Air Fryer Size And Capacity Comparisons (What Size Air Fryer Do You Need?)

One of the biggest factors when it comes to finding the right air fryer is the size and cooking capacity of the air fryer. In order to reap the rewards that air fryers offer, the appliance has to be big enough to cook enough food for the entire household, yet small enough to fit in your kitchen.

Cooking in an air fryer is less time-consuming than many other methods of cooking, and the quickness of the air fryer can be credited to its small size and powerful heating element, which can get to cooking in less than two minutes.

Understanding how big an air fryer is and how much it can cook is imperative when making a purchase. The size of the air fryer can single-handedly, make or break the experience.

However, there is no right or wrong size, it’s all about what’s suitable for you, your family and your cooking.

However, there are a few guidelines regarding the size of the air fryer that one should take into consideration prior to making a purchase. With hundreds of models available online, a couple of guidelines can come in handy to filter the results.

In this article, you’ll learn how big of an air fryer you actually need.

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Air Fryer Size Guide

On one side, there are small compact air fryers that are suitable for single individuals, dorm rooms, recreational vehicles, etc, and on the other, big ones capable of cooking a whole chicken or turkey in one session.

Then there’s everything in between.

Small Air Fryers

My personal recommendations in this category include:

Smaller air fryers, somewhere between 1-2QT are capable of cooking max two chicken breasts at once. For a single person, the basket is sufficiently large to hold a chicken breast on one side and a couple of potatoes or fries on the other. When making snacks, an air fryer of this size can make enough snacks for two people.

The upper range of the small air fryers, those that are measured to be 2-3QT in size, can cook 4-6 chicken wings at once, maybe even 7 in some cases. An air fryer smaller than 3 quarts provides enough space for a couple of two, however, I think there’s more comfort to be found in an air fryer above 3 quarts for a couple who plan on using the air fryer regularly. It can also be a good purchase for a single person who likes to cook large batches and store them for later.

Medium & Large Air Fryers

My personal recommendations in this category include:

These air fryer sizes are more suitable for a family of 3 or more. At the lower end of the range (3-4QT), you won’t be able to cook a whole chicken as it is, instead, you may have to cut it down into smaller pieces prior to placing it in the basket. However, they should be large enough to cook french fries for 3-4 persons.

Air fryers at and slightly above 5 quarts are big enough to cook 4-5 chicken breasts at once, or enough fries for 5-7 persons.

Large Air Fryers

My personal recommendations in this category include:

My all-time favorite: The Cosori Air Fryer (while the Cosori falls 0.2qt short of being a 6-quart air fryer, the very affordable Cosori air fryer delivers a package that is worth more than what they’re asking for it – so far, it’s been one of the best air fryers I’ve tried)

Air fryers above 6 quarts have few restrictions when it comes to size. Some may even have enough space to host two pans and up to three grill racks. Such spacious air fryers are versatile, the extra space provides you with the tools to cook anything you desire.

How To Know The Size Of An Air Fryer

I admit it can be hard to visualize how big a “5 Quart Air Fryer” actually is by just looking at the product description or image. A quart is a measurement for liquid capacity, and one unit is equal to a quarter of a gallon. For simplicity, a quart can be converted to 0.94L in the US and 1.13L in the UK.

But air fryers aren’t always measured in Quart, information regarding size is often shown in pounds and liters as well. When an air fryer’s size is referred to in terms of poundage or liters, you will often find the size stated in quart too.

Philips, for example, state that their HD9240 model has a food capacity of 2.65 pounds, which, according to their product description, equals 3.5QT. The larger 4QT model can hold up to 3 pounds of food in one session.

Chefman, another air fryer brand, state the size of their air fryers in both liters and quart. Their large 6.8-quart air fryer can hold up to 6.5 liters of food.

Take into consideration that the sizes stated online are only recommendations, or rather, guidelines for how much the air fryer can handle. If the size is suitable or not depends entirely on what you are cooking. Some foods take up more space than others, for example, a chicken breast needs more space than french fries, potatoes or vegetables.

Overcrowding the basket will result in unevenly fried food and generally, bad results.

What Air Fryer Size Is Best For A Family

Now that we understand the actual size of an air fryer, it’ll be easier to find the right fit for you.

Cooking for a family can be made easier and require both less time and effort with an air fryer. This is only true if the air fryer’s capacity is large enough to host the entire dinner in one session, otherwise, the air fryer will require you to cook more than one batch.

We want to avoid having to wait for fries or vegetables while the rest of the plate cools down. Therefore, as a family, it would be beneficial to purchase an air fryer that is slightly larger than you think you might need.

Air Fryer Size And Capacity Comparisons (What Size Air Fryer Do You Need?)

Additionally, larger air fryers may have more functions, features, and accessories available. This allows the user to be more experimental with the air fryer.

One thing to take into consideration before buying a large air fryer is the required counter-top space. Larger air fryers will, of course, demand larger countertop spaces as they can be quite bulky in their size and can be quite hard to store after each use.

Dimensions of the product should be available online, make sure you have enough space on your kitchen counter for the air fryer to ventilate properly when cooking.

What Air Fryer Size Is Best For A Single Individual

As a single individual, there’s no need to purchase a large air fryer, but instead, opt for a more compact air fryer capable of cooking for one, or two.

Air fryers in this category often have a capacity of 1.0 quart but can stretch up to a maximum of 3.0 quart.

These air fryers are big enough to cook 2-3 servings of fries, 2-3 chicken breasts, a couple of egg rolls, chicken nuggets or chicken tenders.

Compact, smaller air fryers are convenient in many ways.For example, a smaller air fryer requires no more than a 2-minute cleaning routine to look as good as new. Once clean, an air fryer of this size can easily be stored under your kitchen counter just like a pan.

It will also heat up faster because the chamber is smaller, which means there’s less air for the heating element to heat.

One thing to take note of is that air fryers of this size often have fewer features than large air fryers. Nevertheless, when it comes to performance, they don’t fall behind. Small air fryers can, just like larger ones, produce a deliciously crispy outer layer.

What Air Fryer Size Is Best For Small Kitchens

Living in a dorm room, a small apartment or a recreation vehicle often means there’s little space to spare for clumsy appliances, and in that case, a large air fryer might not be the most appropriate pick.

In small living spaces, you may benefit from having an air fryer that’s portable, well, all air fryers are portable, but all air fryers are not lightweight.

Smaller air fryers can easily fit in a kitchen drawer or storage box, making it easy to store them between each session. They are also the perfect pick for camping trips and vacations.

A suitable air fryer for smaller kitchens or living spaces, in general, would be an air fryer sized at 3 quart maximum.

Just make sure that the air fryer, no matter how big or small, is large enough to cook for the number of people you plan on serving. The convenience of having a small air fryer is lost if the appliance can’t cook your meals in one session.

Remember, air fryers are supposed to be comfortable, time-saving kitchen helpers.

What Air Fryer Can Cook A Whole Chicken Or Small Turkey

Smaller air fryers excel at cooking chicken breasts, tenders, nuggets and wings. However, when it comes to a whole chicken, air fryers below 5-quartin size don’t have the cooking capacity needed to fit the entire chicken.

Facing this issue, some users may use a little bit of force to break the chicken’s backbone into smaller pieces to make it fit.

The best option would be to look for a bigger air fryer, an air fryer capable of cooking a whole chicken in one session. A whole chicken can weigh closer to 4-7 pounds, which of course, requires a much bigger air fryer than a couple of wings or nuggets would.

To cook a whole chicken in an air fryer, one should look for an air fryer at 5.3 – 5.8 quarts or more. Air fryers below 5 quarts are not big enough for the entire chicken to fit and air fryers just above 5 may have trouble with larger chickens.

Therefore, a 5.3 – 5.8 quart or larger air fryer is the best option when cooking a whole chicken or small turkey.

Additionally, larger air fryers come with better functions, features, and accessories suited for baking, roasting, grilling, frying and more. The extra space of such air fryers makes it possible to bake bread, cook pizzas, and smaller cakes.

Down below are three models large enough to cook a whole chicken.

What’s The Largest Air Fryer

The largest air fryer available is a monstrous 16-quart appliance called Big Boss. It’s ready to cook an entire turkey in one session. The Big Boss air fryer weighs close to 15 pounds and is capable of cooking a 3-course meal for two persons at once.

Check it out on Amazon

The Benefits Of Large Air Fryers

One of the advantages of having a large air fryer is, of course, the extra capacity. But the spacious interior isn’t the only benefit of a large air fryer.


With an air fryer large enough to cook for a family of 5, you will also be able to bake cakes, make lasagnas, large batches of cookies, pizzas and more.

More components

Large air fryers are capable of hosting more accessories, such as grill racks, cake pans, pyrex pans, silicone cups, and many other accessories. In small air fryers, it may be hard to use other accessories than the ones made specifically for the air fryer, but in larger air fryers one can use anything that’s suitable to put in an air fryer.

So instead of buying a ton of accessories, you may use what you have at home. Economically, a large air fryer may be more strategic than purchasing a small one plus the accessories.


Large air fryers are often equipped with layering possibilities, which translates into more food. You can cook french fries on one layer and chicken on the other. This is very convenient because chicken and french fries may not have the same cooking time.

So instead of removing everything from the air fryer and gathering the fries before placing the chicken back in the air fryer, you may just remove the tray filled with french fries and continue cooking the chicken.

Conclusion: How Big Do I Need My Air Fryer To Be?

Large families need larger air fryers, single individuals can get by with a small 1 or 2-quart air fryer. Then there’s everything in between those two options. Some people may cook everything in the air fryer, in that case, it might be lucrative to look for a bigger alternative.

The more you use your air fryer, the more you depend on it. Spending a little extra for more comfort is something to consider.

For larger gatherings or festivities, the air fryer can be quite troublesome to depend on. The most common air fryer sizes range between 3.0 – 5.0 quart. An air fryer of that size is not capable of cooking for a party. Instead, one would have to look for a larger air fryer, above 6.0 quart.

Smaller air fryers are however very practical for people who rent rooms, live in small apartments, dorm rooms, recreational vehicles, campers and so forth.

No matter the size of the air fryer, you can trust it to deliver the tasty and delicious texture that we all love.

Related Questions

How much do large air fryers cost? The price of large air fryers may vary depending on the brand and the specific model, but they can be found somewhere close to $100-300. For a 100 bucks, you’ll get the air fryer and a couple of components, for 300, there will be more features, functions and other flashy things.

The 100 dollar air fryer will most likely provide everything you need to cook food. The other model will take it to the next level. Keep in mind that both models, no matter how expensive or cheap, use the same principle when cooking your food.

Flashier isn’t necessarily better, but it comes with more solutions.

Is a large air fryer too big for a small family or a single individual? For a small family, it may even be smart to purchase a bigger air fryer. As you grow accustomed to the air fryer and the possibilities it provides, you start to experiment with other foods and then the extra space will come in handy.

For a single individual, a large air fryer sized at 5 quarts or more is definitely a luxury that one does not need. Instead, in a one-person household, it would be better to look for an air fryer sized at 3 quarts.

How do you determine an air fryer’s size? The size of an air fryer is measured in a quart (quarter gallon), liters or pounds. An air fryer that holds 1 quart is big enough to hold 0.94 US liters, which converts to about 2lbs.

What size air fryer can cook a steak? In order for a steak to fit in the chamber of the air fryer, the appliance should be able to hold at least 2.5 – 3.0 quart, that’s the absolute minimum, I would say.

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