pre-programmed settings for french fries, chicken, seafood, steak, baked goods, and vegetables. You can manually set the time and heat as well.

Though weighing only 9.28 lbs, it is larger, which is something to keep in mind if you plan on keeping your air fryer on counter space.

Preheating is not needed, and there is an audible beep when done cooking is done.

One disadvantage is that the Hamilton Beach 35050 is hand-washable only. This might be an issue for some. If you aren’t opposed to hand washing, the manufacturer suggests using just soapy water.

Elite Platinum

5 Best Small Air Fryers - Elite Platinum


  • 3.5 Quart
  • Color
    • Black
  • Digital
  • Non-Stick Basket
  • Temperatures From 149 to 400°
  • 60-Minute Timer
  • Auto Shut-Off
  • 6 Menu Functions:
    • Bake
    • Meat
    • Fish
    • Cheese
    • Veggies
    • Fries
  • 26 Recipe Booklet
  • Hand-Wash
  • Notice: DO NOT immerse the whole Air Fryer in water


  • Dimensions
    • 15.59 x 11.42 x 12.36 inches
  • Weight
    • 12.35
  • Manufacturer: Maxi-Matic
  • Brand: Elite
  • 1300 Watts
  • 1 year Limited Warranty Against Manufacturer Defects


  • Large Air Fryer Basket
  • Quiet


  • Short Cord
  • Dimensions


The Elite Platinum Air Fryer has the largest capacity (3.5 quarts) of the air fryers discussed in this comparison. With the larger capacity also comes a heavier (12.35 lbs) and longer, wider, and taller unit than the other air fryers discussed. They also have a slightly smaller version – 3.2 quart available.

Like the Hamilton Beach brand, the Elite Premium also has six presets – Bake, Meat, Fish, Cheese, Veggies, and Fries. There is a 60-minute timer with auto shut-off.

Coming with 26 recipes, there is something for just about everyone, but you can also use your own recipes. A feature that is included is a 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.

Philips Premium

5 Best Small Air Fryers  - Phillips Premium


  • 3 Quart
  • Color
    • Black
  • Non-Stick Coating
  • 30-Minute Timer
  • Air Fry, Bake, Grill, Roast, Reheat, Dehydrate, and Toast
  • Fat Removal Technology
  • Cook Book
  • Removable Dishwasher Safe Parts
  • Notice: DO NOT immerse the whole Air Fryer in water


  • Product Dimensions
    • 14.02 x 13.7 x 13.54 inches
  • Weight
    • 15.08  lbs
  • Manufacturer: Philips Kitchen Appliances
  • Brand: Philips Kitchen Appliances


  • Available as Analog or Digital Air Fryer
  • Ease of Use
  • 7 Cooking Functions


  • Accessories Can Be Expensive
  • No Preset Programs
  • Size


The Philips Premium Air Fryer comes in at the higher end of the price point for the smaller size fryer. The capacity is 3 quarts, and Analog and Digital are available.

There are no preset programs, but there is an instructional guide for Air Fry, Bake, Grill, Roast, Reheat, Dehydrate, and Toast.

The Philips Premium comes with a 30-minute timer.

Comparison Table

NuWaveHamilton BeachElitePhilips Premium
5 Best Small Air Fryers 2021 - NuWave Brio5 Best Small Air Fryers 2021 - Hamilton Beach5 Best Small Air Fryers 2021 - Elite5 Best Small Air Fryers (2021 Reviews and Comparison Guide) - Phillips Premium
ColorBlackBlack BlackBlack
Auto Shut-OffNoNoYesNo
Programmed666 Functions7 Functions
Dimensions9 x 9 x 12.5″14.5 x 12.5 x 12.5″15.59 x 11.42 x 12.36″14.02 x 13.7 x 13.54″
Weight14.6 lbs.9.28 lbs.12.35 lbs.15.08  lbs
Watts130014001300Not stated
Warranty1-year Limited Not mentioned1-year LimitedNot Mentioned
PriceCurrent PriceCurrent PriceCurrent PriceCurrent Price

If you are interested in toaster ovens I wrote a buying guide that explores the features, pros and cons of them you might find value in reading:

Related Article: 5 Top Rated Toaster Ovens – Buying Guide

With all products, features can change, so before purchasing, be sure the features that attracted you to the product are still the same.

I hope in reading Best Small Air Fryers – Buying Guide, you were able to see the differences in the small fryers and see which is the best air fryer that fits your needs.

Do you have any experience with air frying? If so, please comment below.

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