Tower vs Ninja: What air fryer brand should I choose?

Well-known air fryer brands don’t come much better than Tower and Ninja, but which of their models should you go for?

Tower vs Ninja
(Image credit: Amazon)

The air fryer has been with us for well over a decade now and in that time, we’ve seen countless variations on the theme. In fact, take a look at the best air fryer models available today and you’ve got all sorts of shapes and sizes on offer. There are plenty of brands to choose from too, with the likes of Tefal, Philips, DeLonghi, Morphy Richards and Russell Hobbs to ponder over.

However, there are two brands that have become the go-to air fryer option for many; Tower and Ninja. Indeed, Tower is currently the leading seller of air fryers in the UK and is a name that has been around for much longer than the air fryer itself. Ninja, meanwhile, has its fingers in lots of kitchen and household gadget pies, but it too has produced some rather nifty air fryers as part of its growing product portfolio.

Tower vs Ninja: what’s the difference?

Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer with Steamer

A closer look at the Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer with Steamer

(Image credit: Future)

While you might be thinking it’s hard to tell many air fryer models apart, there are plenty of ways you can differentiate between them. The same goes for the various air fryer models sold by Tower and Ninja. Of course, before you start attempting to spot the difference between models, it’s a good idea to get a clear idea of what you want an air fryer for.

If you’ve got a family, you’ll probably want to buy one of the larger air fryer models on the market so that the capacity can meet mealtime needs. Conversely, if you’re a solo eater, or one half of a couple, then a smaller air fryer will easily fit the bill. You’ll also want to consider the specification. After all, if you’re just looking to cook some chips to go with a meal, you’re not really going to want an air fryer with multiple cooking modes.

However, if you’re planning on using an air fryer to supplement or even replace what you’d use a conventional oven and grill arrangement for, an air fryer with multiple features and functions could be the way to go. With energy prices rising, we’re all looking to shave some money of our bills and a decent air fryer with different cooking modes could be the kitchen appliance to help you do it. 

In that respect, both Tower and Ninja come out about even, with a range of models to suit all of the requirements outlined above and with prices to match.

Tower vs Ninja: features to expect

Ninja Air Fryer

Ninja Air Fryer in action

(Image credit: Ninja)

Once you’ve got an idea of the capacity and price point for a Tower or Ninja model, you’ll want to drill down into the features you can expect. Generally speaking, the lower the price point, the more likelihood there’ll be of limited features, with temperature and cook times being the most basic controls available on a cheap and cheerful air fryer.

Tower carries some very affordable models with this type of basic functionality, like the Tower T17021 Air Fryer for around £50. Ninja still keeps things under £100 with the likes of its Ninja AF100UK model, and either will do the trick if you’re only looking to carry out the most basic of air frying tasks. This, invariably, revolves around chips and both these models or variations on the theme are more than capable of producing hot, crunchy fries as and when you need them.

Tower vs Ninja: performance potential

Tower 10-in-1 Air Fryer Xpress Pro Combo

The Tower 10-in-1 Air Fryer Xpress Pro Combo fits a whole chicken!

(Image credit: Tower)

Spend a little more, as in £100 or upwards and you’ll get access to a lot more features and functionality on both the Tower and Ninja front. Splashing a little more cash certainly expands the features list, although this can lead you into new appliance territory, where combination cookers and Instant Pots live. A multi-cooker is another great way to go though, especially if you’re looking to cook things like stews, casseroles and other economical meals that can last a few days, or be frozen.

For example, if you want to take things up a notch or two, try the Tower 10-in-1 Air Fryer Xpress Pro Combo, which is a large, family-friendly combination package that does all sorts. It even has a rotisserie that can handle a whole chicken for roasting. It can’t handle runny stuff though. Alternatively, Ninja has the Ninja Foodi MAX SmartLid OL750UK, which doesn’t have a rotisserie but is more like one of the best Instant Pot combi cookers you can get. Again, both these options are very good, but it also depends on your cooking requirements as to which one is going to be best for your needs.

Tower vs Ninja: which brand should I buy?

Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 SmartLid Multi-Cooker review

(Image credit: Ninja)

After taking a brief whistle-stop tour of what Tower and Ninja have to offer, which air fryer brand should you choose? Personally, I’m a big fan of the combination cookers, which allow you to cook meals with liquids in them, such as curries and casseroles. If you tend to do that quite a lot, then Ninja’s Foodi is hard to beat.

However, being able to cook a whole chicken on a rotisserie in your own kitchen is pretty impressive too, which is why the jumbo-sized Tower 10-in-1 Pro Combo appliance is so popular. If you’re just looking to air fry chips from time to time though, I’d say it’s pretty much neck and neck between the cheaper models at the lower end of the pricing spectrum. If you love tried and trusted brands then Tower is a hard one to beat, but I’ve also got a soft spot for Ninja and their fresh new way of doing things, especially when it comes to design.

Our picks in this guide are all great machines, so ultimately, it’ll have to be your call based on how much you want to spend and what you want to do with your air fryer. Hopefully we’ve given you a nudge in the right direction though.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital, he has run the Innovation channel for a few years at Microsoft, as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of Stuff, TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working, he's usually out and about on one of the numerous e-bikes in his collection.