Fast, versatile and feature-packed, the best dual air fryers prove that two drawers are better than one
While standard air fryers have taken the UK by storm thanks to their healthy, speedy and energy-efficient cooking, the best dual air fryers are a different kettle of fish (or basket of chips) entirely. Though adding a second drawer or basket onto a standard air fryer might not seem that revolutionary, our testing has found that the increased capacity, clever sync features and handy accessories available on many dual air fryers mean they can be used to effectively cook whole meals, rather than just whip up snacks and extra portions.
To learn a little bit more about how dual air fryers work, the features to look out for, as well as the price ranges to expect, you can check out our handy air fryer buying guide below. Scroll past that, and you’ll find our full roundup, complete with mini reviews of our favourite tried and tested dual air fryers.
Alternatively, if you already have an idea of what you’re looking for, our at a glance list takes you straight through to buying some of our favourites.
Best dual air fryer: At a glance
|Best dual air fryer for versatility||Instant Vortex Plus Dual Drawer (~£170)||Check price at Amazon|
|Best dual air fryer for crispy food||Ninja Foodi Dual Zone (~£220)||Check price at Ninja|
|Best self-stirring dual air fryer||Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 (~£150)||Check price at Argos|
|Best value dual air fryer||Salter Dual Digital Air Fryer (~£100)||Check price at Amazon|
How to choose the best dual air fryer for you
How do air fryers work?
Air fryers heat food using convection cooking, which simply means they rapidly circulate hot air, ensuring the maximum amount of surface area comes into contact with oil and heat. In terms of heat output, they tend to operate between 150˚ and 200˚C, although models with dehydrating functions or maximum crisping settings can go as low as 40˚C and as high 240˚C.
Air fryers have become so popular in recent years because their size and clever designs mean they’re speedy, energy efficient and need very little to no oil to effectively crisp up food. This is in contrast to traditional ovens, which are larger and therefore require more time and energy to reach the same temperatures.
Part of what helps air fryers achieve such great results is a chemical reaction known as the Maillard reaction. This is the process by which food takes on a “browned”, roasted flavour, and can be achieved using high heat and very little oil.
For a more in-depth explanation of how air fryers work and their benefits versus standard ovens, you can read our full-length What is an air fryer? explainer.
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What are the standard functions of an air fryer?
Alongside their air fryer function, there are a few things we’ve come to expect as standard on these appliances. The best dual air fryers should come with preset cooking modes for items such as fish, chicken and potatoes, as well as manual settings for timings and temperature to help you get perfectly tailored results. They should also come with dishwasher-safe removable parts and handy accessories. Finally, helpful recipe booklets and companion apps preloaded with cooking suggestions are things we’ve seen included with many of the models we’ve tested.
What features should I look out for in dual air fryers?
Particular features to look out for in dual air fryers are settings to make using the twin baskets a simpler affair. Two common features in this vein are sync and match settings. Sync settings adjust time and temperature to ensure both your portions finish at the same time, while match mirrors the settings on both baskets, for when you’re cooking two portions of the same food. These settings might fall under different names depending on the model you choose, but most dual air fryers will have some option in this vein.
Given their higher price point, some extra functionality beyond the norm is to be expected with dual fryers. This can include additional settings for roasting, dehydrating and grilling, or special features such as the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone’s Max Crisp setting or the Tefal Genius XL 2in1’s self-stirring paddle, both of which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
Can you cook whole meals in a dual air fryer?
The short answer is yes. Even the simplest dual air fryer can make a whole meal thanks to its twin basket setup allowing you to cook two things at once, whether that’s two kinds of veg, potatoes and protein, or breakfast foods such as hash browns and bacon. The handy sync and match features available on many models takes things a step further, allowing you to better coordinate the cooking of your two items. Additionally, accessories such as grill plates let you cook a wider range of foods more effectively, fully opening up your mealtime possibilities.
However, if overall capacity or cooking larger single portions is more important to you than variety, you might want to check out some of our favourite large capacity air fryers, such as the Ninja Air Fryer MAX AF160UK or the oven-style Proscenic T31, whose rotisserie functionality and 15-litre capacity allow it to cook a whole chicken in just 45 minutes.
How much should I spend on a dual air fryer?
In terms of countertop cooking devices, dual air fryers tend to be a little on the expensive side. If you’re looking for something cheap and simple, you can find effective models for anywhere between £50-£150, though these options will almost always have a single basket and won’t be able to match the speed and breadth of settings available on more expensive models. Those in the market for a budget air fryer might want to consider some of our favourite cheaper picks, such as the Ninja Air Fryer AF100UK, Tower T17005 and Tower Xpress Combo 10-in-1, which we review in more detail on our best air fryer roundup.
Dual air fryers, with their increased capacity and more advanced range of features, are naturally going to be more expensive than single basket models and will set you back anywhere between £150 to £300. They sit in the same price bracket as large capacity, oven-style models, models with smart features and multi cookers that include an air fryer function.
While relatively expensive, the options we’ve selected below have impressed us enough with their performance and clever features to justify their prices.
How do we test air fryers?
As part of our review process, we put every air fryer through a series of rigorous tests, gauging performance and verifying that all the features, settings and accessories on the device work as advertised.
For our standard tests, we cook single portions of potatoes, vegetables and protein, noting how quickly they cook, how well they crisp up and how well they retain juiciness and moisture. We also cook with the air fryer filled to its maximum stated capacity, to ensure it still offers fast and consistent results.
Along with standard manual cooking tests, we also test any preset modes available, as well as any additional features and accessories to ensure they’re up to scratch.
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The best dual air fryer to buy in 2023
1. Instant Vortex Plus Dual Drawer Air Fryer: Best dual air fryer for versatility
Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at Amazon
An excellent dual air fryer and one of our favourite models generally, the Instant Vortex Plus Dual Drawer has a lot to offer. Physically, the Vortex Plus feels well built, with a sleek, all-black construction that suits most kitchens – though if you fancy a more industrial style, it’s also available in a stainless steel accented version. The design is also user-friendly, with a responsive digital touchscreen, as well as internal lighting and clear viewing windows on its baskets, allowing you to keep an eye on your food as it cooks without having to open the drawer.
The Vortex’s clever design is matched by its great performance and range of features. Its twin baskets benefit from Sync Cook and Sync Finish features: Finish will make sure your two baskets are done at the same time, even if they require different times or temperatures, while Cook mirrors the settings on your baskets, for when you’re cooking two portions of the same thing.
Other settings include modes for roasting, grilling, baking, reheating and dehydrating, with the Vortex Plus’s clever setup allowing you to use a different mode in each basket. In testing, we air-fried hash browns in one drawer while grilling bacon and sausages in the other, whipping up a tasty breakfast in no time.
Read our full Instant Vortex Plus Dual Drawer air fryer review
Key specs – Power: 1,700W; Capacity: 7.6l; Display: Digital; Accessories: Two non-stick grill plates
2. Ninja Foodi Dual Zone: Best dual air fryer for speedy cooking
Price when reviewed: £220 | Check price at NinjaThe Foodi Dual Zone is a quality air fryer with some unique features. While similar in style and build to the Instant Vortex Plus, the Foodi Dual Zone is slightly more compact, which may be of interest if you’re short on space. The air fryer’s twin 3.8L cooking baskets work well in concert, with the Dual Zone’s Sync and Match features allowing you to sync up the baskets to ensure they finish at the same time or mirror the settings of the two baskets when you want to cook two portions of the same food.
Other notable features of the Dual Zone include modes for baking, roasting and dehydrating, though its standout ability in our opinion is its Max Crisp function. Designed to cook thinner, frozen foods, the Max Crisp function works well on items such as onion rings, skinny fries and nuggets, cooking them to a brilliant level of crispiness in a much shorter amount of time than most standard ovens.
If you’ve settled on buying an air fryer from Ninja but would like to take a more in-depth look at the range, be sure to take a look at our best Ninja air fryer roundup.
Read our full Ninja Foodi Dual Zone review
Key specs – Power: 2,400W; Capacity: 7.6l; Display: Digital; Accessories: None
3. Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1: Best self-stirring dual air fryer
Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at ArgosOne of the first air fryers to offer a dual cooking option, the Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 remains one of our favourite models overall, offering both impressive performance and a unique set of features and abilities.
Alongside a varied set of preset functions, the Genius XL’s standout feature is its rotating paddle, which does away with the need to pause your cook and shake midway through, instead gently stirring your food throughout for consistent results. The air fryer’s 1.7kg capacity is split between two cooking compartments, with the bottom compartment utilising the stirring paddle and a second static section sitting on top – though the latter can be removed for extra room if needs be.
In testing, the Genius XL produced brilliantly crisp chicken and chips in around 30 minutes, though there’s one notable caveat. Instead of cooking the portions simultaneously, the Genius XL cooks the first portion, then prompts you to add the second basket for cooking while the first basket maintains its temperature via its keep-warm function. While a bit bothersome, this method still ensures both portions are ready at the same time.
Read our full Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 review
Key specs – Power: 1,500W; Capacity: 1.7kg; Display: Digital; Accessories: Measuring spoon, removable 2-in-1 tray
4. Salter Dual Digital Air Fryer: Best value dual air fryer
Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at AmazonIt might not be able to match the premium features of some of the models listed above, such as viewing windows, internal lights and high temperature settings, but the Salter Dual Digital Air Fryer does allow you to pick up a dual air fryer at a much lower price than any other option on this list. Buying direct, the Dual Digital has a listed, full price of £230, but can often be found for well under £150 at various retailers.
It’s more budget-friendly and a little less feature heavy than other models, but the Dual Digital is no slouch. It produced impressive results in testing, with its handy sync feature allowing us to make perfectly timed, well cooked meals in its twin baskets. This included a breakfast of bacon and hash browns and a lunch consisting of chicken breast and crispy chips.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a versatile air fryer that is decidedly mid-range in price, this is the best option we’ve come across.
Read our full Salter Dual Digital Air Fryer review
Key specs – Power: 1,700W; Capacity: 7.6l; Display: Digital; Accessories: Two non-stick grill plates