Ninja Air Fryer Reviews: 2 well-performing models compared

BEST OVERALL
Ninja Air Fryer AF161

It's not easy to choose between the two Ninja air fryers, as they are both superb products. They are both reliable appliances, which cook healthy and delicious meals.

The smaller device is cheaper and more suited to single diners or couples, while the larger air fryer will be better for larger families. However, the AF161 is marginally superior to us as it offers a more efficient cooking time, a slightly more appealing control panel, and a higher cooking capacity.

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1. Ninja Air Fryer Max XL (AF161)

BEST NINJA AIR FRYER
Ninja Max XL Air Fryer that Cooks, Crisps, Roasts, Broils, Bakes, Reheats and Dehydrates, with 5.5 Quart Capacity, and a High Gloss Finish
  • Now enjoy guilt free fried food; Air fry with up to 75 % less fat than traditional frying methods (tested against hand cut, deep fried french fries)
  • Max crisp technology delivers 450 degrees of superheated air to cook foods up to 30 % faster (Versus Ninja AF100) for hotter, crispier results with little to no oil for guilt free fried favorites
  • Xl 5.5 QT ceramic coated nonstick basket and crisper plate fit 3 pounds of french fries or chicken wings

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The larger Ninja air fryer, the ‘XL Ninja Air Fryer Max’ (known from here-on-in as the AF161) doesn’t just have a more substantial cooking capacity, it has been improved across the board. It comes equipped with all the good stuff the AF101 has, such as the ceramic coated and dishwasher safe cooking pan, but Ninja has improved upon the cooking speed and overall efficiency.

Using this appliance, cook healthy foods using 75% fewer fats than traditional methods, to make tasty, crispy meat, fish, or fries.

Pros

  • Large Cooking Capacity
  • 30% Faster Than The AF101
  • ‘Max Crisp’ Technology
  • Double The Capacity Using The Broil Rack
  • Ceramic Coated for Durability
  • Attractive Appliance
  •  Auto Shut Off
  • Easy to Clean

Cons

  • Odd Smell When First Used
  • Quite Heavy
  • Notification Beeps Are Annoyingly Loud

Specifications

  • Dimensions: H14 inches x W11 inches x D14 inches
  • Appliance Weight: 11.7lbs
  • Capacity: 5.5 Quarts
  • Available Colors: Grey
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes
  • Wattage: 1750W
  • Min/Max Temperature: 105°F/450°F

Looks

Much like its baby brother, the AF101, this air fryer is stylish and contemporary in appearance, which wouldn’t look out of place in any modern kitchen. The gloss grey finish is offset by the chrome top and handle, to give the AF161 a look worthy of the price tag.

Unlike the AF101, this device has had much more thought put into the design of the control panel; it appears much more suited to the overall style while the button layout is more intuitive.

Score: 4.5/5

Capacity

Many features and functions on the AF161 are taken from the smaller Ninja appliance and tweaked, improved upon, or increased in size. The frying ability has increased by 1.5 quarts in the larger model (a 25%+ improvement) while only slightly increasing in overall size (0.7 of an inch added to the height and 0.4 of an inch added to depth) meaning Ninja have a much more efficient design on their hands.

To improve cooking capabilities, Ninja has included the broil rack enabling the consumer to cook two layers of food simultaneously.

Score: 3.5/5

Functions

Air Fry: The standard ‘air fry’ setting cooks food quickly and healthily. When using this preset feature, consumers can enjoy delicious home-cooked meals without worrying about calorie intake.

Air Broil: Use the high heat with the ‘air broil’ function to cook extra crispy, caramelized meats or fish without needing to fire up the grill or barbeque.

Air Roast: Enjoy the taste of roasted foods that would traditionally be made in an oven. Roast products for up to three hours using this setting, and use the ‘crisp-plate’ give your meals a crisp and crunchy texture.

Bake: This air fryer can do more than just fry. The ‘bake’ function makes it possible to bake bread, cake and treats for the whole family as if it were made in an oven.

Reheat: Reheat any leftovers or takeaway using this function. The even temperature distribution created by the appliance’s fan ensures foods retain their original taste and texture.

Max Crisp: This Ninja appliance has the ‘Max Crisp’ function to get your fries, meats, and potatoes extra crispy by cooking them quickly using exceedingly high temperatures and rapid fan speeds.

Dehydrate: Slowly create dehydrated snacks and treats with this temperature/time setting. The fan in this setting is very quiet and has the ability to dehydrate fruit, vegetables, and meat overnight without waking your family.

Score: 4.5/5

Performance

Once again, Ninja has achieved a superb performance level for this appliance. The tiny levels of fat needed to cook with the AF161 make it an incredibly healthy option, while the cooking speed is even faster than their smaller device by up to 30% making it all the more efficient.

The number of consumers complaining about performance or reliability issues is minimal, while popular opinion is that this air fryer is a 5-star product.

Score: 5/5

Should you buy the XL Ninja Air Fryer Max (AF161)?

If you’re in the market for an air fryer, then it isn’t easy to find a reason not to recommend this appliance. The price tag is approaching the higher end of the spectrum, or maybe the cooking capacity wouldn’t be enough for very large families of five or six people. Still, if those things aren’t an issue, then the AF161 is definitely an air fryer that is deserving of your consideration.

Overall Score: 17.5/20

Alternatives

Cheaper: Ninja AF101

We’ve mentioned this appliance a bunch of times in this review, as it’s a great comparison to the XL. If you don’t quite have the budget for the big brother, then the AF101 is the perfect replacement. It does have a slighter lower cooking capacity but is as reliable and functional as any other model on the market.

Similar Price: Cosori KAAPAFCSSUS0017

Cosori air fryer is similarly priced to Ninja’s appliance and is worth considering as an alternative. The 5.8-quart capacity basket is a slight improvement over the 5.5-quart Ninja, and Cosori claims it helps cut down on fat by up to 85%.

With 11 presets, the KAAPAFCSSUS0017 is a versatile appliance capable of cooking many different foods that are both healthy and delicious.

More Expensive: Caso AF 400

There aren’t many dedicated air fryers that are more expensive than the Ninja AF161, but the Caso AF400 fits the bill. It does have a smaller capacity than any fryer we’ve mentioned in this review with a lowly 3.2-quart basket. It does, however, boast a 90% reduction in cooking fats over traditional methods.

2. Ninja Air Fryer (AF101)

Sale 23%
Ninja Air Fryer that Cooks, Crisps and Dehydrates, with 4 Quart Capacity, and a High Gloss Finish
  • Now enjoy guilt free food; Air fry with up to 75 percent less fat than traditional frying methods; Tested against hand cut, deep fried French fries
  • Wide temperature range: 105 degree Fahrenheit to 400 degrees Fahrenheit allows you to gently remove moisture from foods or quickly cook and crisp foods with convection heat
  • 4 quart ceramic coated nonstick basket and crisper plate fit 2 pounds of french fries. Cord length (feet)- 2.6

Disclosure: we may receive commissions from purchases made via our links at no additional costs to you.

The Ninja AF101 (which is the same unit as the Ninja AF100 but comes with an extra multi-layered rack and recipe book) air fryer is a 4-quart capacity air fryer that can cook 2lbs of French fries using up to 75% less fat than a traditional fryer.

It comes with a one-touch push-button control panel, a durable ceramic-coated basket, accessories that are dishwasher safe and easy to clean, and the ability to air fry, roast, dehydrate and reheat your foods.

Pros

  • Durable Ceramic Basket
  • Easy To Clean
  • Dishwasher Safe Components
  • Pre-programmed Settings
  • Doesn’t Over Heat The Kitchen

Cons

  • Large Footprint But an Average Capacity
  • Timer Does Not Pause When Basket Is Removed
  • Quite Noisy

Specifications

  • Dimensions: H13.3 inches x W11 inches x D13.6 inches
  • Appliance Weight: 10.5lbs
  • Capacity: 4 Quarts
  • Available Colors: Black/Gray
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes
  • Wattage: 1550W
  • Min/Max Temperature: 105°F/400°F

Looks

The AF101 lives up to the Ninja name. Its sleek black exterior is almost stealth-like, while the chrome handle adds a little sparkle to the overall appearance. It is one of the more subtle designs on the market, but that’s not a bad thing as an understated appliance can blend seamlessly into any kitchen. 

However, the display controls and buttons do look a bit dated compared to other air fryers on the market, but not so much that they negatively impact the appearance to a massive extent. 

Score: 4/5

Capacity

With 4-quarts of frying capacity, the Ninja AF101 is an average-sized air fryer. The basket is circular, which is not the most efficient shape when it comes to air frying, because wherever possible, you should be able to lay the food out in a single layer to allow for a crispy finish. A more shallow, square basket of the same capacity would offer more space to cook.

There are other appliances on the market at the same price point with larger capacities.

For a device that comes with a reasonably average basket capacity, the appliances’ footprint is much larger than air fryers manufactured by competitors. Many other models have smaller dimensions yet a larger frying capacity.

Score: 3/5

Functions

Air Fry: The standard air fry setting cooks food quickly and healthily. When using the pre-set feature, consumers can enjoy delicious home-cooked meals without worrying about calorie intake.

Roast: Enjoy the taste of roasted foods without having to fire up the oven. Roast products for up to three hours on this setting, and use the ‘crisp-plate’ give your meals a crisp and crunchy texture.

Reheat: Any leftovers can be easily reheated using this function. The even temperature distribution created by the appliance’s fan ensures foods retain their original taste and texture.

Dehydrate: Slowly create dehydrated snacks and treats with this temperature/time setting. The fan in this setting is very quiet and has the ability to dehydrate fruit, vegetables, and meat overnight without waking your family.

Score: 4/5

Performance

The performance of the AF101 is where this model shines. When purchasing a kitchen appliance, the most crucial factor should be reliability, and this air fryer rarely, if ever, lets you down. Of the few minor complaints consumers have about this product, machine failure is not one of them.

The components are durable and easy to clean, while the fryer itself is consistent and makes delicious, healthy food in double-quick time.

Score 5/5

Should you buy the Ninja AF101?

The Ninja AF101 is one of the most highly rated 4-quart air fryers on the market. The product description claims the 4-quart capacity is large enough to feed a family of four; however, many consumers say it would be best suited to serve three people or less.

This air fryer is easy to clean, reliable, and won’t break the bank. It’s not difficult to see why this product is rated so highly in the cooking community. We have also included it to our best air fryers list as one of the best value options. If the cooking capacity meets your family’s needs, and the price tag is within your budget, this kitchen appliance is worth your consideration. 

Overall Score: 16/20

Alternatives

Cheaper: GoWISE USA GW22621

This more affordable alternative is available for those on a tighter budget. However, it does come with a smaller capacity. The touch-screen digital display is an improvement on the AF101’s push button. The components are easy to clean but take more elbow grease than the Ninja.

Don’t let the brand-name fool you either, while the “USA” may lead you to believe this an American made appliance; in reality, it is manufactured in China.

Similar Price: NuWave 37001

Despite having a smaller footprint than the Ninja AF101, this NuWave air fryer has 50% more frying capability with a 6-quart basket. It features a square, rather than circular, pan though it isn’t ceramic, making it a little more challenging to clean. 

Where the 37001 has a higher capacity for the same price as the Ninja appliance, it doesn’t have the same build quality. Consumers report logos and text on the buttons rubbing off after only a short while. 

More Expensive: Cosori KAAPAFCSSUS0017

Cosori’s air fryer is a more expensive option, but for consumers with more money to spend, the extra outlay could be money well spent. The 5.8-quart capacity basket is an improvement over the 4-quart Ninja, and Cosori claims it helps cut down on fat by up to 85%.

With 11 pre-sets, the KAAPAFCSSUS0017 is a versatile appliance capable of cooking many different foods that are both healthy and delicious.

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