In my official test of the best air fryersthe Ninja Air Fryer Max XL had the best combination of functionality and efficiency and earned this product first place for Best Overall – read on to find out why I loved it so much.
Air fryers should be able to produce the same crispy, crispy results as a deep fryer without the extra calories of cooking with oil. That’s why I loved the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL so much during my testing to find the best air fryer – the Ninja produced perfectly cooked fries and extra crispy and tender chicken wings, both of which look like they came straight out of the deep fryer . And if you want to use your air fryer for other cooking tasks, it also delivered moist, chewy cookies with perfectly golden edges without being too crunchy.
Although many of the air fryers I tested performed well, the Ninja delivered perfect results every time, no matter which of the seven functions I used. I loved that this oven is able to walk the line between producing super-strong and gentle heat to process a range of recipes, which is a challenge some other air fryers struggled with when tested. The Ninja had one of the widest temperature ranges of any oven I’ve tested, making it easy to get super crispy, precise results. Although it has multiple features, it is a streamlined machine with an easy-to-understand and easy-to-use control panel. Here’s why I loved it.
Ninja Air Fryer Max XL features
A multifunctional countertop oven
The worktop is premium real estate, and this was one of the most versatile basket ovens I’ve tested. The ninja can perform multiple tasks in one convenient and easy-to-use machine. With a base that’s 14 inches wide and 11 inches deep, it takes up less space than many of the other models I’ve tested, but still has the capacity to hold up to 3 pounds of fries or chicken wings. It has seven presets – Bake, Reheat, Dehydrate, Air Grill, Air Roast, Air Roast and Max Crisp – that make it easy to achieve precise cooking results. It looks sleek and streamlined on the countertop – it’s glossy, black and bowl-shaped. The ceramic-coated interior is fully non-stick and it’s easy to wipe up any dripping juices or grease. The Ninja was the best air fryer for crisping food in all my tests. In fact, this air fryer can reach a maximum heat of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning it can produce supremely crispy results right off your countertop. I found this machine to produce the most evenly cooked food of any other oven, and everything I cooked was browned, crispy and even.
This hot air fryer is backed by a 1-year limited warranty and a 60-day money-back guarantee. Spare parts such as a rack, multi-layer insert and silicone gloves can be purchased separately through the brand’s website.
Straightforward and easy to use
Although many multifunctional kitchen gadgets are difficult to understand, the Ninja is not. The control panel is extremely intuitive – the digital screen clearly shows the various functions – meaning there is little to no guesswork involved in the cooking process. Simply select the function you want to use, then toggle to manually increase the time and temperature. The drawer itself is easy to remove and light enough to carry to different places in the kitchen. I loved that the basket and insert are dishwasher safe, which also allowed for easy cleaning in my testing. The handle is easy to grip and the drawer is intuitive to use, so you can just pull it out to check food or shake it.
Perfect for reheating leftovers
With its many features and wide temperature range, this oven is perfect for busy families looking to streamline their dinner preparation. If your household has lots of leftovers that could use a second chance, this air fryer is a fantastic way to bring them back to life. The Airfry function quickly and efficiently circulates hot air, which can revitalize even the most soggy leftovers. While it’s an easy way to make an all-home meal, it’s also perfect for reheating to-go items like french fries, quesadillas, or chicken fingers.
With years of professional experience cooking in restaurants and private kitchens, I am always looking for products that make cooking easier and more efficient. I use my Culinary Arts degree from the Institute of Culinary Education to create thoroughly tested product reviews that help shoppers make more informed purchasing decisions. You can find my product reviews on Food & Wine, FoodNetwork.com, Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens and more.
How does the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL compare to other air fryers?
This hot air fryer took first place in our test because it is fast, functional and easy to use. It effortlessly produced perfectly golden fries, crispy and tender chicken wings, and moist and chewy chocolate chips. The streamlined functionality is easy to understand and use, and the non-stick coating makes cleaning easy. While it performs similarly to the Instant Vortex 6-Quart Air Fryer, it can reach a higher temperature, meaning it’s even more effective at achieving crispy results—like browned chicken skin or crispy potatoes. While not as versatile as the Breville Joule Oven Pro, which has a larger capacity and doubles as a toaster, there’s no question the Ninja will deliver excellent air frying results. Overall, it’s the easiest to use and produces the most consistent results of any fryer.
How I tested the best air fryers
To see how the Ninja compares to other air fryers in my testing, I first examined its design to consider how easy it would be to store and clean. I thought about the size and how it would fit on my countertops and in my cabinets. I also checked out the material of the inner basket, which is coated with non-stick ceramic to prevent food from sticking.
To determine functionality and versatility, I put the Ninja through three culinary tests. First, I fried dry french fries with some cooking spray to see how quickly the oven heats up and how evenly it distributes the heat. I examined the color of the cooked fries and rated how golden and crispy they were after cooking. Next, I roasted chicken wings to see how the oven handles dripping fat and chicken juices. I examined the color and texture of the skin as well as the texture of the meat. I made sure the chicken was juicy and perfectly cooked through, and also noticed if any meat was sticking to the inside of the oven. Most recently, I baked chocolate chip cookies and examined how crunchy or moist they came out to test the baking abilities of this deep fryer.
After the cook tests were complete, I cleaned the oven according to the brand’s instructions and observed how easy or difficult it was to clean. Throughout the process I found how convenient the product is and how easy the controls are.