Do you need an air fryer?

Moving out of the parental home for the first time can be daunting, especially for students setting up the dorm with all the essentials, including small appliances. It’s the first time you’re living in your own space (usually with a roommate), and must handle your scheduling, meals, cleaning, laundry, and more, all on your own.

It’s an exciting time, but Being so busy and overwhelmed can also result in developing bad eating habits, like late night unhealthy snacks and mountains of takeout. It’s important to maintain a balanced diet while attending school and studying through the wee hours of the morning. This is where small appliances can come in, and an air fryer is one of the best ones to consider for the dorm.

Why an air fryer? There are a few reasons this small appliance makes sense for students.

1. They are easy to use

Ninja Max XL air fryer

Air fryers are super easy to use. Just add the ingredients, press a button, and let it go. Whether it’s for cooking, reheating from fresh or frozen, toasting, and more, every meal is simple to do. Students can pop something into an air fryer, like French fries for a late-night snack or a frozen pizza, get to work on an assignment, and grab it once the cook is done and a satisfying chime advises of this. There’s little effort, minimal clean-up, and even students with no experience cooking can handle it.

I use an air fryer to make my son’s hot school or summer camp lunches several times a week. From chicken nuggets and French fries to mini pizzas or even a reheated burger, nothing takes more than about 12 minutes at 400°F.

2. They are easy to clean

Inside of the Bella Pro air fryer

As mentioned, air fryers are easy to clean. Remove the cooking rack or air fry basket, wash it in the sink with warm, soapy water, and let it dry. There are no messy pots and pans and usually everything can cook in one basket (sometimes with a divider) so clean-up is a breeze.

What’s more, since most items you cook won’t be wet or messy (air frying is perfect for cooking from frozen), and you use little to no oil, you don’t need to worry about stuck on grime and food particles. A quick wipe down with a wet cloth should do the trick if you’re in a rush.

3. You can make a wide variety of things

Bella Pro air fryer

Air fryers aren’t just for frying. As mentioned, they can toast, reheat, some of them can even dehydrate (think beef jerky or dehydrated apple slices for quick on-the-go snacks). When students have more time, like on the weekends or days when they don’t have many classes, they can experiment with more adventurous dishes. Batter fish, place it in the freezer, then pull it out and air fry for a quick fish and chips meal. Forget fast food: bread your own chicken nuggets and fry them in the air fryer. Eat them right away or make a batch and freeze some for quick reheating when you want a late-night snack instead of summoning a food delivery app to pay for expensive fast food. They are also the perfect way to reheat those leftover chicken wings from last night’s pub crawl. Even simple dishes like a grilled cheese for breakfast or spring rolls for a quick lunch can be made in an air fryer. Think other freezer-friendly meals as well, like pizza pockets and homemade pita pizzas (pita bread, tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings of your choice).

4. They are quick

Kalorik Pro air fryer

My eldest niece is going into second-year university and while she’s moving into a shared apartment with three other young women, she spent her first year in a dorm. She says an air fryer would help with time management so she wouldn’t have to spend an hour cooking, especially when she could better use that time to study. You can cook items much faster than in an oven since there’s no preheating time needed. And, as mentioned most dishes can be cooked or heated up in 10-15 minutes, 20 at the most. You also don’t need to watch them, and most machines will turn off automatically once the cook is over so if you’re deep into a big report, you can grab the food long after it ends, and it will likely still be nice and warm.

5. They don’t take up much room

Ultima Cosa air fryer

Air fryers come in all sizes, from extra-large ones for big families to smaller, single unit ones that would be perfect for a dorm. I, for example, use the Instant Pot air fryer lid that sits right on top of the multicooker. It’s small so I can’t cook much at a time. But it’s perfect for single servings, like my lunch or, as mentioned, a single portion for my son’s school lunches. When I use it to make dinner, I’ll typically cook in batches. But consider that a student in a dorm will likely most often be cooking for themselves, making for themself and their roommate, so a smaller air fryer will do just fine.

6. They are affordable

Ninja Max XL air fryer

Students are usually on tight budget (tuition isn’t cheap!), and if they’re buying small appliances for themselves, they need ones that can accomplish multiple tasks for an affordable price. Air fryers are not only reasonable in price, they go on sale often. Students can wait for a great deal and pick one up for a steal. The air fryer can take the place of an oven, so if the students are looking to be able to make a healthy egg frittata in the morning, cook pork chops for dinner, or reheat last night’s Chinese food takeout, an air fryer can do it all and won’t break the bank.

One last consideration worth noting

As advised by my niece, one important thing to note is that you should check with the educational institution to make sure that an air fryer is permitted for use in a dorm. Some post-secondary schools have restrictions on what small appliances you can plug in due to fire safety regulations. With that said, if you’re not able to physically plug the air fryer into an outlet in your dorm, there might be an opportunity to store it in the room then bring it to the common, shared kitchen area to plug in and use when needed.

For students in their second, third, and subsequent years who, like my niece, decide to live off campus, the world is their oyster in terms of which, and how many, small appliances they can invest in. And when it comes to the most useful ones, an air fryer ranks high on the list for all the reasons noted above.

Ready to grab an air fryer for a student you know would love and use one? Check out a wide selection of air fryers at Best Buy Online.

Christine Persaud
With 20+ years of experience in trade and consumer tech journalism, I have covered the tech space since before social media was a "thing" and the smartphone as we know it was even invented. Writing for various technology, lifestyle, and entertainment sites, I have covered and reviewed hundreds of tech products, from home appliances to wearables, fitness tech to headphones, TV entertainment products and services, and more. I'm also a passionate foodie who loves to cook and bake, a TV show fanatic (happy to give what to watch recommendations!), and proud mother to a 12-year-old son.