Cut down on hassle, cook times and clean-up with our pick of the best air fryers sized for two
Air fryers have taken the UK by storm in recent years, offering a simple, speedy and energy-efficient alternative to oven cooking and deep frying. This roundup, which focuses on the best air fryers for two people, features our favourite versatile, high-capacity models that should allow you to easily whip up large batches of sides such as chips and veggies, as well as cook up whole meals quickly and simply.
Below, we share the results of all the testing and tinkering we’ve done with these appliances, highlighting each model’s strengths and weaknesses. We also look at how to get the most out of their various features and functions when you’re cooking for two, so you can pick the right air fryer for you. On our list, you’ll find roomy single-basket options, clever dual-drawer models, do-it-all multicookers, great budget-friendly picks and more.
If you’re looking for some quick recommendations, then check out our at-a-glance list just below. Scroll further down to discover our in-depth buying guide, plus our mini-reviews of our top air fryers for couples, shared households or small families.
Best air fryer for two people: At a glance
|Best single-basket model||Ninja AF160UK MAX | £169||Check price at Amazon|
|Best budget air fryer for two people||Tower Vortx 5L Digital | £50||Check price at Tower|
|Best dual air fryer||Instant Vortex Plus Dual Drawer | £150||Check price at Amazon|
|Best budget dual air fryer||Salter Dual Digital Air Fryer | £100||Check price at Amazon|
How to choose the best air fryer for two people
How do air fryers work?
If you’re not super familiar with air fryers, here’s a quick explanation of how they operate. Air fryers heat food using convection, which means that they circulate hot air around your food, making sure the maximum surface area possible is exposed to the heat. With this method, only a small amount of oil is needed to achieve excellent levels of crisping and browning, thanks to a scientific process called the Maillard reaction.
Air fryers have become popular in recent years due to the fact that, as mentioned above, they need little to no oil to cook food. In addition, they cook food more quickly than conventional methods, are easy to use and relatively energy efficient. Air fryers can generally cook food at temperatures between 150˚C and 210˚C, with many models also featuring special settings for roasting, dehydrating, baking and more. For a more in-depth look at how air fryers operate, check our full-length What is an air fryer? explainer.
READ NEXT: The best air fryers you can buy
What should I look for in an air fryer for two people?
When picking out an air fryer for two, there are a number of factors you should keep in mind, with the most important being:
- Capacity – We’ll admit, this one is a bit of a no-brainer. Cooking for two people, you’ll naturally want to seek out air fryers with higher capacities, which will allow you to make larger portions or even heat up multiple items at once. Capacities will either be listed in litres or kilograms, with 5l+ a good size for a single-basket option, 7.6l+ great for a dual-drawer model, and oven-style models of 12l more roomy.
- Format – Another important thing to look at is the format of the air fryer you’re considering, as noted briefly above. Generally, an air fryer will either be a single-basket, dual-basket or oven-style model. Single-basket air fryers are best for cooking large portions of sides such as chips or veg, but can also be used for multiple items – a full English breakfast, for example – if the crisping plate has a large enough surface area. Dual-basket models are more versatile, splitting the cooker into two areas by default, which means you can cook a main dish in one basket while cooking sides in another. Finally, oven-style models operate as their name suggests, allowing you to cook whole chickens or roasts, for example, as well as cook multiple items on different shelves or trays.
The formats above cover standard air fryers, but another type of model worth considering is a multicooker. These often include an air frying mode, along with settings for pressure cooking, sautéing, steaming and more. Multi-cookers and rapid cookers massively expand your cooking capabilities, with an option such as the Ninja Speedi, for example, making one-pot 15-minute meals a possibility.
Which functions are important?
As well as different formats, air fryers can have different features and levels of functionality. Some functions to look out for are handy presets for cooking common items, quick-cook settings, which use high heats to blitz through cooking times, and sync settings in dual-drawer models to ensure all items finish cooking at the same time.
How about accessories?
A final element to consider when purchasing an air fryer for two people is the accessories that come with the appliance. Items such as extra crisping trays, oven shelves and rotisserie attachments can help you cook multiple items more effectively and make a meal for two in your air fryer more easily.
How much should I spend on an air fryer for two people?
As you may have gleaned from reading this buying guide, there’s a diverse range of air fryers available that could potentially suit a two-person kitchen setup, with an equally diverse range of prices to match. That said, we can offer a general idea on pricing. Single-basket models typically cost between £50 and £150, and dual-drawer options range from £100 to £220. Prices for oven-style models can vary, costing anywhere between £80 and £200 depending on size and power. If you’re interested in a high-quality multicooker with decent air-frying capabilities, then you’ll likely have to spend north of £200.
READ NEXT: The best slow cookers to buy
How we test air fryers
We rigorously test all the air fryers that feature on our list and roundups, putting them through their paces with a set series of challenges. As well as seeing how quickly and thoroughly the air fryers cook standard fare such as chips, oven food, vegetables and portions of protein such as fish or chicken, we also test any other listed features – presets, additional functions such as baking, roasting and so on – making sure they work as advertised. As part of these cooking tests, we also fill each air fryer to its stated capacity, noting how well it performs with a full basket.
The best air fryers for two people to buy in 2023
1. Ninja AF160UK Max 5.2l: Best single-basket model for two people
Price when reviewed: £169 | Check price at Ninja
The Max version of the trusty AF100UK comes with a very respectable capacity of 5.2l, making for a perfectly sized single-basket option for two people. At this size, you’ll be able to cook up an extremely generous side portion of chips, or even a whole chicken to serve as your main protein. One of the few downsides of this air fryer is that it needs a three-minute preheat to achieve its best results. However, once it gets going, it’s up there with the best in terms of producing deliciously crispy, well-cooked food.
Besides air frying, the AF160UK has settings for baking, roasting, dehydrating and reheating, although its most striking feature is arguably its Max Crisp mode. Intended for use on thinner frozen foods such as onion rings, chips and chicken nuggets, this function allows the air fryer to heat to a higher maximum temperature of 240°C, giving these foods an extra crispy, crunchy finish – as well as cooking them in roughly half the time it would take a standard oven. This makes the Ninja AF160UK perfect for midweek evenings when you’re not in the mood for more involved cooking.
Read our full Ninja AF100UK review
Key specs – Capacity: 5.2l; Power: 1,750W; Format: Single basket; Accessories: Removable crisper tray
2. Instant Vortx Plus Dual Drawer: Best dual air fryer for two people
Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at Amazon
One of the standout things about the Instant Vortex Plus Dual Drawer is its versatile range of features and functions. Beyond air frying, this model has settings for roasting, grilling, baking, reheating and dehydrating. Its Sync Finish and Sync Cook settings also come in handy. The former ensures both your baskets will finish cooking at the same time, even if they require different cook times or temperatures, while the latter mirrors the settings on both baskets, for when you’re cooking two portions of the same food items. Along with syncing them up, the Vortex Plus even allows you to use different cooking modes with each basket. For instance, in testing, we chose to air fry hash browns in one basket, while grilling sausages and bacon in the other.
Aside from its features and functions, the Instant Vortex Plus Dual Drawer’s excellent build quality, sleek, handsome appearance and plethora of neat design touches helped earn it top marks from us. This dual air fryer has a responsive, easy-to-use digital interface, a commendable overall capacity of 7.6l (via its twin 3.8l baskets), as well as internal lights and clear viewing windows on its baskets, which allow you to keep a close eye on your food as it cooks.
One of our favourite models generally, the Instant Vortex Plus’s roomy dual-basket setup and versatile range of cooking functions make it the all-round best air fryer for two people in our opinion.
Read our full Instant Vortex Plus Dual Drawer review
Key specs – Capacity: 7.6l; Power: 1,700W; Format: Dual drawer; Accessories: Non-stick grill plates (x2)
3. Tower Vortx 5L Digital Air Fryer: Best budget air fryer for two people
Price when reviewed: £50 | Check price at Tower
One of our favourite budget models overall, the Tower Vortx 5L Digital is a great option for duos looking for a cheaper air fryer. Offering users a single basket with a 5L capacity, the Vortx can comfortably fit two to three portions of sides like chips, vegetables or hash browns. In testing, we also found it to be capacious enough to fit several main items, with room four at least four chicken breasts or two steaks.
While its basket is nicely sized for two, the Vortx 5L remains impressively compact, with its tall shape and squared off edges allowing it to fit neatly onto the countertops of smaller kitchens or cooking spaces. Outside of its balanced proportions, other positives of the Tower Vortx 5L include its solid build quality, straightforward controls, commendable cooking performance and, of course, its very reasonable price, which sits far below any of the other options on this list.
Read our full Tower Vortx 5L Digital Air Fryer review
Key specs – Capacity: 5L; Power: 1,600W; Format: Single basket; Accessories: Removable crisper tray
4. Salter Dual Digital Air Fryer: Best budget dual air fryer
Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at Amazon
If you want to secure yourself a dual-drawer air fryer but are looking to keep costs down, then the Salter Dual Digital is the option for you. Although it may not be able to match the premium build quality or features of more expensive models, the Dual Digital is still a solid performer with a very reasonable price tag; it’s often available for less than half its RRP of £230.
The Salter Dual Digital drew praise in our initial review for its nicely large 7.6l capacity, intuitive digital control scheme and its performance in testing, cooking chips, chicken, hash browns and more to a very respectable level of crispiness and doneness. In terms of functionality, the Dual Digital has presets for items such as chips, vegetables and seafood, along with handy Sync and Match settings, allowing you to sync up the two baskets when cooking two things at different temperatures or for different times, as well as mirror the settings on both when you’re cooking two portions of the same thing.
If you want to see the Dual Digital in action, cooking a full breakfast in just 15 minutes, you can check out this short behind-the-scenes testing video.
Read our full Salter Dual Digital Air Fryer review
Key specs – Capacity: 7.6l; Power: 1,700W; Format: Dual drawer; Accessories: Non-stick grill plates (x2)
5. Proscenic T31 Air Fryer Oven: Best air fryer for roast dinners
Price when reviewed: £159 | Check price at Amazon
At 15l, the Proscenic T31 Air Fryer Oven has the largest listed capacity of any model we’ve tested, making it a great option for anyone cooking for two or more people. As well as being capacious, the T31 is also a top performer that comes with a unique range of features. In testing, we were impressed by its fluid, easily adjustable controls that are programmable via a digital touchscreen, its physical temperature dial and companion app. Also useful are internal lights and a clear viewing window. As far as cooking performance is concerned, it produced notably crispy homemade chips, well-browned chicken breast, beautifully roasted veg and more.
Besides its oven-style setup, the real standout feature of the T31 is its rotisserie functionality and accompanying accessories. Using the rotisserie fork provided, we were able to cook a whole 1.2kg chicken in just 45 minutes. The rotisserie basket proved handy for preparing chips, with its constant rotation helping to ensure they cooked evenly. The wheel of rotisserie skewers, while a bit fiddly to assemble, provided some novelty, allowing us to prepare BBQ-style meat and veg skewers from our countertop.
Overall, the Proscenic T31 Air Fryer Oven proves to be more functional, easier to use and more efficient than a standard oven, making it a top option for cooking whole meals and large portions.
Read our full Proscenic T31 Air Fryer Oven review
Key specs – Capacity: 15l; Power: 1,700W; Format: Oven style; Accessories: Slotted oven tray (x2), rotisserie cage, rotisserie fork, rotisserie skewers
6. Ninja Speedi: Best multicooker for fast, full meals
Price when reviewed: £250 | Check price at Ninja
Boasting ten cooking functions, the Ninja Speedi is by far the most versatile option on this list. Alongside excellent air-frying capabilities, this multicooker also has modes for grilling, baking, roasting, dehydrating, sautéing, slow cooking, steaming and more. While this impressive array of functions alone make the Speedi highly suitable for cooking for two, what truly helped it earn its place on this list is its Speedi Meals feature.
As its name would suggest, the Speedi Meals function allows you to create whole meals quickly and simply, which it does by combining different cooking modes in the same pot. For example, the Speedi can cook pasta and marinara sauce in the bottom half of its cooking pot while air-frying breaded chicken on the grill plate that sits just above, to make lightning-fast chicken parmesan. From baked, herb-crusted salmon with quinoa and peas, to roasted tofu and vegetables with rice, the dishes the Speedi can produce massively expand the definition of “one-pot cooking”, making it ideal for midweek scenarios where you don’t want to expend too much energy making dinner – or cleaning up.
Alongside its impressive range of cooking functions, other pluses of the Speedi include its nicely large 5.7l cooking pot, handsome powder-blue finish, and its squat, rounded design, which we found helped it fit more neatly on your countertop than other multicookers we’ve tested.
Read our full Ninja Speedi review
Key specs – Capacity: 5.7l; Power: 1,250W; Format: Multicooker; Accessories: Adjustable grill plate, cooking pot
7. Tefal ActiFry Genius XL 2-in-1: Best large, high-end air fryer
Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at Argos
While it may not be as easy to visualise as a model listed in litres, rest assured that the Tefal ActiFry Genius XL 2-in-1’s 1.7kg capacity is plenty big enough for your needs. Our testing found that this aptly named XL air fryer could cook eight reasonably sized portions of food (or six large portions) when filled to the brim, meaning cooking for two should be a doddle.
The Genius XL’s 2-in-1 functionality also makes it suitable for cooking duos. A second, removable cooking tray can be placed into the main basket for cooking sides. The one caveat with this system is that both compartments can’t operate simultaneously; instead, the top compartment starts cooking once the bottom one has finished, while the bottom area enters a keep-warm mode. While not quite as straightforward as a dual-drawer model, it still allows you to cook everything in one appliance, limiting hassle and cleaning up.
Aside from a large capacity and 2-in-1 functionality, the ActiFry Genius XL boasts a wide range of presets and a handy stirring paddle, removing the need to shake or adjust the basket mid-way through cooking. The air fryer has presets for common items such as chips, battered foods, and chicken, as well as more niche items such as stir fries, tagine, desserts and more. Earning its “Genius” moniker, the air fryer will adjust its cook time, temperature and stirring frequency based on the preset inputted, as well as the size of the portions being cooked. Of course, the air fryer also produces great results when used manually, cooking items evenly and consistently at temperatures ranging between 70°C and 220°C.
Read our full Tefal ActiFry Genius XL 2-in-1 review
Key specs – Capacity: 1.7kg; Power: 1,500W; Format: 2-in-1 air fryer; Accessories: Measuring spoon, removable 2-in-1 crisper tray