Best 8 Air Fryers For College Students according to 9 points

For most college students, cooking is all about convenience. They want to be able to cook fast and with little hassle. And so, an air fryer is always one of the best appliances for them.

Besides being faster, an air fryer allows for healthier cooking and is safer to use. All this makes it perfect for use in a dorm. Moreover, an air fryer takes up less space, uses little power, and is more affordable.

Although there are many good air fryers on the market, few are suitable for college students, and they must meet the 9 conditions to be used in the dormitory.

We asked 38 college students from our Facebook forum to share their views on the best air fryers. Plus we also tested out a few models with different opinions. We used this data to compile a list of the best 8 air fryers for college students. And we explain the key factors to consider when choosing an air fryer. Finally, we will share some pro tips for safely using it in the dorm. You don’t want to miss them!

Best 8 Air Fryers for College Students

1. Ninja AF080 Mini Air Fryer  


The Ninja AF080 Mini Air Fryer is the best air fryer if you want something simple. Besides being straightforward to use, it is the perfect size for one person. And it will take up almost insignificant space in your college dorm room.


  • Straightforward to use
  • Takes up little space
  • Perfect for cooking for one person
  • It makes some delicious and extra crispier wings


  • Does not have temperature control
  • No presets for common foods

Key Features and Unique Benefits

The Ninja AF080 Mini Air Fryer is built with college students in mind. It is a low-energy draw model rated at just 1000 watts. This makes it perfect for use in any dorm room, including those with limited wattage. And it will also be more energy efficient to keep your electricity bills low.

The air fryer is also built to make cooking hassle-free. It only has one easy temperature setting (400°F). You hence never have to struggle to set the temperature for different dishes. The best part is that all common foods cook perfectly at this temperature. This includes everything from chicken to air-fried snacks.

But you still get control over how long your food cook. A quick set timer dial allows you to set any cooking time from 0-60 minutes. Most foods, including french fries and chicken wings, require only 15 to 20 minutes.

Also, their fryer will give you an easy time when cleaning up. Both the basket and crisper plate are dishwasher-safe. Juicy foods like chicken will not stick, making cleaning less hectic. 

Actual Cooking Performance and Experience

If you love chicken wings, this air fryer will be your new favorite appliance. The consistent 400°F temperature makes wings extra crispy and browns them evenly.

We also noticed that this air fryer cooks fries much faster. This is also thanks to the consistent temperature setting. It can hold up to 1 pound of french fries or frozen sweet potato fries. And they cook to perfection in just 15 minutes.

Who Should Buy this Air Fryer?

Get this air fryer if you want something super easy to use. Also, it is the perfect model for you if you want something affordable for one person.

2. DASH Tasti-Crisp™ Electric Air Fryer + Oven Cooker 

DASH Tasti-Crisp™ Electric Air Fryer + Oven Cooker with Temperature Control

DASH Tasti-Crisp™ Electric Air Fryer + Oven Cooker is a small and user-friendly air fryer. Also, it comes at a more affordable price and is super easy to clean. All this is just what a college student wants in an appliance.


  • User-friendly controls
  • Requires minimal cleanup
  • More budget-friendly
  • Fantastic choice of colors
  • Perfect for reheating foods


  • Hot spots at the back are a safety hazard
  • Timer marks wear off easily

Key Features and Unique Benefits

Dash makes this air fryer to ensure great all-around performance. For starters, it uses AirCrisp technology. The highly efficient air frying technology ensures your foods always get crispier fast. Also, it reduces the amount of oil you use by up to 95%.

The air fryer has a 1000-watt rating. This makes it perfect for use in a dorm room with limited power allocation. Plus, like our previous Ninja model, it ensures greater energy efficiency. And cooking will be cheaper for a student.

Dash also makes safety a top priority. They do this with multiple safety features to keep the user safer. This includes an auto shut-off function that prevents food from burning. And the basket also has a cool-touch handle for safe handling when hot.

You can be sure of an easy time setting up the air fryer to cook. It includes some user-friendly dials. They will make it easy to adjust time and temperature.

And you will also love that it comes in some unique colors. You no longer have to stick with a boring black appliance. There are other lovely colors like teal, red, and aqua, check out the best dash air fryers.

Actual Cooking Performance and Experience

Despite being one of the smallest options in this review, this Dash air fryer still makes food crispy. Also, it does it faster than most other models. We used it to make some appetizers and fries. They always have an extra crunch without drying out.

Frozen treats like nuggets and fish fingers also cook well. They take the same time as fresh foods (around 15 to 20 minutes). And the best part is that you never have to thaw them fast.

And you will also find this air fryer perfect for reheating leftover foods. Things like bagels are always perfectly toasted. And pizzas get an extra crunchy crust. 

Who Should Buy this Air Fryer?

This air fryer is a good buy if you are shopping on a tight budget. But it is also another good option if you want something compact that takes up little space.

3. GoWISE USA 3.7-Quart Programmable Air Fryer  

GoWISE USA 3.7-Quart Programmable Air Fryer with 8 Cook Presets

When you need more cooking space without buying a huge air fryer, GoWISE USA 3.7-Quart Air Fryer is perfect. This air fryer is also ideal if you prefer something that runs without making too much noise.


  • Super quiet operation
  • Requires little preheating
  • Big enough to fit a small whole chicken
  • Comes with some easy recipes


  • Handle quality is not very good
  • Nonstick coating in the basket peels off easily

Key Features and Unique Benefits

This GoWISE air fryer uses highly efficient rapid air technology. The technology will allow you to quickly crisp fries and other foods. Also, it allows you to do it without using too much oil. You might not even need any oil when crisping foods like chicken wings.

Using the appliance should also be a breeze. There is a highly intuitive digital interface with simple controls. Plus, the air fryer has 8 programmable cooking presets. These presets cover common foods like steak, shrimp, and fries. And so cooking your frozen sweet potato fries only requires you to push one button. All this makes cooking super easy for any college student.

There is also a unique indicator on this air fryer. It will let you know when the food is ready to prevent burning. But the timer also makes 5 loud beeps when the food is ready. And so it should be hard to miss even when busy studying.

air fryer cookie

Actual Cooking Performance and Experience

We have made some fantastic grilled veggies on this air fryer. Carrots and potatoes always turn out perfectly and cook in under 10 minutes. But it also worked great for burritos, tater tots, and sweet potato fries.

We are still trying to figure out how to make the best chocolate chip cookies. But many college students we talked to have had better success with this. Their cookies always get perfectly browned and crunchy without drying out.

And we also love that besides the food turning out great, this air fryer hardly makes any sound when cooking. You can be sure of a more peaceful cooking experience.

Who Should Buy this Air Fryer?

Buy this air fryer if you want a model with a larger capacity that is still quite compact and space-saving.

4. Instant Vortex 4-in-1 2-QT Mini Air Fryer Oven Combo 

Instant Vortex 4-in-1, 2-QT Mini Air Fryer Oven Combo

If like most college students, you have a tight budget, the Instant Vortex Mini Air Fryer suits you. It is our cheapest air fryer for college students. But it still has more to offer, such as a small footprint and quiet operation.


  • Feels more solidly built
  • Allows you to turn off the beeps completely
  • Easy dial operation
  • A small footprint is perfect for college students


  • Pungent chemical/burning plastic smell

Key Features and Unique Benefits

The 4-in-1 Instant Vortex air fryer offers more cooking versatility at a small price tag. Besides air frying, you can use it for baking your favorite cookies and muffins. Also, it can toast bread and bagels and heat your leftovers.

Again, you can always be sure that everything will turn out crispy and with a perfect golden brown color. Instant Vortex fits it with their EvenCrisp technology to ensure this. You hence never have to worry about unevenly browned fries or undercooked chicken. But you still need to remember to flip or toss the food.

Cooking should also be quicker and less hectic with the one-touch smart programs. You can cook french fries by pushing just one button.

And this is a quieter air fryer you will hardly notice when running. Even the beeps are quite subtle. You can turn them off completely by holding the time/temp for 3 seconds. Most other air fryers we tested do not have this feature. If you do not want to make a lot of noise for your roommates, this appliance will serve you well.

Actual Cooking Performance and Experience

The bake and reheat functions are what impressed us most with this air fryer. It does a better job making desserts than most convection ovens. The best part is that it keeps the heat high and consistent throughout. Things like fruit pies, muffins, and cookies always cook perfectly. And they never dry out.

For reheating, this air fryer has a way of making everything fresh again. If you have leftover wings or pizza in the fridge, it will not just make it hot. Rather, it brings back the initial crunch, allowing you to enjoy the food the same way you did when it was fresh.

Who Should Buy this Air Fryer?

Get this air fryer if you are looking for the cheapest model for a college student. It is an affordable model that does not compromise quality or cooking performance.

5. Ninja AF101 4 Quart Air Fryer 


The Ninja AF101 4 Quart Air Fryer is a larger capacity air fryer for college students. It is ideal if you cook for more than one person. Also, it is a perfect model for those that want to go beyond air frying. It can dehydrate, roast, and much more.


  • Produces crispy and great-tasting food
  • Convenient shake reminder
  • Comes with lots of recipes, tips, and tricks
  • Easy-to-use directions


  • Does not shut off automatically when you remove the basket

Key Features and Unique Benefits

The fact that you will be using the air fryer in a college dorm does not mean it has to be the smallest model. This 4-quart model proves this. It can still work well for any college student. Plus, it takes up just a few square inches.

Its capacity is enough to cook up to 2 pounds of fries and almost a dozen chicken wings. You can easily cook enough food portions for you and 3 of your mates. 

And you do not always have to air fry. The air fryer can also roast, reheat and dehydrate. Thanks to the wider temperature range (105°F – 450°F), it can cook almost any food type. The temperature can go low enough to dehydrate veggies and fruits. And it also gets high enough to sear your favorite steaks.

air fryer steak

Cooking should also be super fast. Besides the high and consistent heat output, this air fryer heats up fast. It only requires 3 minutes to preheat. It will take under 10 minutes to cook. Most air-fried snacks cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Actual Cooking Performance and Experience

We expected this Ninja air fryer to perform well, given the brand’s reputation. You don’t want to miss the best 10 Ninja air fryers. But it performed even better than the anticipation. It made some of the best-breaded salmon ever. And it took only a few minutes to get it to a perfect golden brown color.

Also, it makes some fantastic pizza rolls and toasted ravioli. They always seem to have an extra crunch and cook super fast.

Who Should Buy this Air Fryer?

Get this air fryer if you love beef jerky and fruit/veggie chips. It has a highly efficient dehydrate function. The air fryer will allow you to dehydrate quickly and easily in your dorm room.

6. Cosori 5 QT 9-in-1 Air Fryer 

COSORI Air Fryer, 5 QT, 9-in-1 Airfryer Compact Oilless Small Oven

The Cosori 5 QT 9-in-1 Air Fryer offers a large capacity and more cooking functions. The best-selling air fryer also gets hotter than most models. This makes it perfect for anyone looking for a model for high-temperature cooking.


  • Alerts you when it is time to flip
  • Includes an actual on/off button
  • The exterior surface does not get hot
  • Cleanup is breeze


  • The buttons can be a little loud

Key Features and Unique Benefits

The Cosori 5 QT 9-in-1 Air Fryer guarantees a fantastic cooking experience. For starters, the best-selling model supports 9 different functions. This ensures college students can use it for all their cooking needs.

Also, it reaches up to 450°F. The high temperature ensures more efficient and faster cooking. It can cook up to 20% faster than most other air fryers. And so students can spend less time cooking and more on other important college stuff.

The air fryer is also quite compact. At just 10.83 inches, it should fit perfectly in your college dorm. But it still has a large capacity. The 5-quart capacity allows you to air fry over 2 pounds of french fries in one batch. Also, you can cook 2 large chicken breasts or a small whole chicken. This will be quite handy when you want to cook for a few friends.

There is also a shake reminder that you can personalize when cooking. You can customize it to remind you to shake the basket. This feature is quite handy for college students. It means they can study or clean as the food cooks.

Cooking Performance and Experience

This air fryer makes some surprisingly good steak. The steak preset works like a charm, allowing you to make some juicy air-fried steaks. And the temperature gets high enough to give the steaks a nice sear. 

Chicken wings also turn out perfectly. But you will often need to add a few extra minutes to get a nice crisp. The chicken preset is set at 20 minutes. From most users’ experiences, cooking for 25 minutes at 390°F is the sweet spot. 

Who Should Buy this Air Fryer?

This air fryer is perfect if you want the most versatile and multifunctional model. It will easily replace all your other cooking appliances.

7. Ultrean 5.8 Quart Air Fryer 

Ultrean 5.8 Quart Air Fryer, Electric Hot Air Fryers Oilless Cooker with 10 Presets

The Ultreat 5.8 Quart Air Fryer is the most powerful air fryer on this list. Also, it has the largest capacity in this review. If you are looking for the performance of a full-size air fryer without the bulk, this is your best bet.


  • Easy to program and operate
  • It is not messy and cleans up easily
  • Perfect size for a few friends
  • Has a sleek finish 


  • Non-stick coating on the basket is not very durable

Key Features and Unique Benefits

This 1700-watt Ultrean air fryer is perfect for a college student looking for extra power. The heating element combines with the 360° technology for more efficient cooking. They also make it a time-saver by ensuring it can cook almost anything in under 30 minutes.

Plus, it is a multifunctional model. It will eliminate the need for several cooking appliances in your college dorm. Besides air frying, you can use it to roast, toast, and much more. Also, it has 10 presets to speed up cooking. There is a preset for fries, steak, cake, and several other dishes.

This air fryer can also hold more food than most models we have reviewed so far. It has a 5.8-quart capacity that allows you to cook a whole chicken or over 3 pounds of fries. The large capacity makes it ideal if you have roommates or always have to cook for a few friends. You can cook enough food for up to 5 people.

And this air fryer will look fantastic in your dorm room. It has a sleek, contemporary finish and comes in some cute colors.

Actual Cooking Performance and Experience

The Ultrean 5.8 Quart Air Fryer makes cooking air-fried meals and snacks hassle-free. It is a super easy-to-use model that anyone can figure out within minutes. You should be able to make delicious dishes even if you have never used an air fryer before.

But, what truly makes it exceptional is its air frying speeds. The heating element allows you to cook pork chops, beef strips, or chicken breasts super fast.  You hardly ever need more than 15 minutes to cook, either. This air fryer keeps them juicy and tender inside while giving them a nice, crispy outside layer. You can enjoy some delightful meals in the comfort of your college room without doing much.

Who Should Buy this Air Fryer?

Buy this air fryer if you are looking for a more powerful model. It is also a good option for any college student that has to cook lots of food for roommates and friends.

8. Viliwin Air Fryer 4.5 QT Digital Air Fryer 

VILIWIN Air Fryer 4.5 QT Digital Air Fryer Cooker 8 Preset Menus AirFryer Hot Air Fryer with Auto Shut Off

The appearance of any appliance always matters. The Viliwin Air Fryer 4.5 QT Digital Air Fryer is hard to beat for any college student looking for something sleek.


  • Comes in some fantastic colors
  • Does not make a lot of noise when cooking
  • Super easy to clean
  • Safer to use


  • The drawer does not fit on its track properly
  • Does not come with proper instructions

Key Features and Unique Benefits

Although the appearance of this Viliwin Air Fryer is what draws most people, there is still way more to it. The 1400-watt air fryer is built to speed up cooking. It has an efficient 360°Rapid Air Heating Circulation technology that cooks up to 30% faster. Also, it uses up to 90% less oil. 

Your air-fried foods like fries and wings cook much faster and will be healthier. You only need 15 minutes to cook a few portions of fries or a dozen chicken wings. And you can speed up your cooking using one of the 8 preset programs.

Another unique feature you will love is that the air fryer cooks more evenly. Without even having to keep turning the food. The air fryer has 4-circle heating tubes that ensure food is heated from all angles for even cooking. 

You can also be sure the air fryer is safe enough to use in the dorm. There are several safety features. They include an auto power off that shuts it down when cooking is complete or when you remove the basket. Also, the materials are PFOA and BPA Free. And the handle is also designed to be heat-resistant for safe handling. 

Actual Cooking Performance and Experience

This air fryer’s ease of use and speed is impressive. You do not need to spend hours reading the manual to figure it out. A quick skim should be enough, even for an absolute newbie.

When it comes to the actual cooking, the air fryer makes some of the tastiest chicken breasts. You can always be sure your chicken breasts will turn out juicy and crispy outside. You can cook at least 2 breasts at a go.

Pork chops also cook nicely without ever drying out inside. The heat is just right and remains consistent throughout the cooking.

Who Should Buy this Air Fryer?

If air fryer looks are as important as performance, you should get this air fryer. The air fryer has a cute design and comes in some lovely colors.

Buying Guide: 9 Key Things to Consider When Choosing an Air Fryer for College Students

There are many good air fryers that can work for a college student. But, to get the best one for you, consider the 9 things below:

1. Cooking Functions 

You will not have a lot of space in your college dorm for several kitchen appliances. Also, you probably do not want to spend much money buying different appliances. But we will look at the cost and budget in more detail later.

Buying an air fryer that supports several cooking functions is a good idea. Such an air fryer will be more versatile. It eliminates the need to have several kitchen appliances. Also, it makes it possible to cook in more ways and to try out several delicious recipes.

Most air fryers for college students will be small. Also, they will have fewer cooking functions than the larger, more expensive models. But something that can support at least the following function is perfect:

  • Air Fry
  • Roast
  • Toast
  • Bake
  • Reheat and Keep Warm

2. Wattage

Some college dorms have a limit on the maximum wattage that students can use in the dorm. You need to keep this in mind. Otherwise, you might be unable to use the air fryer in your dorm.

Remember that you also have other electronics in the dorm, such as laptops and heaters. Your dorm’s wattage limit should support your air fryer and these other electronics.

If you are unsure what the capping is for your dorm, you are always better off going for a low-wattage air fryer. Go for something under 1500 watts to be on the safer side.

3. Cooking Speed

how does an air fryer work

Most college students do not have much time to spare for cooking. The best air fryer for you will hence be one that cooks fast.

Something with a powerful heating element and efficient cooking technology is perfect. Such an appliance will reach optimal cooking temperature fast and maintain consistent heat. 

Also, look for an air fryer that requires little to no preheating time. This also ensures your food cooks faster. You can hence save some time for your studies and other college activities.

4. Power Consumption 

You also need to pay attention to power consumption. This will even be more important if you have to pay monthly utility bills.

Whatever air fryer you buy should hence be energy efficient. Such an air fryer saves money and allows you to cook more without worrying about the cost of operation.

Air fryers with low wattage are the best for college students. Also, those with energy-saving features like auto shut-off are ideal.

5. Compactness

best 10 small air fryer

There is hardly any room to spare in a typical college dorm. On average, a student should get a small air fryer under 300 square feet of living space. You need to make the best use of this limited space. A large air fryer will hence not do you any good.

The goal should be to find the most space-saving model. And you can easily ensure this by checking the air fryer dimensions in its description. 

The right size for you depends on how much space you have. But most models under 12 inches wide and 15 inches high are perfect. They hardly occupy significant space. And they are also compact enough for easy storage when not in use.

An air fryer with saving features like a square basket is also preferable. Such a model will take up less room without reducing your cooking space.

6. Ease of Use

An easy-to-use air fryer will save precious time when coking. It allows you to make quick meals so you can have enough time for other things.

The ease of use can be subjective. But, several things can still make an air fryer easier to use. For instance, air fryers with a user-friendly interface are the easiest to use.

Also, air fryer models that include presets for common dishes will give you an easy time. Plus, an easy-to-understand and well-illustrated manual is always quite handy.

7. Ease of Cleaning

how to clean air fryer

Cleanup is a part of owning an air fryer you cannot overlook. But whatever model you choose should be easy to clean. Remember you will use it in a dorm. You might only have a few appliance cleaning options and limited time.

An air fryer with dishwasher-safe accessories will give you the easiest time. With such an air fryer, cleanup only requires you to place the accessories on your air fryer’s top rack.

But you might not have access to a dishwasher in college. If that is the case for you, look for an air fryer with accessories that are easy to clean in the sink. Nonstick and stain-resistant accessories will be the easiest to clean.  

8. Safety Features

Safety should come first when choosing an air fryer. It is even more important if you will be using the appliance in a confined college room.

The good news is that air fryers are generally safer than most other appliances. Still, you need to consider the specific safety features you get.

Here is a list of some key safety features:

  • Auto shut-off
  • Overheat protection
  • OverIoading protection
  • Stay-cool basket handle

9. Cost 

As a college student, you will want to save money anywhere possible. This ensures you will have enough funds to see you through school. And so the cost of the air fryer matters a lot.

Look for something more budget-friendly that still cooks well. Air fryers that cost under $50 will be good choices, but these air fryers usually come with lower quality.

Also, you should ensure you get the best value for your money. For instance, the more you spend on an air fryer, the more cooking functions you should get. Also, an expensive air fryer should have a larger capacity to give you good value for money.

Benefits of Using an Air Fryer in a Dorm

There are different appliances you can use when cooking in a dorm. But, an air fryer will have more benefits. Here are some of the main benefits you can expect.

1. Speeds up cooking

Air fryers are some of the fastest cooking appliances you can use. They are designed to heat up fast and maintain consistent heat. This ensures they can cook any food type quickly.

Most models will take under 30 minutes to cook everyday foods like chicken and french fries. Some can even take as little as 10 minutes.

For a college student, this is a huge advantage. College life can be quite hectic. You will probably have very little time to spare for cooking.

2. Allows you to make healthier meals

If you want to enjoy healthier but still tasty meals, an air fryer is unbeatable. These appliances will cut down the number of calories in your food significantly.

You do not need to use a lot of oil to cook in an air fryer. Some models can even air fry foods without any oil at all.

An air fryer will use a small fraction of the oil you would use when air frying. Most models reduce the oil by between 70 and 95%, allowing you to make healthier meals.

3. Takes up less space

Air fryers are designed to be compact and more space-saving. They are highly beneficial for use in dorms where you only have a little space.

The space-saving design of air fryers also makes them highly portable. They are easy to pack and carry to and from your college.

The best air fryers for college students will hardly take up more than 100 square inches of space. Other kitchen appliances like ovens require way more space than this.

4. It is a multifunctional appliance

The versatile design of an air fryer makes it convenient for college students. It will eliminate the need to have several appliances in the dorm. This saves you both space and money.

Besides air frying, you can use most air fryers to toast, roast, and much more. You will hence not need to buy a toaster or convection oven.

The multi-functional design also allows you to experiment with different recipes. You can make more delicious meals in an air fryer.

5. It is safer to use

Air fryers still produce a lot of heat like most cooking appliances. But, they are generally safe to use compared to these other appliances.

For starters, the exterior surfaces on most air fryers do not get hot when cooking. You can hardly even feel any heat when standing close to one as it cooks.

Also, they often have multiple safety features. For instance, most models will stop cooking when you remove the basket. Also, they have auto shut-off, overheat protection, and various other safety features.

air fryer chicken wings

Pro Tips for Using An Air Fryer Safely in a College Dorm

  • Always use the air fryer on a stable surface: You need to find a good spot for using the air fryer. This is more so if you do not have a counter in your dorm. The spot should be flat and stable. Also, it should be away from anything in the dorm that can catch fire easily. For example, curtains and books.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation: An air fryer will produce heat and steam when cooking. It is hence important to ensure proper ventilation in the dorm. Adequate ventilation allows the steam and heat to dissipate quickly. This is vital for maintaining good air quality.
  • Never overcrowd the basket: Overcrowding the basket prevents the food from cooking evenly. Also, it poses some safety risks.
  • Don’t cover the exhaust port: You need to ensure the exhaust port can direct the hot air from the appliance. There should not be any hindrance. This will help prevent the appliance from overheating, which can cause damage.
  • Cooking times are not exact: Air fryer recipes will provide specific cooking times. But they are not exact. It is important to keep a close watch as the food cooks. This way, you can make adjustments where necessary.

Wrap Up: Will an Air Fryer Work Well for a College Student?

Undoubtedly, an air fryer will be perfect for a college student. This multifunctional appliance eliminates the need for several cooking appliances in the dorm. Also, it cooks super fast and allows you to make healthier meals.

Now you should easily choose the best air fryer if you are a college student. We have already done the hard part for you. You just need to pick one model from our review above and purchase it today.

So have you used an air fryer in a dorm before? How was the experience? Please share your views in the comments section.

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